Thursday, 14 February 2008

Sons of Shem

Japheth is possibly the oldest of the 3 sons of Noah. The translation of Genesis 10:21 is debated though currently it is thought that the Hebrew is best translated to state that Shem is the eldest. Shem was born when Noah was 502. Noah had his 3 sons after he was 500 suggesting that Japheth may have been born when Noah was 500 and Shem 2 years later. The chronology of Noah's family is less precise than the other patriarchs (except Terah which parallels it) and therefore the data should be held more tentatively. Ham is the youngest (Genesis 9:24).

Sons of Shem(1): Elam(2), Asshur(2), Arpachshad(2), Shelah(3), Eber (4), Peleg(5), Joktan(5), Almodad(6), Sheleph(6), Hazarmaveth(6), Jerah(6), Hadoram(6), Uzal(6), Diklah(6), Obal(6), Abimael(6), Sheba(6), Ophir(6), Havilah(6), Jobab(6), Lud(2), Aram(2), Uz(3), Hul(3), Gether(3), Mash(3).

The Elamites are well known and mentioned several times in the Bible. The dwelt north of the Persian Gulf in the area of modern day Iran.

Asshur was the ancestor of the Assyrians. The capital of Assyria was Nineveh.

Arpachshad is said to be the father of the Chaldeans. Chaldean history is somewhat difficult to pinpoint. It is known that they dwelt in the area of Babylonia, but some suggest that they shifted there from the north-west.

Shelah is notable as the father of Eber; whether any other nation descends from him is unknown.

Eber gave his name to the Hebrews though they are descended from Abraham who is several generations later. Eber's other descendants are not known by the name "Hebrew" which is essentially synonymous with Israelite.

Peleg is mentioned in the ancestry of Abraham and is also noted for the events documented in his name. He is not known to be the founder on any nations.

Joktan is the father of several Arab tribes along the southern and eastern border of the Arabian peninsula.
The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar to the hill country of the east. (Genesis 10)
Many of Joktan's 13 sons mentioned in the Table of Nations are well documented, see Appendix 1 of After the Flood.

Almodad = al-Morad, location unknown. Sheleph = Salif; north of Sanaa, Yemen. Hazarmaveth dwelt around Hadramaut, Yemen. Jerah = Yarki; near Hadramaut, Yemen. Hadoram; near the Yarki. Uzal dwelt around Sanaa, Yemen. Diklah possibly near Kuwait. Obal dwelt between Hadeida and Sanaa, Yemen. Abimael dwelt in Yemen. Sheba possibly dwelt in Yemen. Ophir dwelt in Yemen. Havilah uncertain. Jobab dwelt near Mecca.

Josephus claims that Lud was the ancestor of the Lydians who dwelt in the area of modern day western Turkey. However the Lydian language was Indo-European (ie. Japhetic) and Lud was Semitic so this association may be incorrect.

The Arameans who descended from Aram are well documented and lived in the area of modern day Syria. Their interactions with Israel are documented thru-out Scripture.

Uz is unknown currently. Job lived in Uz but whether that is the same area or nation is unclear.

Descendants of Hul possibly dwelt north of the Sea of Galilee.

Descendants of Gether possibly dwelt south of Damascus.

Descendants of Mash possibly dwelt in the region of modern day Lebanon.

Map of Shem's descendants

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