The children of Shem
Whose names are
Elam and Ashur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram;
and who, as Josephus F6 says, inhabited Asia, from Euphrates to the Indian ocean: his first born, Elam, was the father of the Elymaeans, from whom sprung the Persians, as the same writer observes, and his posterity are called Elamites, ( Acts 2:10 ) their country Elam, and is sometimes mentioned with Media, when the Persians and Medes are intended, ( Isaiah 21:2 ) ( Jeremiah 25:25 ) see also ( Isaiah 22:6 ) ( Jeremiah 49:34 ) in Daniel's time, Shushan, in the province of Elam, was the seat of the kings of Persia: the country of Elymais, so called from this man, is said by Pliny F7 to be divided from Susiane by the river Eulaeus, and to join with Persia; and the famous city of Elymais, the metropolis of the country, is placed by Josephus F8 in Persia. Ashur, the second son of Shem, gives name to Assyria, a country frequently mentioned in Scripture; and which, according to Ptolemy F9, was bounded on the north by part of Armenia the great, and the mountain Niphates, on the west by Mesopotamia and the river Tigris, on the south by Susiane, and on the east by part of Media. Strabo says F11 they call Babylonia, and great part of the country about it, Assyria, in which was Ninus or Nineveh, the chief city of the Assyrian empire; and which was built by Ashur, as Josephus F12 affirms, and says he gave the name of Assyrians to his subjects: Arphaxad, the third son of Shem, from him that part of Assyria, which lay northward next to Armenia, was called Arphaxitis, as it is probable that was its original name, though corruptly called by Ptolemy F13 Arrapachitis: Josephus says F14, he gave name to the Arphaxadaeans, whom he ruled over, now called Chaldeans; and indeed the name of the Chaldeans may as well be derived from the latter part of Arphaxad's name, (dvk) , "Chashad", as from Chesed, the son of Nahor, and brother of Abraham, as it more commonly is; since the Chaldeans were called Chasdim before Chesed was born, and were a nation when Abraham came out of Ur, before Chesed could be old or considerable enough to build towns and found a nation; see ( Genesis 11:31 ) ( 15:7 ) ( 22:22 ) though Bochart treats this as a mere dream, yet he is obliged to have recourse to the usual refuge, that Ur was called Ur of the Chaldees, by anticipation. The fourth son of Shem was Lud, from whom sprung the Lydians, a people of Asia minor, and whose country is called Lydia, including Mysia and Caria, which all lay by the river Maeander; and Lud, in the Phoenician language, signifies bending and crooked, as that river was, being full of windings and turnings: some think that the posterity of Lud are carried too far off from those of his brethren, but know not where else to fix them. From Aram, the last son of Shem, sprung the Aramaeans, called by the Greeks Syrians, as Josephus F15 observes; and by Homer F16 and Hesiod F17 (arimoi) , and so says Strabo F18; some by the Arimi understand the Syrians, now called Arami; and elsewhere F19 he observes, that they who are by us called Syrians, are by the Syrians themselves called Aramaeans, and this is the name they give to themselves to this day: the country inhabited by them included Mesopotamia and Syria, and particularly all those places that have the name of Aram added to them, as Padan Aram, and Aram Naharaim (which is Mesopotamia), Aram of Damascus, Aram Zobah, Aram Maacha, and Aram Beth Rehob, ( Genesis 28:2 ) ( 24:10 ) ( 2 Samuel 8:6 ) ( 10:6 ) ( 1 Chronicles 19:6 ) and the title of ( Psalms 60:1 ) : the Septuagint version here adds, "and Cainan", but without any authority.
F6 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4.
F7 Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 27.
F8 Antiqu. l. 12. c. 8. sect. 1.
F9 Geograph. l. 6. c. 1.
F11 Ib. l. 16. p. 507.
F12 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4.
F13 Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 6. c. 1.)
F14 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4.). So R. Gedaliah, in Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 76. 2.
F15 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4.)
F16 Iliad. 2.
F18 Geograph. l. 13. p. 431. l. 16. p. 540.
F19 Ib. l. 1. p. 28.