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Madai (Hebrew: מדי, pronounced [maˈda.i]; Greek: Μηδος, [mɛːˈdos]) is a son of Japheth and one of the 16 grandsons of Noah in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. Biblical scholars have identified Madai with various nations, from the Mitanni of early records, to the Medes of much later records. The Medes, reckoned to be his offspring by Josephus and most subsequent writers, were also known as Madai, including in both Assyrian and Hebrew sources. The Kurds still maintain traditions of descent from Madai.

According to the Book of Jubilees (10:35-36), Madai had married a daughter of Shem, and preferred to live among Shem's descendants, rather than dwell in Japheth's allotted inheritance beyond the Black Sea; so he begged his brothers-in-law, Elam, Asshur and Arphaxad, until he finally received from them the land that was named after him, Media.

The Medes are thought by scholars to have been Indo-Aryan peoples, while the Mitanni were an aristocracy from the Araxes region who moved to Syria in the Bronze Age and superimposed themselves upon the Hurrians there, adopting their language. In the oldest writings of the Zoroastrian religion of the Medes[1], the earliest homeland of the Aryan race had been a legendary place called "Airyanem Vaejah" — traditionally (eg., in the Bundahishn 29:12) associated with Arran and the valley of the Araxes river, which rises next to Mount Ararat.

Another line in Jubilees (8:5) states that a daughter of Madai named Milcah married Cainan, who is an ancestor of Abraham also mentioned in older versions of Genesis.

Madai is also the name of the deified ancestor of the Kachin, according to the indigenous Kachin religion. The Kachin are a people of Myanmar and neighboring areas speaking a Sino-Tibetan language.


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Madai. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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