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Arpachshad , Son of Shem
Children Salah, and other sons and daughters
Parents Shem

Arpachshad or Arphaxad or Arphacsad (Hebrew: אַרְפַּכְשַדֿ / אַרְפַּכְשָדֿ, Modern Arpakhshad Tiberian ʾArpaḵšaḏ / ʾArpaḵšāḏ ISO 259-3 ʔarpakšad; Arabic: 'أرفخشذ', Ārfakhshad‎) was one of the five sons of Shem, the son of Noah (Genesis 10:22, 24; 11:10-13; 1 Chron. 1:17-18). His brothers were Elam, Asshur, Lud and Aram; he is an ancestor of Abraham. He is said by Gen. 11:10 to have been born two years after the Flood, when Shem was 100.

Arpachshad's son is called Salah, except in the Septuagint, where his son is Cainan (קינן), Salah being Arpachshad's grandson. Cainan is also identified as Arpachshad's son in Luke 3:36 and Jubilees 8:1. The Book of Jubilees additionally identifies Arpachshad's wife as Rasu'aya, the daughter of Susan, who was the son (or daughter in some versions) of Shem's older son Elam. (Arpachshad's mother is named in this source as Sedeqetelebab; for competing traditions on the name of Shem's wife see wives aboard the Ark.)

Some ancient Jewish sources, particularly Jubilees, point to Arpachshad as the immediate progenitor of Ura and Kesed, who allegedly founded the city of Ur Kesdim (Ur of the Chaldees) on the west bank of the Euphrates (Jub. 9:4; 11:1-7) — the same bank where Ur, identified by Leonard Woolley in 1927 as Ur of the Chaldees, is located.[1]

Until Woolley's identification of Ur, Arpachshad was understood by many Jewish and Muslim scholars to be an area in northern Mesopotamia, Urfa of the Yazidis. This led to the identification of Arpachshad with Urfa-Kasid (due to similarities in the names ארפ־כשד and כשדים) - a land associated with the Khaldis, whom Josephus confused with the Chaldean. Donald B. Redford has asserted[2] that Arpachshad is to be identified with Babylon.

Another Arpachshad is referenced in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith as being the "king of the Medes" contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar II, but this is thought to be a corruption of the historical name Cyaxares (Hvakhshathra).


  1. ^ Millard, Alan R. Biblical Archaeology Review May/June 2001: Where Was Abraham's Ur?
  2. ^ Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 405