1 Chronicles 1:4
Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
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(4) Shem, Ham, and Japheth.—There is no doubt that Ham means black, or sunburnt, and Japheth (Heb., Yepheth) is probably the fair-skinned. Shem has been compared with an Assyrian word meaning brownish (sa’mu). Thus the three names appear to allude to differences of racial complexion.

1Chronicles 1:5-23 are an abridgment of Genesis 10. The proper names represent, not persons, but peoples and countries. By adding them all together, the old Jewish interpreters made a total of seventy nations for the world. The list is a classified summary of the ethnical and geographical knowledge of Hebrew antiquity.

1:1-27 This chapter, and many that follow, repeat the genealogies, or lists of fathers and children in the Bible history, and put them together, with many added. When compared with other places, there are some differences found; yet we must not therefore stumble at the word, but bless God that the things necessary to salvation are plain enough. The original of the Jewish nation is here traced from the first man that God created, and is thereby distinguished from the obscure, fabulous, and absurd origins assigned to other nations. But the nations now are all so mingled with one another, that no one nation, nor the greatest part of any, is descended entirely from any of one nation, nor the greatest part of any, is descended entirely from any of these fountains. Only this we are sure of, that God has created of one blood all nations of men; they are all descended from one Adam, one Noah. Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Mal 2:10.Compare the margin references and notes. 4-23. Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth—The three sons of this patriarch are enumerated, partly because they were the founders of the new world, and partly because the fulfilment of Noah's prophecy (Ge 9:25-27) could not otherwise appear to have been verified. Formerly he mentions only one son, but here he names and treats of Noah’s three sons, partly because they were all the founders of the new world, and partly because the accomplishment of Noah’s famous prophecy, Genesis 9:25-27, could not otherwise appear, but by the account of their several posterities.

Adam, Seth,.... These first four verses exactly agree with the account of the antediluvian patriarchs in Genesis 5:1, the first letter in Adam is larger than usual, as a memorial, as Buxtorf (m) observes, of the first and only man, from whence mankind had their beginning, and whose history the author had undertaken to write. Noah, {b} Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

(b) It would have been sufficient to have named Shem of whom came Abraham and David, but because the world was restored by these three, mention is also made of Ham and Japheth.

1 Chronicles 1:4The patriarchs from Adam to Noah and his sons. - The names of the ten patriarchs of the primeval world, from the Creation to the Flood, and the three sons of Noah, are given according to Genesis 5, and grouped together without any link of connection whatever: it is assumed as known from Genesis, that the first ten names denote generations succeeding one another, and that the last three, on the contrary, are the names of brethren.
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