Genesis 11

 

Genesis 11:1–32

The Tower of Babel/The Line of Shem


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


This is a collection of the weekly lessons of Genesis (HTML) (PDF) interspersed with the complete word-by-word exegesis of this chapter from the Hebrew with some information from one-volume study of Genesis (HTML) (PDF) thrown in. Furthermore, the examination of this chapter has been expanded with additional commentary as well. However, much of this material was thrown together without careful editing. Therefore, from time to time, there will be concepts and exegetical material which will be repeated, because there was no overall editing done once all of this material was combined. At some point in the future, I need to go back and edit this material and consider other source material as well. Links to the word-by-word, verse-by-verse studies of Genesis (HTML) (PDF).

 

One more thing: it is not necessary that you read the grey Hebrew exegesis tables. They are set apart from the rest of the study so that you can easily skip over them. However, if you ever doubt a translation of a phrase or a verse, these translation tables will tell you exactly where that translation came from.


This should be the most extensive examination of Gen. 11 available, where you will be able to examine in depth every word of the original text.


Outline of Chapter 11:

 

Introduction

 

         vv.     1–9           The Confusion of Languages

         intro. 10–26         The Line of Shem—the Introduction

         vv.    10–26         The Line of Shem—the Exegesis

         vv.    27–32         Terah’s Family Moves from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran

 

Addendum


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         The Principals of Genesis 11

         Introduction         A Synopsis of Genesis 11

 

         v.       2              Map of the Fertile Crescent

         v.       4              What is the problem with this tower?

         v.       7              R. B. Thieme, Jr. Notes on Genesis 10 and Languages (from Syndein)

         v.       9              Philology from Bible Believers . Org

         v.      10              Special Section: Archaeology, Primitive Man and Evolution

         v.      10              Special Section: Traditional Archaeological Views

         v.      10              Traditional View of the Ages

         v.      10              Special Section: Archaeological Assumptions, C-14 Dating and Ancient Technology

         v.      10              The Assumptions of Archaeology and Paleontology

         v.      10              C-14 Accuracy

         v.      10              Scientific Achievements of Ancient Hamitic Peoples

         v.      10              Types of Genealogies Found in the Bible

         v.      14              Ages of the Patriarchs Chart

         v.      14              Why Abraham is called a Hebrew

         v.      23              Explaining the Age Decline

         v.      23              Longevity Decline of Patriarchs (Chart)

         v.      25              When did the flood occur?

         v.      25              The Biblical Chronology of Genesis 11

         v.      25              Special Section: Ancient Biblical Texts

         v.      25              Ancient Manuscripts of the Bible

         v.      26              The American English Bible Explains Genesis 11:26

         v.      26              The Meaning of the Names in Abram’s Line

         v.      26              Special Section: Population Growth; Abram’s Line

         v.      28              Transitional Point in the Book of Genesis

         v.      29              The Genealogies of Genesis (chart)

         v.      30              The Meanings of the Names of Abram, Sarai, Nahor and Milcah

         v.      31              Map of Haran

         v.      31              A Map of Abraham’s Journey

         v.      32              The Two Calls to Abram

         v.      32              An Exponential Decay Curve

 

         Addendum          Josephus’ History of this Time Period

         Addendum          Edersheim Summarizes Genesis 11

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of Genesis 11


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Forward

Doctrines Covered and Alluded to

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms

Introduction

Text

Addendum

www.kukis.org

 

Exegetical Studies in Genesis


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

Laws of Divine Establishment

 

 

 

 

 


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Gen. 10

 

 

 


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 


Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 



Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. Also, I have developed a few new terms and concepts which require definition as well.

In addition, there are other more traditional yet technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Sometimes the terms in the exegesis of this chapter are simply alluded to, without any in-depth explanation of them. Sometimes, these terms are explained in detail and illustrated. A collection of all these terms is found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Definition of Terms

Cluster Genealogy

A genealogy where the patriarch is named along with several of his sons and several of their sons. Generally, this is only for 3 or 4 generations.

Linear Genealogy

A linear genealogy follows one particular line for 5 or more generations. Very rarely is more than one son named in any generation.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://gracebiblechurchwichita.org/?page_id=1556

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

http://rickhughesministries.org/content/Biblical-Terms.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d

http://www.wordoftruthministries.org/termsanddefs.htm

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics.html

http://www.theopedia.com/


——————————


An Introduction to Genesis 11


I ntroduction: Gen. 11 is a chapter where one might spend a little time in the first 9 verses, jump over the middle section of genealogy, and then touch on the final 5 or 6 verses. However, this is a great amount of commentary which can be done on this chapter; and there are things unique to this chapter and to the genealogical line found in this chapter which are well-worth exploring. You may think me an odd duck, but I got so into this chapter that one day, when I was nearly completing it, I spent 7 hours on it—I was that enthralled with the material.


There are a few minor issues found in this chapter which may alter your understanding of Abraham’s line and his family. For instance, it appears as though Abraham was spoken to by God on possibly two occasions asking him to move from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan. The first time, he and his family got halfway there (which God knew would happen). The second time, Abraham (Abram in this chapter) will do exactly what God asks him to do, which will be what we study when we get to Gen. 12.


We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of Genesis 11

Characters

Commentary

The descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth (which includes these patriarchs)

Gen. 11 essentially explains Gen. 10. Why did the various sons of Noah split up and go their separate ways? Why was this important to God? All of this information is included in this chapter.

The Line of Shem

Shem is the Semitic line; we go from Shem (Noah’s son) to Abraham in this chapter.

Terah

Terah is the father of Abraham and it appears as though both he and Abraham originally got the call from God to move west to the land of Canaan. However, they stopped in Charan and moved no further as a family. Terah means delayed; and the blessings of God were delayed because of Terah.

Haran

Haran is one of Terah’s sons, who died before his father Terah, and possibly was the impetus for Terah moving out west.

Abram

God clearly came to Abram in Gen. 12:1 and told him to move to the land of Canaan, forsaking his family and home. Abram obeyed this call. It appears as this was the second time that God called him.

Lot

Lot is the son of Haran, who died in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram essentially adopted Lot and took him with to the land of Canaan. Lot enjoyed blessing by association until he separated from Abram.

Sometimes, this little preparation can allow this chapter to play out, making much more sense as you go through it.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


It would be worth noting that, although Noah will die after the flood, his sons will likely all live very long lives, but their sons will live shorter lives and their grandsons will live even shorter lives. As a result, Shem, Ham and Japheth will all remain alive for a long time, through many generations of sons, grandsons, and descendants. At one time, in all of these 3 lines, we have anywhere from 5–20 generations alive simultaneously.


Also, only Shem, Ham and Japheth were alive during the flood and the antediluvian civilization. Therefore, they are a source of unique information known nowhere else.


 

A Synopsis of Genesis 11

Gen. 11 is actually three chapters for the price of one. We have the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages in Gen. 11:1–9; the line of Shem in vv. 10–26; and the focus on Terah’s family and their initial move in vv. 27–32. These are all certainly interrelated. The family of Shem remains in Ur of the Chaldees, as the families of Ham and Japheth moved to the west. The line of Shem goes out approximately 10 generations, linking Shem to Terah, the father of Abram (Abraham). God calls Abram to move to Canaan, and we have the first leg of this move at the end of this chapter.

Originally, Noah and his 3 sons were the patriarchs for all the people on earth. Therefore, everyone spoke the same language. God told them to split up and cover the land, but they refused, building a tower as a beacon, so that all mankind from a distance could see where the center of man was. Vv. 1–4

God brought the angels down to see what was going on, and they confused the languages of man, causing them to disperse throughout the earth. This dispersion is covered in great detail in Gen. 10 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). Vv. 5–9

From here, we cover the line of Shem, a linear genealogy, which takes us all the way from Shem to Abram. Vv. 10–26

At this point, we pick up with the family of Terah (Terah is Abram’s father), and their life in Ur of the Chaldees (actually, very little of this life is actually covered). Vv. 27–28.

The wives of Abram and Nahor are introduced; and they move from Ur of the Chaldees to the city of Charan (which they possibly named after Terah’s son Haran, who passed away in Ur). Vv. 29–32

This will help you make your way through the exegesis of this chapter.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The final two verses of Gen. 10 read:


Gen 10:31–32 These are the sons of Shem, with respect to their clans [or, families], with respect to their languages, in their lands, and with respect to their nations. These [are] the clans [or, families] of the sons of Noah, according to [or, with respect to] their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.


Despite these references to languages and different territories, it is quite obvious that Noah and his 3 sons, and their families would all speak the same language and that they first traveled as a group.


What we have here is a typical Semitic approach to the recording of history. We just finished looking at the sons of Noah, and their sons, and how these various men founded the nations of the earth, and how they were distinguished by their languages, families and geographical locations. Now, we go back, and look at one part of human history; how man went from being one family—the family of Noah—and morphed into a world of national entities.


Let’s step back for a moment and see the overall organization. Noah and his sons get off the ark, and of all the historical events which occurred in Noah’s life, only one is recorded: Noah getting drunk and laying around naked in his tent (how would you like something like this to be one of the defining events of your life?). The reactions of his sons provided the historical trends of their descendants. That logically led us to defining exactly who descended from whom, which is Gen. 10. However, that required the author to record a pivotal event in human history, which explains how one family stepping off the ark became a world of national entities. That takes us to Gen. 11:1–9, to the first human attempt at internationalism, the Tower of Babel.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The Confusion of Languages


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so is all the earth a lip one [or, one speech, language] and words [the] same.

Genesis

11:1

All the earth is one language and the same words [or, vocabulary].

At one time the whole earth spoke the same language and used the same vocabulary.


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts, using the Douay-Rheims translation; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament. Although I usually quote the Complete Apostles’ Bible here, I have begun to make changes in the translation when their translation conflicts with the Greek and note what those changes are.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

The Targum of Onkelos is actually the Pentateuchal Targumim, which are The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel. On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee by J. W. Etheridge, M.A. Take from http://targum.info/targumic-texts/pentateuchal-targumim/ and first published in 1862.

 

Targum of Onkelos                And all the earth was (of) one language, and one speech, and one counsel.

Jerusalem targum                  And all the inhabiters of the earth were (of) one language, and of one speech, and one counsel:...

Latin Vulgate                          And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so is all the earth a lip one [or, one speech, language] and words [the] same.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    NOW the whole earth spoke one language and with one manner of speech.

Septuagint (Greek)                And all the earth had one language, and one speech.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Origin of languages and cultures

All people [Heb lacks people.] on the earth had one language and the same words.

Contemporary English V.       At first everyone spoke the same language,...

Easy English                          The *tower in Babel shows that people are proud, 11:1-4

All the people on the earth had one language and they had one set of words.

Easy-to-Read Version            {After the flood,} the whole world spoke one language. All people used the same words.

Good News Bible (TEV)         At first, the people of the whole world had only one language and used the same words.

The Message                         At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language.

New Berkeley Version           It came about when the whole earth used one language and the same words 2that in moving in the East they came upon a plain in the Shinar territory and there they settled. V. 2 was included for context.

New Century Version             The Languages Confused

At this time the whole world spoke one language, and everyone used the same words.

New Living Translation           The Tower of Babel

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          [At the time], the whole earth shared the same lips, because they all spoke the same language.

Beck’s American Translation The Confusion of Languages

The whole world talked one language with the same words.

God’s Word                         The whole world had one language with a common vocabulary.

New American Bible              The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.

New American Bible (R.E.)    Tower of Babel.

The whole world had the same language and the same words. [11:1-9] This story illustrates increasing human wickedness, shown here in the sinful pride that human beings take in their own achievements apart from God. Secondarily, the story explains the diversity of languages among the peoples of the earth.

NIRV                                      The Tower of Babel

The whole world had only one language. All people spoke it.

New Jerusalem Bible             The whole world spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary.

New Simplified Bible              The entire world had one language and common words.

Revised English Bible            THERE was a time when all the world spoke a single language and used the same words.

Today’s NIV                          The Tower of Babel

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      All the land was of one lip and of one word.

Complete Jewish Bible           The whole earth used the same language, the same words.

The Expanded Bible              The Languages Confused

At this time the whole world spoke one language, and everyone used the same words.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 All the country was agreed for settled objects.

HCSB                                     At one time the whole earth had the same language and vocabulary.

Judaica Press Complete T.    Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words.

New Advent Bible                  And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech.

NET Bible®                             The Dispersion of the Nations at Babel

The whole earth [The whole earth. Here "earth" is a metonymy of subject, referring to the people who lived in the earth. Genesis 11 begins with everyone speaking a common language, but chap. 10 has the nations arranged by languages. It is part of the narrative art of Genesis to give the explanation of the event after the narration of the event. On this passage see A. P. Ross, "The Dispersion of the Nations in Genesis 11:1-9," BSac 138 (1981): 119-38.] had a common language and a common vocabulary [Heb "one lip and one [set of] words." The term "lip" is a metonymy of cause, putting the instrument for the intended effect. They had one language. The term "words" refers to the content of their speech. They had the same vocabulary.]. When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And the whole earth was of one language and of one accent and mode of expression.

Concordant Literal Version    Now coming is the entire earth to be of one lip, all of one speech.

Context Group Version          And the entire land { or earth } was of one language { lit., one lip } and of one speech.

Emphasized Bible                  So it came to pass that, all the earth, was of one manner of speech,—and of one stock of words.

English Standard Version      The Tower of Babel

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.

LTHB                                     And the whole earth was of one lip and of one speech.

NASB                                     Universal Language, Babel, Confusion

Now the whole earth used the same language [Lit was one lip] and the same words [Or few or one set of words].

New RSV                               Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.

