Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Descendants of Shem

Genesis 10:21-31 gives the account of the descendants of Shem. Right away we are given the fact that "...Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber." (Genesis10:21 NIV) This is stated even though Eber doesn't actually get listed in Shem's genealogy until verse 24. Eber is the source of the name by which the Hebrew (hear the similarity?) people came to be known. So I guess we are just being given a 'heads up' as to his importance in the Biblical narrative of the Shemites or Semites, as they came to be known.

Now, back to Shem's line. Five sons are listed: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. Aram's sons are Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech. Arphaxad is the father of Shelah, who then had Eber. Eber had Peleg and Joktan. Peleg means 'division'. The Bible says that he was given this name "because in his time the earth was divided."( Genesis 10:25) What does that mean? Some say that perhaps the scattering of people that took place at the tower of Babel is being referred to here. That occurs in Genesis 11. Joktan, Peleg's brother, had many sons: Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab.

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