The Fame of the Healer


Zigurat and NebThis is the fourth installment in the post series on the prophecies hidden in the names of Jesus’ ancestors. In the previous three posts we made it down to Noah, (see Jesus’ life in his ancestors, The Glory of God descends and Judgement or Grace). The ancestors names told the story of Jesus’ life creating the statement:


“God, a builder is appointed, mortal born. The Glory of God descend to dedicate/a teacher his death shall bring the fallen rest”.

The next set of names take us through the time ofthe tower of Babel and the phases of migration, city and state building. While Arpachshad gave his name to an imperial region (see below) more of Jesus’ family line seem to be nomadic, one of the characters we meet in Jesus’ family is Eber who gave his name to the ‘Hebrews” which was less a genetic or racial label and more a lifestyle description of stateless peoples, those that wandered from place to place.

Now in this post we are just going to consider the names from Shem to Peleg, they cover the period when the world was dividing up into nations.


Shem is straight forward to translate, it means “name” but as in English, “name” can also mean someones “fame” or “renown“. So we say “so-and-so has made a ‘name’ for themself” or “she’s a big ‘name’ round here”.


Josephus links the name Arphachsad with the “Chasadim” who became the Chaldeans, so some translators simply equate the two and translate the name as “the Chaldean region”,  but this is putting the cart before the horse… this is the period of nation founding we shouldn’t translate a nation founders name using the name of the region he gave his name to. So Hitchcock’s Bible Dictionary lists the name from related old Arabian as “Healer” or “Releaser“.


The Septuagint has an extra character here in the Genealogical list which is not in the Masoretic text, but is included in Luke’s list, (Luke 3:36). The name Kenan has already appear in Jesus’ ancestors list, see it here! It can mean “begotten” or “sorrowful” either of which can fit into the list here but don’t really add anything to the prophetic flow… so I will go with the Masoretic text of Genesis here and leave it out.


Shelah is here spelt “שלח”  (there is another Shelah in Genesis but his name is spelt slightly differently “שלה”). Strongs translates this Shelah amusingly as “sprout” because a sprout is a shoot that is sent out from the main plant and the root simply means  “sent” or even “thrown out from”, the name literally means “send it” or “sent“(see also the article at Abarim publications).

Note: this spelling of the name is found in Methuselah where it is usually translated as “bring” or “bring it” rather than “sent” but the meaning is equivalent.


Eber or Heber (עבר), as noted above, gives his name to the Hebrews. NOBSE Study Bible Name List translates Eber as “The Region Beyond” and the BDB Theological Dictionary gives “One From Beyond” plus my own favourite “From The Other Side“.


The last name to consider in this post is Peleg. Peleg comes from the verb “palag” (פלג)  which means to split or divide. Peleg is called this “because in his days the earth was divided” (Genesis 10:25). NOBSE name list and Jones’ Dictionary of names both translate the name as “Division” or “Divider”.

So now when we put these names togther a quite remarkable statement emerges…

“The renown(Shem) of the healer/releaser(Arpachshad) sent(Shelah) from the other side(Eber) of the division(Peleg):”

I’ve ended the English sentence with a “:” because it is not yet finished, we need to discover what exactly the savior from the region beyond will be famous for! and for that we need to translate the next few names.

So  for the next post in this series…. See here!

Christen Forster

Christen Forster is widely recognised as an original Bible teacher who brings people into a love of and confidence in scripture.

Christen has planted churches, been a youth worker, mission administrator and church leaders. The author of several books, Christen is now an itinerant minister, helping churches to step into a more deliberately spiritual experience of the Christian life while at the same time firmly rooting their practice in scripture.

© 2000 - 2024 Christen Forster
Christen Forster

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