ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Tue Oct 20 12:17:06 EDT 1998
On Tue 20 Oct 98 , peter_kirk at sil.org wrote:
> An interesting question has just been put to me concerning Genesis
> Is Japheth older or younger than Shem?
It appears that the birth order of Noah's sons was Shem; Ham; Japhet
(Genesis 9:18). But after the disgrace of Ham "who saw the nakedness of
his father" (9:22), he was demoted to the "youngest" BeNoW HaQQa+aN, in
the sense of the "least important". He was the father of Canaan and the
Canaanites, whose sin was a byword and whose "time was up" when Joshua led
the Israelites into Canaan.
Notice it is "cursed be Canaan" (Gen 9:25), not Ham. BeN HaQQa+aN can mean
"grandson" rather than younger/youngest son. Ham had been blessed by God
in Genesis 9:1; that blessing could not be revoked.
Compare WeDaWiD HuW' HaQQa+aN in 1 Samuel 17:14, where David is the
youngest, and his three eldest brothers who followed Saul are SheLiShaH
HaGGeDoLiYM. They were three of his "big brothers". (BTW how many brothers
did David have? 1 Sam 16:10 says seven; 1 Chron 2:15 says six). David was
certainly the "youngest" HaQQa+aN (1 Sam 16:11).
But if we press the superlative in Genesis 10:21, we get the discrepancy
that you describe with 9:24. So we must make HaQQa+aN /comparative/ not
/superlative/ (as in Genesis 1:16) where the sun and the moon are the
greater light HaGGaDoL and the lesser light HaQQa+oN respectively.
The LXX has KAI TWi SHM... ADELFWi IAFEQ TOU MEIZONOS (10:21), using the
comparative to resolve the difficulty.
Does this help?
Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
<ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
More information about the b-hebrew