Noah began to plow the fields, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank
some of the wine, not knowing its strength, he became drunk. Seeing his father
lying drunk in his tent, Ham told his brothers about it in a very rude way. His
two brothers went into the tent, where they covered their father and put him in
his bed without looking at him in his shame. When Noah awoke and found out what
had happened, he was angry at his son Ham, saying that Ham’s children should be
slaves to the children of his brothers Shem and Japheth.
Shem and His Descendants
Then he prayed that Shem and Japheth have wisdom and beauty, and great social
and cultural achievements. Shem became a prophet of G‑d and lived six hundred
years, serving G‑d as a priest. In the time of Abraham, who was the ninth
generation in direct line of descent from Shem, Shem was famous under the name
of Malkitzedek, the “Just King,” who brought offerings to G‑d. He lived
to see the eleventh generation of his descendants (Jacob). Together with his
worthy great-grandson Eber, he taught and spread faith in G‑d and in His
commands in a school which was known as the Academy of Shem and Eber.
During the time of Eber’s son Peleg, the lifespan of human beings dwindled
down to about one half of what it was in the former generation.