Whoever we are, wherever we are, we are all descended from the people of the ark. We are direct descendants of either Shem and his wife, Ham and his wife, or Japheth and his wife. And every human being on earth today is your distant cousin… whether first, second, or thousandth!
We read of the 3 sons, primarily starting in Genesis 9:1,18-19,20-27.
The primary incident concerning the 3 brothers takes place after the Great Flood, when Noah returned to his original way of life: farming. Noah decided to plant a vineyard… and enjoyed a little too much of the wine he made from his harvest. Drunk, he returned to his tent, where he passed out… naked.
Ham walked in on his father and seemed to find the situation amusing. Instead of doing the honorable and respectful thing and covering his father’s nakedness, Ham told Shem & Japheth about it, apparently thinking they would find the situation as amusing as he did. But, Shem & Japheth showed his father the respect he deserved; the discreetly covered their father, taking care to walk backwards into the tent so they would not look upon their father’s nakedness.
Noah’s blessing/cursing of his 3 sons seems to have been in reaction to this incident.
It might seem like a silly story… a trivial tale… a pointless point in time. But, it was a matter of honor. And, honoring others – especially our parents – is a big deal to God. In fact, He devoted 1 of His 10 Commandments (#5) to honoring our parents.
His name means “name, renown, prosperity”. He was the 2nd-born son of Noah, and is the forefather of the Semitic people groups. Hebrews & Arabs consider themselves sons of Shem. It is also believed the people of China & India descended from him.
His name means “hot, warm, burnt”. He was the youngest son of Noah, and is the forefather of the Egyptians, Cushites (Africans), Ethiopians, Libyans, Canaanites, Assyrians & Babylonians.
His name means “open, enlarged”. He was the oldest of Noah’s 3 sons, and is the forefather of Europeans & more eastern nations; “Japhetic” is sometimes used as a synonym for “Caucasian”.
You can read of Shem, Ham & Japheth in Gen. 6-9.