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Genesis 10:21-22

Context

10:21 And sons were also born 1  to Shem (the older brother of Japheth), 2  the father of all the sons of Eber.

10:22 The sons of Shem were Elam, 3  Asshur, 4  Arphaxad, 5  Lud, 6  and Aram. 7 

1 tn Heb “And to Shem was born.”

2 tn Or “whose older brother was Japheth.” Some translations render Japheth as the older brother, understanding the adjective הַגָּדוֹל (haggadol, “older”) as modifying Japheth. However, in Hebrew when a masculine singular definite attributive adjective follows the sequence masculine singular construct noun + proper name, the adjective invariably modifies the noun in construct, not the proper name. Such is the case here. See Deut 11:7; Judg 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5; 2 Kgs 15:35; 2 Chr 27:3; Neh 3:30; Jer 13:9; 36:10; Ezek 10:19; 11:1.

3 sn The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ’elam) means “highland.” The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon.

4 sn Asshur is the name for the Assyrians. Asshur was the region in which Nimrod expanded his power (see v. 11, where the name is also mentioned). When names appear in both sections of a genealogical list, it probably means that there were both Hamites and Shemites living in that region in antiquity, especially if the name is a place name.

5 sn The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh.

6 sn Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River.

7 sn Aram became the collective name of the northern tribes living in the steppes of Mesopotamia and speaking Aramaic dialects.



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