The Testimony of the Genealogies
Two genealogies are placed side by side in Genesis 10:1-32 and Genesis 11:10-32, with the historical events of Babel placed in between them (Genesis 11:1-9), because neither one of these genealogies can be properly understood while they are interpreted isolated from one another, and the same goes for the shocking events at Babel. Therefore, with proper care in the Spirit and studious consideration, the authorial organization of Genesis 10-11 will prove to be essential in clarifying a seemingly obscure situation from Noah to Abraham.
The Post-Babel World Genealogy of Genesis 10 – A Genealogy Reckoned up according to the Fathers who became Founders of Lands, Languages, Countries, & Nations through their Families
The genealogy of Genesis 10 is unique because it is not reckoned up according to Spiritual Patriarchy. Nor is it reckoned up according to the Law of the Primogenitor (this comes to no surprise to those who understand the testimony of the genealogies provided in Genesis 4-5). According to the narrator of Genesis, this genealogy in Genesis 10 serves a very specific purpose in mapping out the descendants of Japheth (Gen. 10:2), Ham (Gen. 10:6), and Shem (Gen. 10:22). The narrator goes on to explain that he is identifying the Fathers who later became Founders of Lands, Languages, Countries, & Nations in the aftermath of Babel.
“By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” - Genesis 10:5
“These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.” - Genesis 10:20
“These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.” - Genesis 10:31
The narrator anticipated the Confounding of Tongues at Babel in Genesis 11:1-9 and produced a genealogy that maps out the formation of Countries and Nations according to their Lands and Languages as they can be traced back to the Fathers of the Families who became the Founders of these places. Of course, the Founders were also Patriarchs, whether for good or evil, but not all Patriarchs were Founders.
The narrator of Genesis 10 begins with a genealogy of the Japhethites in Genesis 10:2-5, probably because where they ended up settling down is peripheral to the mounting conflict that arose between the Hamites and the Shemites. In other words, the territories claimed or occupied by the Japhethites are irrelevant to the conflict of the Holy Land. The dispersing of this family was so broad that they were said to inhabit and divide “the Isles of the Gentiles” (Gen. 10:5).
Secondarily, in a more lengthy genealogy of the Hamites in Genesis 10:6-20, two main characters stand out in the lineage (Nimrod & Canaan). The plot thickens as significant detail is inserted into the genealogy as they appear on the map. The narrator focuses on Nimrod in Genesis 10:8-10, not only because he was the first King of Babylon in recorded history, but because Nimrod was the King of Babel before the scattering of the people as a result of God confounding their languages in Genesis 11:1-9.
“And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” - Genesis 10:10
Nimrod’s name literally means, “We Shall Rebel” (A. Barnes & J.B. Jackson). The narrator intentionally points out that Nimrod’s Kingdom began with these few cities in the land of Shinar, in ancient Mesopotamia, located in modern-day Iraq, the same place where the Hamites of the world conspired to build an indestructible Tower reaching to heaven (Gen. 11:2). This indicates to the reader that Nimrod was the leader of this rebellion and the overseer of the construction of Babel. However, let the reader understand that the original name of the capital city of Nimrod’s Kingdom is lost in history. The former name was replaced with “Babel” in the aftermath of the divine judgment according to Genesis 11:9.
Remarkably, the narrator suddenly breaks from the Hamites and momentarily addresses a Shemite, staying loyal to the growing plot in the genealogy rather than being strictly uniform in addressing each family without deviation. Asshur, a Shemite, is mentioned in Genesis 10:11-12 because he was a reprobate son of Shem that was instrumental in the rebellion of Nimrod at Shinar, and after the scattering he went out and founded the nation of Assyria, and built its capital city, Nineveh, in modern-day Turkey. This unique placement of a Shemite amidst the genealogy of the Hamites implies that not all Shemites gathered with Nimrod at Shinar in the rebellion, as is erroneously believed by popular commentators expounding upon Genesis 11:1-2.
Upon returning to the Hamites in Genesis 10:13-14, and finishing up with the children of Mizraim, the son of Ham, the narrator then focuses on Canaan above the other Hamites because of the curse delivered in Genesis 9:24-27. The plot thickens with detail as Fathers, Families, and Borders are brought into view in Genesis 10:15-19. Why? Because the Canaanite “Families” will eventually become the primary occupants of the Holy Land by the time Israel came out of Egypt. Therefore, emphatically, the narrator makes a point to detail “the Border of the Canaanites” (Gen. 10:19).
“And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the Families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the Border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.” - Genesis 10:15-19
Originally, Canaan and his immediate children, Sidon, Heth, and perhaps others, were all a part of the Hamite rebellion at Shinar (Gen. 11:1-9), but after the scattering and relocation of Canaan, this people grew into the families reckoned up in Genesis 10:15-19. These are “the families of the Canaanites” as they were “spread abroad” (Gen. 15:18). Where? Apparently, the Canaanites immediately flooded the Holy Land as men scattered from Babel seeking refuge. They must have spread themselves throughout the land in the unoccupied areas. Evidently, this happened long before Abraham answered the call in Genesis 12:1-3. For, upon answering the call at 75 years old, it was written, “And the Canaanite was then in the land.” (Gen. 12:6).
Remember, immediately following the formation of the Noahic Covenant in Genesis 9:1-17, the sons of Noah are reckoned up in Genesis 9:18-19 (Shem, Ham, & Japheth) in the same order that was rendered in Genesis 5:32 (contrary to the Law of the Primogenitor). In doing so, the narrator got straight to the point by stating that “Ham is the father of Canaan” (Gen. 9:18). Why? Because an account of Ham’s fall into sin and his subsequent reprobation in the way of Cain (Jude 1:11) is immediately conveyed to the reader in Genesis 9:20-29. Once again, in just a few verses later, the narrator identities Ham as “the father of Canaan” in Genesis 9:22.
Moses, as the compiler and narrator of Genesis, was directing the reader to identify the paternal origin of the Canaanites because they are the foremost adversary of the Israelites in the Exodus Generation. Without coincidence, Noah (under inspiration) emphasized the same thing when he verbalized the curse of Ham as it will be manifest in Canaan (Gen. 9:24-27). The contemporary readers of Moses’ time would have understood the emphasis of the narrator without any explanation provided by a commentator. “The Church in the Wilderness” knew all about the divine promise of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18-21) to dispossess the Canaanites from the Promised Land through the Mosaic Covenant.
