What are Noah's sons correct birth order? Although this study is titled Shem, Ham and Japheth, the correct birth order, this is not so much to prove the correct birth order of Noah’s three sons. The Bible already has them listed in the correct chronological order. But many extra-Biblical sources have them listed in different chronological orders. But The adage is true. If one is right, then one must be wrong. the real import is to show that the Bible is the only source of truth.
2_Timothy_3:16–17 Every scripture is God inspired, and beneficial for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction-- the one in righteousness; that the man of God should be complete for accomplishing every work good.
An especially important characteristic of Scripture is its infallibility and accuracy. The author of the Scriptures cannot declare anything that is contrary to fact. These extra-Biblical sources invariably says something different than what the Word of GOD declare. Therefore, we should trust what the Word of GOD declare.
We first heard these brothers mentioned together in five different places. Without any exception see that they all are listed in consecutive orders: That is, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. For examples:
• (Gen_5:32 ) And Noah was five hundred years and he procreated three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth • Gen_6:10 And Noah procreated three sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth. • Gen_7:13 In this day entered Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, the sons of Noah, and the wife of Noah, and the three wives of his sons with him into the ark. • Gen_9:18 And these were the sons of Noah, the ones coming forth from the ark, Shem, Ham, Japheth. And Ham was father of Canaan. • Gen_10:1 And these (are) the generations of the sons of Noah -- Shem, Ham, Japheth. And were born to them sons after the flood.
But the following verse makes it even clearer that this is in chronological order: Obviously It start with the father Noah; Then we come to his first-born, Shem; then the second born Ham, and apparently, the baby Japheth.
• 1Ch_1:4 Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth.
We will examine a false chronology that claims the birth order to be, Shem, Japheth and Ham
I came upon this by watching a YouTube video. The narrator of the video brought to my attention a passage from the Zondervan Dictionary. The quote read like this: “Ham: the youngest son of Noah, born probably about 96 years before the flood, and one of the eight persons to live through the flood. He became the progenitor of the dark races, not the negroes, but the Egyptian, Ethiopians, Libyans and Canaanites (Gen.10:6-20) His indecency when his father lay drunken brought a curse upon Canaan…”
This was I common theme running through much of the so-called Hebrew Israelite teaching forums. and website. But there are two problems with this quote. Firstly, Ham is NOT the youngest son of Noah. And secondly Ham was NOT the one who did anything inappropriate to their father. Thirdly this alleged indecency is just a product of man’s sick imagination.
But the Zondervan Dictionary is written by man. It may have stated correctly that the negroes are not Ham. But if they have three facts incorrect, how can you be assured that any part of the entire statement is reliable
It apparently, evolved from the following passages.
Gen 9:20 And Noah the man began to be a farmer of the land. And he planted a vineyard,
Apparently after the flood, Noah chose farming as his occupation and cultivated a vineyard
Gen 9:21 and drank from the wine, and became intoxicated, and became naked in his house.
One day Noah drank so much that he became drunk. At some point he b ecame unclothes in his house. No explanation was given in this verse for the reason why he is naked.
Gen 9:22 And Ham the father of Canaan looked at the nakedness of his father; and going forth, he announced it to his two brothers outside.
Apparently, Ham was first on the scene and noticed that his father Noah is drunk and naked. Ham should have covered his father nakedness, but he chose to delegate this to his other two brothers. A point of note here: GOD is confirming for the second time that Ham is the father of Canaan. It does not say here that Ham did anything inappropriate other than to neglect his fathers’ condition.
Gen 9:23 And Shem and Japheth taking the cloak, placed it upon their two backs, and went backwards, and they covered up the nakedness of their father; and their face was backwards, and they did not look at the nakedness of their father.
Therefore, Ham’s other two brother walked backwards with a cloak and cover up their father’s nakedness. Its hard to imagine this but GOD assures us that they did not see the nakedness of their father. But Ham did.