Syndein/Thieme                     {The Tower of Babel; the Generations from Shem to Abram}

{Verses 1:9: Story of Internationalism}

And the whole earth {'erets} was of one language {saphah}, and of one speech {dabar - means to 'communicate categorically'}. {Note: In Hebrew style, a story is laid out and then later the details are given. So 'one language and one speech' tells us that now we have moved back before the separation of the earth into Nationalism laid out in Chapters 10:5.} {Note: Human viewpoint says that one language would be so 'good for the human race'. God protects the human race by keeping the peoples separate so everyone can have maximum freedom. The power lust of the Old Sin Nature is just to great too handle one world government. And, Satan is the ruler of this world. So if one world government did take control, we can be sure its policies would be those of Satan. 'The greatest good for the greatest number' is a Satanic policy that sounds very good to those who are NOT in power. It tickles their power lusts. And, false 'religions' are authored by the great deceiver - the devil. In these he has two basic campaigns -smear and fear. First he attacks and reference to the grace of God - building up 'salvation by some form of human works' instead - circumcism, baptism, 'living a good life', not eating pork, cows, whatever. Next, fear - Satan uses religion to 'beat' people over the heads so they are in a constant state of fear. Then they are distracted from seeing how God's plan of Grace is one of love, and happiness, and inner peace - here on earth and for eternity.}.

World English Bible                The whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

Young's Literal Translation     And the whole earth is of one pronunciation, and of the same words,...

 

The gist of this verse:          At one time, everyone on earth spoke the same language.


Genesis 11:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75

sâphâh (שָׂפָה) [pronounced saw-FAWH]

lip, tongue; words, speech; dialect, language; edge, border [or, lip] [of something], shore

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8193 BDB #973

This is the first occurrence of this word in Scripture; this was not the word used in the previous chapter.

ʾechâd (אֶחָד) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular; anyone

feminine singular, numeral adjective

Strong's #259 BDB #25


Translation: All the earth is one language... The previous chapter was nearly all wâw conjunctions. We rarely found a wâw consecutive followed by an imperfect verb (several of these together indicate successive or logically successive action). However, we have one wâw consecutive here with an imperfect verb, followed by 3 of them in the next verse and 1 in the verse after that. This suggests to us that we are dealing with narrative in the Hebrew and successive acts.


What we have here is not exactly one action following the next, but this verse sets us up with a perpetual state of affairs set up by the first wâw consecutive followed by the imperfect verb. This is how it has been and this is how it continues to be.


What this perpetual state of affairs is, is everyone speaks the same language, which is exactly what we would expect. If everyone is born of Noah, then they speak the same language that Noah speaks.


Genesis 11:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

debârîym (דְּבָרִים) [pronounced dawb-vawr-EEM]

words, sayings, doctrines, commands; things, matters, reports

masculine plural noun

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

Although this seems nearly impossible to me, this appears to be the first occurrence of this word in Scripture.

ʾăchâdîym (אֲחָדִים) [pronounced uh-khaw-DEEM]

the same; joined in one, united; some, a few

masculine plural, numeral adjective

Strong's #259 BDB #25

Note that this is the exact same word from v. 1a, but it is in the plural here. Even though the plural meanings can be different, note the singular meanings already stated.


Translation: ...and the same words [or, vocabulary]. Also, it says here that their words are united or the same or joined. This simply means that they all had the same vocabulary.


——————————


And so he is in their pulling up stakes from east and so they find a plain in a land of Shinar and so they stay there.

Genesis

11:2

Then it was when they journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and, therefore, they stayed there.

As people moved out of the east, they found a plain in the country of Shinar where they settled.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                In the holy language spake they, that by which the world had been created at the beginning. And it was while they were journeying from the east that they found a plain in the land of Bavel, and dwelt there.

Jerusalem targum                  ...for they spake the holy language by which the world was created at the beginning: while their hearts erred afterwards from the Word of Him who spake, and the world was, at the beginning; and they found a plain in the land of Pontos and dwelt there.

Latin Vulgate                          And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so he is in their pulling up stakes from east and so they find a plain in a land of Shinar and so they stay there.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And it came to pass, as men journeyed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sinar; and they settled there.

Septuagint (Greek)                And it came to pass as they moved from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       ...but after some of them moved from the east and settled in Babylonia,...

Easy English                          When people moved to the east, they found a plain in the country called Shinar. And they stayed there.

Easy-to-Read Version            People moved from the East [This usually means the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as far as the Persian Gulf.]. They found a plain in the country of Shinar. The people stayed there to live.

Good News Bible (TEV)         As they wandered about in the East, they came to a plain in Babylonia and settled there.

The Message                         It so happened that as they moved out of the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled down.

New Century Version             As people moved from the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.

New Life Bible                        And as men traveled in the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and made their home there.

New Living Translation           As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia [Hebrew Shinar.] and settled there.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then as they migrated from the east, they found a flat area of land in Shinar, and they started living there.

Beck’s American Translation As people traveled in the east, they found a plain in the country of Babylonia and lived there.

Christian Community Bible     As people moved from east, they found a plain in the country of Shinar where they settled.

God’s Word                         As people moved toward the east, they found a plain in Shinar [Babylonia] and settled there.

New American Bible (R.E.)    When they were migrating from the east, they came to a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. Shinar: the land of ancient Babylonia, embracing Sumer and Akkad, present-day southern Iraq, mentioned also in 11:2; 14:1.

NIRV                                      They moved to the east and found a broad valley in Babylonia. There they settled down.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      As they were journeying east, they found a canyon in the land of Central-Iraq and they dwelled there.

Bible in Basic English             And it came about that in their wandering from the east, they came to a stretch of flat country in the land of Shinar, and there they made their living-place.

The Expanded Bible              As people ·moved [migrated] ·from the east [or eastward; 2:8; 4:16], they found a plain in the land of ·Babylonia [LShinar] and settled there.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 But some of them marching from the East arrived at a plain in the Bush-land, and halted there.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

New Advent Bible                  And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it.

NET Bible®                             When the people [Heb "they"; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.] moved eastward [Or perhaps "from the east" (NRSV) or "in the east."], they found a plain in Shinar [Heb "in the land of Shinar."] [Shinar is the region of Babylonia.] and settled there.

NIV – UK                                As people moved eastward [Or from the east; or in the east], they found a plain in Shinar [That is, Babylonia] and settled there.

The Scriptures 1998              And it came to be, as they set out from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinʽar [Earlier name for Babel], and they dwelt there.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And as they journeyed eastward, they found a plain (valley) in the land of Shinar, and they settled and dwelt there.

Concordant Literal Version    And coming is it in their journey from the east, that they are finding a valley in the land of Shinar, and dwelling there are they.

Emphasized Bible                  And it came to pass as they brake away onwards, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and dwelt there.

English Standard Version      And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

The Geneva Bible                  And it came to pass [One hundred and thirty years after the flood. ], as they [That is, Nimrod and his company.] journeyed from the east [That is, from Armenia where the ark stayed.], that they found a plain in the land of Shinar [Which was afterward called Chaldea. ]; and they dwelt there.

Green’s Literal Translation    And it happened, as they pulled up stakes from the east, they found a level valley in the land of Shinar. And they lived there.

LTHB                                     And it happened, as they pulled up stakes from the east, they found a level valley in the land of Shinar. And they lived there.

New RSV                               And as they migrated from the east [Or migrated eastward], they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

Syndein/Thieme                     {Migration of Peoples from the Mountain of Ararat}

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east {first began to spread out}, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar {in Chaldea}. And they 'dwelt in blessing' {yashab} there. {Note: Man's descent from the mountain was physically and spiritually as well.}.

World English Bible                It happened, as they traveled east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they lived there.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, in their journeying from the east, that they find a valley in the land of Shinar, and dwell there.

 

The gist of this verse:          Mankind moved as a group from the east and settled in the Plain of Shinar, which became known as Babylonia.


Genesis 11:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

nâçaʿ (נָסַע) [pronounced naw-SAHĢ]

to pull up [stakes], to pull out, to break camp and move out, to set out, to journey, to march, to depart; to bend a bow

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5265 BDB #652

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

This is the first occurrence of this word in Scripture.

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, of, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

qêdem (קֶדֶם) [pronounced KAY-dem]

east, antiquity, front, that which is before, aforetime; in front, mount of the East; ancient time, aforetime, ancient, from of old, earliest time; anciently, of old ; beginning; eastward, to or toward the east

noun/adverb

Strong’s #6924 BDB #870


Translation: Then it was when they journeyed from the east... Recall that the earth had been flooded and that the waters had receded, but they were still receding from the land. They are in a mountain range where they may have been traveling in a south-easterly direction. However, when they looked toward the west, they noticed a great plain where the Tigres and Euphrates Rivers were. At this time, these would have been great rushing rivers and the ground would be quite green from the earth becoming covered with plant life. From the mountains, they would be moving from the east toward the west.


Genesis 11:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâtsâʾ (מָצָא) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover; to meet (encounter)

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

biqeʿâh (בִּקְהָ) [pronounced bik-ĢAW]

valley, cleft, plain [country]; a widely extended plain

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1237 BDB #132

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Shineʿâr (שִנְעָר) [pronounced shine-GAWR]

country of two rivers; land of Babylon; transliterated Shinar

proper singular noun location

Strong’s #8152 BDB #1042


fertilecrescent.jpg

Translation: ...that they found a plain in the land of Shinar... The population of man is growing quickly. They are able to remain together, but, apart from Noah, who was 600 years old at the beginning of the flood, everyone remains alive for a long time. Therefore, they need a great plain to plant crops and trees and they needed easy access to water, and they had both of these.


To the right is a Map of the Fertile Crescent (from atil.blog.bg). The ark would have come to rest in the mountains of Asian Minor. As the water recedes, Noah and his son would have gone eastward and then south-east through the Zagros Mountains. As the water receded further, they would have gone into the fertile crescent, the valley through which the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run. These would have been much larger rivers at this time; the countryside would have had much more moisture, so coming down to where the rivers run into the Persian Gulf is essentially where the Bible indicates that early man would have come. By this time, there would have been a population explosion, and as the waters continued to recede, the population would have moved further down the mountains and finally into the valley. This is where Shinar (Babylon) is located.


Shinar means country of two rivers. This would be where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet, in an area which was later called Babylonia and Chaldea, which most consider to be the cradle of civilization. Today, this is Iraq, where things have changed dramatically. One of the cities built in this area would be later called Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham’s city of origin.


Genesis 11:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâshab (יָשַב) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027


Translation: ...and, therefore, they stayed there. This provided mankind with all that they needed at that point in time—level ground, tillable soil and a source of water.


Gen 11:1–2 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it happened, as they traveled from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar. And they lived there.


As we saw, the ark probably came to rest in the mountains of Armenia, and the ever-expanding clan of Noah first traveled southeast through the mountain ranges, and then, as the earth continued to dry, moved westward from these mountains into the Euphrates valley.


Language is fundamental to a people, a culture and to technological growth. We have found, through the study of wild children, that if language is not developed at a very crucial stage—in both written and spoken form—it may never develop completely. In the study of wild children—children who have been fundamentally deprived in their developmental years—there is no making this up. A child whose language is not developed by age 7 or 8 will never catch up. Children who have been locked away in closets and rooms in their developmental years (or are raised by animals during this time) never develop their language or their thinking. It is not uncommon for a wild child, even when brought into some semblance of normality at, say, age 10, to be unable to develop a working vocabulary of even 30 words.


In our present-day culture—and I don’t think any studies have been done on this—we have many children being raised in homes where there is no reading material whatsoever, and their first exposure to a written language is not until their first week at school (apart from what they see on television). Such children are able to develop a speaking vocabulary, but they seem to be forever behind in school due to their struggling with reading.


Specific vocabularies are necessary for technological development. Advances in science go hand-in-hand with a technologically-specific vocabulary. Even spiritual growth requires one to develop a spiritual vocabulary. I don’t mean that, periodically, you bust out with a praise God or a Lord willing; but you develop concepts and attach to them a specific vocabulary (e.g., the phrase divine institution). In past lessons, we have studied redemption, dispensations and the Angelic Conflict. If these words mean something to you, then that probably indicates spiritual growth. No area of thought advances without a specific vocabulary, so you should not resist developing a spiritual vocabulary.


My point in this tangent is, language is fundamental to the human race, and it must be developed when a child is young. A technical language is required for any discipline.


Also important is control and saturation of the language: I write this in 2010 in the United States: who has not heard tax cuts for the rich, institutional racism, [social] justice, cap and tax? Simply establishing a vocabulary in the minds of the electorate—even when the vocabulary is essentially meaningless—can change the direction of a nation. A significant number of people in our 2008 election voted for the words hope and change, even though these words were intentionally undefined (this is not to say every Obama voter voted for those words, but a significant number did; I have spoken with college graduates who voted for Obama because we needed a change). One can drill down with many voters on either side of an issue, and sometimes their understanding of the issue is limited to a set of slogans and vocabulary words. I recall being dumbfounded when speaking to a college graduate who explained to me, quite seriously, that she voted for Barack Obama because she believed in hope and change. That was the depth of her actual knowledge that she could recall.


Controlling the language means, in many cases, influencing (and sometimes controlling) the thinking and volition of others. This is why, in the abortion debate, one side is pro-choice and the other side is pro-life. Neither side wants the other side to define them.


Gen 11:1–2 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it happened, as they traveled from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar. And they lived there.


The sons of Noah all spoke the same language.


In this passage, which we are about ready to delve into, there is the false interpretation and the correct interpretation. Liberal theologians teach that this is a myth designed to explain the existence of different human languages. The correct interpretation is, God has commanded man multiply and to spread out across the earth. God said to the man and the woman, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth [with people] and subdue the earth and exert dominance over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:28b; compare Gen. 8:17 9:1, 7). The natural result of man spreading throughout the earth would be nations and, eventually, a separation of languages.


