Babel | Genesis 11

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Tower of Babel aka Astoria Column

Genesis 11

New International Version (NIV)

The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b] and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

From Shem to Abram

10 This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father[d] of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.[e]

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

Abram’s Family

27 This is the account of Terah’s family line.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 11:2 Or from the east; or in the east
  2. Genesis 11:2 That is, Babylonia
  3. Genesis 11:9 That is, Babylon; Babel sounds like the Hebrew for confused.
  4. Genesis 11:10 Father may mean ancestor; also in verses 11-25.
  5. Genesis 11:13 Hebrew; Septuagint (see also Luke 3:35, 36 and note at Gen. 10:24) 35 years, he became the father of Cainan. 13 And after he became the father of Cainan, Arphaxad lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters, and then he died. When Cainan had lived 130 years, he became the father of Shelah. And after he became the father of Shelah, Cainan lived 330 years and had other sons and daughter

Thoughts for the Day

The Tower of Babel is an interesting story. We have all of Noah’s descendants in one location, principally Babylonia. Which encompassed everything from Egypt to Iran, and Turkey to Saudi Arabia. (Map). For one reason or another, these people did not want to live apart from one another, they wanted to stay as one people. God wanted them to divide, and populate the earth. This difference of desire, led to the people to defy God’s will and build a city. Then they decided they wanted to build a tower to make their mark on the planet, and in history.  With this accomplishment, it was their hope that no one would want to leave the city of their heritage.

Notes about construction materials: Verse 3 – They began building the tower from bricks they made, and used tar for mortar.  If you have ever gone out to the street on a hot day, you will see that the properties of tar, are not as such that it would hold bricks in place. The heat would liquefy the tar and the bricks would slowly ooze out-of-place. This tells us, that the climate was likely much cooler back then than it is now. During Bible times the middle east, was covered in great cedars, and the land was fertile. Today, it is too hot, to use tar as Mortar, and has little water for irrigation, which is proof that global climate change is not new.

God, of course had other plans for the human race, and had to see to it, that they were carried out.  In verse 7, he changes the languages of people so they can no longer communicate. This caused like speaking people to move out of the region together. The people gave up on the city, and left in groups based on the language that they spoke.  Through this strange miracle, the people became diversified and carried out Gods will. Could you imagine the headache you would have if when you woke up, no one could understand you?  That had to have caused a great deal of frustration to say the least.

In verse 10 we get another family history which is good for three reasons. The first, is that we want to understand who Abraham is, and who his fathers were. This family tree stuff is incredibly important. The second is that we see the pre-flood folks living several hundred years old, but their kid’s life spans are getting shorter, just as God promised. The third and most important reason is by having each person’s age, we can add their years to the last listing of these folks, using these genealogy sequences, one can actually calculate the biblical age of the earth. We are given via all these ancestry listings enough information to get from Adam, to the Crucifixion of Christ.

Tomorrow, we will begin studying another one of our Great Patriarchs “Father Abram”

Have a wonderful day, and seek God’s will in all that you do.

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