Chit'tim (Heb. Kittim´, כַּתַּים, a Gentile plur. form of foreign origin, Ge 10:4; Sept. Κήτιοι, A. V. "Kittim;" Nu 24:24, Κιτιαῖοι; 1Ch 1:7 ["Kittim"], and Da 11:10, Κίτιοι v. r. ῾Ρωμαῖοι; Isa 23:1, Κητιαῖοι v. r. Κιτιαῖοι; or in the longer and more properly national form Kittiyim´, כַּתַּיַּים, Jer 2:10, Κεττιείμ; כַּתַּייֹם, Isa 23:12, Κητιείμ v. r. Κιτιεῖς; כַּתַּיֹּם, Eze 27:6, Χεττιείμ v. r. Χετιεἱμ), a branch of the descendants of Javan, the son of Japheth (Ge 10:4; 1Ch 1:7), closely related to the Dodanim, and remotely (as we may conclude from the absence of the conjunction before it) to the other descendants of Javan (see Hiller, Syntagm. hermeneut. p. 135). Balaam foretold "that ships should come from the coast of Chittim, and should afflict Asshur [the Assyrians], and afflict Eber" [the Hebrews] (Nu 24:24), thus foretelling the Grecian and Roman invasions. Daniel prophesied (Da 11:13) that the ships of Chittim should come against the king of the North, and that he should therefore be grieved and return, which was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria, having invaded Egypt, was by the Roman ambassadors commanded to desist, and withdrew to his own country (Livy, 44:29; 45:10). In Isa 23:1,12, it appears as a resort of the fleets of Tyre; in Jer 2:10, the "isles (אַיַּים, i.e. maritime districts) of Chittim" are to the far west, as Kedar to the east of Palestine; the Tyrians procured thence the cedar or box-wood, which they inlaid with ivory for the decks of their vessels (Eze 27:6, בִּתאּאֲשֻׁרַים, A. V. "the company of the Ashurites," but rather [ivory] the daughter of box- wood, i.e. inclosed in it). At a later period the name was applied to the Macedonians under Alexander the Great (1 Mace. 1:1, Χεττειείμ, A. V. "Chettiim") and Perseus (8:1, Κιτιέων "Citims"). On the authority of Josephus, who is followed by Epiphanius (Haer. 30:25, p. 150) and Jerome (Quaest. in Genesis 10), it has generally been admitted that the Chittim migrated from Phoenicia to Cyprus, and founded there the town of Citium, the modern Chitti: " Chethimus possessed the island of Chethima, which is now called Cyprus, and from this all islands and maritime places are called Chethim (Χεθίμ) by the Hebrews" (Joseph. Ant. 1:6, 1). Other ancient writers, it may be remarked, speak of the Citians as a Phoenician colony (Pliny: 5:35; 31:39; Strabo, 15:682; Cicero, De Finibus, 4:20). Pococke copied at Citium thirty-three inscriptions in Phoenician characters, of which an engraving is given in his Description of the East (2:213), and which have more recently been explained by Gesenius in his Monum. Phaonic. (p. 124-133). From the town the name extended to the whole island of Cyprus, which was occupied by Phoenician colonies, and remained under Tyre certainly until about B.C. 720 (Josephus, Ant. 9:14, 2). With the decay of the Phoenician power (circ. B.C. 600) the Greeks began to found flourishing settlements on its coasts, as they had also done in Crete, Rhodes, and the islands of the AEgaean Sea. The name Chittim, which in the first instance had applied to Phoenicians only (for כַּתַּים = תַתַּים, Hittites, a branch of the Canaanitish race — Gesenius, Comment. zu Jesa. 1:721 sq.), passed over to the islands which they had occupied, and thence to the people who succeeded the Phoenicians in the occupation of them. The use of the term was extended vet farther so as to embrace Italy (Bochart, Phaleg. 3:5, compares the Cetia, Κετία, in Latium, mentioned by Dionys. Hal. 8, 100:36), according to the Sept. (Dan.), and the Vulgate (Numbers and Dan.), to which we may add the rendering of the Chaldee Targum, which gives Italian (אטליון) in 1Ch 1:7, and Apulia (אפוליא) in Eze 27:6. In an ethnological point of view, Chittim, associated as the name is with Javan and Elishah, must be regarded as applying, not to the original Phoenician settlers of Cyprus, but to the race which succeeded them, viz. the Carians, who were widely dispersed over the Mediterranean coasts, and were settled in the Cyclades (Thucyd. 1:8), Crete (Herod. 1:171), and in the islands called Macariae Insulae, perhaps as being the residence of the Carians. From these islands they were displaced by the Dorians and lonians (Herod. l. c.), and emigrated to the main land, where they occupied the district named after them. The Carians were connected with the Leleges, and must be considered as related to the Pelasgic family, though quite distinct from the Hellenic branch (Knobel, Völkertafel, p. 95 sq.). Hengstenberg has lately endeavored (Hist. of Balaam, p. 500) to prove that in every passage in the Old Testament where the word occurs it means Cyprus, or the Cyprians.

The most probable view, however, is that expressed by Kitto: "Chittim seems to be a name of large signification (such as our Levant), applied to the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean in a loose sense, without fixing the particular part, though particular and different parts of the whole are probably in most cases to be understood" (Pict. Bible, note on Eze 27:6).

(For further discussion, see Michaelis, Spicilegium, 1:1-7, 103-114; also Supplem. p. 1138, 1377-1380; Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 726; Newton, On the Prophecies, 5; Rosenmüller, Bibl. Geogr. 3:378.) SEE ETHNOLOGY.

Bible concordance for CHITTIM.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.