SCRIPTURE LOGIC PUZZLE: Who was Nöãch’s eldest son?

A break from my Who Wrote Genesis series.

Genesis 5:32 lists Nöãch’s sons in the following order:  Shëm, Chäm and Yäpheth.  Tradition interprets that as their birth order.  But is it?

I started wondering about that because many translations translate Genesis 9:24 as Nöãch knowing what his youngest son (Chäm) had done to him.  If Scripture specifically identifies Chäm as Nöãch’s youngest son, then the list in Genesis 5:32 cannot be in birth order because Chäm is listed second.

And then, there’s Genesis 10:21, which most translations translate as “And also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the older brother of Japheth, children were born.”  But a reference note in the New American Standard Bible includes an alternate translation of “or, the brother of Japheth the elder.”

Then I realized that several other translations translated Genesis 9:24 as “his younger son,’ instead of as “his youngest son.” So, that plays into it too.

So, I decided to study this question of who was Nöãch’s eldest son and what was the birth order of Nöãch’s sons.  In seeking the answer , I realized that Scripture did contain the information needed to determine their birth order and the correct translation choices, but we have to be Bereans and earnestly study the Scriptures in order to find the answer.

As I studied the matter, I realized that the question of who was Nöãch’s eldest son was a logic puzzle in Scripture.  I was a little surprised to find a logic puzzle in Scripture, but perhaps I should not have been.  After all, Isaiah 1:18 contains an invitation from YHWH @Élöhîm to His children:  “’Come now and let us reason together,’ says YHWH.”

Now, rather than tell you outright who Nöãch’s eldest son is, I’m presenting the logic puzzle for you to have the fun of solving.   A logic puzzle usually uses a list form to provide sufficient information to reason out validly the answer to the question asked.   The list of Bible verses below constitute the ‘clues’ providing the information needed to reason out the answer.

I use my translations from the Hebrew.  I also use a transliteration of the names from the Hebrew, instead of their English equivalents, just because I like the transliterated Hebrew names.

Scriptures:

  1. “Then Nöãch lived a son of 500 years ~ and Nöãch caused to bring forth Shëm, Chäm, and Yäpheth # ”  [Gen 5:32]
  2. “Now Nöãch [was] a son of 600 years ~ and the Flood became waters over the land # ” [Gen 7:6]
  3. “Now Chäm, the father of Kenaøan, saw the nakedness of his father ~ and he made [it] known to his two brothers outside”. . . . .  Then Nöãch woke from his wine ~ and he knew what he had done  to him –  “benô haqqätän” (his son the younger or the youngest) #  [Gen 9:22, 24]
  4. “and to Shëm were brought forth also ~ the father of all of the sons of ØËber, @áchî yepheth haggädhôl #  (the brother of Yepheth the elder, or, the elder brother of Yepheth) [Gen 10:21]
  5. “Shem [was] a son of a hundred years and he caused to bring forth @Arpakhshädh ~  two years after the Flood #  [Gen 11:10b]

Note on #4. Analysis of the Hebrew grammar and syntax of Genesis 10:21 shows that one can translate “@áchî yepheth haggädhôl” with EQUAL VALIDITY as either “the elder brother of Yepheth” or as “the brother of Yepheth the elder.”

Using the information in these verses, one can reason out who Nöãch’s eldest son was, and from there, what the birth order was of Nöãch’s sons.

The answer can be found here.

Have fun.

Grace and peace to you,

Dori