The emphasis here is upon nationalism and God’s disapproval of all international movements. God does not like Communism, socialism, Islam, international green movements, the UN, the League of Nations, etc., because all of these movements and institutions operate in opposition to God.


Most of these are easy to see as being anti-God and, ultimately, anti-human. Communism looks upon man’s function as part of a great economic scheme, separate from God, with dramatic limitations upon human freedom. This is why Communist dictatorships will, upon taking control, kill masses of people, including the useful idiots who helped to put them into power in the first place. This is why people are, en masse, subject to re-education camps, when they are borderline in their commitment to communism.


Islam is the merging of church and state. I recall one person explaining the difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Judaism is both religious and political, but it is not universal. Therefore, Judaism does not seek to subjugate others. Christianity is religious and universal, but not political. For this reason, Christianity does not seek to subjugate others (bastardizations of Christianity have). Furthermore, free will is important to both Judaism and Christianity, so neither seeks to remove a person’s free will (ideally speaking). However, Islam is religious, political and universal. Therefore, its goal is to subjugate all mankind (just as the goal of communism is world subjugation to a network of communist nations—no communist movement will ever morph into a system which lacks a ruling class).


The problem with the UN is more subtle. This brings with it the concept of international law, authorities outside of a national entity, and, as we have seen on numerous occasions, it often gives international voice to tyrants.


What will happen in Gen. 11 is, man will want to cluster into a single nation, and God will make certain that man is dispersed into national entities. This will be brought about by one of the few true miracles in the Bible.


Gen. 11:1–2 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech [lit., one word]. And it happened, as they traveled from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar. And they lived there.


We have already tracked Noah’s likely movements, first southeast, through the mountains, as the waters continued to recede, and then due east, into the fertile valley of the Euphrates. Obviously, being from the same father, they all spoke the same language.


V. 1 provides an excellent example of a metonym. It says that the whole earth was of one language and one dialect. The earth does not have a human language. The earth is huge and mankind upon it is a very small thing living on the earth (particularly, at this point in time). Yet the passage reads, And the whole earth was of one language and one speech [lit., one word; one dialect, one vocabulary?]. It is this group of men traveling together who all speak the same language. However, the intent here is to indicate that there are no other groups of people on this earth. The families which we are talking about—named in Gen. 10—is it, and, at this point in time, they all speak one language. Obviously, we are backtracking now, as a differentiation of language was alluded to 3 times back in Gen. 10.


The early population was not going to settle in the mountains, and not knowing which way to go, headed west, following the sun. They had no reason to separate from one another. They journeyed from the east could also be rendered as they brake away onwards and the word means to pull up as one would pluck up tent pins.


Given thousands of years, two groups of people with a common language will develop an entirely different dialect. However, we are speaking of only a few generations from Noah. Therefore, what occurs in this chapter would have to be miraculous (assuming that it is true, which I do).


Only three generations of Japheth are mentioned, but it is likely that several generations could have been skipped, since there was no specific information on these groups in this portion of Scripture. Only three generations of Ham's line are traced, but there is a bit more detail. However, Shem's line is followed linearly, as if the author is going somewhere with it.


——————————


And so they say a man unto his neighbor, “Come, let us make bricks and let us burn them to fire.” And so is to them the brick for stone and the asphalt was to them for the mortar.

Genesis

11:3

Therefore, one man said to another [lit., each man said to his neighbor], “Come, let us make bricks and bake them with fire.” So they had bricks for stone and asphalt for mortar [lit., And to them brick was for stone and asphalt was to them for mortar].

The men decided to make bricks and to cure them with fire. They therefore were able to use bricks and asphalt for building.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And they said, a man to his fellow, Come, we will cast bricks, and put them in the furnace. And they had brick for stone, and slime for cement.

Latin Vulgate                          And each one said to his neighbour: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so they say a man unto his neighbor, “Come, let us make bricks and let us burn them to fire.” And so is to them the brick for stone and the asphalt was to them for the mortar.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And they said one to another, Come, let us make bricks and burn them with fire. And they had bricks for stone, and slime for mortar.

Septuagint (Greek)                And a man said to his neighbor, Come, let us make bricks and bake them with fire. And the brick was to them for stone, and their mortar was asphalt.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       ...they said: Let's build a city with a tower that reaches to the sky! We'll use hard bricks and tar instead of stone and mortar. We'll become famous, and we won't be scattered all over the world.

Easy English                          These people said to each other, `Come! Let us make bricks. And let us bake them hard.' So they used bricks as stones to build with. And they used bitumen (black stuff from the ground) in order to stick the bricks together.

Easy-to-Read Version            The people said, “We should make bricks and put them in fire so that they will become very hard.” So the people used bricks, not stones, to build their houses. And the people used tar [Or, "pitch," a thick oil that must be heated to become liquid.], not mortar [Cement used when building with bricks.].

Good News Bible (TEV)         They said to one another, "Come on! Let's make bricks and bake them hard." So they had bricks to build with and tar to hold them together.

The Message                         They said to one another, "Come, let's make bricks and fire them well." They used brick for stone and tar for mortar.

New Life Bible                        They said to one another, "Come, let us make blocks and burn them until they are hard." They used blocks for stone, and tar to hold them together.

New Living Translation           They began saying to each other, "Let's make bricks and harden them with fire." (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.)


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then one man said to his neighbor, 'Come on, let's make some bricks and bake them in an oven.' So, bricks became their stone, and tar served as their mortar.

New American Bible (R.E.)    They said to one another, "Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire." They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.

Today’s NIV                          They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      They had brick for stone and had bitumen for clay. Man said to neighbor, "Brick whitens by burning it thus on a pyre."

Bible in Basic English             And they said one to another, Come, let us make bricks, burning them well. And they had bricks for stone, putting them together with sticky earth.

The Expanded Bible              They said to each other, "Let's make bricks and ·bake [burn; fire] them ·to make them hard [thoroughly; Cin ancient times builders used mudbrick]." So they used bricks instead of stones, and ·tar [bitumen] instead of mortar.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Then each said to his neighbour, “Come let us set to work making bricks, and see that they are properly burnt; and bricks shall serve us for stone, and petroleum for mortar.”

HCSB                                     They said to each other, "Come, let us make oven-fired bricks." They had brick for stone and asphalt for mortar.

New Advent Bible                  And each one said to his neighbour: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar.

NET Bible®                             Then they said to one another [Heb "a man to his neighbor." The Hebrew idiom may be translated "to each other" or "one to another."], "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." [The speech contains two cohortatives of exhortation followed by their respective cognate accusatives: “let us brick bricks” (נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים, nilbbÿnah lÿvenim) and “burn for burning” (נִשְׂרְפָה לִשְׂרֵפָה, nisrÿfah lisrefah). This stresses the intensity of the undertaking; it also reflects the Akkadian text which uses similar constructions (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 75-76).] (They had brick instead of stone and tar [Or "bitumen" (cf. NEB, NRSV).] instead of mortar [The disjunctive clause gives information parenthetical to the narrative.].)

NIV – UK                                They said to each other, `Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly.' They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And they said one to another, Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly. So they had brick for stone, and slime (bitumen) for mortar.

Concordant Literal Version    And saying are they, each man to his associate, "Prithee! Let us mold bricks and burn them with a burning.And coming is the brick to be their stone, and asphalt becomes their mortar.

Emphasized Bible                  Then said they, each man to his friend, Come on! let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly,—So the bricks, served them for stone, and bitumen, served them for mortar,...

English Standard Version      And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.

LTHB                                     And each one said to his neighbor, Come, let us make brick, and burning burn them. And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.

NASB                                     They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

Syndein/Thieme                     {Verses 3-4: Human Viewpoint Policy of 'Internationalism'}

And they said {'amar} one to another {idealism rebellion - interested in each - no interest in God}, "Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

Webster’s Bible Translation  And they said one to another, come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

World English Bible                They said one to another, "Come, let's make brick, and burn them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

Young’s Updated LT             And they say each one to his neighbour, “Give help, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly:” and the brick is to them for stone, and the bitumen has been to them for mortar.

 

The gist of this verse:          Men determined that what they had there in the plain could be used as building materials.


Genesis 11:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

rêaʿ (רֵעַ) [pronounced RAY-ahģ]

associate, neighbor, colleague, fellow, acquaintance; fellow citizen; another person; one, another [in a reciprocal phrase]

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7453 BDB #945

This is the first occurrence of this word in Scripture.


Translation: Therefore, one man said to another [lit., each man said to his neighbor],... This is a key phrase. Men were able to work together and accomplish a great deal. As ought to be clear to you, no one man can do all things. And when an area becomes more and more specialized, and requires more training and preparation, the less that prepared and trained man knows about other things. The man or woman who delivers your baby is probably not the person you want on your roof laying down shingles nor is he the guy you wanting flying your plane from point A to point B.


When the United States was working on the Manhattan Project during WWII (the building of nuclear weapons), it was not this one guy who was really, really, really smart, who told everyone else what to do and they built the atom bomb; there were many people who contributed to this project.


I love the illustration of the pencil, where its wood is harvested in one country; the paint for the outside is manufactured in another, and the graphite is mined and manufactured elsewhere. Then these things come together in a plant which may even be in a fourth country, and the lowly pencil is made, for which we pay a nickel or a dime. Although the example of the pencil is used to teach what free enterprise actually is, it also shows how men cooperating with one another can develop things that no one person can build on his own. You do not want me to build a pencil for you. And I know you are unable to build one.


When men work together, there is a great deal that may be accomplished, even with their sin natures intact.


They say to one another indicates that there is no clearly established authority at this time. That is, there is not one particular person calling the shots here. According to the Masoretic text, this is about 100 years after the flood, where Noah and his 3 sons would all still be alive; but, according to the Greek text, this is about 500 years after the flood, which would be after Noah has died (we will examine this time frame more precisely in the second half of this chapter). At one time, at least among his 3 sons, Noah was their clear, established authority. He said that they were going to build an ark and fill it with animals (at the direction of God), and so they did. However, we do not have a clear authority here; we have what appears to various people at various times urging others into a specific course of action. The verb to say is a Qal imperfect, indicating that this discussion was ongoing. This may have been one meeting where several people suggested this course of action; or, this may have been informally, while the people were encamped in Shinar, thinking about their next move.


So, for whatever reason, Noah is no longer the undisputed leader who sets the agenda. Whether he is alive and irrelevant (for instance, Noah, for all we know, could be an alcoholic at this time), or whether he has died, we do not know. We simply know that there are going to be decisions made which affect everyone in Noah’s family, and that these decisions will be made apart from Noah and, apparently, apart from God (in fact, this will be a human viewpoint, anti-God decision). What we have here is the first committee decision recorded in the Bible.


Genesis 11:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yâhab (יָהַב) [pronounced yaw-HAWBV]

come! come on! come now, go to

Adverbial use of verb to give; an adverb of exhortation

Strong’s #3051 BDB #396

The form of this verb is hâbâh (הָבָה) [pronounced hawb-VAW], which, although this is said by Owen to be a 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of yâhab, it is not the standard form of an imperative (which is often a shortened verb). It is used here as a stand-alone adverb of exhortation.

lâbab (לָבַן) [pronounced law-BAHN]

to make bricks

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect; with the cohortative hê

Strong’s #3835 BDB #526

The cohortative hê, when applied to the first person, the idea is an expression of will or compulsion, and in the singular, may be expressed with I must, I could, I would, I will, I should, I may. When applied to the 1st person plural, the verb is often preceded by let us (as in Gen. 1:26).

lebênâh (לְבֵנָה) [pronounced leb-ay-NAW]

a brick, a tile, a pavement

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #3843 BDB #527


Translation:...“Come, let us make bricks... Someone, early on, figured out how to use the clay of that region, to build bricks.


Genesis 11:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sâraph (שָׂרַף) [pronounced saw-RAHF]

to suck in, to absorb, to drink in, to swallow down; to absorb or consume [with fire], to burn; to bake [bricks]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect; with the cohortative hê

Strong’s #8313 BDB #976

The cohortative hê, when applied to the first person, the idea is an expression of will or compulsion, and in the singular, may be expressed with I must, I could, I would, I will, I should, I may. When applied to the 1st person plural, the verb is often preceded by let us (as in Gen. 1:26).

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

serêphâh (שְׂרֵפָה) [pronounced sehr-ay-FAW]

burning [with fire], setting on fire

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8316 BDB #977


Translation: ...and bake them with fire.” They determined that the clay had to be fired in order to strengthen it. They found that fire transformed the nature of the clay.


Genesis 11:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lebênâh (לְבֵנָה) [pronounced leb-ay-NAW]

a brick, a tile, a pavement

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3843 BDB #527

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾeben (אֶבֶן) [pronounced EHB-ven]

a stone [large or small] [in its natural state, as a building material]; stone ore; used of tablets, marble, cut stone; used of a tool or weapon; a precious stone, gem; rock; a weight of the balance

feminine singular noun; pausal form

Strong's #68 BDB #6


Translation: So they had bricks for stone... This suggests that, in the mountains, they had used stone previously for whatever permanent structures that they build (which would have certainly included altars to offer sacrifices to Yehowah).


Genesis 11:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chêmâr (חֵמָר) [pronounced khay-MAWR]

bitumen, asphalt, oil-based mortar; pitch; slime

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2564 BDB #330

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

chômer (חֹמֶר) [pronounced KHOH-mer]

 clay, mortar; boiling [of water], foaming [of water]; a heap, a mound, a pile, a stack [of something]; a unit of measure [like a bushel]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2563 BDB #330


Translation: ...and asphalt for mortar [lit., And to them brick was for stone and asphalt was to them for mortar]. They determined that these bricks could be held together with mortar, also available to them in this region.