Lastly, the narrator concludes the genealogical map with the Shemites in Genesis 10:21-31. However, seeing that this genealogy focuses on the Founders of Countries, Nations, Lands, & Languages, like Nimrod and Canaan, aiming to map out these places as they existed in a Post-Babel World, what we have covered so far begs the question:
Where was Noah and Shem, and the remnant of faithful Shemites,
before, during, and after the Hamite rebellion in Shinar?
Where was Noah and Shem, and the remnant of faithful Shemites,
before, during, and after the scattering at Babel?
To answer this question, all the information provided in Scripture on this age needs to be thoroughly considered, including the book of Job. For, the only way to dogmatically make sense of the national divisions of the Post-Babel World in Genesis 10, especially among the Shemites, is the genealogy of Genesis 11:10-32 because it traces the Spiritual Patriarchy among the Shemites. As further confirmation, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Job, and Elihu speak about the specifics of this Spiritual Patriarchy as it existed before and during their time. Determining who the Spiritual Patriarchs of righteousness were from Noah to Abraham will prove to be vitally important in piecing together the shocking events of the New World before and after Babel. Lastly, anything that could be lawfully gleaned from extra-biblical history may be helpful only in as much as it aligns with Scripture.
Following the narrator of Genesis, The Post-Babel World National Genealogy especially focuses on the Shemites to indicate to the reader what we can gather from Biblical and extra-Biblical History, and this material harmonizes the following Post-Babel Map of the Middle East. While observing the map, keep in mind that it was customary for men in ancient times to “…call their Lands after their own Names.” (Psalm 49:11).
Shem, a Spiritual Patriarch of the highest degree, founded the City of Salem, which is an ancient name for Jerusalem according to Psalm 76:1-2 (Gen. 14:18).
Elam, a rebel who joined the Hamite rebellion at Shinar, founded Elam located east of Shinar right on the Persian Gulf, in ancient Persia, and modern-day Iran. As a less dominant reprobate Shemite in comparison to Asshur, the narrator didn’t see fit to add him into the Hamite genealogy in Genesis 10:6-20.
Asshur, a rebel who joined the Hamite rebellion at Shinar, founded Assyria on the Tigris River, in the southern part of modern-day Turkey. As a very dominant reprobate Shemite, the narrator felt the need to add him into the Hamite genealogy in Genesis 10:6-20.
Arphaxad’s story is complicated because he was one of the Spiritual Patriarchs of the Shemite genealogy in Genesis 11:10-32. Accordingly, he began well but later came under the influence of Nimrod, and upon succumbing to apostasy he relinquished his righteous Patriarchy under Shem. Subsequently, he went out and eventually founded Ur of the Chaldees in ancient Mesopotamia, which is in modern-day Iraq, occupying the territory relinquished by Nimrod upon the implosion of his Kingdom at Babel. The City founded by Salah is unknown.
Lud, as an obedient Son of God, likely founded Lod located northwest of Salem in the Holy Land.
Aram, possibly as an obedient Son of God, founded Aram in the northern part of modern-day Syria.
Uz, as an obedient Son of God, founded the territory known as the Land of Uz in ancient Edom and beyond, which is in modern-day Jordan (Job 1:1, Jer. 25:20, Lam. 4:21). The Cities founded by Hul, Gether, and Mash are unknown.
Eber, as a Spiritual Patriarch of the second highest degree, founded Hebron ≈20 miles south of Salem at least around 7 years prior to the Confounding of Tongues at Babel (Num. 13:22). The City that Peleg founded as a Spiritual Patriarch is unknown.
Jocktan and his 12 Sons, possibly as obedient Sons of God, occupied and built Cities along the Southwest portion of modern-day Saudi Arabia as it runs down along the Red Sea to the southernmost point of the Arabian Peninsula – from Mesha, which is likely modern-day Mecca, to Mount Sephar, which is modern-day Zaphar in Southwest Yemen (Gen. 10:30). Ophir, as one of the 12 sons of Jocktan, founded and built the city of Ophir, the same that was famous as a goldmine in Job’s lifetime (Job 22:24, 29:16).
We can be sure that the blessed and holy remnant of the Shemites, alongside Noah (who boldly withstood a world of sinners in the Pre-Flood World), would not have consorted with the cursed Hamites (Gen. 9:1-29) in their rebellion that amassed as a provocation to God in the land of Shinar (Gen. 11:1-2). A possible path of the Hamites descending from the landing point of the Ark at the Mountains of Ararat can be seen as follows (Gen. 8:4).
While the Hamite rebellion “journeyed from the East”, from somewhere in modern-day Iran unto “a plain in the land of Shinar” (Gen. 11:1-2), after descending Southeast from Ararat, it is to be expected that the Shemites journeyed elsewhere in their initial descent from the Mountains of Ararat in obedience to God for the formation of the Kingdom of God. A possible path of the Shemites descending from the landing point of the Ark at the Mountains of Ararat can be seen as follows (Gen. 8:4).
Upon the southern descent of the Shemites from the Mountains of Ararat westward, instead of following the Tigris River down eastward unto the Persian Gulf (a route that would have joined the Shemites with the Hamites in the land of Shinar), the Spirit of God would have likely directed them to cross over the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers moving southwest towards the Holy Land. Why? Because God didn’t flood the world to freshly give it over into the hands of sinners all over again (Psalm 104:34-35, Job 15:17-19)! In other words, the Hamite rebellion wasn’t the only thing relevant and consequential happening on the planet.
“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the Prophets.” - Amos 3:7
Seeing that God prophetically forewarned Noah about the flood and instructed him to build an Ark; and seeing that God prophetically led Noah into the Ark, and out of the Ark, preserving him alive amidst the stormy tempest of a mighty flood, we can be sure that God prophetically led Noah in the New World to strengthen, establish, and settle the people of God in a new beginning. It’s not like Noah’s life was coming to an end anytime soon either. Noah went on to live for 350 years after the flood! Therefore, interpreters should be looking for the next step in God’s prophetic plan as it was revealed to Noah.
