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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the son of Noah, Genesis 6:10 . He was born A.M. 1558. It is the opinion of the generality of commentators, that Shem was younger than Japheth, and the second son of Noah, for reasons given under the article See JAPETH . See also Genesis 9:22-25 . He lived six hundred years, and died A.M. 2158. The posterity of Shem obtained their portion in the best parts of Asia. The Jews ascribe to Shem the theological tradition of the things that Noah had learned from the first men. Shem communicated them to his children, and by this means the true religion was preserved in the world. Some have thought Shem the same as Melchisedec, and that he himself had been at the school of Methuselah before the deluge: that he gave to Abraham the whole tradition, the ceremonies of the sacrifices of religion, according to which this patriarch afterward offered his sacrifices. But this opinion has no adequate support. Lastly, the Jews say, that he taught men the law of justice, and the manner of reckoning months and years, and the intercalations of the months. All that can be said as to these speculations is, that Noah and all his sons were the depositaries of the knowledge which existed among men before the flood, and were perhaps both specially qualified by God first to attain it, and then to transmit it to their descendants. Shem had five sons, Elam, Asher, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aran, who peopled the richest provinces of Asia.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Shem'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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