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Biblical People
Shem, KJV of NT Sem. [Heb. Shem, "name," or "renown." The name occurs on an ancient Hebrew seal and is attested in Phoenician inscriptions; Gr. Seµm.]

A son of Noah, apparently the 2nd oldest, for Ham was the youngest (Gen 10:1; cf. ch 9:24), and Japheth seems to have been 2 years older, having been born apparently when Noah had reached the age of 500 years (ch 7:6; cf. ch 5:32), whereas Shem was born 98 years before the Flood, when his father was 502 years old (ch 11:10; cf. ch 7:6). Consequently, the rendering "Japheth the elder" in ch 10:21, KJV, seems to be better than that of the RSV, which declares Shem to be the elder brother of Japheth. Shem, his wife, his parents, and his 2 brothers and their wives went into the ark and were saved from the Flood (ch 7:7). In the post-Flood period Shem is mentioned with his brother Japheth as endeavouring to protect their drunken father's honour following a shameful act by Ham. For this, Shem received a special blessing (ch 9:20-27). Shem became the progenitor of the Semitic race to which the Babylonians, Assyrians, Aramaeans, Arabs, and Hebrews belonged (ch 10:21-32). Some scholars believe that the Sumerians were also descendants of Shem (S. N. Kramer, Analecta Biblica, 12 [1959], 202-204). The Hebrews were the descendants of Shem's son Arpachshad or Arphaxad, who was born 2 years after the Flood (ch 11:10-26). Shem died at the age of 600 years (vs. 10, 11). He is mentioned in the genealogy of Christ (Lk 3:36) -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary.

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