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To Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the older brother of Japheth, to him also were children born. Bible

“older brother.” The KJV and a few other versions read as if Japheth was the oldest, but Shem was. We have learned a lot about Hebrew in the 400 years since the King James version. The text note in the NET First Edition explains the translation: “in Hebrew when a masculine singular definite attributive adjective follows the sequence masculine singular construct noun + proper name, the adjective invariably modifies the noun in construct, not the proper name. Such is the case here.” Thus, the KJV translation, “Japheth the elder” is not the correct way to translate the Hebrew, rather, Shem is said to be the “older brother” of Japheth. (See commentary on Gen. 5:32).


Commentary for: Genesis 10:21