In the Hebrew Bible, Ashkenaz (אַשְׁכְּנָז) was the first son of Gomer and brother of Riphath and Togarmah (Genesis 10:3, 1 Chronicles 1:6). Gomer was the grandson of Noah through Japheth. Accordingly, Ashkenaz was a Japhetic descendant of Noah.
According to Jeremiah 51:27, a kingdom of Ashkenaz was called together with Ararat and Minni against Babylon. The location of this kingdom, however, is not clear and is not mentioned again, nor is there any clear non-biblical reference to the kingdom. Ashkenaz is often identified with the Scythians and Sarmatians, due in part to the use of the name "Ashkuz" (Saka) for the Scythians in Assyrian Akkadian inscriptions. It may also refer to the Phrygians, who according to Homer's Iliad settled around Lake Ascania. The Gimirri or Gomer had previously been associated the Cimmerians.
Isaac Asimov has proposed that biblical Ashkenaz (אשכנז) arose from Ashkūz (אשכוז) (= the Scythians) by an old misreading of נ (nun) for ו (vav).
According to the Encyclopaedia Biblica, "Ashkenaz must have been one of the migratory peoples which in the time of Esar-haddon, burst upon the northern provinces of Asia Minor, and upon Armenia. One branch of this great migration appears to have reached Lake Urumiyeh; for in the revolt which Esar-haddon chastised (i R 45, col. 2, 27 jf.), the Mannai, who lived to the SW of that lake, sought the help of Ispakai 'of the land of Asguza,' a name (originally perhaps Asgunza) which the scepticism of Dillmann need not hinder us from identifying with Ashkenaz, and from considering as that of a horde from the north, of Indo-Germanic origin, which settled on the south of Lake Urumiyeh. (See Schr. COT'I^gs; \Vi. GBA 269; ^7^6488491; similarly Friedr. Del., Sayce, Knudlzon.)"