Gen 11:3 And they say to one another, “Come, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.


At the beginning of each quotation in vv. 3–4, we have the Qal imperative of the verb yâhab (יָהַב) [pronounced yaw-HAWBV]. The form of this verb in the text is hâbâh (הָבָה) [pronounced hawb-VAW], which, although this is said by Owen to be a 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of yâhab, it is not the standard form of an imperative (which is often just a shortened verb). It is used here as a stand-alone adverb of exhortation, meaning come! come on! come now, go to. Properly speaking, this ought to have its own Strong’s #, but it is incorporated as a form of the verb. We find it used this way in Gen. 11:3–4, 7 38:16 Ex. 1:10; therefore, we have plenty substantiating passages for this understanding. Furthermore, this verb/adverb is found alone and always in the same form (the 2nd person, masculine singular), even when the speaker is clearly speaking to a number of people (as is the case in our passage). Strong’s #3051 BDB #396.


You will note that they have bricks and asphalt. The former was likely made from clay, probably found throughout this water-rich valley, and fired. They understood that a fired clay product was quite superior to the simple clay version. The asphalt was probably a petroleum product, also common to that area.


Let me add that, I believe this is the first time in the Bible where fire is mentioned. It is not presented as some great discovery, but as a means to an end. Recall that, in Cain’s line, there were metal workers, which implies the use of fire.


Bear in mind that, at this time, man’s lifespan, after the flood, was a few hundred years and he had a much stronger and healthier body (obviously) as well as a sharper mind than we do today. Also recall that our modern technological explosion is a little over 300 years old (the patent for the first crude steam engine is 1698).


Our actual time frame is about 100 years, according to the Hebrew text, and about 500 years, according to the Greek text. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Around 200 b.c. (give or take a century), the Bible was translated into Greek, as most of that part of the world spoke Greek, including the Hebrews (who apparently spoke both Greek and Aramaic). This became the Bible used by Jesus and by the Apostles, for the most part (although, I am unsure which version was read in the synagogues). One great area of disagreement is the ages of the men in Shem’s line in the latter half of this chapter, which line helps us to fix the time of the Tower of Babel.


——————————


And so they said, “Come, we will build for ourselves a city and a tower and his head in the [two] heavens. And we will make for ourselves a name lest we are scattered upon faces of all the earth.”

Genesis

11:4

They also said, “Come, we will build a city for ourselves and a tower with its head in the heavens. And we will establish [lit., make, construct] for ourselves a reputation [or, a monument] so that we are not scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

They said, “Let us join together and build a city for ourselves as well as a tower with its head in the heavens. Furthermore, we will establish ourselves here as a focal point so that no one scatters us over the face of the earth.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                Come, we will build us a city and a tower, and the head of it shall come to the summit of the heavens; and we will make us (an image for) worship on the top of it, and put a sword in his hand to act against the array of war, before that we be scattered on the face of the earth. And the Lord was revealed to punish them for the work of the city and the tower which the sons of men builded.

Jerusalem targum                  And they said, Come now, and we will build us a city and a tower, and the head of it shall reach to the summit of the heavens, and we will make us in it a house of worship at the top,......and we will put a sword in his hand, lest there be set against him the array of war, before we be scattered upon the face of all the earth.

Latin Vulgate                          And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so they said, “Come, we will build for ourselves a city and a tower and his head in the [two] heavens. And we will make for ourselves a name lest we are scattered upon faces of all the earth.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Then they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Septuagint (Greek)                And they said, Come, let us build to ourselves a city and tower, whose top shall be to heaven, and let us make to ourselves a name, before we are scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Easy English                          Then they said, `Come! Let us build a city for ourselves. Let us build a tower (tall, narrow building) with its top in the sky. We will make ourselves great. Then we shall not scatter over all the earth.'

Easy-to-Read Version            Then the people said, “We should build a city for ourselves. And we should build a tower that will reach to the sky. We will be famous. {And this will keep us together.} We will not be scattered all over the earth.”.

New Living Translation           Then they said, "Come, let's build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world."


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Tower with its top in the sky: possibly a reference to the chief ziggurat of Babylon, E-sag-ila, lit., "the house that raises high its head."

Beck’s American Translation Then they said, “Come, let us build a city for ourselves and a tower with its top in the sky, and let’s make ourselves famous to keep from getting scattered all over the earth.”

Christian Community Bible     They said also, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top reaching heaven; so that we may become a great people and not be scattered over the face of the earth!”

New American Bible (R.E.)    Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky,* and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth." Tower with its top in the sky: possibly a reference to the chief ziggurat of Babylon, E-sag-ila, lit., "the house that raises high its head."

New Simplified Bible              Then they said: »Let us build ourselves a city, with a lofty tower that reaches into space, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.«


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      They said, "Thus we will build a city and a tower with its head in heaven to make our name. Otherwise we will scatter over the face of the all the land."

Bible in Basic English             And they said, Come, let us make a town, and a tower whose top will go up as high as heaven; and let us make a great name for ourselves, so that we may not be wanderers over the face of the earth.

The Expanded Bible              Then they said to each other, "Let's build a city and a tower for ourselves, whose top will reach high into ·the sky [heaven; Ca ziggurat or stepped pyramid at whose top was a temple thought to be in heaven]. We will ·become famous [Lmake for ourselves a reputation/name]. Then we will not be scattered over all the earth."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 So they agreed. “We will build here for ourselves a City and a Tower whose top shall reach the sky; thus we will make a Beacon for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered over all the surface of the country.”

New Advent Bible                  And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.

NET Bible®                             Then they said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens [A translation of “heavens” for שָמַיִם (shamayim) fits this context because the Babylonian ziggurats had temples at the top, suggesting they reached to the heavens, the dwelling place of the gods.] so that [The form וְנַעֲשֶׂה (vÿna’aseh, from the verb עשׂה, “do, make”) could be either the imperfect or the cohortative with a vav (ו) conjunction (“and let us make…”). Coming after the previous cohortative, this form expresses purpose.] we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise [ The Hebrew particle פֶּן (pen) expresses a negative purpose; it means “that we be not scattered.”] we will be scattered [The Hebrew verb פָּוָץ (pavats, translated “scatter”) is a key term in this passage. The focal point of the account is the dispersion (“scattering”) of the nations rather than the Tower of Babel. But the passage also forms a polemic against Babylon, the pride of the east and a cosmopolitan center with a huge ziggurat. To the Hebrews it was a monument to the judgment of God on pride.] across the face of the entire earth."

NIV – UK                                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.'


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And saying are they, "Prithee! Build will we for ourselves a city and a tower with its head in the heavens, and make for ourselves a name, lest we are scattering over the surface of the entire earth.

Context Group Version          And they said, Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top [ may reach ] to the skies { or heavens }, and let us make us a name; or else we will be scattered abroad on the face of the entire land { or earth }.

English Standard Version      Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."

The Geneva Bible                  And they said, Go to, let us build [They were moved with pride and ambition, preferring their own glory to Gods honour. ] us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Green’s Literal Translation    And they said, Come, let us build a city and a tower with its head in the heavens, and make a name for ourselves, that we not be scattered on the face of all the earth.

Syndein/Thieme                     And they said {'amar}, "Go to, let us {volitional rebellion against God - mass numbers going against God's Word - God/'divine viewpoint' says - individual - 'whosoever believes' . . . human viewpoint 'collective' - 'let us'} build {banah} us a city {governmental rebellion - cities are ok, but this was built in defiance of God's decree to 'spread out'} and a tower {Tower of Babel - physical revolt against God - a flood proof shelter in unbelief of God keeping His Word}, whose top may reach unto heaven {Spiritual rebellion - international brotherhood - man working his way to heaven - picture of man's work getting him to heaven instead of relying on God's work (Christ on the cross) to get him to heaven}. And let us make us a name/reputation {for ourselves} {shem - name or reputation} {personal revolt - egotism}, lest we be scattered abroad {structural/geographical revolt - rejected God's decree to scatter} upon the face of the whole earth." {Note: God commanded them in 9:1 to 'spread out'. Instead, they decided to 'build up'. This is 'human viewpoint' attempting to overrule 'divine viewpoint'. Why did they do this? We need to remember that the flood has just occurred. These people do not believe the Word of God that there will not be another great flood! They think that they need a tall, tall tower just in case there is another one! So these dependents of Noah are unbelievers or believers 'in reversionism' meaning they have turned away from the Lord and His Word/Way.}.

World English Bible                They said, "Come, let's build us a city, and a tower, whose top reaches to the sky, and let's make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth."

Young’s Updated LT             And they say, “Give help, let us build for ourselves a city and tower, and its head in the heavens, and make for ourselves a name, lest we be scattered over the face of all the earth.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Mankind decided to settled in this place, build both a city and a tower (which would act as a beacon which could be seen from a far distance) so that they are not scattered all over the earth.


Genesis 11:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

yâhab (יָהַב) [pronounced yaw-HAWBV]

come! come on! come now, go to

Adverbial use of verb to give; an adverb of exhortation

Strong’s #3051 BDB #396

The form of this verb is hâbâh (הָבָה) [pronounced hawb-VAW], which, although this is said by Owen to be a 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of yâhab, it is not the standard form of an imperative (which is often a shortened verb). It is used here as a stand-alone adverb of exhortation.

bânâh (בָּנָה) [pronounced baw-NAWH]

to build, to construct; to erect; to rebuild, to restore

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1129 BDB #124

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

migedâl (מִגְדָּל) [pronounced midge-DAWL]

tower; an elevated stage [pulpit, platform]; a raised garden bed; a city fortified with a tower

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4026 BDB #153


Translation: They also said, “Come, we will build a city for ourselves... They plan that they developed was to build a city, a central area for all mankind. They were going to settle in to this particular area. Because of the circumstances, men had a comfort in living in close proximity with one another. Whenever Charley Brown was born, he knew all of his relatives going back to Noah (Noah would have died by this time); but he knew his parents back to Shem, Ham or Japheth. When you knew all of your relatives, and they all lived together or in close proximity, it does not cause a person to want to move off toward the sunset, to see what else is out there.


Genesis 11:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rôʾsh (רֹאש or רֹאֶש) [pronounced rohsh]

head [of a man, city, state, nation, place, family, priest], top [of a mountain]; chief, prince, officer; front, choicest, best; height [of stars]; sum

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shâmayîm (שָמַיִם) [pronounced shaw-MAH-yim]

heaven, heavens, skies; the visible heavens, as in as abode of the stars or as the visible universe, the sky, atmosphere, etc.; Heaven (as the abode of God)

masculine dual noun with the definite article

Strong’s #8064 BDB #1029


Translation: ...and a tower with its head in the heavens. Building a tower so that his top is in the heavens does not mean that these men were hoping to see God. However, this was in defiance of God. “God is in heaven? We will be there too.”


There is a good possibility that this tower had some religious significance, but the Bible does not specifically tell us of any. Recall that religion is in natural opposition to God. Religion is all about merit; and before God, we have no merit.


Genesis 11:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character; fame, glory; celebrated; renown; possibly memorial, monument

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027


Translation: And we will establish [lit., make, construct] for ourselves a reputation [or, a monument]... This tower would be a focal point, a monument, for the center of mankind. One could always look up and around and see this tower, and see where mankind lived.


Genesis 11:4d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

pen (פֶּן) [pronounced pen]

lest, peradventure, or else, in order to prevent, or, so that [plus a negative]

conjunction

Strong's #6435 BDB #814

pûwts (פּוּץ) [pronounced poots]

to break, to dash into pieces; to disperse [sometimes, to disperse themselves; to be dispersed], to scatter; to overflow

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6327 BDB #806

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ʿâl and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking.

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...so that we are not scattered over the face of the whole earth.” This is exactly the opposite of what God told them to do; God told Noah, upon exiting the ark, “Be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it." (Gen. 9:7b; HCSB; see also Gen. 8:17). God has given mankind a clear and unequivocal command through Moses, and this city and tower stand in direct opposition to God’s commands.


It is likely that, by this time, Noah had died. However, these things appear to have be said to Noah and his sons (Gen. 9:1). So, there is no reason, apart from the function of the old sin nature, for mankind to do the opposite of what God told them to do.


Gen 11:4 And they said, “Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and its top in the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, so that we are not scattered upon the face of the whole earth.”


Men decided, in this ancient time, to congregate in this area near the two rivers, and to build a city. One purpose of a high tower would be that, no matter which direction someone traveled, they could look around, find the tower, and return to their settlements. It would act as a beacon commemorating the center of civilization—or, more accurately, commemorating the center of humanity.


My educated guess is, that, once they had moved to Shinar, they began to experiment with various types of building materials. Over some period of time (100–500 years after the flood), they have determined that they have 2 abundant raw materials to work with: bricks and a petroleum mortar. Within a few decades, they figure out how to fire bricks and to design and build very durable buildings.


In building this tower, there is an undefined pseudo-spiritual quality here. Literally, the phrase is: ...and a tower and its head [will be] in the [two] heavens... Throughout the Bible, narrative is just like this—we are told what this or that person says or does, but there is rarely an accompanying moral judgment. Rarely is narrative ever stopped, and the writer inserts, “And God thought that was a very bad thing.” Therefore, in order to get the full impact of a passage, we have to look for clues. First of all, we can infer, simply because God’s name is not found here, that this is a pseudo-religious approach, which combined architecture, technological achievement and this tower has some undefined religious quality (its head will be in the heavens). Exactly what this meant to the people who built it, is not revealed. However, God will put a stop to this singular, centralized institution, which does give us God’s opinion of this matter (again, a rare thing to find in most narrative passages).


