WHAT I LEARNED WHEN I READ THE BIBLE
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem…” (Genesis 9:26 ESV). This is viewed as the fourth Old Testament prophecy pointing to Jesus. Noah’s son, Ham, committed some type of atrocity towards his father that dealt with Noah’s nakedness (it is unclear exactly what happened), but Noah’s other two sons, Shem and Japheth protected their father’s integrity and covered his naked body. Because of the sin committed by Ham, Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, and all his descendants, but Noah blessed his other two sons for doing what was right and honoring their father.
It is Shem’s blessing we find interesting, though. When Noah blessed Japheth, he said, “May God enlarge Japheth.” (Genesis 9:27 ESV). Noah was saying Japheth would have many descendants, and he placed the blessing on Japheth by stating Japheth’s name.
But when Noah blessed Shem, he did not use Shem’s name. Instead, Noah placed the blessing on God! “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.” (Genesis 9:26 ESV).
What does this mean? When we read biblical genealogy, we find that Shem is the forefather of Abraham and the Israelites, and we know God blessed the Israelites by selecting them to be His chosen people.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6 NIV).
Genesis 9:26 is foreshadowing that God will make Shem’s descendants His chosen people. Therefore, we can assume the blessing of Noah to “God, the God of Shem” foreshadows that Shem will become the ancestor of the nation Israel, thus making him part of the ancestral line that leads to Jesus. This genealogy is proven in Luke 3:23-38 when the ancestors of Jesus are listed. We see Shem listed as an ancestor in Luke 3:36.