Genesis chapter 11

The Tower of Babel. The line of descent from Shem to Abraham. The family of Terah.

 


 

THE TOWER OF BABEL

 

VERSE 1. The whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

 

VERSE 2. As they traveled east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there.

east. The Septuagint reads “from the east”.

They were moving eastward.

 

VERSE 3. They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

let’s make bricks. This is the first time that bricks have been mentioned. Perhaps they were a brand new technology.

 

VERSE 4. They said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth.”

let’s build ourselves … a tower. After people settled in the land of Shinar, they agreed to build a giant tower.

let’s make a name for ourselves. Their tower would make them famous. Their tower would be a monument to arrogance and pride.

Even in our day, people construct massive buildings to make a name for themselves. These buildings are monuments to their arrogance and pride.

 

VERSE 5. The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

 

VERSE 6. The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do.

 

VERSE 7. Come, let’s go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

let’s go down. That is, “Come, let us go down.”

The Most Hight God is speaking to himself as a plurality of beings.

With our Christian hindsight, we imagine this as a conversation between the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

confuse their language. The LORD God gave each of them a different language. Suddenly, instead of one language, there were hundreds or thousands.

In our day, the estimates are that there are approximately 6,700 languages in use throughout the world. The prediction is that that number will drop by half in the next century. But half of 6,700, or 3,350 languages, is still a lot of languages!

Perhaps the events in the land of Shinar gave God the “excuse,” so to speak, to introduce more languages into the human experience.

Having people think and act and see the world through the lens of thousands of different languages, would diversify and enrich the human experience.

A person sees the world differently when thinking in Japanese than in English, or Urdu instead of Tamil. Each language makes its own contribution to our collective experience.

Thus the Tower of Babel triggered a fresh outpouring of God’s grace.

 

VERSE 8. So the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city.

So the LORD scattered them abroad. This is the very thing that they hoped would NOT happen.

 

VERSE 9. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. From there, the LORD scattered them abroad on the surface of all the earth.

its name was called Babel. The word בָּבֶל (“Babel”) is the Hebrew form of the word “Babylon.”

The Hebrew word “Babel” sounds like the Hebrew word “balal,” which means “confusion.”

 

THE LINE OF DESCENT FROM SHEM TO ABRAHAM

 

VERSE 10. This is the history of the generations of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old when he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood.

the generations of Shem. Prior to the Flood, the biblical genealogies indicate that people lived for centuries.

However, after the Flood, lifespans were not much different from our day.

 

VERSE 11. Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 12. Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and became the father of Shelah.

 

VERSE 13. Arpachshad lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Shelah, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 14. Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber.

 

VERSE 15. Shelah lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Eber, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 16. Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg.

 

VERSE 17. Eber lived four hundred thirty years after he became the father of Peleg, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 18. Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu.

 

VERSE 19. Peleg lived two hundred nine years after he became the father of Reu, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 20. Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug.

 

VERSE 21. Reu lived two hundred seven years after he became the father of Serug, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 22. Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor.

 

VERSE 23. Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 24. Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah.

 

VERSE 25. Nahor lived one hundred nineteen years after he became the father of Terah, and became the father of more sons and daughters.

 

VERSE 26. Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Abram. This is where the great father of faith first appears. He is in the tenth generation of this list.

 

THE FAMILY OF TERAH

 

VERSE 27. Now this is the history of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot.

 

VERSE 28. Haran died in the land of his birth, in Ur-Kasdim, while his father Terah was still alive.

Ur-Kasdim. Also known as Ur of the Chaldees, this was an ancient city of the Sumerians in southern Mesopotamia.

 

VERSE 29. Abram and Nahor married wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, who was also the father of Iscah.

Sarai. Her name means “princess.”

 

VERSE 30. Sarai was barren. She had no child.

 

VERSE 31. Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife. They went from Ur-Kasdim, to go into the land of Canaan. They came to Haran and lived there.

 

VERSE 32. The days of Terah were two hundred five years. Terah died in Haran.

 


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GENESIS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: Todd Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.