How did God lead Noah after he ventured out of the Ark into the New World? Under inspiration, Noah directed the attention to his son, Shem, when he said, “Blessed be the LORD God of Shem…” (Gen. 9:26). By interpretation, this meant that Shem would arise to and assume a Noahic role in the New World as a Spiritual Patriarch under his father. Therefore, as Ham and the Hamites were led by Nimrod to rally at Shinar in the greatest rebellion of the age, we can be sure that Noah, Shem, and the Shemites had prophetically foreseen it and were already prepared against it. How?
Apparently, judging by what we can gather from the book of Genesis and the book of Job, the settlements, Cities, and Lands of the righteous were all nationally / spiritually united and therefore they were located round about Jerusalem as the capital City of the Kingdom of God.
Coincidentally, the proposed path of the Shemites to Salem is lined with Shemite settlements. One can only imagine just how many there might have been. Ah! If only history would divulge all the settlements of the Shemites. Notwithstanding, and more importantly, everyone’s attention should be drawn to Salem and Hebron, and the Cities and Lands round about them like Lod, Uz, Teman, and Midian, even as the narrator of Genesis 10 directed attention to Shem and Eber in Genesis 10:21.
The Shemite Genealogy of Spiritual Patriarchy in Genesis 11:10-32
in Harmony with Genesis 10:1-32
With so much attention being given to Nimrod as the King of Babel in the Post-Babel World National Genealogy of Genesis 10, and rightfully so (seeing that Nimrod championed the rebellion of the Hamites at Shinar), one would think that the narrator would give much more attention to the formation of the Kingdom of God among the Shemites in the genealogy. What could be more important than the national birth of the Semites and the Hebrews at the founding of Salem and Hebron in the New World? Even as Noah said, under inspiration, “Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” (Gen. 9:26).
Remember, Nimrod’s involvement in the events of Genesis 11:1-9 couldn’t possibly be understood without an insertion of information added into the genealogical map (Genesis 10:8-10). Similarly, the narrator makes two insertions to bear witness to the Kingdom of God among the Shemites and the associated events that contributed to a fallout of national divisions with some apostate Shemites.
“Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.” - Genesis 10:21
“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.” - Genesis 10:25
However, the language employed to bear witness of the Kingdom of God will be lackluster to most readers. Sadly, they will overlook it or totally disregard its importance. Of course, the narrator speaks in terms of Spiritual Patriarchy – in Genesis 10:21 with respect to Shem, Eber, and their Children, and in Genesis 10:25 specific emphasis is put upon Peleg and Joktan as the children Eber. This emphatic statement of their mighty Patriarchy wasn’t intended to be a statement about their influence, that they were very influential men, merely, but that Shem was chief in the Kingdom of God in those days. A real structure of authority was established. Granted, Shem and Eber were great Patriarchs of righteousness, born into the 1st & 4th generations from Noah respectively, and they affected everyone and everything downstream, but the genealogy of Genesis 10 focuses on how the earliest Fathers became Founders of Cities, Lands, Nations, Countries, and Languages.
What about Melchizedek, the King of Salem?
Speaking of such, in retrospect, we know that someone, from somewhere – at least one man from among the mighty Patriarchy of Shemites – had to become the King of Salem at some point in this age. For, Abram encountered the King of Salem after spending less than 10 years in the Holy Land (Gen. 14:17-24, 16:3); and the greatness of this man’s priestly majesty necessitated his presence in the Holy Land long before Abram. The establishment of a basic Kingdom in a fortified City takes time. The establishment of a divinely authored Priestly Order arguably takes even more time. For, no man takes this honor upon himself (Heb. 5:4)! Neither would the LORD have established an ancient form of the Priesthood after “the Order of Melchisedec” in the same generation as Abram… just to bring it to a sudden halt through its discontinuance at the appearance of Abram 10 generations into the Shemite genealogy (Ps. 110:4). Consider how this man, Melchizedek, “the Priest of the Most High God” (Gen. 14:18), was even greater than Abraham in the eyes of God (Heb. 7:7).
“In Salem also is his Tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.” - Psalms 76:2
A man greater than Abraham officiating a Priesthood greater than the Order of Aaron can only mean that something very beautiful was happening in this ancient time. According to the Prophet Asaph, this would have required a fully functioning Tabernacle for the Priestly Order of Melchizedek constructed in Salem (Ps. 76:2, Gen. 14:18). Apparently, according to Psalm 76:2, Asaph knew exactly what was happening in Salem of old. Isn’t it obvious? This is the only other place in the Old Testament where God spoke to someone about Salem, this ancient and seemingly mysterious place in Genesis 14:18. I’m sure, as David’s close companion, Asaph was used by God to instruct the soon-to-be King about Jerusalem’s ancient significance. Is it any wonder that God was talking to these men about Salem? God was about to use David to recover Jerusalem for the first time since Melchizedek had possession of it! Therefore, at having prophetically seen it of old, Asaph was rejoicing at the revival of Salem in David’s time (2 Sam. 5:5-10, 6:1-23).
A fully functioning Tabernacle for the Priestly Order of Melchizedek would require written laws and ordinances. More specifically, as revealed in the book of Leviticus with the Aaronic Priesthood, an operation like this would require laws of holiness and purification with various washings, sprinklings, and anointings in association with consecrated altars and orderly sacrifices. Furthermore, the holy people for whom the Priest made intercession would need to be thoroughly instructed on how to worship the Almighty in an acceptable manner. Everything had to be done according to the book of “the Law” that God divinely inspired for this ancient time (Job 22:22).
“Receive, I pray thee, the Law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.” - Job 22:22
Evidently, this wasn’t some ambiguous and primitive Semitic religion! The royalty of this organized and sophisticated Priestly Order far surpassed the glory of the Order of Aaron. The Order of Melchizedek existed before the Mosaic Law, and it was destined to carry on forevermore after the Mosaic Law, seeing that the honor of this Royal Priesthood was given to the Messiah that He might harness its powers for the good of redeemed souls forever and ever.
“The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchizedek.” - Psalms 110:4
Besides Genesis 14:18, there is only one other place in all of the Old Testament (Psalm 110:4) where the word “Melchizedek” appears; and who do you think God was speaking to about it over 1,000 years later? Of course, this prophecy was delivered to David, a contemporary of Asaph, for the making of a true restoration generation (Ps. 78:65-72; Ps. 68:24-35)! The LORD was granting these men light after so long a time so that they would act with valiance and courage to recover Jerusalem for the glory of God. For over 1,000 years God didn’t speak to anyone about Salem or Jerusalem until Asaph and David, because God was directing them to recover the chosen City and revive its original purpose under heaven.
As a matter of fact, the name Melchizedek signifies something much more excellent than a mere Priesthood. Melchizedek was not the proper name of an individual living in this ancient time. It was not a personal name of an individual, it was a dynastic title of Kingship. Readers should have taken a hint from Psalm 110:1-7. The Messianic Figure is clearly acting as both a Priest and a King. However, the predominant role in Psalm 110 is that of a King. Without controversy, “the Order of Melchizedek” was indeed the name of a Priestly Order, but the actual word Melchizedek literally means: “King of Righteousness”. “Melchi” means King and “Zedek” means Righteousness. Accordingly, the man in Genesis 14:18 was introduced to the reader as a “King” and “the Priest of the Most High God”. Literally, “The Order of Melchizedek” is the Priestly Order of the King of Righteousness, and this man’s Kingdom was established at ancient Jerusalem, then called Salem (Ps. 76:1-2, Gen. 14:18, Ps. 110:1-2, 4).
Like Pharoah to the Egyptians and Abimelech to the Philistines, Melchizedek was a dynastic royal title of Kingship conferred upon the Ruler of the Shemites. Each new dynastic Pharaoh had their own distinct proper name, like the personal name Ramesses for example, but these men were called by the name Pharaoh when they assumed the rule of their deceased predecessor all throughout Scripture. Even so, the Abimelech that Abraham encountered in Genesis 20 was a different person than the Abimelech that Isaac encountered in Genesis 26. Abimelech was a dynastic title of “the King of the Philistines” (Gen. 26:1), and it means “My Father is King”. “Abi” means My Father and “Melech” means King.
In all likelihood, shortly before or soon after the Hebrews left the Holy Land to seek refuge in Egypt under the hospice of Joseph during the famine, Salem was abandoned and subsequently taken over by the Jebusites; and from this point onward until the Israelites returned back to the Holy Land under the leadership of Joshua, Jerusalem was known as the City of the Jebusites (Josh. 15:8, 63, 18:16, 28, 19:10-11; Note: many generations later, David finally drove out the Jebusites - 2 Sam. 5:5-10, 6:1-23). However, the dynasty of King(s) known as Melchizedek left an impact upon society. The renowned dynastic title continued in form through the name “Adoni-zedek”, which literally means “Lord of Righteousness” (Josh. 10:1, 3). “Adoni” means Lord and “Zedek” means Righteousness. In this case there is only one difference between these royal titles. The name transitioned from “King of Righteousness” to “Lord of Righteousness”, as the subsequent Jebusite rulers sought to harness the fame and glory of the former dynasty in a new era of Jebusite supremacy.
Nevertheless, we all know very well that the Jebusites were not truly righteous before God. They stole what didn’t belong to them and pretentiously commandeered it to their own advantage. We are talking about possibly 2,000 years of Church History from Adam to Abraham when Jerusalem was blessed with immortal fame as “The City of Righteousness” (Isa. 1:26; Lam. 4:12). My reader, do you think it might be upon the heart of God to recover the glory of Jerusalem for the revival of its ancient significance? According to the Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, & Davidic Covenants, El-Shaddai was determined to take it back forevermore (Gen. 9:24-27, 10:15-19, 15:18-21; Psalm 110:1-7; Isa. 26:1-2).
What about Shem?
All that being said, we can be certain that the man in Genesis 14:18 was given a personal name by his earthly father before he was conferred with the title, Melchizedek, as the King of Salem. The testimony of Holy Scripture points to only one man: Shem. Noah prophetically named his son thus to indicate to redeemed men in the New World that he would get “The Name”. Literally, “Shem” means “The Name”. Exactly as foretold, the prophecy was fulfilled in Shem getting the name, “Melchizedek”, as the Founder of Salem.
Ordinarily, the greatest of Fathers in Scripture became Founders and / or Rulers, therefore as the occasion requires, no distinction is made in the Bible between a Father and a King or a Prince. Harmoniously, the spouses of these great Patriarchs were much more than Mothers, they were Princesses. This theme can be traced as a thread throughout the book of Genesis: with Adam and Eve, even as she was spiritually called “the Mother of all Living” (Gen. 3:20; Lk. 3:38, Gen. 3:15, Rom. 5:12-14); with Abram and Sarai, seeing that he became Abraham, the “Father of Many Nations” (Gen. 17:4-5), or in other words he became “a mighty Prince” (Gen. 23:6), while she became Sarah, “The Princess” (Gen. 17:15), or the “Mother of Nations” (Gen. 17:16); with Isaac and Rebekah, even as she is spiritually called “the Mother of Thousands of Millions” (Gen. 24:60). Spiritual Patriarchy, or Fatherhood and Motherhood, were watchwords for the Kingdom of God in each generation as God bestowed upon redeemed men the Dominion, Rule, Kingship, Princedom, Lordship, & Reign in the Early Church.
This being the case, consider how great a Spiritual Father the man Shem must have been. Shem eclipsed Noah in the reckoning of genealogies, in both Genesis 10:1-32 and Genesis 11:10-32, while Genesis 11:10 even excludes Noah. The narrator was compelled to magnify Shem above all other Founders, Rulers, & Patriarchs, in stating the following:
“Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.” - Genesis 10:21
Once again, I plead, consider how great a Spiritual Father this man Shem must have been. Contextually, according to the Post-Babel World National Genealogy of Genesis 10:1-32, Shem became the Father of Many Nations long before Abraham assumed this role. Consequentially, before Abram was renamed Abraham in Genesis 17, it was necessary for him to be visited by Shem for the bestowment of a divine blessing from the hand of Melchizedek (Gen. 14). For, Abraham was inheriting a spiritual legacy of blessing that flowed down the genealogical contours of Spiritual Fatherhood. Speaking volumes, Shem fathered all the Spiritual Fathers of his age (Gen. 10:21). Can you believe it?
The Spiritual Patriarchy of Shem should not be underestimated by interpreters, not only because Shem’s ministry as a father figure to all those who were fathered by Eber is explicitly emphasized in Genesis 10:21. In living to be 600 years old (98 B.F. & 502 A.F.), Shem outlived all of his own children and grandchildren for 10 generations, except Eber who outlived him by a mere 29 years. Literally, the next grandchild besides Eber to outlive Shem is Isaac, the promised child of Abraham – and this is only after Shem lived contemporaneously with Isaac and Jacob as a father figure of Noahic proportions for 110 years and 50 years respectively. As for Eber, his Spiritual Patriarchy also continued until Isaac, seeing that he outlived all of his children and grandchildren for hundreds of years up until Isaac and Jacob, both of whom lived contemporaneously with Eber for 139 and 79 years respectively, while outliving Eber by 41 and 68 years respectively.
Shem, and secondarily Eber, fathered more children than anyone else in the Kingdom of God of the New World! Not only did Shem continue to procreate and father his own children for 500 years after Arphaxad (Gen. 11:11), more importantly, he was a Spiritual Father to all the righteous for the entire age lasting from Noah to Abraham. Not only did Eber continue to procreate and father his own children for 430 years after Peleg (Gen. 11:17), more importantly he was a Spiritual Patriarch that arose under Shem as a stalwart of righteousness for the latter half of the age.
No wonder Jacob disdained his old age at 130 years old in Genesis 47:8-9 (while Pharaoh marveled at it!), saying that it was but a “few” years in comparison to “the years of the life of [his] Fathers”, because the great ancients of the former age stopped with him. They died in his lifetime! As of that day, when Jacob made this remark to Pharoah, Shem and Eber had died 80 and 51 years ago respectively (Gen. 47:8-9). While Pharaoh marveled at how Jacob lived to be so old, Jacob marveled at how soon he was ready to perish, even as a youth in comparison to his Fathers.
Without contest, the greatness of Shem was unrivaled for over 10 generations. Judging by how much God was with the man, Melchizedek, we can be certain that he founded Salem decades before Nimrod led the rebellion at Shinar. The prophetic purposes of God always predated the vain imaginations of the heathen! Eber was used mightily by God as well. Many decades after the founding of Salem by Shem, around 94 years after the flood (A.F.), Eber founded Hebron around 7 years before the dispersion at Babel (Num. 13:22; Note: Zoan in Egypt could not have been founded by Mizraim, the son of Ham, until after the Hamites were scattered from Babel; and, in all likelihood, it was founded immediately in the aftermath of Babel). The founding of Hebron just before Babel is no coincidence. Shem and Eber prophetically foresaw the Confounding of Tongues at Babel. Specifically, through a prophecy given to Eber.
“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.” - Genesis 10:25
The narrator’s insertion in Genesis 10:25 indicates to the reader that the name Peleg was a prophecy, exactly like how Methuselah was a prophecy of Enoch. “Peleg”, which literally means “division”, speaks of the dividing of the rebels at Shinar into distinct and indiscernible languages that sounded like babel (Gen. 11:1-9). This is exactly how David used the same Hebrew word under inspiration in Psalm 55:9, saying, “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues…”. Accordingly, Shem and Eber knew about the soon demise of Nimrod’s Kingdom at Babel, and they were preparing for it, because once the heathen are scattered from that location they will flood the unoccupied areas of the Promised Land.
What about Job?
God didn’t commit the details of this age to the whims of mere speculation. Job was born shortly before Peleg, which means that he was reared under the discipleship of both Shem and Eber, and apparently he personally witnessed the shocking judgment of God at Babel. Have you never read Job 12:16-13:2? Considering the circumstances, interpreters should give Job some credence before they impose their personal assumptions upon Genesis 6-12. For, Job and his friends bore witness of these marvels in their discourse, and herein they inadvertently unveiled the flourishing glory of the Early Church in this age of the New World (Ps. 90:1).
Job was called “the greatest of all the men of the East” (Job 1:3). In terms of wealth, he had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 asses, and a very great household. He was certainly a Patriarch of his time. As a “Father to the poor” and a Ruler of his City, the reverence of the people was palpable when Job “went out to the gate” to take his “seat in the street” for judgment (Job 29:7). Royalty and dignity gave their regard. The Aged Men, Princes, and Nobles alike were remarkably subject to Job as before a “King” (Job 29:25).
“When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the Aged arose, and stood up. The Princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. The Nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.” - Job 29:7-10
Though Job may not have been a literal King (Job 29:25), he clearly acted like one. Job 29:14 wasn’t a mere slip of the tongue. Job conducted his life with intentionality, purpose, and discipline. Therefore, as he reminisced on the past in Job 29, he said, “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.” (Job 29:14). Job had crystal clear memories of how he lived and acted “as a King” among the people (Job 29:25). Nevertheless, Job did it all without a literal robe and crown (Job 29:25). Why? Well, quite frankly, someone else around those parts was more worthy of the title. Specifically, a man that goes by the title, Melchizedek.
Truly, Job had great wealth and was kingly in character, which is why God said, “…there is none like him in the earth” (Job 1:8, 2:3), but this divine statement doesn’t mean that there was no one else around more fit to be the Spiritual Patriarch of the age as the King of Jerusalem. For, the same thing was said of Hezekiah, namely that there was “none like him among all the Kings of Judah” (1 Kings 18:5). The Scripture was explicit to state that there was no one like Hezekiah “before” or “after” him. Nevertheless, something similar was said of Josiah who reigned shortly after Hezekiah: “And like unto him was there no King before him…neither after him arose there any like him.” (2 Kings 23:25). Once again, the narrator stated under inspiration that there was no one “before” or “after” like Josiah. These two statements of Scripture are easily reconciled.
“…He trusted the LORD” – 2 Kings 18:5
“…turned to the LORD” – 2 Kings 23:25
There was no one like Hezekiah in how “He trusted the LORD” (2 Kings 18:5), and there was no one like Josiah in how he “turned to the LORD” (2 Kings 23:25). That was the point of the narrator. Meanwhile, it could also be said that there was no one like David, either before or after him among all the Kings of Israel & Judah, specifically that there was no one more worthy to be the Spiritual Patriarch of the age as the King of Jerusalem. David was a Spiritual Patriarch of Shemitic proportions. For, the Spiritual Patriarchy of David became the standard of perfection for the entire age of Kings downstream. In a dynasty of 22 Kings for 14 generations, the difference between life and death, and heaven and hell, depended upon whether or not David was your Spiritual Father, and you walked in his ways, or whether or not you were a Spiritual Son of this man after God’s own heart (Matt. 1:17; 1 Kings 15:4-5).
This age was marked with the same difficulties as the former ones. Sadly, 6 out of 22 Kings were certainly never born again to begin with. These men illegally ascended to the throne of the Kingdom in a time of apostasy. As for the other 16 Kings who were indeed born again, only 7 of them persevered to the end, and that number includes Solomon and Manasseh. Soberly consider it, my reader. All that God was looking for (as repeatedly emphasized by the narrator), was whether or not the newly coronated King was spiritually fathered by David as a man who walked in his ways: this is explicitly stated concerning Solomon (1 Kings 6:12-13, 8:61, 9:4, 11:6, 38), Rehoboam (2 Chron. 11:17, 12:1), Abijah (1 Kings 15:3), Asa (1 Kings 15:11, 14), Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43), Amaziah (2 Kings 14:3-4, 2 Chron. 25:2), Azariah (2 Kings 15:3-5), Jotham (2 Kings 15:34-35), Ahaz (2 Kings 16:2-4), Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:2, 2 Kings 18:3-7), Josiah (2 Kings 22:2, 23:25-27).
Truly, David was a Spiritual Patriarch of Shemite proportions! In other words, David’s ways of perfection were immortalized as a standard for the Spiritual Patriarchy of his age. Like Shem (as described in Genesis 10:21), David spiritually fathered the Fathers downstream in the Patriarchy of Kings, and in this way, he became the Father of all the children of the subsequent Patriarchs. Nevertheless, David couldn’t be physically present like Shem was because the man died at the ripe old age of 70 years old (2 Sam. 5:4). David’s ways as a Spiritual Father were memorialized with immortal glory during his age, while Shem’s very presence as a person seemed to be immortal during his age. Job and his peers reverenced this very thing about Shem.
Job was born into the 5th generation from Noah, approximately 100 years after the flood (A.F.), so perhaps it was a little early for people wondering about Shem’s seeming immortality at this time. Noah was still alive, and Shem was only about 200 years old at the time. No need to speculate about it, though, we can just take Job and his friends at their word. Job’s friends were some of the godliest men of the East. Job was a Shemite residing in the Land of Uz (Job 1:1), and Uz was the grandson of Shem. Uz’s father and grandfather were Aram and Shem. That would make Job the great, great grandson of Shem. Job’s friends were likely Shemites too. At the very least they were spiritual Shemites whom Job regarded as fellow Sons of God and spiritual family members, affectionately calling them, “my brethren” (Job 15:6; Rom. 2:25-29).
These men were closely knit spiritually and physically. According to Job 2:11, their homes in neighboring Cities were close enough that they “heard” about the evil that befell Job, and they were able to exchange words through errands to set up an “appointment” to convene together in an effort to comfort their friend Job. Eliphaz was a Temanite, and Teman was just south of Uz (or perhaps in the southern part of the Land of Uz because it was a very large territory); and Elihu was a Buzite (Job 32:2, 6), which was in the land of Midian, just south of Teman. Upon beholding Job for the first time in the aftermath of his calamity, immediately, “they lifted up their voice and wept”, and they “sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him” (Job 2:12-13). This is a staggering display of compassion, love, devotion, integrity, and spiritual discipline.
These men were learned, wise, reputable, and knowledgeable. As true yokefellows, Job’s friends were to engage Job in a lengthy doctrinal discourse in stride with each other, and Eliphaz was the chief among the three in comparison to Job in this regard. It could perhaps be said that Eliphaz wasn’t a step behind Job in the whole discourse (Job 15:9). Nevertheless, not even Eliphaz was worthy of the title “King” & “Priest” after the order of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). Amazingly, Job and his friends bore witness of their subjection to other men whom they esteemed to be far greater than themselves.
“For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?” - Job 8:8-10
“With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” - Job 12:12-13
Following the point made by Eliphaz in his 1st discourse (Job 5:1), Bildad pled with Job to come into subjection to the constituted authorities of the Church in the New World (Job 8:8-10). Obviously, Bildad wasn’t claiming a personal authority over Job. Rather, he adamantly pointed to men whom they esteemed to be far better than themselves, insomuch that Bildad was claiming that they “know nothing” compared to these great Teachers (Job 8:9). As a fellow member of the Church some 5 generations from Noah, who could Bildad possibly be speaking about?
Bildad was talking about men who had a personal knowledge of “the former age” – another way of describing the time from Adam to Noah in the Old World (Job 8:8). Only two men alive at this time could have personally possessed such knowledge: Noah & Shem. In speaking about the knowledge of the “Fathers” of “the former age”, Bildad was talking about the men who were the Fathers of Noah and Shem. Therefore, as their Sons, Noah and Shem personally possessed this knowledge because they lived a combined total of 700 years before the Flood. Those years alone amount to over 3 times the likely age of Bildad. No wonder he spoke so reverently about these men, when he said, “For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are as a shadow” (Job 7:8).
The Church of this age knew that Noah and Shem were uniquely ordained by God to carry this knowledge of the former age into the New World. Therefore, apparently, true believers subjected themselves to Noah and Shem as Spiritual Patriarchs who were commissioned to faithfully pass on the knowledge of God to the forthcoming generations from Noah to Abraham. You will not find Job disagreeing with Bildad on this point either. Without controversy, Job openly confessed: “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:12-13).
Nevertheless, in Eliphaz’s 2nd discourse, he makes it abundantly clear that he still unsatisfied with Job’s confessions of allegiance to their dignified superiors, specifically because of Job’s apparent disagreement with them when it came to his own personal situation; meanwhile, admittedly, Job himself was confused about the same thing. Therefore, in Job 15:7-10 & 17-19, Eliphaz sought to drive home the need for Job to come into a real subjection to the doctrine of the Church as it had been taught by Noah and Shem.
“Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills? Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us? With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.” - Job 15:7-10
“I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare; Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it: Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.” - Job 15:17-19
Despite the fact that Job and his friends were amazingly proficient in the knowledge of God, judging by the complex and exhaustive discourse recorded in the book of Job, they felt that they knew nothing in comparison to Noah and Shem (Job 8:8-10, 12:12-13) – namely, because Noah and Shem were the possessors of knowledge acquired from the mighty Patriarchs of the former age like Adam, Seth, and Enoch. This is the point of Eliphaz’s rhetorical question, “Art thou the first man that was born?” (Job 15:7). These men didn’t look down upon Adam, as if he lived in a time when true religion existed in a primitive condition. As if anything spoken from the presence of God’s glory in Eden was substantially base and unsophisticated! Job and his friends didn’t regard Adam as unknowledgeable in comparison. Quite the contrary! They reflected upon their inferiority while fluently conversing about the things of God with profound recollection and detail.
Eliphaz followed up the first rhetorical question with a second, saying, “Or wast thou made before the hills?” (Job 15:7-10). Is Eliphaz employing the exaggerated illustrations of hyperbole? Maybe so. However, there were at least two men around in their day who were indeed “made before the hills” (Job 15:7), only if the hills in reference are those of the New World. The cataclysmic reorientation of the earth during the Flood involved the overturning and removal of the mountains that existed in the Old World (Job 9:5, 28:9), and of course this includes the making of new hills and mountains during the mighty continental shift that was taking place deep under water (Job 26:12). Noah and Shem would have certainly met the description recorded in Job 15:10.
Obviously, Job and his friends repeatedly spoke about the faithful transmission process of the knowledge of God to and from the Spiritual Patriarchs of each generation (Job 15:18). However, no Patriarchs were so explicitly revered like Adam, Noah, and Shem. This is understandable, considering the fact that Noah and Shem stood among these men in real time as the pillars of the Early Church. Unashamedly, Eliphaz gave credit to these men as the source of all that he had heard, seen, or known of God (Job 15:17)! He was assuredly speaking of Adam, Noah, and Shem, because historically no one else ever received “the earth” as an inheritance from God when no strangers passed among them, except Adam in the Old World and Noah & Shem in the New World (Job 15:19).
The Church was flourishing in this age. God was speaking (Job 29:2-5, 11:5)! Ancient Patriarchs were teaching. Disciples were learning. The societies of the righteous were unified. The illuminating power of the Holy Spirit was actively opening up the secrets of God (Job 11:5-6, 15:8, 20:3, 27:11, 29:4). Through searching out the doctrine of their Fathers (Job 5:1, 8, 27, 8:8, 12:12, 15:18), and religiously studying their own personal copies of the written word of God delivered to them by their Fathers (what they called “the Law” in the societies of the righteous – Job 6:10, 22:22, 23:12), the words of Preachers downstream became “forcible”, “right”, persuasive, & convicting (Job 6:25, 8:10; Job 29:7-11, 21-25). The Patriarchs of newborn generations aimed to live up to the confession, “…I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10). This is partly why Job felt misunderstood and then objected to the discourse of his friends, saying, “…who knoweth not such things as these?” (Job 12:3).
They were certain about what they believed and boasted in the fact that they could trace their beliefs back to all the original sources of divine inspiration among their Fathers, even unto Adam himself (Job 20:4-5). Their manner of life was devout, temperate, and disciplined (Job 2:11-13). They knew God (Job 18:21, 24:16)! They were spiritually perceptive of the shining light of God’s Face (Job 10:3, 11:17, 22:28). They walked with God (Gen. 5:22, 24, 6:9; Job 21:14, 24:13; Heb. 11:4-7)! Their manner of speech was distinctly different than the “foolish” talk of sinners (Job 2:10). Even so, all true believers shared an unambiguous perception of righteousness and sin, with an absolute certainty of God’s judgment upon the wicked (Job 4:3-7, 5:27, 9:2).
As men of prayer (Job 11:13, 15) & spiritual integrity (Job 8:5-6, 15:4, 16:17, 19:8, 22:27, 27:9, 30:20), they persevered in tribulation and saw the glory of God in their generation (Job 13:1-2, 22:19); and, in the process of time, they learned to delight themselves in the LORD at every juncture of their glorious pilgrimage (Job 22:26, 27:10, 34:9). They constantly drew near to God with clean hands & a pure heart (Job 11:13, 15:12, 17:9, 22:30, 9:30, 11:4, 14:4, 15:14, 22:30, 25:4, 31:7, 33:9). They triumphed over adversity and personally witnessed the miraculous manifestation of divine judgment in real time (Job 13:1-2, 17:8-9, 18:20-21, 20:4-5, 21:29-30, 27:12). Therefore, marvelously, they were fearless in the face of opposition and danger (Job 11:19; Job 31:33-34).
Nevertheless, things weren’t always good. Job was born into a mighty revival of the Church, as those of his generation beheld the divine judgment at Babel. The Hamites were greatly weakened! The rebellion of Nimrod was thwarted! However, in a fallen world, it’s only a matter of time until history no longer cooperates with the divine plan of God in the Covenants of each age. Eventually, the Canaanites would gain strength and become a great problem for the Church at the latter end of the age.
Ideally, according to the Covenants, Adam, Seth, Enos, and the following were blessed with dominion while Cain, Enoch, Irad, and the following were cursed with servitude, exactly like Noah, Shem, Elam, and the following were blessed with dominion while Ham, Canaan, Sidon, and the following were cursed with servitude. However, remember, these blessings were manifest in proportion to the faith and obedience of the Sons of God (Deut. 27:10, 26, 28:1-2, 15). Inasmuch as the Sons of God struggled morally, the Kingdom of God would be hindered with various forms of insurmountable resistance from the Seed of the Serpent. Therefore, according to Genesis 1-12, the Sons of God needed spiritual Fathers to parent them in the way of righteousness, which is why the blessings and curses flowed down the contours of spiritual fatherhood and sonship. The testimony of the genealogies in Genesis 10-11 bears witness.
A new Covenant in a New World with a new Patriarchy in the Kingdom of God, followed by a new anarchy, requires new genealogies. Only this time the hostile conflict between the two spiritual Families is amplified with unprecedented detail. This is not just a conflict between Shem and Ham. This is a conflict between the spiritual Family of Shem and the spiritual Family of Ham. This is a conflict between Shem and his spiritual Children and Ham and his spiritual Children. Or, rather, following the emphasis of the genealogies, it is a conflict between the line of Shem and the subsequent Patriarchs that will arise in righteousness to shepherd the Sons of God, and the line of Ham and the subsequent Patriarchs that will arise in wickedness to lead the anarchy against the Kingdom of God. More than anything this is a conflict of Patriarchies for good and evil.
