Shem meaning | Shem etymology

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Shem in Biblical Hebrew
Biblical male character
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The name Shem in the Bible

Shem is the first born son of Noah , and brother of Japheth and Ham (Genesis 10:21 & 9:24). He also has a wife (all four do) but she's not named and we don't know where she comes from.

Noah is five-hundred years old when he fathers Shem and six-hundred when the flood hits, which means that Shem was a crisp century old when he and his family bob about in the Ark.

At God's instructions Noah gathered a male and female couple of every animal, and seven individuals from every bird species and "clean" kind of animal. Since Noah also brought seven humans along (namely his wife and his three sons plus their wives), humans neatly fit the clean animal group or else the bird group.

After the flood recedes and all creatures disembark the Ark, Shem's brother Ham insults his father and his son Canaan is cursed accordingly: Shem and Japheth are to live together in tents and Canaan is to be their servant.

Shem becomes the ancestor of Abraham and thus Jesus (Luke 3:36, where Shem is spelled in Greek as Σημ), and when the field of linguistics was invented, Shem also lent his name to the language group that Hebrew is part of: Semitic

Etymology of the name Shem

The name Shem is equal to the word שם (shem), which itself means "name," whether it is meant as a regular name or as fame (to make a 'name' for oneself):

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Shem meaning

The name Shem means Name, Fame or Reputation. It even means Identity or Personality. For a meaning of the name Shem, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Name, Renown. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Name, but adds Celebrated, Distinguished.

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