Sons Of Shem – Syrians, Lydians, Armenians, Arabians

God is showing us what He has done with the nations of the world. Why has the white man in our day been so prominent?

Well, I’ll tell you why. Because at the beginning it was the black man, the colored races, that were prominent.

Then the sons of Shem made a tremendous impact upon this world during the time of David and Solomon.

And you will notice that from Shem there came others, such as the Syrians, the Lydians, and the Armenians, also the Arabians from Joktan. These great nations appeared next.

Apparently we are currently in the period in which the white man has come to the front.

It seems that all three are demonstrating that, regardless of whether they are a son of Ham or a son of Shem or a son of Japheth, they are incapable of ruling this world.

God is demonstrating this to us, and to see this is a tremendous thing.

Genesis 10:21-32 KJV

[21] Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.

[22] The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.

[23] And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.

[24] And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.

[25] And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.

[26] And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,

[27] And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,

[28] And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,

[29] And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.

[30] And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.

[31] These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.

[32] These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

Genesis 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.


  • Shem, the older brother of Japheth, or Shem, whose older brother was Japheth, was the father of the Semitic peoples.
  • The descendants listed represent countries east of Israel, modern Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
  • The narrator lists these locations within Mesopotamia since Abram, the father of Israel, originated from this area.
  • Eber receives special attention because of his connection with Abram.

Genesis 10:22

The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.


  • The descendants of Elam lived in the region of modern southwestern Iran.
  • The descendants of Asshur were later Assyrians who lived under Nimrod’s jurisdiction. Sumerians descended from Ham were ousted by Mesopotamian Semites.
  • Arphaxad possibly settled northeast of Nineveh; his descendants are further described in Gen 11:12-26.
  • Lud was near the Tigris River; its people were related to the Lydians.
  • Aram was a kingdom of tribes that lived in the Mesopotamian plains.

Genesis 10:23

And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.


  • The patriarchs later interacted with the descendants of Aram.
  • Uz was the chief Aramean tribe, possibly located northeast of the Jordan; it was Job’s home.
  • Hul is unknown. He possibly founded Armenia.
  • Gether is unknown; he was possibly the founder of the Syrians.
  • Mash might be associated with Mount Masus in northern Mesopotamia or with a part of the Lebanon Mountains.

Genesis 10:24

And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.


  • Arphaxad was the father of Shelah: Greek version reads Arphaxad was the father of Cainan, Cainan was the father of Shelah.
  • Shelah is unknown, but may be short for Methushelah.
  • Eber was the ancestor of Abram the Hebrew.

Genesis 10:25

And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.


  • Peleg means division, anticipating the separation of people into language groups after Babel. Peleg’s line led to Abram.
  • Joktan was the ancestor of the southern Arabian tribes. The Ishmaelite tribes were in northern Arabia.
  • When I went over this verse in a previous Bible study, I received all sorts of weird interpretations of what was meant by “the earth was divided”—that it refers to a physical division here in the earth, that the earth had undergone some tremendous physical catastrophe.
  • Well, my friend, all that Moses is simply doing is anticipating the next chapter in which he will give us the account of the Tower of Babel.
  • At that time the earth was divided.
  • May I say that the simple interpretation seems to be the one that a great many folk miss, and we should not miss it.

Genesis 10:26

And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,


  • There were fourteen sons of Shem by Eber through Joktan. The placement of the Babel story between the lines of Joktan and Peleg ties Joktan to the judgment of the Babel story and ties Peleg to Abram.

Genesis 10:27

And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,


  • Hadoram was an Arabian tribe.
  • Uzal was Sana’a, an old capital of Yemen in pre-Islamic times.
  • Diklah was a southern Arabian oasis in Mina.

Genesis 10:28

And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,


  • Obal was between Hodeida and Sana’a in southwest Arabia.
  • Abimael was a Sabaean.
  • Sheba was in southern Arabia.

Genesis 10:29

And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.


  • Ophir was a region of southern Arabia between Sheba and Havilah; it was a source of gold.
  • Havilah was in southwest Arabia.
  • Jobab was possibly Jobebitai in southern Arabia.

Genesis 10:30

And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.


  • Mesha was a region in northern Arabia, south of Hadramaut.
  • Sephar is identified with Isfar, south of Hadramaut in Yemen.

Genesis 10:31

These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.


  • These, then, were the descendants of Shem, classified according to their political groupings, languages, and geographical locations.

Genesis 10:32

These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.


  • Although not every ancient people group is listed in this “Table of the Nations,” its clear teaching is that all the varied peoples of the earth, no matter of what land or language, are descended from Noah.

 

I want to submit to you that this is one of the great chapters of the Bible although we have given very little space to it. You can see what a rich study this would make for anyone who really wanted a fair appraisal of the human family. A great many have used this remarkable chapter for that purpose.

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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