Gen 9:24 And Noah sobered up from the wine, and knew as much as his younger son did to him.
This is apparently the point when they made Ham the younger brother. People will point to this verse because here that read that Noah sobered up from his drunkenness. and he “knew as much as his younger son did to him” But this verse didn’t say that Ham is the youngest son of Noah.
The word “son” can be used for direct son, like Ham is a son of Noah. On the other hand, the meaning could be extended to a further descendant. Maybe a grandson or many generations later. For example, all the descendants of Jacob (Israel) are sons of his.
In this context Noah is referring to Canaan, not Ham. That is the reason the Bible mentioned that Ham is the father of Canaan. Even then in the preceding verse we have proof that Noah was referring to Canaan.
Gen_9:25 And he said, Accursed be Canaan -- a child, he will be a domestic servant to his brothers.
The best we can gather is that Canaan disrobed his grandfather as a youthful prank. And his grandfather didn’t appreciate it. Therefore, he cursed him for it. Noah couldn’t be cursing Canaan if Ham was the one who did something inappropriate to him
Therefore, the idea that Ham was the youngest son is false and run counter to the Word of GOD.
That was where the Bible tripped up the Zondervan. It did it as well to Josephus Flavius. This is a good example of how false doctrine and works of errors had crept into the false Christian doctrine. Ever since Josephus has influenced their theology.
Pretty much everything we know of Josephus Flavius is out of his mouth; his autobiography “THE LIFE OF FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS” he claims to be a Jew, born in Jerusalem in around AD 37. He claimed to be The son of a priest and his mother descended from royal Jewish line. he became a Pharisee, a military commander in the Jewish resistance, and claimed to be an eyewitness to Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70.
His major works are his account of the Jewish revolt (The Jewish War) and a complete history of God’s people from creation to the first century (Antiquities of the Jews).
Obviously, he had access to Biblical text in Jerusalem or elsewhere. He couldn’t be giving firsthand information since he was born in AD 38. This work reads like a creative paraphrasing of the narratives of the Old Testament and much of the earlier new testament. For all his efforts this work is a cavalcade of errors and misinformation
The 1544 Greek edition of this book appeared to be the basis of the 1732 English translation by William Whiston. This book achieved enormous popularity in the English-speaking world. It was second only to the Bible. Christians most frequently owned a copy. For two millennia Christian scholars have preserved and studied Josephus’s works. The Christian clergy often incorporate details from Josephus works in their sermons. They would do this just as if it is coming from the pages of the Bible. But Flavius works falls flat when compared to the Bible.
We read the following from “CHAPTER 4. Concerning The Tower Of Babylon, And The Confusion Of Tongues”
1. Now the sons of Noah were three, - Shem, Japhet, and Ham, born one hundred years before the Deluge. These first of all descended from the mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there; and persuaded others who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on account of the flood, and so were very loath to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their examples. Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar
Right there you have it, Flavius has Shem being the oldest, Japhet the second and the youngest son Ham! Flavius would go on to show his ignorance of the Bible by stating in the same passage that other people survived the flood, living up in mountains. But the Bible clearly states that only 8 people survived the flood. For example:
Gen 10:32 These are the tribes of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, according to their nations. From these were scattered islands of the nations upon the earth after the flood. Gen 9:19 These three are the sons of Noah. From these, men were disseminated upon all the earth.
Then there are groups of theologians who teach that the order of birth as Japhet, Shem and Ham. We already see how these scholars got Ham to be the youngest son. But some made a new twist by naming Japhet as the oldest. Let us investigate how this one originated.
As I have shown above, whenever GOD discusses the three sons of Noah together, HE does it in chronological order of their birth. But we read in chapter 10 that GOD is enumerating the descendants of the three sons, this time he starts with Japheth, the one HE lists as the youngest of the three and works his way upward to the oldest Shem.
