Shem was descended from the "superior" male line of Abel "son of God". In Egypt, this represented the succession of Shu, Geb, Osiris, and then Thoth. In Mesopotamia these gods corresponded to Enlil, Ninurta, Dumuzi, and then Shamash.
Ham and Japheth were from the junior line of Cain "son of Man/Adam". However, after the Flood this junior line, the true Adamic male line, became dominant.
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