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Biography

Shem (/ʃɛm/; Hebrew: שֵׁם‎ Šēm; Greek: Σήμ Sēm; Ge'ez: ሴም, Sēm; "renown; prosperity; name"; Arabic: سام Sām) was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature.


Genesis Timeline

Timeline of Genesis 11:10 records that Shem was 100 years old at the birth of Arphaxad, two years after the flood; and that he lived for another 500 years after this, making his age at death 600 years. That would show that Shem was born 1558 years after the creation of Adam and died at 2158 years. (Shem (1558-2158)).

Semetic Peoples

Shem, Son of Noah (Gen. 5:29–32; 6:10; 7:13; 8:16; 9:26; Moses 8:12); his descendants (Gen. 10:21–31; 11:10–32; 1 Chr. 1:17; Luke 3:36). Shem was the traditional ancestor of the Shemitic or Semitic races, a group of kindred nations, which includes the Arabs, the Hebrews and Phoenicians, the Arameans or Syrians, the Babylonians and Assyrians. The languages spoken by these various nations were closely related and were known as the Semitic languages. In latter-day revelation Shem is referred to as “the great high priest” (D&C 138:41).

Melchizedek Claim

There have been some religious scholars who have asserted that Shem is the same as Melchizedek, a righteous king of Jerusalem c 2000 bc. But this would fly contrary to the fact that for many generations Jerusalem was the principal city of the Jebusites, children of Ham ben Noah, until they were conquered by King David c. 1000 BC.

According to some Jewish traditions (e.g., B. Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8.), Shem is believed to have been Melchizedek, King of Salem whom Abraham is recorded to have met after the battle of the four kings.


Historical Map

Japheth2018

Geographic identifications for the Sons of Noah (Flavius Josephus, c. 100 AD); Japheth's sons shown in red


Genesis Narrative

Descendants of Shem : Gen 10

Japheth's descendants were dispersed over the European coasts of the Mediterranean and the districts adjoining the Black and Caspian seas (Gen. 10:1–5, 21; 1 Chr. 1:4–5), forming what is now called the Indo-European family of nations (Gentiles).


1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.
22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.
24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.
25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.
30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.
31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
Genesis 10:1, 21-32 - KJV Translation

Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity to have yielded different English translations. The verse is translated in the KJV as "Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.". However, the New American Standard Bible gives, "Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born."

Generations of Abraham : Gen 11


10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:
13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:
15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:
17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.
18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:
19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.
20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:
21 And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.
22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:
23 And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:
25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram (Abraham), Nahor, and Haran.
Genesis 11:10-26 - KJV Translation

1st Chroniciles Narrative

1st Chronicles in the Hebrew Old Testament appears to incorrectly assign the four children of Aram to Aram's father Shem. (Compare 1 Chr 1:17 to Gen 10:22-23).


17 The sons of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram, and Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech.
18 And Arphaxad begat Shelah, and Shelah begat Eber.
19 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg; because in his days the earth was divided: and his brother’s name was Joktan.
20 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
21 Hadoram also, and Uzal, and Diklah,
22 And Ebal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
23 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab. All these were the sons of Joktan.
1 Chr 1:17-23


Children of Shem

The children of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram, and Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech, in addition to daughters. Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrews and Arabs, was one of the descendants of Arphaxad.

The 1st-century historian Flavius Josephus, among many others, recounted the tradition that these five sons were the progenitors of the nations of Elam, Assyria, Chaldea, Lydia, and Levantine, respectively.


  1. Elam ben Shem - (Gen 10 / 1 Chr 1) nations of Elam
  2. Ashur ben Shem - (Gen 10 / 1 Chr 1) nations of Assyria
  3. Arpachshad ben Shem - (Gen 10 / 1 Chr 1) nations of Chaldea
  4. Lud ben Shem - (Gen 10 / 1 Chr 1) nations of Lydia
  5. Aram ben Shem - (Gen 10 / 1 Chr 1) nations of Levantine
  6. daughters of Shem - (references ??)



Children


Offspring of Shem and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elam ben Shem 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Ashur ben Shem 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Arpachshad ben Shem 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia Rasu'aya

Lud ben Shem 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Aram ben Shem 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
daughters of Shem

Siblings


Offspring of Noah and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Shem ben Noah 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Japheth ben Noah 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Ham ben Noah 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia Egyptus, wife of Ham

Scriptural Commentary

Latter-day Saints

References


Footnotes (including sources)

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Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed.