Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #13 of Genesis, chapter 5 and we are going to read Genesis 5:28-32:
And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which JEHOVAH hath cursed. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
We are primarily looking at the last verse of this passage which tells us Noah’s age of 500 at that time and he begat three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. We already know that in the year 5241 from creation Methuselah died and Lamech was born. Then Lamech lived for 182 years and had a son and he “called his name” Noah, so we know it was an immediate father/son relationship. That was in the year 5423 from creation. To align that with our calendar, it was the year 5590BC when Noah was born.
The next piece of information God gives us concerning the timeline is that Lamech died at age 777, which is “3 x 7 x 37,” and the previous verse told us he lived 595 years after he had his son Noah. Since Noah was 600 when the flood came, but Lamech died five years before the flood. That is actually not significant insofar as the calendar is concerned because Noah became the Biblical calendar reference patriarch when he was born.
We are looking at the statement in verse 32 that says that Noah was 500 years old. Since Noah was born in 5590BC, he would have been 500 years old in 5090BC. This also would have been the year 5923 from creation, since we are counting from the year God created Adam.
Again, we read in Genesis 5:32:
And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
There is nothing in the Bible that indicates these three sons were triplets. We will discuss this a bit later. Our question right now is whether they are immediate sons, or not. We know that previously when it was said that a man begat a son, it could actually be referring to a later descendant that was born in the year the calendar reference patriarch died unless God uses the clue phrase “qârâ – shêm,” but that term is not used here in regard to Noah and the three sons he begat. We go to the second level of determination about whether the Bible gives us any other information that would shed light on whether they were immediate sons or later descendants. When we look into that, we find that Shem, Ham and Japheth were direct sons of Noah. It says in Genesis 7:13:
In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
Now we have the additional information we needed because there is no way they could be later descendants if they entered into the ark. The Bible confirms this in 1Peter 3:20:
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
This gives us the total number of people on the ark. It was Noah, Shem, Ham Japheth and Noah’s wife and the wives of his three sons. There were four men and four women or eight souls all together, so there is absolutely no doubt that Shem, Ham and Japheth were direct sons of Noah. Let us go back, again, to Genesis 5:32:
And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
As I mentioned before, the Bible gives no indication these three boys were triplets. Actually, as we search the Bible for related Scriptures, it will not allow for Shem to have been born when Noah was 500 years old. How is that possible? It seems to say that Noah was 500 years old and begat Shem, Ham and Japheth and Shem is listed first. Well, it is interesting that we have just gone through 10 previous generations of Bible calendar reference patriarchs. In the beginning it was necessary that they be father to son, like Adam to Seth to Enos. When there were more people on the earth, then God changed to the formula to that of a Bible calendar patriarch dying and the next calendar patriarch being born in his line the same year and this pattern happened for a few generations.
But now we come to Lamech and Noah was an immediate son of Lamech. We will find that Shem will be the Bible reference patriarch after Noah and, again, he is an immediate son, so we have three generations that are direct father/son calendar reference patriarchs, just like in the beginning with Adam to Seth to Enos. Following Shem after the flood, God will return to the other pattern: when Shem dies, in the same year a later descendant will be born and that person will take over in the role of Biblical calendar reference patriarch. That will continue for several generations until the time of Terah. It says in Genesis 11:24-26:
And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
This sound familiar because it is just like it was with Noah begetting Shem, Ham and Japheth and we will find there is information that indicates that Terah was the immediate father to Abram, Nahor and Haran. Notice that there are also three sons, just like there was Shem, Ham and Japheth. Do you see what God is doing? It seems to be that when God is returning to a previous direct father/son pattern after thousands of years, He says that a man begat three sons and the first one listed (Shem and Abram) is the one that calendar will follow. Just as with Shem, it is also true that Abram is not the oldest son of Terah and we can prove that because it says in Genesis 11:26:
And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
It more than likely mentions Abram first because he will be the next calendar patriarch. So Terah was 70 when he begat a son. Then it says in Genesis 11:32:
And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
So he lived 135 year more after he begat a son at age 70 and he died in Haran at age 205 years old. Then it says in Genesis 12:4:
So Abram departed, as JEHOVAH had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
The Biblical history shows that Abram lived in Haran all the days of his father and once his father died at age 205, then Abram departed out of Haran and entered into the land of Canaan. If Abraham was 75 after his father died at age 205, then how old was Terah when Abram was born? We take the 205 death age of Terah and we subtract 75 years (the age of Abram when Terah died) and that gives us 130. So Terah was age 130 when his son Abram was born. This conclusively means that Abram was not born when Terah was 70 and, yet, the verse said, “And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” So, one of the other sons was born when Terah was 70, but Abram is listed first because he would be the individual that God would focus on in regard to His Biblical calendar. Bible history would then follow the life of Abraham and his family for quite a while down through the generations.
This means that when we read in Genesis 5:32, “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” it is a signal from God. When God indicates a father begetting three sons, He is changing the pattern to reveal calendar information through a family in immediate father to son patriarchs. The way this is worded signals the shift and Shem is listed first (as was Abram) because in the time after the flood God will switch from Noah to Shem and Shem will become the Biblical calendar reference patriarch through his descendants. God is not going to follow Ham’s line or Japheth’s line, so Shem receives first position in the list of sons, but it does not mean that he was the one that was born when his father was 500. So when was Shem born? Are we told? Yes, if we go to Genesis, chapter 11 it says in Genesis 11:10-11:
These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
Here, God tells us that Shem was 100 years old and he tells us when it was that he was 100 years old. It was two years after the flood and that is when he begat Arphaxad. We can pin it down, but we have to answer one more question: When did God consider the flood to have ended? We know the flood began in Noah’s 600th year on the seventeenth day of the second month, but they were inside the ark until the next year. It was the twenty seventh day of the second month of Noah’s 601st year before they came out of the ark, so it was one year later. So when it says that Shem was 100 years old and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood, was that in Noah’s 600th year or Noah’s 601st year? We are assisted with that question when we turn to Genesis 9:28-29:
And Noah lived after the flood…
This is the same wording we see when it says that Shem began Arphaxad two years after the flood. Again, it says in Genesis 9:28-29:
And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
God has broken up Noah’s life to two periods. There were 600 years and then the flood began and there were 350 years after the flood and within those 350 years would be the year they spent within the ark and, yet, God considers that to be “after the flood,” so the phrase “after the flood” in this verse and in regard to Shem identifies with after the beginning of the flood; that is, after Noah’s 600th year. So Shem was 100 years old and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood, which began in Noah’s 600th year, which was the year 4990BC and two years after that was 4988BC. In the year 4988BC Shem was 100 years old, so he was 100 years old in year 6025 from creation. If we back up 100 years, we know that Shem was born in year 5925 from creation. Since it was the year 4988BC and two years after the flood, if we align it with our calendar he was born in the year 5088BC. Now everything fits and we have the proper date for Shem’s birth and we know he turned 100 two years after the flood.