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Shem, the firstborn son of Noah, escaped the destruction of the earth by flood and joined his family in the ark (Genesis 2:20-27). After the flood, Shem covers his father's nakedness when he becomes intoxicated from his vineyard he plants. Shem had five sons: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram. Some rabbinic sources note that Shem is also King Melchizedek. The term Semite is linguistically related to the name Shem.

Sources: Bridger, David. Ed. The New Jewish Encyclopedia, NY: Behrman House, 1976; Navigating the Bible II

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