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House of Shem

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The House of Shem consists of the descendants of Shem in direct line to Terah, father of Abraham.

The Synoptic table

This synoptic table lists all the members of the House of Shem, from Genesis 11:10-25 .

Name Born Age of parenthood Life span Died Name means Authority
includes::Shem ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:10-11
includes::Arpachshad ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:12-13
includes::Salah ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:14-15
includes::Eber ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:16-17
includes::Peleg ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:18-19
includes::Reu ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:20-21
includes::Serug ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:22-23
includes::Nahor the Elder ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:24-25
includes::Terah ?Born}} ?Age of parenthood}} ?Life span}} ?Died}} ?Name means}} Genesis 11:26-32

Chronological placement

Main Article: Biblical chronology dispute

The beginning anchor event of this chronology is settled: it is the global flood. The ending anchor point is disputed. At issue is whether Terah was 70 years old when he begat Abraham, or 70 years old when he began begetting his three named sons. James Ussher (The Annals of the World) and his editor Larry Pierce state that Terah was in fact 130 years old when he became the father of Abraham, because the Bible described Terah's death ahead of Abraham's departure for Canaan.[1] Jones, in The Chronology of the Old Testament, agrees.[2] The testimony given by Stephen to the Sanhedrin provides further support.[3]

Other commentators cite the Seder Olam, which assumes that Terah was 70 years old; they reconcile the apparent discrepancy by saying that the "death" of Terah in Haran was spiritual, and the physical death would not follow until sixty years later.

Life spans

In the earlier generations of Adam, the average life span of each of the patriarchs was more than 900 years. Suddenly, in one generation (from Noah to Shem), it decreased by one-third. In eight more generations, the life span of man declined by more than seventy-five percent—and it declined further throughout the line of Abraham, this although the Hebrews generally lived longer than did members of other races.

Meanings of the names

Dean Thomas Coombs has suggested a possible meaning of the names of the House of Shem, in their birth order. To do this, he takes an alternate meaning of the name of Arpachshad: stronghold of Babylon, or Babel as it was likely then known. The names would then make two whole sentences, thus:

The renown of the stronghold of Babylon shall extend like a plant past the region of division. A friend branches out, snorting with fury!
[4] Or literally, "with (heavy) breathing."

The name Peleg does stand for "division," and the assumption, common to Ussher and others, is that the Tower of Babel Incident took place during his life. The names Reu and Serug ("shepherd" and "branch") both presage Jesus Christ, because both of these are alternate Names for Him. Finally, the book of Revelation is mostly a story of the rise (again) and fall of Babylon and the outpouring of the Wrath of God.

See Also

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References

  1. Ussher, James. The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, pghh. 64, 71
  2. Jones, Floyd N. The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004 (ISBN 9780890514160), pp. 25, 259 and Charts 1 and 6
  3. Acts 7:4
  4. Coombs, Dean Thomas. "Meaning of names: genealogy of Adam to Abraham." Bible Codes. Accessed December 25, 2007.