In Judaism, a h1 bestowed on men who worked wonders and cures through secret knowledge of the names of God. The practice dates to the 11th century, long before the term was applied to certain rabbis and Kabbalists. They were numerous in 17th- and 18th-century eastern Europe, where they exorcised demons, inscribed amulets, and performed cures using herbs, folk remedies, and the Tetragrammaton. Because they combined faith healing with use of the Kabbala, they clashed with physicians, rabbis, and followers of the Haskala. Seealso
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Genesis 11:10 records that Shem was 100 years old at the birth of Arpachshad two years after the flood, making him 98 at the time of the flood; and that he lived for another 500 years after this, making his age at death 600 years.
The 1st century historian Flavius Josephus, among many others, recounted the tradition that these five sons were the progenitors of the nations of Elam, Assyria, Syria, Chaldea (from whom descended the Hebrews and Arabs), and Lydia, respectively.
Terms like "Semite" and "Hamite" are less common now, and may sometimes even be perceived as offensive, because of their "racial" connotations. The adjectival forms "Semitic" and "Hamitic" are more common, though the vague term 'Hamitic' dropped out of mainstream academic use in the 1960s. Semitic is still a commonly used term for the Semitic languages, as a subset of the Afro-Asiatic languages, denoting the common linguistic heritage of Arabic, Aramaic, Akkadian, Ethiopic, Hebrew and Phoenician languages.
According to some Jewish traditions (e.g., B. Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8.), Shem is believed to have been Melchizedek, King of Salem whom Abraham is recorded to have met after the battle of the four kings. Other legends say that he opened a religious academy, and, due to his long life, even his very-distant descendents who kept the belief in God, like Jacob, were able to attend it.
In a few of the many extra-biblical sources that describe him, Shem is also credited with killing Nimrod, son of Cush.
A rabbinic document that surfaced in the 1600s, claiming to be the lost "Book of Jasher" provides some names not found in any other source. Some have reconstructed more complete genealogies based on this information as follows:
Shem. Also Sem. Literal meanings are named or renown (father of the Semitic races - Shemites). The sons of Shem were:
Le Petit, a writer in 1601 mentioned King Adel, said to be descendant of Shem, ruler of Britain having 3 children that migrated to India.
Further, it is said that Tuitsch a German patriarch is none other than Shem himself (see Assyrian-German theory).
In Serge A. Zenkovsky's, Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles, and Tales, "To the lot of Shem fell the Orient, and his share extended lengthwise as far as India and breadthwise (from east to south) as far as Phinocorura, including Persia and Bactria, as well as Syria, Media (which lies beside the Euphrates River), Babylon, Cordyna, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Arabia the Ancient, Elymais, India, Arabia the Mighty, Coelesyria, Commagene, and all Phoenicia.
According to Armenian tradition, Dr. Hales is quoted saying, "To the sons of Shem was alloted the middle region of the earth viz., Palestine, Syria, Assyria, Samaria (Shinar?) Babel (or Babylonia), Persia and Hedjaz (Arabia).
In Mystery of the Ages, by Dr. James Modlish, it is said that India is inhabited by Shemites.
Hisham Ibn al-Kalbi, a 19th century Arab historian, states that al-Hind and al-Sind [India] are of Ophir, the son of Joktan. Isidore of Seville (c. 635) had also made Joktan the ancestor of Indians; his material was based on earlier enumerations made by Jerome and Josephus, who had stated that Joktan's descendants "inhabited from Cophen, an Indian river, and in part of Asia adjoining to it."
Also, according to The History of the Church of God:
The Jewish text Pirqei R. Eliezer, depicts God as dividing the earth among Noah‘s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and attributing different skin colors to them (literally, —blessing“ them with different skin colors): light colored skin for the Japhetites, medium dark or brown for the Semites, and very dark or black for the Hamites.
This passage again from Pirqei R. Eliezer, a writing which was composed in Israel after the Islamic conquest, is strikingly paralleled in an Arabic text of approximately the same period. The historian abarī (d. 923) quotes Ibn Abbas (d. 686-8) as saying:
From the same author also comes his commentary of Gen 5:32:
The tradition is repeated in the 13th century by the Christian Ibn al- Ibrī (Bar Hebraeus), known for the —fidelity with which he reproduces earlier writers. Again in another work, Bar Hebraeus speaks of Noah dividing the world among his three sons, with Ham getting the Land of the Blacks (sūdān), Shem the Land of the Browns (sumra), and Japheth the Land of the Reds (łuqra).
"According to ISBE, Shem means "dusky", and Japheth means "fair." (McKissick, Beyond Roots. P. 108).
According to Armenian tradition, Shem had the region of the tawny.
Gary Greenberg of the Biblical Archaeology Society has offered the following account of the origin of the word "Shem" in the Hermopolitan creation myth: "Shem" means "name" in Hebrew but is also the root of "Shemoneh", meaning "eight". The Hermopolitan creation myth has the Earth created out of a great flood, influenced by Egyptian experience of the annual Nile flood, in which the waters part into the waters above and the waters below, with the emergence of the eight ("shem") deities, the black earth ("chem" or "keme") of the Nile valley and the god Ptah ("Ja-Ptah"). While the Greeks referred to the city as Hermopolis, the Egyptians named it Shmn, or "eight-town", after the eight deities that emerged from the flood. (Its name today is El Ashmunein Arabic: الأشمونين.) The three "sons" of Noah correspond to the earth of the valley, the god Ptah and the eight deities of the Egyptian flood/creation myth.