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Shem (Hebrew שֵׁם) was one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible who helped to repopulate the earth (Gen 9:19). Shem, along with his brother Japheth respectfully covered his father when he was naked, unlike his brother Ham. (Gen 9:23) Shem had five sons who settled in what would be modern day Syria, Iraq, and Iran.[1]

Abraham was a descendant of Shem through Shem's son Arpachshad. The term "Semite" originally denoted descendants of Shem.


  1. NIV Study Bible, Zondervon, p. 21 map