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Are African-Americans the Descendants of Shem?

Map showing the Migration of Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth to the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe


So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Gen. 9:1)

Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.” (Gen. 9:18-19)

The Descendants of Shem

Shem is the oldest son of Noah because his name is mentioned first and also in another biblical verse (Gen. 10:1). Shem is the father of Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

Arphaxad begot Salah, and Salah begot Eber. To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.” (Gen. 10:24-25)

The name Eber” means “cross over to the other side”, and it is the word from which the word "Hebrew" is derived. So you can see that the Hebrews have two sets of descendants. One is Peleg who is the ancestor of Abraham, David and the Lord Jesus Christ (Lk. 3:35). The other set of Hebrew descendants comes from Joktan who had thirteen sons (Gen. 10:26-29).

God confused the language of the people when they built the Tower of Babel. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” (Gen. 11:9).

Peleg stayed in the same country in which his descendant Abraham lived, but his brother Joktan, with his thirteen sons moved away eastwards.And their dwelling place was from Mesha as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east.” (Gen. 10:26-30)

Several studies indicate Joktan and his large family moved to East Asia (present China) to populate the largest racial group on earth.

Shem (through Joktan) is the Ancestor of the Chinese People

Many studies have shown this to be a factual truth. Please click on the titles and URLs.

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem

Oriental Origins in the Bible

Origina of the Oriental

Joktan are Chinese

Biblical Origin of Chinese People

Joktan's Older Sons and the Chinese Early Civilization

No Biblical Record of African-Americans having Ancestry from Shem

There is no record in the Bible that any of Shem's descendants migrated to Africa after God had confused the language of the people and stopped the building of the Tower of Babel. The Bible recorded Moses married an Ethiopian woman but their marriage occurred after the Exodus from Egypt (Num. 12:1). However, in the New Testament it was recorded that several Jews from countries in Africa came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:8-11). They may be Jews in religion but may not be Semites (Shem's descendants) in racial origin. For example, the Ethiopian eunuch who was converted to Christianity by Philip may or may not be a Semite (Acts 8:26-40). Anyway, the ancestral home of African-Americans is not Ethiopia which is in East Africa. African-Americans orignally come from West Africa.

The Descendants of Ham

"The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.” (Gen. 10:6) According to the Bible Egypt is called“the land of Ham” (Psm. 105:23, 27;106:22; ref. 78:51). Egypt is definitely a country in Africa.

Cush: Peoples of central and Southern Arabia. The Ethiopians are shown as being inhabitants of both sides of the Red Sea. Also, they had a skin of a different appearance. (Jer. 13:23)

Mizraim: Refers to areas of upper and lower Nile River of Egypt thus a reference to Egyptians.

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Phut: Generally associated with the Egyptians and more specifically Libya.

Canaan: The area settled by Canaan and his sons was west of the River Jordan which was named after him. Canaan was called the Promised Land and was invaded and conquered by Joshua and the children of Israel (Josh 14:1 ) Canaan is not in Africa but in West Asia.

African-Americans are not the Descendants of Canaan

There are many wrongful misconceptions and misplacement of Noah's curse after he was drunk with wine and became naked. Although Ham had seen Noah's nakedness and told his two brothers who went backwards to cover their father's shame, Noah did not say anything against him but said,“Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.” (Gen. 9:20-25). It must be clearly understood that Ham and his three other sons Cush, Misraim and Phut did not receive the curse. Only Canaan was cursed.