Gen 11:4 And they said, “Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and its top [head] [will be] in the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, so that we are not scattered upon the face of the whole earth.”


They urge one another, “Let us make a name for ourselves.” Upon leaving the ark, the first thing that Noah does is, he offers up a sacrifice to God. Here, these men—Noah’s descendants—want to glorify themselves. They want to make a name for themselves. We do not know exactly how they will make a name for themselves. Let me suggest that, Noah has died (or is drunk in his tent), and they all understand, to some degree, their impermanence on this earth. It is normal for man to ignore death for much of his life. However, this would be even more so for this group of men who have not really observed much death.


This tower is going to be a permanent achievement, because, over a few decades, they have figured out how to fire brick and to build structures which withstand rain and the elements. So, perhaps a part of what is happening—and I take this from today’s politician’s incessant need to name every building, bridge or structure after himself—perhaps they will inscribe their names and exploits and contributions on the inside of this great tower.


Today, there are going to be times when a governmental building must be built—or, maybe I should say, will be built. Wouldn’t it be refreshing for a politician to take the name of a medal of honor winner and put his name upon that building, and, on the entryway of that building, have the text permanently set in stone along the wall?


Back to reality: Then these men indicate the reason for building this city and this tower: “...so that we are not scattered upon the face of the whole earth.”


Recall God’s command to Noah and his sons: “But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.” (Gen. 9:7). However, just 3 or 4 generations later, their mantra was “Let's build a city for ourselves and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves so that we won't become scattered all over the face of the earth.” These men are exalting themselves—“Let us make a name for ourselves”—and they have decided that, becoming scattered throughout the earth, separated from one another, is a bad thing.


You will note that this came about from discussions, where they urged one another, and did so totally apart from the Word of God. This was the decision of a committee. These men are not far removed from the flood, however, for the vast majority of mankind, the flood was some event in the distant past (for most people, whatever happened before they were born is the distant past). We know that antediluvian information was passed along—from parents to their children—because we have Gen. 1–9 today and we have both mythology and the story of the flood, which is a part of nearly every culture. However, even though Shem is definitely alive at this time, civilization is quickly moving away from God.


You may wonder, how is this possible? We are a 100–500 years out from the flood; how can man be this negative? Only 4 men actually witnessed the flood. Only 4 men have even seen the ark. It is now 5 or 6 generations later (this is not a guess on my part, but will be confirmed in the second half of this chapter—Gen. 11:17–19). If every family had 10 children, there could be as many as 300,000 people alive at this point in time, which is Peleg’s generation (who Peleg is, is coming up in a few lessons). Only 10 people saw the ark, lived in the ark and endured the flood (2 of them may even be dead by this time). For 300,000 people, it is just something their great, great, great, great grandparents talk about. They did not see the flood. They did not hear the voice of God. These old people have told them all kinds of things. I suspect that most of these people believed that a flood took place, but, still, they are the new generation, and they have a new way of thinking and a new way of doing things.


So they actually begin to build this city and this tower, which marks the center of humanity—a tower which reaches into the heavens and a city which establishes, in their minds, the greatness of mankind.


The narrative tells us that man is building this city and this tower, and that God doesn’t like it (we haven’t gotten to that yet). This would lead us to ask the question...

What is the problem with this tower?

       The average reader has no concept of what is occurring here. God has mandated that man fill to the earth (Gen. 1:28 9:1). They are choosing to remain in one place.

       Instead of building an altar to God, as did Noah (Gen. 8:20–21), they built a monument to themselves (Gen. 11:4). Therefore, they were glorifying themselves, not God.

       This tower and city are all about the glorification of mankind. “Let us make a name for ourselves,” is part of the urging which first took place.

       The tower references heaven rather than God. Controlling the vocabulary means that you can control the thinking of a people. The idea behind this tower sounds holy, but it is not. As I write these words, there is a parallel to this in the news. There is an Islamic imam who is behind building a 13 story mosque/community center in New York City within a block or so of the fallen Twin Towers. This imam says that he is all about building bridges (whatever that means), so the mosque is presented as one thing, but its purpose is something entirely different (it clearly marks and celebrates the killing of 3000 Americans by Muslims).

       Often towers were built for pagan deity worship; archeology has discovered in Mesopotamia terraced towers, ziggurats, designed for that purpose. It is possible that they had this in mind, to worship the deities of the antediluvian era.

       Why does this tower have to reach into the heavens? This is so they have a place to flee in case there is another flood, which God has promised them that there would not be. They are building this because they do not believe God's Word.

       God’s geographical will is for them to spread out across the earth. God’s will is for them to establish individual and independent entities throughout the earth (marriage is an example of this, where the couple leave their mothers and fathers and establish themselves as a separate corporate unity). It is not God’s will for them to all remain in one geographical area. However, regardless of what God's plan is, they chose to remain there, centered around this great tower.

Despite the sparseness of this narrative, we can get a good idea as to the thinking of mankind.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


For additional reading on the Tower of Babel and ziggurats in general, let me suggest this webpage:


http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a021.html


So far, we have studied the first 4 verses of this chapter:


Gen 11:1–4 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it happened, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they lived there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and its top [head] [will be] in the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, so that we are not scattered upon the face of the whole earth.”


We found that, even though this is narrative, we were able to determine what the problem was with this tower. It represented the glorification of man; it was to be a rallying point in order to keep the human race together; it was man’s distrust of God’s promise not to flood the earth again, and there was an undefined heathenistic religious quality to it.


Now God enters into the picture. Insofar as we know, over a period of 100–500 years, God has had direct contact with man on only one previous occasion after the flood—when Noah and his family exited the ark, God spoke to Noah. I mention this because there are a plethora of people who write about their frequent interactions directly with God (hopefully, you don’t know that these people even exist, because they are either delusional, liars or both).


——————————


And so comes down Yehowah to see the city and the tower which had built sons of the man.

Genesis

11:5

Then Yehowah came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of man had built.

Then Jehovah came down to see both the city and the tower that the men had built.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And the Lord was revealed to punish them for the work of the city and the tower which the sons of men builded.

Latin Vulgate                          And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so comes down Yehowah to see the city and the tower which had built sons of the man.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which men were building.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Then the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the humans built.

Contemporary English V.       But when the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower,...

Easy-to-Read Version            The Lord came down to see the city and the very tall building. The Lord saw the people building these things.

The Message                         GOD came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built.

New Berkeley Version           Then the Lord came down to take a look at the city and the tower which the sons of men were building. While God was everywhere, as the sacred writer well knew, He paid at that time particular attention to this earthly attempt.

New Living Translation           But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then the Lord came down to see this city and its tower, which the sons of men had built.

God’s Word                         The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the descendants of Adam were building.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Yahweh descended to see the city and the tower which the sons of Adam built.

Bible in Basic English             And the Lord came down to see the town and the tower which the children of men were building.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 But a Chief came down to inspect the city and the tower which the sons of men had built;...

NET Bible®                             But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people [Heb "the sons of man." The phrase is intended in this polemic to portray the builders as mere mortals, not the lesser deities that the Babylonians claimed built the city.] had started [The Hebrew text simply has בָּנוּ (banu), but since v. 8 says they left off building the city, an ingressive idea (“had started building”) should be understood here.] building.

NIV – UK                                But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And descending is Yahweh to see the city and the tower which the sons of humanity build.

Context Group Version          And YHWH came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of man built.

The Geneva Bible                  And the LORD [Meaning, that he declared by effect, that he knew their wicked enterprise; for Gods power is everywhere, and neither ascends nor descends. ] came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

LTHB                                     And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Adam had built.

Syndein/Thieme                     And Jehovah/God came down {anthropomorphism - God is omnipresent - He did not have to 'go anywhere' - this is 'ascribing to God human characteristics in order to help man understand God'} to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built {banah}.

Webster’s Bible Translation  And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men were building.

World English Bible                Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah comes down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men have built.

 

The gist of this verse:          God, as manifest as a man or as an angel, comes down in this form to see what mankind is doing.


Genesis 11:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârad (יָרַד) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

This is the first occurrence of this very common word in Scripture.

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

râʾâh (רָאָה) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to observe; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: Then Yehowah came down to see the city... God is able to see all that mankind is doing from anywhere, as God is not actually localized. God is omniscient. However, God frequently took the form of an angel and went to specific places. Why? Because God would lead angels to this area to listen and to observe. This is not an anthropomorphism. God really does take on a form and He really does go down from heaven, where His form is also localized as the Revealed Member of the Trinity, and He goes to this city. We may assume that angels accompany Him—both fallen and elect.


Essentially, the earth is both the classroom and a movie theater, if you will, for angels. In order to understand Who God is, angels follow the Revealed Member to the earth and they hear what He says and they observe what He does and then they observe what the results are.


Rush Limbaugh said something which was quite profound: “When a person is born, that is when history begins for that person.” Now, as we get older, we become more interested in what preceded us, but it is the nature of man and his indwelling sin to think that everything important began when he (or she) was born. Angels are no different. There is no indication that angels were born, but angels are created beings. God created many billions of angels, and then told them what was going on. “I am God, I made you, and now, here are the mandates which you must follow.”


Now, newly created angels don’t know what came before them. What God is telling them is what they accept, but they have no real proof. Then Satan rebelled against God, saying that he would be like the Most High and he took a third of the angels with him.


What human history is to angels is a teaching exercise; God’s essence is applied to mankind, mankind has free will, and the result is human history. Angels view human history as we might watch a movie. However, they can move freely about between the various scenes and groups of people. Therefore, when God is going to show the angels something, He takes on the form of an angel (a form which Jesus Christ might have continued to operate within throughout the time prior to the 1st advent).


Genesis 11:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

migedâl (מִגְדָּל) [pronounced midge-DAWL]

tower; an elevated stage [pulpit, platform]; a raised garden bed; a city fortified with a tower

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4026 BDB #153


Translation: ...and the tower... And they are going to take a look at the tower as well. The fact that this tower is said to have its head in the heavens suggest that it functions in opposition to God in some way—possibly as a tower to humanity.


Genesis 11:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

bânâh (בָּנָה) [pronounced baw-NAWH]

to build, to construct; to erect; to rebuild, to restore

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1129 BDB #124

bânîym (בָּנִים) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; children; people; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ʾâdâm (אָדָם) [pronounced aw-DAWM]

a man, a human being, mankind; transliterated Adam

masculine singular noun

Strong's #120 & #121 BDB #9

The word the Adam can mean man, mankind, humankind, men, human beings.


Translation: ...that the sons of man had built. All of this had been put together by mankind, who was possibly a hundred or two hundred years from the ark.


Gen 11:5 And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Adam [or, the sons of man] had built.


You recall that I mentioned anthropopathisms, where a characteristic of man is applied to God. God is omnipresent, so that He does not have to go from point A to point B in order to observe something. However, such language (called language of accommodation) is used in order to explain what God is doing. It is stated in terms that we understand.


There is probably more to this first verb than a simple anthropathism. Throughout human history, God demonstrates His character and essence to angelic creation, to both fallen and elect angels. As we previously saw, in the Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict (HTML) (PDF) (WPD), Satan is not now in the Lake of Fire, even though he has been judged and sentenced, because the verdict of his trial is likely being appealed. The basic grounds for appeal is God character and essence. God’s wisdom and foresight are at play here. So, what appears be occurring here is, God brings the angels to observe His next act. Therefore, they all come down to earth to this partially-built city and tower and what God will do. Recall, God told man to spread out throughout the earth, and man has said, “We like it right here, just fine; so we’re going to stay right here.”


——————————


And so says Yehowah, “Behold, people [are] one and tongue, one to all of them. And this their beginning to do and now nothing is restrained from them [in] all which they purpose to do.

Genesis

11:6

Yehowah also said, “Observe, the people [are] one with one language—all of them. And [all] this [that] they are beginning to do so that [or, therefore] nothing is restrained from them [in] all that they imagine to do.

Jehovah also said, “Further observe that these people are one with one language. Whatever they want to do, they can do; there is nothing that is restrained from them in their imagination.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and the language of all of them one: and this they have thought to do: and now they will not be restrained from doing whatever they imagine.

Latin Vulgate                          And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says Yehowah, “Behold, people [are] one and tongue, one to all of them. And this their beginning to do and now nothing is restrained from them [in] all which they purpose to do.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the LORD said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and they have reasoned to do this thing; and now nothing will prevent them from doing that which they have imagined to do.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the Lord said, Behold, there is one race, and one language of all, and they have begun to do this, and now nothing shall fail from them of all that they have undertaken to do.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       ...he said: These people are working together because they all speak the same language. This is just the beginning. Soon they will be able to do anything they want.

Easy English                          The *Lord said, `Look! They are all one group of people. They all have the same language. This is only the beginning of what the people will do. They will be able to do everything that they plan to do. Nothing is impossible.

Easy-to-Read Version            The Lord said, “These people all speak the same language. And I see that they are joined together to do this work. This is only the beginning of what they can do. Soon they will be able to do anything they want.

Good News Bible (TEV)         ...and he said, "Now then, these are all one people and they speak one language; this is just the beginning of what they are going to do. Soon they will be able to do anything they want!.

The Message                         GOD took one look and said, "One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they'll come up with next--they'll stop at nothing!.

New Berkeley Version           The Lord said: Look! One people and all with one language! The way they are starting to behave, nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

New Century Version             The Lord said, "Now, these people are united, all speaking the same language. This is only the beginning of what they will do. They will be able to do anything they want.

New Life Bible                        And the Lord said, "See, they are one people, and they all have the same language. This is only the begin-ning of what they will do. Now all they plan to do will be possible for them.