The following are the descendants of Japheth
Gen 10:1-5 GOD list the descendants of Japhet and end in verse 5 where HE describes where they initially abode on the face of the earth. GOD in now finished with Japhet’s genealogy.
The Following are the descendants of the middle son Ham.
Gen 10:6-20 GOD lists Ham’s genealogy and is finished with it for the last time
The Following are the descendants of the oldest son Shem.
Gen_10:21 And to Shem was born, even to him, the father of all the sons of Eber, brother of Japheth the greater.
Gen 10:21 is where these theologians stumble. And GOD may have done this purposefully. You must read it slowly or you will miss it! “And to Shem was born, even to him, the father of all the sons of Eber, brother of Japheth the greater”.
The key here is to remember that GOD had already dwelt with Japheth’s genealogy. HE is now talking about Shem’s genealogy.
Therefore, The term “elder” can only to Shem, NOT Japheth. GOD can only be identifying Shem because he is the father of all the sons of Eber. Not Japheth! Shem is also the brother to Japheth (as well as Ham)
The question you must ask, is Japhet the father of the sons of Eber.? If the answer is no, then GOD is NOT referring to Japhet. HE is only referring to Shem as the elder.
Another important principle during Biblical times is that of the first born. the firstborn is the one entitled to the blessing. You can see that played out here. Shem was the line that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) down to the Messiah. They did not come through Japheth as you can clearly see. Therefore, this false chronology of Japhet, Shem, and Ham is out of step with the Bible.
It is clear to see why GOD list the brothers in this order. Shem is the one whom consist of the line of the CHRIST. Being the oldest son, he was to inherit the blessings. There would be no other chronology of either Ham or Japheth after that. Because they would not enter the bloodline of the people of Israel and the CHRIST
this idea came from the apocryphal book of Jasher. we read the following in Chapter 7 verse one of this book.
1) and these are the names of the sons of Noah Japheth ham and sham. and children were born to them after the flood for they had taken wives before the flood
notice how it mirrors exactly the chronology of Genesis 10: 1 – 32. But we previously learned that is incorrect. The Author of this fake book would have gotten that idea from the reading of Gen 10:21 also.
Gen 10:21 And to Shem was born, even to him, the father of all the sons of Eber, brother of Japheth the greater.
As we discussed that earlier, the author mistakenly understands this verse refers to Japhet as the elder. But it is referring to Shem who is the oldest of the three brothers. The Septuagint translations are clear that this passage is referring to Shem the elder. But let us compare the KJV with lesser-known English translations.
Gen. 10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.(KJV) Gen. 10:21 And to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the older brother of Japheth, children were also born. (Lexham English Bible)
The Lexham English Bible clearly states that Shem is the older of the two brothers.
As ridiculous as it may seem, there is yet another strange twist on the chronology of the sons of Noah. This chronology lists them as Ham, Shem, and Japheth. It says that Ham is the elder, then Shem and Japheth. The main proponent of this error was a man called Harold Camping.
Harold Camping was an American Christian radio broadcaster, author, and evangelist. He is notable for issuing a succession of failed predictions of End Times dates.
He was also the author of several books including “Adam When”? A Biblical Solution to the Timetable of Mankind” This book Adam When?
On page 46 of the book “Adam When” Camping writes the following:
“We find that in Genesis 5:32 declares that Noah was 500 years old when he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, yet in the 10th verse of Genesis 11 we are told that when ‘Shem was a hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood’”
He further reasons that“Since Noah was 600 years old at the time of the flood, Shem must have been born when Noah was 502. And since Genesis 10:21 refers to Shem, the older brother of Japheth, we can know that Japheth was born when Noah was more than 502 years old.”
