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Sem (Shem)

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( Hebrew "name", "fame", "renown"; in Septuagint, Sem ; A.V., Shem .)

Son of Noah ; according to Genesis 10:21, the eldest. His birth and generations are recorded in Genesis 5:31 ; 11:10 sqq . (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:4, 17 sq. ; Luke 3:36 ). He lived to be six hundred years of age. An incident, narrated Genesis 9:18 sqq. , discloses his filial reverence. His reward was a blessing of great import (cf. Ecclesiasticus 49:19 ). Noah's prophetic words (according to Massoretic Text ), "Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Sem" (for the glory of a nation is its God ), designate, in a special manner, Yahweh as the God of Sem and, consequently, Sem as the bearer of the Messianic promises. Having enumerated the Semitic nations, whose habitat extended over the central portions of the then known world ( Genesis 10:21-31 ), the Sacred Writer resumes ( 11:10 sqq. ) the genealogy of the descendants of Arphaxad, the direct ancestor of Abraham, David, and Christ.

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