: Μηδος according to the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible
, was a son of Japheth
and one of the 16 grandsons of Noah
. 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
sources. The Kurds
still maintain traditions of descent from Madai, as well as the Medes.
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.
Both the Mitanni and the Medes are thought by scholars to have been Indo-Aryan peoples. In the oldest writings of the Zoroastrian religion of the Medes, 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.