Genesis 10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. (KJV) Genesis 10:21 To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born. (RSV) Some modern versions translate the text to read that Shem was older than Japheth. The Masoretic Text favors the KJV reading. The context of the passage also favors Japheth being the eldest brother of the three.