Enigma #2

 

 

Was or Wasn’t Shem’s Son Arpachshad Born on the Ark?

This supplementary problem was not easy to find.  Several verses from several chapters had to be considered.  It clearly presents issues from both reasoning and mathematical viewpoints.

According to the following several verses, it seems Arpachshad was born on the ark.

          Gen 5:32 (NAB)

          When Noah was five hundred years old, he

          became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

          Gen 7:11 (NAB)

          In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the

          second month, on the seventeenth day of the

          month: it was on that day that All the fountains

          of the great abyss burst forth, and the floodgates

          of the sky were opened.

If Noah was 500 years older than Shem, and the flood began when Noah was 600 years old, Shem would have been 100 years old when the flood started (600–500).  The flood lasted just beyond one year. If Shem was 100 years old at the start of it, he would have been 101 when it ended.

          Gen 11:10 (NAB)

          This is the record of the descendants of Shem.

          When Shem was one hundred

          years old, he

          became the father of Arpachshad …

If Shem was 101 when the one year flood ended, Arpachshad was born on the ark.  However, citations show that no child left the ark. God didn’t tell Noah to take any child with him. He was to take with him only his wife, his three sons, and his sons’ wives.

          Gen 8:18-19 (NAB)

          So Noah came out, together with his wife and his

          sons and his sons’ wives; 19 and all the animals,

          wild and tame, all the birds, and all the creeping

          creatures of the earth left the ark, one kind after

          another.

Furthermore, only the three sons would people the earth.

          Gen 9:18-19 (NAB)

          The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were

          Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of

          Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah,

          and from them the whole earth was peopled.

In summary, while it seems Arpachshad would have been born on the ark, Noah did precisely what God told him to do. He took from the ark every living person and thing. Arpachshad wasn’t among them. Moreover, God didn’t address or include Arpachshad as one who would be peopling the earth. Still, “When Arpachshad was thirty-five years old, he became the father of Shelah.” (Gen 11:12)

 

Solution:

Applying logic, Arpachshad could not have been born on the ark.  This is the second of three problems that can only be solved if parenthood and childhood/“life” start simultaneously at conception.  Otherwise, the math won’t work.  Here are the verses needed for mathematical considerations, this time with explanations.

          Gen 5:32 (NAB)

          When Noah was five hundred years old, he

          became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Noah became Shem’s father at conception, so their age difference was 501 years.

          Gen 7:11 (NAB)

          In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the

          second month, on the seventeenth day of the

          month: it was on that day that All the fountains

          of the great abyss burst forth, and the floodgates

          of the sky were opened.

Early in the 600th year of Noah’s life, when the flood began, 599 years of his life had elapsed.  The first 9 months were in his mother’s womb, so he was 598 years old when the flood began.  With Noah at that age when the flood began, Shem was only 97 (Noah’s 598 – the 501 years age difference).

Since the flood lasted just beyond one year, at the end of the flood Shem would have been 98 years old (97 at start + 1 year of flood).

With only Shem and his two brothers peopling the earth, the only mathematical solution is that parenthood and childhood/“life” begin simultaneously at conception.  It verifies the conclusion reached from a logical view, that Arpachshad could not have been born on the ark.