Genesis 10:21-31 – Listing of Shem’s sons and their respective nations

Genesis 10:21-31 in the Bible provides the genealogy of Shem, one of Noah’s sons, detailing his descendants and the nations that emerged from them. This section is a part of the “Table of Nations” in Genesis, which offers a genealogical overview of the descendants of Noah’s sons following the flood. Here’s an outline of these verses:

  • Verse 10:21 introduces Shem as the ancestor of all the children of Eber, and elder brother of Japheth.
  • Verse 10:22 lists the sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.
  • Verses 10:23-24: The descendants of Aram are mentioned, including Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Arphaxad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber.
  • Verses 10:25-26: Two sons of Eber are introduced: Peleg (because in his days the earth was divided) and Joktan.
  • Verses 10:27-29: The descendants of Joktan are listed, including Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab.
  • Verse 10:30: This verse describes the region where Joktan’s descendants lived, from Mesha to Sephar in the eastern hill country.
  • Verse 10:31: Concludes the section by summarizing these as the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

This genealogical account is significant in the biblical narrative, as it attempts to explain the origins and relationships of different peoples known in the ancient world. The descendants of Shem are traditionally associated with the peoples of the Middle East and are often referred to as Semitic peoples.