I heard a Dvar Torah regarding the 3 sons of Noach, according to which it would indicate that they were triplets. Are there any commentaries that indicate that Shem Cham and Yafes were triplets?


3 Answers 3


Rashi to Bereishit 10:21 says that Yafet was two years older than Shem.

...When Scripture says (11:10): “Shem was a hundred years old, etc.” two years after the Flood, you must say that Japheth was the elder, because Noah was five hundred years old when he first had children, and the Flood came to pass in the six hundredth year. Consequently, the eldest of his sons was a hundred years old [at the time of the Flood], and Shem did not reach [the age of] a hundred until two years after the Flood. — [from Gen. Rabbah 37:7]

  • 1
    Does anyone say otherwise?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 19:39
  • 1
    @doubleaa: No idea.
    – Menachem
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 19:44

Although it is a dispute among the different Rishonim which one was older, the Pasuk (11:10) that says Shem was a hundred years old two years after the Mabul strongly implies that the others were not the same age.

So I guess my contribution to the answer is that it isn't just Rashi on that verse, and on the verse which introduce them in the order of Shem, Cham and Yafes, that sites their ages, and they don't say triplets.

That doesn't exclude learning that they are triplets, but it makes it difficult. It is completely incompatible with Rashi (not just his opinion, but his whole approach to 11:10), for what that is worth.


The Gemara in Sanhedrin 69b says expressly the following:

תדע דקא חשיב להו קרא דרך חכמתן דכתיב (בראשית ה, לב) ויהי נח בן חמש מאות שנה ויולד נח את שם את חם ואת יפת שם גדול מחם שנה וחם גדול מיפת שנה נמצא שם גדול מיפת שתי שנים וכתיב (בראשית ז, ו) ונח בן שש מאות שנה והמבול היה מים על הארץ וכתיב (בראשית יא, י) (ו)אלה תולדות שם שם בן מאת שנה ויולד את ארפכשד שנתים אחר המבול בן מאה שנה בר מאה ותרתין שנין הוה

Know that it is true that the verse sometimes lists brothers not according to their birth order, but in the order of their degrees of wisdom, as it is written: “And Noah was five hundred years old; and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Genesis 5:32). According to this, Shem was at least one year older than Ham, and Ham one year older than Japheth, so it turns out that Shem was two years older than Japheth. And it is written: “And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth” (Genesis 7:6). And it is written: “These are the descendants of Shem; Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arpachshad two years after the flood” (Genesis 11:10). If Shem was the oldest brother, how could he be only 100 years old? He must have been at least 102 years old, as Noah was 500 years old when his third son was born, and he was 600 years old at the time of the flood.

(Sefaria translation and notation)

  • What was cham's great wisdom that was more that yefes.
    – interested
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 15:42
  • Dunno? Will need to look through the mefarshim to see if they say anything. I brought the above chazal more to prove that they were clearly not triplets.
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 15:47

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