New Living Translation           "Look!" he said. "The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And Jehovah said, 'Look; they are all the same race and they share the same lips, and now they've started doing this. [Before long], they will be able to accomplish anything they set out to do.

Beck’s American Translation “Look, one people!” the LORD said. “And they all talk one language. And this is only the beginning of what they’ll do. Now nothing they plan to do will be too hard for them.

God’s Word                         The LORD said, "They are one people with one language. This is only the beginning of what they will do! Now nothing they plan to do will be too difficult for them.

New American Bible (R.E.)    Then the LORD said: If now, while they are one people and all have the same language, they have started to do this, nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach.

NIRV                                      The Lord said, "They are one people. And all of them speak the same language. That is why they can do this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan to.

New Jerusalem Bible             'So they are all a single people with a single language!' said Yahweh. 'This is only the start of their undertakings! Now nothing they plan to do will be beyond them.

New Simplified Bible              Jehovah said: »If they become one people speaking the same language, nothing will be impossible for them. They have begun to do this.

Revised English Bible            ...and he said, ‘Here they are, one people with a single language, and now they have started to do this, from now on nothing they have a mind to do will be beyond their reach.

Today’s NIV                          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.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Yahweh said, "Behold, one people, all with one lip, all began to do this! Now none are protected from their plotting which they do.

Bible in Basic English             And the Lord said, See, they are all one people and have all one language; and this is only the start of what they may do: and now it will not be possible to keep them from any purpose of theirs.

Complete Jewish Bible           ADONAI said, "Look, the people are united, they all have a single language, and see what they're starting to do! At this rate, nothing they set out to accomplish will be impossible for them!

The Expanded Bible              The Lord said, "Now, these people are ·united [Lone], all speaking ·the same [Lone] language. This is only the beginning of what they will do. ·They will be able to do anything they want [LNothing they want to do will be impossible for them].

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and the Chief said, “You see all these people are united in the same purpose, and having begun to do this they will not be restrained from anything they determined upon.

New Advent Bible                  And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.

NET Bible®                             And the Lord said, "If as one people all sharing a common language [Heb "and one lip to all of them."] they have begun to do this, then [Heb "and now." The foundational clause beginning with הֵן (hen) expresses the condition, and the second clause the result. It could be rendered "If this. then now."] nothing they plan to do will be beyond them [Heb "all that they purpose to do will not be withheld from them."].


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And saying is Yahweh, "Behold! One people is it. And one lip is for them all. And this they started to do! And now nothing will be defended from them of all that they will plan to do.

Darby Translation                  And Jehovah said, Behold, the people is one, and have all one language; and this have they begun to do. And now will they be hindered in nothing that they meditate doing.

English Standard Version      And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

The Geneva Bible                  And the LORD said [God speaks this in derision, because of their foolish persuasion and enterprise. ], Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Green’s Literal Translation    And Jehovah said, Behold, the people is one, and the lip one to all of them, and this they are beginning to do, and now all which they have purposed to do will not be restrained from them.

LTHB                                     And Jehovah said, Behold, the people is one, and the lip one to all of them, and this they are beginning to do, and now all which they have purposed to do will not be restrained from them.

New King James Version       And the Lord said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.

New RSV                               And the Lord said, `Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Syndein/Thieme                     And the Jehovah/God said {'amar}, "Behold, the people . . . one {internationalism}, and they have all one language. And this {building of the tower} they just begin to manufacture {`asah - out of negative volition} {only beginning of their revolt/internationalism in view}. And now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have 'evilly imagined' {zamam} to do {`asah} {see Romans 1:18 on the evil imaginations of man leads to their own degenerations}.

World English Bible                Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah says, “Lo, the people is one, and one pronunciation is to them all, and this it has dreamed of doing; and now, nothing is restrained from them of that which they have purposed to do.

 

The gist of this verse:          God points out that the people have one language and that pretty much anything that they purpose to do, they will be able to do.


Genesis 11:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

hinnêh (הִנֵּה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

Hinnêh can be used as a particle of incitement.

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

This is the first time this very common word occurs in the Hebrew Old Testament.

ʾechâd (אֶחָד) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; each, every; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular; anyone

numeral adjective

Strong's #259 BDB #25


Translation: Yehowah also said, “Observe, the people [are] one... It is certainly worthwhile, every time that we hear of someone speaking, to ask, who are they speaking to and why? Here, we are not told to whom God is speaking, so let me propose that He is speaking to a congregation of angels—there may be all 100 billion of them (or, whatever). This is a part of the Angelic Conflict.


There are a lot of things that we rarely appreciate. Angels have a beginning. One moment there were no angels and the next moment there are angels. God could tell them Who He is and how they got there, but they have no memory of what came before, because they did not exist before. So, during the era of human history, God, when He enters into human history, explains why He is doing so. Angels observe what is going on. They can choose to believe God or to disbelieve Him; and they can choose what their relationship should be to God.


Angels see, firsthand, by observation, what man is like and what God is like. They learn to understand and appreciate God’s relationship to us.


God says, behold, because this is a point of doctrine or something upon which they need to concentrate. First of all, the people are acting in concert; they are acting as one. You might say that there is international cooperation among them (although they have not yet been broken up into separate nations).


Genesis 11:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and; even; in particular, namely; when, since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with; also, in addition to, at the same time

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sâphâh (שָׂפָה) [pronounced saw-FAWH]

lip, tongue; words, speech; dialect, language; edge, border [or, lip] [of something], shore

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8193 BDB #973

ʾechâd (אֶחָד) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular; anyone

feminine singular, numeral adjective

Strong's #259 BDB #25

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]; also kol (כַּל) [pronounced kol]

all, all things, the whole, totality, the entirety, everything

masculine singular noun without the definite article with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481


Translation: ...with one language—all of them. All of the people speak the same language. There have been times—failed times—when there have been attempts to get nations to all speak the same language. No idea how serious Esperanto was, but it obviously never caught on. The closest that we have to a universal language is English, one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn.


In any case, God is speaking to the angels and He is saying that this is a problem. Everyone speaking the same language is a real problem for mankind. Men acting in concert is a real problem.


This is illustrated, in part, by their disobedience to God. They can certainly agree on one thing—God told them to spread out, so they agree that they ought to stay together.


Genesis 11:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zeh (זֶה) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

châlal (חָלַל) [pronounced khaw-LAHL]

to begin

Hiphil infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #2490 BDB #320

There are 3 or 4 fundamental meanings for this word.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6213 BDB #793


Translation: And [all] this [that] they are beginning to do... One of the things which is quite interesting about Scripture is, the way that God speaks is often very difficult, and it almost appears as if someone speaking a foreign language is temporarily speaking Hebrew. I do not know Hebrew well enough to make this statement, so perhaps God speaks in a very formal Hebrew. In any case, it is always more difficult to translate that most of what we find in the Old Testament.


God refers to this [that] they are beginning to do; what they have begun to do is to build a city and a tower. This is all a result of them being able to work together. Human viewpoint tells us that, when men are working together, this is a good thing. God here, at least in this instance, does not see this as being a good thing.


Genesis 11:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿattâh (עַתָּה) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ʿattâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

bâtsar (בָּצַר) [pronounced baw-TZAR]

to fortify, to rebuild; to render a defense inaccessible

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong's #1219 BDB #130

With the negative, to not be restrained, to not be withheld.

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, of, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #4480 BDB #577


Translation: ...so that [or, therefore] nothing is restrained from them... Whatever man imagines to do, he can do it (within, of course, the confines of the natural laws which God has set up).


Men have in their minds the construction of this city and this tower as a rallying point for humanity. God has told them to spread out over the entire earth. We are to obey God.


Genesis 11:6e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kôl ʾăsher mean all whom, all that [which]; whomever, whatever, all whose, all where, wherever.

zâmam (זָמַם) [pronounced zaw-MAHM]

to consider, to purpose, to devise [a plot]; to plot [evil]; to imagine; to lie in wait

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2161 BDB #273

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6213 BDB #793


Translation:...[in] all that they imagine to do. Whatever man can imagine, within the limits of natural law, man can do. However, God is looking for this to be restrained and this will be restrained by changing the language in mankind. This will clearly be a miracle that God will cause.


Now, interestingly enough, God will be able to change the language of man, but there is no indication that this changes the ability of angels to understand man, and, when allowed to, to communicate with man, no matter what the language.


Gen 11:6 And Jehovah said, “Listen, the people are one and they all have one language. And this [the building of the city and tower] they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them.


Who is God talking to? God could be talking to God (God the Father I speaking to the other members of the Godhead), just as we find in Gen. 1:26 2:18 Psalm 2:7 110:1. I believe this is literal speech, and that the purpose here is to inform the angels, both fallen and elect, of what God is doing. So I believe that God is talking to angelic creation. The first word of this sentence tells us why this is God speaking to angels and not God speaking to God. In fact, many times that God speaks, it is for the benefit of angelic creation.


The first word used here is the demonstrative adverb/interjection hên (הֵן) [pronounced hayn], which means lo!, behold, observe, look, look here, get this, listen, listen up. This is the kind of word that you use when speaking to another person or to a group, and you either want their attention, you want them to take a look at something, or you are making a salient point. I often watch a panel of commentators on FoxNews on Special Report, and they use this word all of the time. Several times, in the same segment, you will hear one or more of them say, “Look...” That is exactly what God is saying here (I would not be surprised if a young Charles Krauthammer did not read this passage and say to himself, “I like the sound of that word; it is concise and grabs the attention of others, so that I can make a salient point.”). Strong’s #2005 BDB #243. Because of the use of this word, let me suggest that this tells us that God is speaking to someone else, outside of the Godhead, and He is drawing their attention to something and to make an important point. God the Father does not need to say to God the Son, “Listen up, [I am about to say something important]...” But God may need to do this when speaking to fallen angels.


Gen 11:6 And Jehovah said, “Listen, the people are one and they all have one language. And this they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them.


God says that the people are one. This indicates that they are able to form a consensus and to move in the same direction. They have one language, so that everyone is able to contribute. What they have begun to do is build this city and this tower.


The phrase imagined to do is 2 verbs separated by a lâmed preposition. The first verb is the Qal imperfect of zâmam (זָמַם) [pronounced zaw-MAHM], which means to consider, to purpose, to devise [a plot]; to plot [evil]; to imagine. Strong’s #2161 BDB #273. The second verb is the Qal infinitive of a very common verb which means to do, to work, to make, to produce. In the situation which mankind finds itself, there are no restraints upon them. Almost anything that they can conceive of, they can do.


God is very cognizant of human knowledge and the ability of man to make huge leaps in technology in a very short amount of time. In the end times, Daniel records that, “Many will travel everywhere, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 8:4b). One of the characteristics of the end times is a dramatic increase in the ability to travel and the dramatic increase of knowledge.


If we can go from a crude steam engine to computers in 300 years, mankind at that point in time could have easily accomplished as much, and in a shorter period of time. God has a plan for mankind, and this plan has a timeline over which, the history of man will run its course. Man’s age will gradually be reduced, from generation to generation, as will his mental capabilities. God will see to it that the intellects will be separated by language and geography, and, eventually, by specific racial characteristics.


The importance of having just the right men working together can be seen in our own development of atomic weapons, which was dependent upon Enrico Fermi, an Italian-born scientist and Albert Einstein, a German-born scientist. One may argue that, apart from these two men, born in 2 different countries, and collaborating in a 3rd country (the U.S.), atomic energy and atomic weapons may not have been developed. Both atomic energy and atomic weapons have dramatically changed human history. I could be wrong here, but I don’t know if other countries came up with this technology on their own, or whether it was exported (legally or illegally) from the United States.


Equally important to man’s abilities when working together is, man’s united ability to work against God. We see that in international systems of communism and Islam, 2 systems which are fanatically anti-God (Islam worships Satan, although they do not realize it). Paul wrote They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient [and stubborn], and disqualified from [doing] any good work (Titus 1:16). And [Satan’s] ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2Cor. 11:15b).


It is fundamental for the believer in Jesus Christ to recognize, God chose to separate mankind into nations. There could have been one nation in the world, and God specifically chose for that not to happen. That should tell you God’s opinion of the U.N., of Islam, of communism and of internationalist movements in general.


Gen 11:6 And Jehovah said, “Listen, the people are one and they all have one language. And this they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them.


We have seen that, separating into nations, it has taken us several millenniums to create some of the incredible technology that we have created. For a great deal of time, we spread ourselves throughout the earth and battled for our territory and worked for our sustenance, so that there was not as much time for technological advance or for self-exaltation. In the past several decades, we have seen incredible advances in scientific development and much of that has been dependant upon the cooperative interaction of various nations. This has not been God's plan for us until now.


——————————


Come, let us go down and let us confuse there their lip that they not listen a man to a lip of his neighbor.”

Genesis

11:7

Come, let us go down and confuse their languages there so that one man may not understand the language of his neighbor.”

Come and let us go down there and confuse their languages so that no man can understand what his neighbor is saying.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And the Lord said to the seventy angels which stand before Him, Come, we will descend and will there commingle their language, that a man shall not understand the speech of his neighbour.

Latin Vulgate                          Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Come, let us go down and let us confuse there their lip that they not listen a man to a lip of his neighbor.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Come, let us go down, and there divide their language so that they may not understand one another’s speech.

Septuagint (Greek)                Come, let Us go down and confound their language, that they may not understand each the voice of his neighbor.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Come on! Let's go down and confuse them by making them speak different languages--then they won't be able to understand each other.

Easy-to-Read Version            So let’s go down and confuse their language. Then they will not understand each other.”

The Message                         Come, we'll go down and garble their speech so they won't understand each other."

New Berkeley Version           Come, let us go down and so confuse their speech that they cannot make out each other’s words.

