Thursday, February 4, 2010


Let's move on to Genesis 9:26. In this verse, Shem seems to be given some sort of prominence in his relationship with God: "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem.."(NIV). Of course, God is God to Ham and Japheth as well, but it seems that this line of Shem will have some sort of special closeness to God. Perhaps it would be more precise to say that it is through this line that God will continue to work to bring the promised Savior/Messiah. So, again, it is not that Shem's line is better in some way. The focus is upon God's choice of this line to carry out this certain aspect of His will and plan. We will go into more detail about this as it develops through the Biblical narrative, but it is through this line that Jesus Christ is eventually born.

There is some controversy as to whether Shem or Japheth is the oldest son of Noah. We have already established that Ham is the youngest son. (Genesis 9:24) I used to wonder why people had a struggle as to which of the other two, Shem or Japheth, was the oldest. It seemed that Genesis 10:21 (NIV) answered that question: "Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth...". Then I discovered that there is some debate as to whether that verse should read: " Shem, the older brother of Japheth". Ah, now I see. It could go either way. We might argue that the oldest son was the most likely to inherit the blessing of being the one through whom the promised Messiah was to come, so that Shem is likely the oldest. However, Scripture is full of places where the second or younger brother is given preeminence, almost as if to say that God will do as He sees fit regardless of human systems of hierarchy. So at this point, I just do not know which son is the oldest. Drop me an email/comment if you have further ideas on this topic.

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