Tubal and Meshech are mentioned together in Ezekiel 38:2. They were the 5th and 6th sons of Japheth, the son of Noah (Genesis 10:2). Some believe these people intermarried and became known as Magog, the dominant tribe. There are two main theories for their location: (1) RUSSIA and (2) TURKEY. Whichever it is does not change the overall picture as both are identified by the other names in Ezekiel.
(1) Regarding Meshech and Tubal, some assign a Russian identification, connecting these 2 nations with the modern Russian cities of Moscow and Tobolsk. Meshech - Moscow, and Tubal - Tobolsk. The first view became well known throughthe Scofield Study Bible: “That the primary reference is to the Northern powers headed by Russia, all agree. The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification.” Thus the name Moscow derives from the tribal name Meshech, and Tobolsk, the name of the principal state, from Tubal. This view is partly based on the similarity of sound in these names and their close proximity to Rosh (Russia). If this is so, the names Meshech and Tubal, point directly to Russia, being identified with Moscow, the capital of modern Russia, and Tobolsk in Asiatic Russia. Modern Tobolsk was founded in 1587 in western Siberia, and from there the Cossacks rode eastward to open up all of Siberia to Russian domination. Meshech and Tubal would then be names standing for Russia in Europe and Asia. L.Sale-Harrison corroborated this identification on linguistic grounds.
Ethnologists, historians who track the migrations of people, tell us after the Flood, the Japhethites migrated from Asia Minor to the north, beyond the Caspian and Black Seas. They settled in the area of Rosh that we know today as Russia.Wilhelm Gesenius, the world class Hebrew scholar, whose Hebrew Lexicon has never been surpassed, said Gog is undoubtedly the Russians. He also identified Meshech as Moscow, the capital of modern Russia. Tubal he identified as Tobolsk, the earliest province in Asiatic Russia to be colonised, and also the name of the city in which Peter the Great built the old fortress after the pattern of the Kremlin in Moscow. “Meshech was founder of the Moschi, a barbarous people, who dwelt in the Moschian mountains.” He went on to say that the Greek name “Moschi”, derived from the Hebrew ‘Meshech’, is the source of the name for the city of MOSCOW. In discussing Tubal he said, “Tubal is the son of Rapheth, founder of the Tibereni, a people dwelling on the Black Sea to the west of the Moschi.” His conclusion was these people make up the modern Russian people.
‘Meshech’ the 6th son of Japheth, settled in the NE portion of Asia Minor. His posterity extended from the shores of the Black Sea along to the south of the Caucasus. He was the father of the Rossi and Moschi, who dispersed their colonies over a vast portion of Russian territory. And their names are preserved in the names of Russians and Muscovites to this day. The Septuagint version of the Old Testament renders the term: “Meshech” by the words “Mosch” and “Rosch”; while “Moscovy” was a common name for Russia, and the city of Moscow is one of her principal cities. ‘Tubal’ or ‘Tobal’ settled beyond the Caspian and Black Seas in the eastern possessions of Russia, embracing a very large portion of these dominions. The name of this patriarch is still preserved in the river Tobal, which waters an immense tract of Russian territory; and the City of Tobalski in Russia is still a monument to him.
(2) Another line of study reveals that Meschech and Tubal are the ancient Moschi/Mushki and Tubalu/Tibareni peoples who dwelled in the area around, primarily south of, the Black and Caspian Seas in Ezekiel's day. Meshech and Tubal are mentioned together in Ezekiel 27:13 as trading partners with ancient Tyre (modern Lebanon). Today these regions are inTurkey, possibly including parts of southern Russia and northern Iran. Meshech was located near what was known as Phrygia, in central and western Asia Minor, while Tubal was located in eastern Asia Minor. So Meshech and Tubal form portions of modern Turkey. (However later migrations north into Russia mean that this view is also consistent with the first theory).
Herodotus, the 5th century BC Greek philosopher, mentioned Meshech and Tubal. He identified them with a people named the Sarmatians and Mushovites who lived at that time in the ancient province of Pontus in northern Asia Minor, SE of the Black Sea [Histories IV], again pointing to modern Turkey.
Josephus said that the people of his day known as the Moschevi and Thobelites were founded by Meshech and Tubal respectively [Antiquities I.6].
Expositors Bible Commentary: “Meshech and Tubal refer to areas in eastern Turkey, southwest of Russia and northwest of Iran.”
Assyrian texts & monuments locate Meshech (Mushku) and Tubal (Tabal) in Anatolia (W.Turkey), the areas that became known as Phyygia and Cappadocia.
Mark Hitchcock concludes: “Meshech and Tubal are identified in ancient history with the Mushki and Tabal of the Assyrians, and the Moschi and Tibareni of the Greeks (according to Herodotus), who inhabited territory in modern Turkey.”
Today this region is predominantly Islamic. While modern Turkey has been secular, pro-western with a good relationship with Israel (particularly in the military), recently Turkey has swung back towards a return to a stronger Islamic and anti-Israel identification (see Appendix 8), which means that Ezekiel’s prophecy could be ready to be fulfilled any time now!
Later migrations north from Turkey to Russia could mean that both identifications are valid, and indeed both Turkey and Russia are directly to the north of Israel (as required by Ezekiel 38:6, 15, 39:2). In any case, between them, Magog, Rosh, Mechesh and Tubal certainly represent RUSSIA leading the CIS Republics along with TURKEY. After RUSSIA it seems that TURKEY and IRAN (see Appendix 9) must be the major players in this Invasion from the North.