New Life Bible                        Come, let Us go down and mix up their language so they will not understand what each other says."

New Living Translation           Come, let's go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won't be able to understand each other."


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          So, let's go down there and change their language so none of them will be able to understand the voice of his neighbor.'

New American Bible (R.E.)    Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that no one will understand the speech of another.

NIRV                                      Come. Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not understand each other."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Descend and mingle their lips there. Grant that no man hears his neighbor."

Bible in Basic English             Come, let us go down and take away the sense of their language, so that they will not be able to make themselves clear to one another.

The Expanded Bible              Come, let us go down and confuse their language [Lthere] so they will not be able to understand each other."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 I will go down and frustrate their designs, so that one will not listen to another’s proposals.”

Judaica Press Complete T.    Come, let us descend and confuse their language, so that one will not understand the language of his companion."

New Advent Bible                  Come, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech.

NET Bible®                             Come, let's go down and confuse [The cohortatives mirror the cohortatives of the people. They build to ascend the heavens; God comes down to destroy their language. God speaks here to his angelic assembly. See the notes on the word "make" in 1:26 and "know" in 3:5, as well as Jub. 10:22-23, where an angel recounts this incident and says "And the Lord our God said to us.. And the Lord went down and we went down with him. And we saw the city and the tower which the sons of men built." On the chiastic structure of the story, see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:235.] their language so they won't be able to understand each other [Heb "they will not hear, a man the lip of his neighbor."]."

NIV – UK                                Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Come, let Us go down and there confound (mix up, confuse) their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Concordant Literal Version    Prithee! Descend will We, and there disintegrate their lip, that they may not hear each man the lip of his associate.

The Geneva Bible                  Go to, let us go down [He speaks as though he took counsel with his own wisdom and power: that is, with the Son and holy Spirit: signifying the greatness and certainty of the punishment. ], and there confound their language [By this great plague of the confusion of tongues appears Gods horrible judgment against mans pride and vain glory.], that they may not understand one anothers speech.

LTHB                                     Come, let's go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech..

NASB                                     Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language [Lit lip], so that they will not understand one another's speech [Lit lip]."

New RSV                               Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another's speech.'.

World English Bible                Come, let's go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.”

Young’s Updated LT             Give help, let us go down, and mingle there their pronunciation, so that a man does not understand the pronunciation of his companion.”

 

The gist of this verse:          God calls to the angels to come with him to the earth to confuse the languages of the people so that they cannot understand one another.


Genesis 11:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yâhab (יָהַב) [pronounced yaw-HAWBV]

come! come on! come now, go to

Adverbial use of verb to give; an adverb of exhortation

Strong’s #3051 BDB #396

The form of this verb is hâbâh (הָבָה) [pronounced hawb-VAW], which, although this is said by Owen to be a 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of yâhab, it is not the standard form of an imperative (which is often a shortened verb). It is used here as a stand-alone adverb of exhortation.

yârad (יָרַד) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect with the cohortative hê

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

The cohortative hê, when applied to the first person, the idea is an expression of will or compulsion, and in the singular, may be expressed with I must, I could, I would, I will, I should, I may. When applied to the 1st person plural, the verb is often preceded by let us (as in Gen. 1:26).


Translation: Come, let us go down... In a way that is never really made clear to us, it appears that angels often took part in judgments against man, but we are never give the actual mechanics. Although the Reveal Member could be speaking to the other Members of the Trinity, I believe that Jesus here is speaking to angels, and that they are coming down with Him. These two verbs indicate both a purpose and a change of location.


Genesis 11:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bâlal (בָּלַל) [pronounced baw-LAHL

 to pour over, to pour together; to mingle, mix, confuse, confound and it is from this that we determine that tevel means confusion

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect with the cohortative hê

Strong's #1101 BDB #117

The cohortative hê, when applied to the first person, the idea is an expression of will or compulsion, and in the singular, may be expressed with I must, I could, I would, I will, I should, I may. When applied to the 1st person plural, the verb is often preceded by let us (as in Gen. 1:26).

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

sâphâh (שָׂפָה) [pronounced saw-FAWH]

lip, tongue; words, speech; dialect, language; edge, border [or, lip] [of something], shore

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #8193 BDB #973


Translation: ...and confuse their languages there... Somehow, the languages of mankind were changed. The family of Shem understood what other members of his family said, they understood what they said themselves, but they did not understand what the Hamites had to say.


In Gen. 10, we saw how the people of the world were broken up into various groups, and they principally appeared to separate on the basis of the patriarch of that family (Shem, Ham or Japheth). This suggests that there were 3 languages or 3 groups of languages. According to R. B. Thieme, Jr., there are 3 types of languages in this world.


When it comes to matters of ancient history, I defer to R. B. Thieme, Jr., who was a scholar in this field.

R. B. Thieme, Jr. Notes on Genesis 10 and Languages (from Syndein)

 {Note: See Chapter 9:25 and following for more on the overall characteristics of the descendants of these three. Basically, the line of Shem (Semitic People) holds spiritual superiority. The line of Japheth (Japhetic People) holds physical superiority (large conquering people). And the line of Ham (Hamitic People) will be the servant of the other brothers (at least the line through Canaan).}

{Note: RBT says there are three basic lines of languages (with many variations within each) in the world today (and there are exceptions and overflows - so general rule):

1. The Indo-European language is basically the language of the line of Japheth (Japhetic people).

2. The Semitic language is basically the language of the line of Shem (Semitic people).

3. The Ural-Altaic (sp) or Altranian sp languages which are basically the languages of the line of Ham (Hamitic people).

Many exceptions: for example, the Finish people speak a Uralian language. So the Fins are a Hamitic peoples but have intermarried with Japhetic peoples and are a great race but very different from the peoples around them.}

From http://syndein.com/Genesis_10.html accessed January 24, 2013.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Genesis 11:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâmaʿ (שָמַע) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

sâphâh (שָׂפָה) [pronounced saw-FAWH]

lip, tongue; words, speech; dialect, language; edge, border [or, lip] [of something], shore

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #8193 BDB #973

rêaʿ (רֵעַ) [pronounced RAY-ahģ]

associate, neighbor, colleague, fellow, acquaintance; fellow citizen; another person; one, another [in a reciprocal phrase]

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7453 BDB #945


Translation: ...so that one man may not understand the language of his neighbor.” Certainly, you have been in various areas and you have heard other languages spoken, and, if you know nothing about languages, then you know nothing about what was being said (except through their emphasis or emotion).


There is a curious aspect to people who remain in a geographical location with one another. Their language appears to be become more mutually similar, while simultaneously becoming dissimilar to languages outside of that realm. Time also plays a part in this. For those of you who have heard one of the Bard’s plays, and you are wondering, “What the hell was that?” That was English, your mother language, even though you only understood a few words of it. Perhaps God somehow artificially did this, took these groups as if they were isolated and advanced their language 1000 years (or whatever). However, that may not quite explain how languages extant today are fundamentally different (as per R. B. Thieme, Jr.).


Gen 11:7 Come, let Us go down and let Us confuse their language there, so that they cannot understand one another's speech.”


In vv. 3–4, men twice saying to one another, come, let us do thus and so. So now God becomes involved, and He uses the exact same verb/adverb as man used.


We will notice here that, the Trinity is suggested, as Jehovah God is speaking to someone, and He says, “Let Us go down there...” God, as a Trinity, will take action at this point in time. Again, this is spoken aloud for the benefit of angelic creation.


In v. 5, God is said to come down, which normally, we would understand as language of accommodation. Here, it is different. We have the same verb in both verses, but in v. 7, it is a 1st person plural with a cohortative hê at the end. That means that God is urging those with Him to come down to earth to observe what He is about to do. I would think that those coming down would be the Godhead and all angelic creation.


What the Godhead will do is, the 1st person plural, Qal imperfect with the cohortative hê of the verb bâlal (בָּלַל) [pronounced baw-LAL] which means to mingle, mix, confuse, confound. Strong's #1101 BDB #117. Recall that the imperfect tense can refer to a future act or a process. Here, both concepts are probably at play. From the time that this was spoken, confusing the languages would be a future occurrence. However, there seemed to be the added component of languages which caused them to continue to become confounded. This is why we could gather young African Americans into a room with young Irish, and for them to have a very difficult time communicating, even though they all speak English.


We tend to view the Bible as a book which is filled with miracles, and there are undoubtedly miracles found in the Word of God. However, they are rare and more spread out in time than most people realize. At this point in time, after 2000 years of human history, I can think of 2 miracles (after the earth is created): God taking Enoch (Gen. 5:21–22) and here, the confusion of languages (as has been previously discussed, there is no reason to assume that the flood was a miraculous event).


What we might better understand is, the Bible records God’s interaction with man, and these interactions will include instances which appear to be miraculous and other instances where an actual miracle occurs.


A lot of things seem quite miraculous to me: television, computers and airplanes. I have accepted by faith that planes work, and even though I have had the aerodynamics explained to me—the shape of the wings, and how this causes the air to lift it up—the whole concept of tons of steel and personage flying through the air still seems pretty dubious to me (and yet, I still fly). I apparently have great faith in this area.


Since creation, we have had the flood, which could have been miraculous; however, it could have been the result of a convergence of a variety of weather variables set into motion by God (we have already discussed some of these theories).


However, what we have in this chapter is undoubtedly a miracle. At one point in time, men were speaking with one language; and in the next point of time, they were not. I do not see any other reasonable options. Whether they woke up one day, all speaking different languages, or if this occurred instantaneously, in the midst of many conversations, we do not know.


Gen 11:7 Come, let Us go down and let Us confuse their language there, so that they cannot understand one another's speech.”


By comparing Gen. 10:25a (To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided) with the years given in Gen. 11:10–17, we find that this incident occurred 101 years after the flood, three generations into each line (it appears as though a generation during that time was every thirty years). In either case, Noah would have died by this time.


Being a number's person, I find that it would be interesting to calculate the number of people alive at that time. We begin with eight people and it does not appear that Noah had any other children (Gen. 9:19) and, whereas 7 males born to a family does not seem unusual (Gen. 10:2), 13 males born to a family does (Gen. 10:26–29). Assuming an equal number of daughters and sons, the average family probably produced about 14 offspring. while the parents were between ages 25–50 (reasonable child bearing years). This gives us approximately 42 children in the first generation, all of whom are child-bearing age prior to the confusion of languages, which is 21 families all capable of producing another generation of a adults prior to this incident. Which is close to 600 adults from that generation. By the 3rd generation, there would have been 12,600 children, and in the 4th generation, a quarter of a million people. So there could have easily been a quarter of a million people alive during the confusion of languages (this is assuming that the chronology given in the latter portion of this chapter is correct as per the copyists).


Since the Exodus generation was at least two million and they traveled together, then it is likely that this group traveled together out of the mountains to find a river for water and then they all likely settled down together. The original three patriarchs (and wives) had all seen the flood and would have been alive during the confusion of the languages. We know that God had spoken to Noah and his sons (Gen. 9:1), and given that there is no description given as to the manner in which God spoke to them, it is reasonable to suppose that God took on the form of a man and spoke to them.


The next few generations would have been told stories about the antediluvian world and the interaction between the fallen angels and mankind; such stories would have made wonderful bedtime stories, from a secular point of view. However, as a logical result of this, there are a great many adults on the earth who do not believe in the Revealed Lord, but who have an interest in the gods of the antediluvian era (the fallen angels and their children the daughters of men bare to them) and that this group of people became possibly very religious, but not believers. Furthermore, they were highly intelligent, as was early man (archeological discoveries aside; place a quarter million geniuses on an island with only natural materials and what they will develop will require great thought, but it might appear primitive.


——————————


And so scatters Yehowah them from there over faces of all the earth. And so they cease to build the city.

Genesis

11:8

So, Yehowah caused them to be scattered over the face of all the earth. As a result [lit., and so], they ceased building the city.

So, Jehovah caused them to be scattered over the face of the entire earth. As a result, they stopped building this city.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And the Word of the Lord was revealed against the city, and with Him seventy angels, having reference to seventy nations, each having its own language, and thence the writing of its own hand: and He dispersed them from thence upon the face of all the earth into seventy languages. And one knew not what his neighbour would say: but one slew the other; and they ceased from building the city.

Latin Vulgate                          And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so scatters Yehowah them from there over faces of all the earth. And so they cease to build the city.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    So the LORD scattered them abroad from there upon the face of all the earth; and they ceased from building the city.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the Lord scattered them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city and the tower.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Then the Lord dispersed them from there over all of the earth, and they stopped building the city.

Contemporary English V.       So the people had to stop building the city, because the LORD confused their language and scattered them all over the earth. That's how the city of Babel got its name.

Easy-to-Read Version            So the Lord caused the people to spread all over the earth. So the people did not finish building the city.

The Message                         Then GOD scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city.

New Berkeley Version           Thus the Lord dispersed them from there over the whole face of the earth. They quite building the city, 9which accordingly was called Babel [Balale—confusion], because there the Lord confused the whole world’s language and from there the Lord scattered them over the whole face of the earth. V. 9 was included for context.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And Jehovah scattered them from there over the entire face of the earth, so they stopped building the city and its tower.

Beck’s American Translation So the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they had to stop building the city.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             So the Lord God sent them away into every part of the earth: and they gave up building their town.

Complete Jewish Bible           So from there ADONAI scattered them all over the earth, and they stopped building the city.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 So the Chief scattered them over the surface of the whole country; and they abandoned building the city.

NET Bible®                             So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building [The infinitive construct לִבְנֹת (livnot, “building”) here serves as the object of the verb “they ceased, stopped,” answering the question of what they stopped doing.] the city.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And scattering them is Yahweh thence on the surface of the entire earth. And leaving off are they building the city and the tower.

