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The names of direct descendants, though, may well be correct, part of an oral tradition which, in any culture, has always placed a strong emphasis on ensuring an unbroken list of ancestors.These names are shown below with a lilac background to highlight their near-mythical status.

This has been deciphered as an origin for the name 'Hebrew' and a meaning suggesting the crossing of the Euphrates and the land beyond it, clearly a reference to the later Israelite migration westwards.

Eber is an ancestor figure of the Israelites and the Ishmaelites (Ishmael being a son of Abraham), as well as of the original Arabs in Islamic tradition.

As the leaders of the latter can be dated approximately, so too can Nimrod, although it places him at the very start of Babylon's rise as a major city state.

Eber is claimed to be present during the building of Nimrod's 'Tower of Babel', while Peleg witnesses the division of humanity into speakers of different languages.

However, it doesn't necessarily have to refer to a wave of thirteen tribes and several hundred or more tribespeople wandering into Canaan.

Archaeology alone has disproved this version of events.

While the first name is of uncertain origin (and therefore possibly genuine), the others are clearly attempts to create founder figures for several important ancient kingdoms.

Elam relates to the region of that name, and an important and powerful kingdom at this time.

Asshur (Ashur) is the name of a northern Mesopotamian city state - one of three - which together are better known as Assyria.

Lud is connected with Lydia (the Luddu of Assyrian records) and their Luwian predecessors (although the Assyrian Lubdu in areas of western Media may be a better connection).

The Book of Jubilees mentions the Biblical Nimrod, king of Babylon, name in its Greek form, Nebrod, as being the father of Azurad, the wife of Eber and mother of Peleg.