ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia
Meaning: name; renown
He was probably the eldest of Noah's sons. The words “brother of Japheth the elder” in Genesis 10:21 are more correctly rendered “the elder brother of Japheth,” as in the Revised King James Version. Shem's name is generally mentioned first in the list of Noah's sons. He and his wife were saved in the ark (7:13). Noah foretold his preeminence over Canaan (9:23-27).
He died at the age of 600 years, having been for many years contemporary with Abraham, according to the usual chronology. The Israelitish nation sprang from him (Genesis 11:10-26; 1 Chronicles 1:24-27).
The following table shows how his his descendants dispersed after the Tower of Babel:
SHEM —Elam Persian tribes —Asshur Assyrian —Arphaxad ~ Abraham Isaac —Jacob Hebrews —Esau Edomites Ishmael Mingled with Arab tribes —Lud Lydians —Aram Syrians