The following verses either state or imply Arphaxad fathered Salah:
Genesis 10:24 - fathered
Genesis 11:13 - fathered
1 Chron 1:18 - fathered
1 Chron 1:24.
However, Luke 3:35-36 suggests Arphaxad fathered Cainan and then some time
afterward Cainan fathered Shelah(Salah).
Luke 3:35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg,
the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
:36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
Given the apparent contradiction, how does one resolve the question of who
Further, who is the 'Cainan' of Luke 3:36? No one else in Scripture is
known by this name, except the pre-Flood Cainan who died centuries earlier.
[ It should be understood by the reader that God has caused certain
details to be revealed in New Testament in order to clarify issues
in the Old Testament which are not immediately apparent. ]
Any reasonable consideration of who the person named 'Cainan' in Luke 3:36
actually is, would have to consider Canaan the son of Ham.
The man Canaan - A) lived at the appropriate time,
B) was a person of biblical significance
(the land of his descendants was given
to the children of Israel), and
C) for some sexual reason was cursed by Noah
[ Note: While the names 'Cainan' and 'Canaan' in English look similar
in Hebrew they differ, the name 'Cainan' meaning 'fixed' and
the name 'Canaan' meaning 'humiliated'. ]
In Genesis 9:20-25 we have recorded the events which lead to a curse being
placed upon Canaan.
Gen 9:20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a
:21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became
uncovered in his tent.
:22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness
of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
:23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on
both their shoulders, and went backward and covered
the nakedness of their father. Their faces were not
turned away, and they did not see their father's
:24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his
younger son had done to him.
:25 Then he said:
"Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants he shall be to his
This area of Genesis chapter 9 has never been clearly understood. How many
times have biblical commentaries condemned Ham, assuming he was the guilty
party in this account. They never explain why Canaan, and not Ham, was
cursed! (It should be noted Canaan was only one of several sons of Ham.
Gen 10:6. Canaan was not even the eldest son of Ham!)
In the Genesis 9:20-25 events Canaan, and not Ham, was guilty! In verse
24 the notion 'youngest son' would on the surface appear to identify the
offender as Ham, but the Hebrew meaning of the word 'son' is not as
specific as it is in English. In Hebrew the word 'son' is 'builder of
family name', an expression which may equally be used to refer to a
grandson or even a further removed descendant!
Prior to the incident recorded in Genesis 9:20-24 there is the mention of
only one grandson of Noah, his grandson Canaan. Refer verse 9:18. No other
grandson is mentioned until after the incident. Canaan also appears to have
been the youngest son of Ham (refer Gen 10:6 and 1Chr 1:8) and of course
Ham was the youngest son of Noah. So it is likely that at the time of the
incident the youngest male descendant of Noah was Canaan. Since the curse
was actually placed on Canaan, it is quite clear that by the description
'youngest son(descendant)' Canaan was being identified.
In this Genesis narrative more is being said than an initial impression
would indicate. The notion of 'nakedness' in Scripture has a broader
meaning than it does normally!
Lev 18:8 The nakedness of your father's wife you shall
not uncover; it is your father's nakedness.
20:11 The man who lies with his father's wife has
uncovered his father's nakedness; ...
Deut 27:20 Cursed is the one who lies with his father's
wife, because he has uncovered his father's
These verses imply the person compromised in Genesis chapter nine was
Noah's wife. However, notice the following verse which seems to widen the
application of the definition of one's 'nakedness'.
Lev 18:10 The nakedness of your son's daughter or your
daughter's daughter, their nakedness you shall
not uncover; for theirs is your own nakedness.
It seems unlikely that Canaan would be attracted to his own grandmother,
but a younger daughter(or granddaughter) of Noah could have been dwelling
with Noah and his wife.
In summary, it seems that a lady related to Noah was uncovered and then
subsequently became compromised by Canaan. Noah being drunk was unable
to prevent this transgression. Ham, Canaan's father, discovered this
offence and Shem and Japheth acted to cover the nakedness.
How is this linked to Luke 3:35-36?
Meshing the Genesis 9 account with the Canaan perspective of Luke 3:36
tells us that a son was 'fathered' by Canaan, as a result of the act for
which Canaan was cursed. That the young lady concerned was (or became)
the wife of Arphaxad.
Luke 3:35-36 in stating 'of Shelah, of Cainan, of Arphaxad' was merely
documenting that Shelah was a son of both Cainan and Arphaxad. Of both
Canaan and Arphaxad.
Why does the name 'Cainan' appear in Luke 3:36? This was most likely the
original name of the youngest son of Ham. The name 'Canaan' by which he
is known in the Old Testament means 'humiliated', a name which it seems
was given to him after the Genesis chapter 9 incident.
This clarification of Luke 3:35-36 also extends the breadth of the meaning
of the word 'fathered'. It shows the word can be in reference to:
1) a biological father or
2) the male parent who raised the child
(ie the husband of their mother).
(Note: This awareness of the meaning of the term 'father' assists one
in understanding some of the other discrepancies that can be
seen in recorded genealogies.)
So who was the father of Salah? - Canaan was the biological father
- Arphaxad was the parental father.
NB: 1) The purpose of 'the son of Cainan' in Luke 3:36 was to clarify our
understanding of the events which resulted in the cursing of Canaan
and his descendants.
2) This incident resulted in the polluting of the chosen genealogy
which had until then been 'perfect'. Refer Genesis 6:9 where
Noah is described as 'perfect in his generations'.