Subsequently, he concludes:
“Thus, Ham must have been born when Noah was 500 as the oldest of the three sons. We may, therefore, reasonably conclude that Shem was born when his father was 502…Again, as in Abram’s case Shem’s name probably appears first in Bible record because of his place in GOD’s plan”
Camping and others couldn’t see it, but the answer was staring them right in the face. This could not have happened if Camping was listening to himself. In Chapter one, page eight of this very book, camping declares, and I quote:
“Whenever we have to force a verse or struggle with a verse to make it fit into our idea of what the Word says or will allow, we are on dangerous ground”
That is a perfect principle of Bible study. But if he believes this principle of good Bible study, he shouldn’t have fitted Ham into the first-born position so easily. As a Bible scholar, he should have known that Shem’s just the first on the chronology because of his place in GOD’s plan? The right of the firstborn.
Camping is one of the biggest proponents of the KJV Bible during his ministry. But now let us look and compare this verse to that of a Septuagint translation.
Gen 5:32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth (KJV+) Gen 5:32) And Noah was five hundred years (old) and he procreated three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Septuagint)
You will have noticed that the KJV has already done their private interpretation. They declared that Noah was 500 years old when he begat the three sons.
But in the Septuagint translation, we notice that “old” is in italics. This means that the word was not in the original manuscript. They are careful to let you know that word did not belong there. Without the italicizes word the verse would read like the following:
“And Noah was five hundred years and he procreated three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth”.
At this point we are sure it does not say that (when)Noah was 500 years old he procreated, Shem Ham, and Japheth. And also, there is no indication that the brothers are triplets.
Now let us examine the two verbs in the sentence ("procreated" and "was"). Procreation can only mean that Noah became the father of the three. One clue is that the “500” may not have anything to do with his age when he procreated the boys.
The word “procreated” simply means to bear, beget, engender, bring forth. But the verb “was” G1510 seems to shed more light.
This word G1510 can be used in a variety of ways, including “sojourned” like in “to be present”. Example:
Act_7:6 And God thus spoke, that his seed will beG1510 a sojournerG3941 in an alien land, and they shall enslave it, and inflict evil for four hundred years.
You can look at Gen 5:32 as having two parts. (first)Noah sojourned/lived 500 years. (second) he procreated three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. These parts of the sentence are disjointed and do not necessarily bear any relationship with each other. The two parts are independent of each other in the context of determining the birthdates of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
This is how Camping, et al. runs into a problem. They assume GOD is saying that Noah was 500 years old when he fathered Shem.
Alternately you could say that Noah did not start procreating sons until after he was 500 years. He did not procreate any sons when he was 499, or 500 years old. but he would start procreating at 501, 502, 503, etc.
Let's look at the second verse he mentions to sort out his consternation.
Gen 11:10 And these are the generations of Shem. And Shem was a hundred years (old) when he procreated Arphaxad, the second year after the flood.
We already learned these facts from the Bible, that the flood started in the 600 years of Noah’s life. We read that from the following verse
Gen 7:6 And Noah was six hundred years old, and the flood of the water came upon the earth.
Therefore, these are the facts we gather from Gen 11:10 above:
Shem procreated Arphaxad when he was 100 years. Arphaxad was born 2 years after the flood when Noah was 600 years old. Therefore, Noah would be 602 years old himself when Arphaxad was born. If the end of the flood was Noah's 600th birthday, then it would be Shem’s 98 birthday. If Noah was 600 years old when Shem was 98 years old, then Shem would have to be born when Noah was 502 years old.
As you can see from that deduction that Camping was correct that Noah procreated Shem when he was 502.
Camping read Gen 5:32 and assumed that Noah started procreating when he was 500 years, then he invokes Gen 10:21 to show that Shem was indeed Japhet’s older brother (which is also correct) he now has nowhere to go but to make Ham the oldest brother. To his idea, Ham had to be born before Noah’s 502nd birthday. The most convenient date to him was Noah’s 500th (birthday) because he thinks that is what he read in Gen 5:32. Therefore the Chronology of Ham, Shem, and Japheth is also wrong. The correct chronology of Noah’s three sons birth order can only be Shem, Ham, and Japheth just as the Bible states.
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