Sadly, in the process of time, the face of the Patriarchy of wickedness transitioned from Ham to Nimrod to Canaan, which is why the Scripture repeatedly stated that “Ham is the father of Canaan” (Gen. 9:18, 22). Accordingly, the genealogy is explicit in mentioning “the families of the Canaanites” and “the border of the Canaanites” (Gen. 10:18, 19), and by the time that Abraham answered the call in the 10th generation from Noah, they were a real and present danger to the people of God. Clearly, as the spotlight of Biblical History transitioned from Shem to Abraham, the covenantal will of God was being hindered by one Canaanite Family in particular: the narrator specifies the problem to be “the iniquity of the Amorites” (Gen. 15:16). Apparently, hereunto the Church had grown weaker through a spiritual declension. Therefore, as the Shemites grew weaker the Canaanites grew stronger.
Indeed, Shem was a mighty Patriarch – a seeming immortal Father of the age – but if the Church suffered a declension in the latter end, then the Shemites would have progressively lost the right of dominion in the blessing of God. Eventually, the curse of sin would ruin the Shemite name. Godless professors of the Shemite name do glory in their shame.
The Semites → Still to this day the Jews are publicly recognized as Semites worldwide. Advocates of the Jewish people are proponents of Semitism. However, the more familiar term of the conversation today is antisemitism. Those who defend the Jews do publicly expose and condemn all forms of antisemitism. Meanwhile, God only recognizes the merits of personal Jewishness if it comes through the Spirit and is manifest inwardly and not just outwardly (Rom. 2:25-29, Php. 3:3, Gal. 6:15-16, Col. 2:10-13).
Similarly, Eber was a mighty Patriarch. Second only to Shem, he was the Founder of Hebron and the Father of Hebrew. Eber’s importance in the annals of Holy Scripture is immortalized next to Shem, Abraham, and Israel, and other like Patriarchs (“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.” – 2 Cor. 11:22). The Shemites became known as the Hebrews, and the Hebrews became known as the Children of Abraham, and the Children of Abraham became known as the Israelites. As an unbroken chain, the next person in Scripture after Eber to be publicly recognized as a Hebrew is Abraham in Genesis 14:13, and the reasons for this are obvious if you are following the testimony of the genealogies. Nevertheless, if the Sons of God were suffering a great falling away from the faith, the Hebrew name would have eventually lost its power and authenticity.
The Hebrews → Still to this day the Jews are publicly recognized as Hebrews worldwide. Why? Because Hebrew is the official language of the Jewish People both in ancient and modern times. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the language that the Early Church spoke before and after the Confounding of the Tongues at Babel is a vital part of the testimony of the genealogies in Genesis 10-11. Meanwhile, God only recognizes the merits of personal Jewishness if it comes through the Spirit and is manifest inwardly and not just outwardly (Rom. 2:25-29, Php. 3:3, Gal. 6:15-16, Col. 2:10-13).
As far as I can tell, the important Patriarchal names that were consequential in bringing about a declension of the faith among the Shemites are Arphaxad, Serug, Nahor, & Terah, perhaps with the exception of Serug. I’m sure things weren’t faring well for the Church, similarly to how the latter generations of the former age suffered greatly leading up to Noah’s generation. For, by the time Abraham came upon the scene, the LORD was seeking to recover Terah & Abraham from “Ur of the Chaldees” (Gen. 11:26-32). This brings our attention to Arphaxad, who is well known in extra-biblical history as the Founder of Chaldea.
Proceeding with caution, let us remember that only the Word of God can cut through the seemingly endless scholarly debates about ancient times and seemingly indiscernible forms of ancient language. The root of the name, Arphaxad, which is “shad”, is a very ancient and rudimentary Hebrew word, but when prefixed with “Ar-pac” (in Hebrew) it is harder to decipher. Hence the controversy of the original meaning among Hebrew Scholars. One thing is certain, Arphaxad could not have been named after Chaldea by Shem, because Chaldea didn’t exist at the time, nor would the Shemites have settled in the location that the Hamite rebellion chose as their refuge of false security. Even though Arphaxad was a Spiritual Patriarch for a time, he must have forsaken the LORD and gone in the way of Cain. Consequentially, his name eventually came to be known as, “Border of the Chaldeans”.
However, originally, as a 1st generation son of Shem, Arphaxad likely meant, “One Who Failed at the Breast”. We can deduce that Arphaxad was likely named this by Shem because of an actual physical problem that the infant was enduring. Perhaps the child failed to learn how to feed from the breast of his mother. Only God knows if there was a hidden prophetic message in this name, seeing that God foresaw Arphaxad’s eventual apostasy. However, considering the fact that Arphaxad rose to answer the call of God as the 1st Patriarch under Shem in the Spiritual Patriarchy of the Shemites, we can assume that the prophetic spiritual significance of this name would only later be realized at Arphaxad’s apostasy, possibly sometime in the latter part of his life like Solomon. As a contemporary of Cush and Canaan, Arphaxad would have been around 35 years old at the birth of Nimrod. Some decades later, as Nimrod gained power and influence in his 30’s and beyond, Arphaxad would have been drawn aside sometime in his 60’s and beyond.
Arphaxad began running well, and he served the LORD long enough to have a son, Salah, who also became a Spiritual Patriarch like his father. However, Arphaxad was eventually drawn away by the Hamites as Nimrod gained notoriety and fame while leading the rebellion at Shinar. This mighty Shemite’s departure from the faith would have negatively impacted the societies of the righteous while strengthening the hands of the wicked. I’m sure the man was welcomed with open arms among the Hamites. He found place there as a great one. Infamously, Arphaxad later became known as the Founder of Ur of the Chaldees. Now his name is forever etched in the history of Babylon! Like the blotting out of Arphaxad’s name from the Book of Life, the man’s original station as a Shemite, and a Son of God, and a Patriarch, is all but totally erased from history (Rev. 3:5; Ps. 87:1-7).
The man lived a staggering 438 years, so he would have had plenty of time to build up Chaldea in the aftermath of Babel. Also, as the occasion presented itself, Arphaxad could have been personally involved in subverting Nahor and Terah. Somehow, they wound up in Ur of the Chaldees. We know that the Chaldeans were actively mischievous and injurious to the Shemites. As instruments of the Devil in the days of Reu and Serug, the Chaldeans took part in attacking Job’s mighty estate in the land of Uz (Job 1:17). Furthermore, Arphaxad outlived Serug, Nahor, and Terah by 47, 99, & 13 years respectively. Nevertheless, the Almighty prevailed in calling Terah and Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, even though sadly Terah didn’t make it all the way back to the Holy Land (Gen. 11:27-32).