English Standard Version      So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.

LTHB                                     And Jehovah scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth. And they stopped building the city.

New King James Version       So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.

Updated Bible Version 2.11   So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city.

World English Bible                So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah scatters them from thence over the face of all the earth, and they cease to build the city.

 

The gist of this verse:          God, by changing their languages, caused them to move away from one another and to spread out over the earth. They stopped building the city.


Genesis 11:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

pûwts (פּוּץ) [pronounced poots]

to scatter, to send abroad; to agitate [harass] [anyone]; to pour out [used metaphorically of anger]; to spread oneself abroad; to cause [things] to be scattered [dispersed]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #6327 BDB #806

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

them; untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, of, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ʿâl and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking.

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: So, Yehowah caused them to be scattered over the face of all the earth. All mankind had been quite cooperative up to this point. They agreed upon building the city and the tower. However, suddenly, those with whom they were working could not be understood. They started speaking gibberish, which was maddening to them. Therefore, they were caused to be scattered over the earth. God did not pick them up and move them; they chose to separate from one another.


God could have chosen to do whatever He wanted to do. He chose, rather than to scatter men through natural disasters, to do it by language. In the midst of building this tower (quite a feat for 1–5 centuries past the flood with practically no developed technology), those building the tower could no longer communicate to one another. If you have ever been in a foreign land and no one around you speaks your language, and you suddenly meet someone who speaks English, there is an immediate bond which is formed. God confined these languages to the various families, as we see in Gen. 10:5 & 20. It is very likely that almost every person named in Gen. 10 had a different language. They found that they could communicate with one another in their family, but not with any of a dozen or two dozen families which lived around them. Certainly there were misunderstandings, miss-communications, and everyone thought that they were speaking in a language that they were born with. Adam was created with a fully functioning vocabulary. God did the same with these and created different patterns of language.


Genesis 11:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châdal (חָדַל) [pronounced khaw-DAHL]

to cease and desist, to leave off, to cease, to leave, to forsake

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2308 BDB #292

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bânâh (בָּנָה) [pronounced baw-NAWH]

to build, to construct; to erect; to rebuild, to restore

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #1129 BDB #124

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: As a result [lit., and so], they ceased building the city. It appears that many of the Semites remained in this general area, so we might ask, why didn’t they continue building the city? With the Japhethites and the Hamites, they had the skills and mechanical background to build this city. Perhaps members of the family of Ham had perfected the mixing of the mortar and they did not have the material. Perhaps there were specific tools that the Japhethtites developed that the Semites were unable to build.


Let me offer up another possible reason: these various groups began to fight over the city. They fought first due to misunderstandings; and then they fought for the right to have and hold this peace of ground. When that occurs, some people will win and others will lose. We do not know how far they took it. I tend to believe that a mass slaughter did not occur, but there was a strong enough show of force that the Hamites and the Japhethites left the area.


According to the previous chapter, Gen. 10 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD), they further subdivided themselves. Were their further language barriers? Did all the sons of Ham have a different dialect from the same language? We are not given that sort of detail. We simply know that the Hamites further spread themselves out. Whether it was about language at that point, or whether other factors came into play.


At least two-thirds of the people of the city moved out, and it is possible that even more than that did.


It is reasonable to ask, if men were cooperating with one another, why did God need to step in as He did? God made it clear what He wanted mankind to do. Mankind acted in concert against God.


Communism today is a good illustration of this. Dissent is crushed. For years, millions of people were killed in China and in Russia for thinking differently. Most were not outright killed, but they were relocated to reeducation camps. These exist today in North Korea. China appears not to be as ruthless anymore against her own people in the regards to thinking.


For some reason, men in large groups tend to veer off from God’s will. Look at our public school system. Originally, the schools in American were designed so that men could learn to read the Bible and that many might become evangelists and Bible teachers. Now, there are continued legal fights over whether the Bible can even be brought into schools, whether or not it can be taught, and whether or not cheerleaders, for instance, can make up banners with Bible verses. Generally speaking, in the United States, when a city is large, they tend to defied the Laws of Divine Establishment (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). Such defiance is not without consequences. Many such cities are bankrupt or nearing bankruptcy, due to the legal stealing of their funds by politicians.


God, knowing all of this, wanted mankind to disperse throughout the world which He had given them.


Gen 11:8 So Jehovah scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of all the earth. And they quit building the city.


I have mentioned the Hebrew stems. Here, to scatter is in the Hiphil stem, which is the causative stem. This means that God, through this action of confounding their languages, caused man to scatter from this place. The imperfect tense indicates that this was a process, and that it did not occur all at once. In other words, the men in this city did not, on day 1, have their languages confused, and, on day 2, go their separate ways. The changing of the languages was probably sudden, but the separation was more gradual.


Since groups of men could not communicate with one another, they could no longer share their knowledge. Therefore, they voluntarily separated from one another. Mechanically, what seems to be the case is, when Charley Brown spoke to Lucy, in his own mind, he was still speaking and thinking in the language that he had always used. Lucy could not understand a word that Charley said, and, in her mind, she believed her thinking and language to remain unchanged as well. For several days, the Hamites walked around this city, and they found that other Hamites spoke their language; but they had no idea what was up with the Semites or the Japhethites. As a result, cooperation was no longer possible, because the speakers of one language would have seen the others as stupid, babbling like idiots for no reason.


The ancient word Babel means to confuse by mixing. We have retained some of that meaning in our own word babble. People all over Babel were babbling, and this no doubt resulted in fistfights which escalated into feuds, which resulted in a separation of the peoples. Given what we have read in Gen. 10, the language barriers would have been along family lines. Whether God broke them into 3 fundamentally different languages, I could not say; or perhaps He divided them further into clans, which eventually scattered, separating from one another, as per Gen. 10.


If you have ever been in a foreign country, and the people there did not speak English, when you come across someone who does, there is an immediate bond which develops. Furthermore, these groups had natural bonds based upon their familial relationships. So, just as Noah and company all traveled together as a group; smaller groups were formed, based upon their clan and language. These clans decided to spread out, because all around them was confusion and babbling.


The final sentence is, literally, And so they are ceasing to build the city. The verb to cease, to stop, to leave off is a Qal imperfect, indicating that building did not stop all at once. So, some people, who were speaking the same language, then moved to the southern section of town, but right next to them would be someone speaking a different language, which would lead to disputes which could not be easily settled. So, over a period of time, the building of this city ceased, as groups of men became frustrated and finally just left.


——————————


Upon so is called her name Babel for there confounded Yehowah a lip of all the earth. And so scatters them Yehowah upon faces of all the earth.

Genesis

11:9

Therefore its name is called Babel, for there, Yehowah confounded the languages of the entire earth. Then, Yehowah caused them to be scattered throughout [lit., upon the face of] the entire earth.

Therefore, the name of this city was called Babel, because it was here that Jehovah confounded the languages of all mankind. By this, Jehovah caused them to be scattered throughout all the earth.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                Therefore He called the name of it Bavel, because there did the Lord commingle the speech of all the inhabitants of the earth, and from thence did the Lord disperse them upon the faces of all the earth.

Latin Vulgate                          And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Upon so is called her name Babel for there confounded Yehowah a lip of all the earth. And so scatters them Yehowah upon faces of all the earth.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Therefore they called the name of it Babel; because it was there that the LORD confounded the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them upon the face of all the earth.

Septuagint (Greek)                On this account its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confounded the languages of all the earth, and then the Lord scattered them upon the face of all the earth.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Therefore, it is named Babel, because there the Lord mixed up [Heb balal, wordplay on Babel] the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord dispersed them over all the earth.

Good News Bible (TEV)         The city was called Babylon, because there the LORD mixed up the language of all the people, and from there he scattered them all over the earth.

The Message                         That's how it came to be called Babel, because there GOD turned their language into "babble." From there GOD scattered them all over the world.

New Living Translation           That is why the city was called Babel [Or Babylon. Babel sounds like a Hebrew term that means "confusion."], because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          That is why [the city] is named Confusion (Babylon), because, that's where Jehovah confused all the languages of the earth and scattered them from there over all the face of the earth.

God’s Word                         This is why it was named Babel, because there the LORD turned the language of the whole earth into babble. From that place the LORD scattered them all over the face of the earth.

New American Bible (R.E.)    That is why it was called Babel [the Hebrew form of the name "Babylon"; the Babylonians interpreted their name for the city, Bab-ili, as "gate of god." The Hebrew word balal, "he confused," has a similar sound.], because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. From there the LORD scattered them over all the earth.

Revised English Bible            That is why it is called Babel, because there the Lord made a babble of the language of the whole world. It was from that place the Lord scattered people over the face of the earth.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      So the name over it was called Babylon, for Yahweh mingled the lips of all the land. From there Yahweh scattered them over the face of all the land.

Bible in Basic English             So it was named Babel, because there the Lord took away the sense of all languages and from there the Lord sent them away over all the face of the earth.

The Expanded Bible              The place is called Babel [Csounds like the Hebrew word for "confused"] since that is where the Lord confused the language of the whole world. So the Lord caused them to spread out from there over the whole world.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 They therefore called its name Babel [confusion] because it was there the Chief confused the designs of all the country. Thus from there the Lord [The word Jehovah, commonly translated Lord, was originally used as a title of honour for nobles or governors as shown in Genesis 18;13; and elsewhere, as in Exodus 4:24, where the title is given to the chief of a tribe, who attempted to murder Moses; and was not reserved as a synonym for God until after the promulgation of the Law from Sinai. In this passage, it is evident that it did not mean the Supreme Being, and to translate it as if it did misleads the reader.—F.F.] scattered them over all the surface of the land.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               That is why it was called Babel [i.e., Babylon], because there the Lord confounded [Hebrew balal “confounded,” a play on “Babel.”] the speech of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

NET Bible®                             That is why its name was called [The verb has no expressed subject and so can be rendered as a passive in the translation.] Babel [Babel. Here is the climax of the account, a parody on the pride of Babylon. In the Babylonian literature the name bab-ili meant “the gate of God,” but in Hebrew it sounds like the word for “confusion,” and so retained that connotation. The name “Babel” (בָּבֶל, bavel) and the verb translated “confused” (בָּלַ?ל, balal) form a paronomasia (sound play). For the many wordplays and other rhetorical devices in Genesis, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN).] - because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth.

NIV – UK                                That is why it was called Babel [That is, Babylon; Babel sounds like the Hebrew for confused.] - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    Therefore its name is called Babel, for there Yahweh disintegrates the lip of the entire earth. And thence Yahweh Elohim scatters them over the surface of the entire earth.

Context Group Version          Therefore the name of it was called Babel; because there YHWH confounded the language of all the land { or earth }: and from there YHWH scattered them abroad on the face of all the land { or earth }.

Green’s Literal Translation    On account of this its name is called Babel, because Jehovah confused the language of all the earth there. And Jehovah scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth.

New RSV                               Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused [Heb balal, meaning to confuse] the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

World English Bible                Therefore the name of it was called Babel, because Yahweh confused the language of all the earth, there. From there, Yahweh scattered them abroad on the surface of all the earth.

Young’s Updated LT             Therefore has one called its name Babel, for there has Jehovah mingled the pronunciation of all the earth, and from there has Jehovah scattered them over the face of all the earth.

 

The gist of this verse:          The city that they were building was then called Babel, because it was there that God confounded their languages. Therefore, mankind was scattered throughout the earth.


Genesis 11:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

kên (כֵּן) [pronounced kane]

so, therefore, thus; then, afterwards; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted

adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

Together, ʿal kên (כֵּן עַל) mean so, upon the ground of such conditions, therefore, on this account, on account, for this reason.

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon; to call, to name [when followed by a lâmed]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character; fame, glory; celebrated; renown; possibly memorial, monument

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Babel (בָּבֶל) [pronounced baw-BEHL]

confusion (by mixing), confusion of speech; stammering; gate of god; transliterated Babel, Babylon

proper singular noun; location

Strong’s #894 BDB #93


Translation: Therefore its name is called Babel, for there,... Who has not heard of Babylon? The city was called Babel, and we even retain that meaning today in English with the word babble. I am sure there are millions of Americans—even Christians—who doubt this historical incident, but even the name which comes down to us over the past 4000 or so years testifies to the Biblical narrative. The city was called Babel. The Hebrew word means confusion (by mixing), confusion of speech; stammering.


Genesis 11:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

bâlal (בָּלַל) [pronounced baw-LAHL

 to pour over, to pour together; to mingle, mix, confuse, confound and it is from this that we determine that tevel means confusion

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1101 BDB #117

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

sâphâh (שָׂפָה) [pronounced saw-FAWH]

lip, tongue; words, speech; dialect, language; edge, border [or, lip] [of something], shore

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #8193 BDB #973

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...Yehowah confounded the languages of the entire earth. And the writer of this portion of Genesis makes it even more clear as to why the name Babel.


People try to say that miraculous things cannot happen, that everything must fall within the boundaries of science. Therefore, going with this assumption is, these stories are allegorical. So, what is this story trying to teach? Mankind is cooperating and making progress, so God throws a monkey wrench into all of it?


If we believe what the Bible says, this makes perfect sense. If we do not, then this makes little sense. Furthermore, you are then stuck with the task of determining what in the Bible is true and what is false. If you needed for the Bible to line up with contemporary norms and standards, then you would have to throw out about 90% of it. For me, after I became a Christian and began listening to the teaching of Bible doctrine, it became very clear that the Bible was not going to reinforce all of the values which I had in my soul. There were going to be a lot of places where I disagreed with the Bible, and I had to, over and over again, decide, who was right? The Bible or me?


Given the study just so far in the book of Genesis, from the standpoint of logic and science, I will have to believe the Bible over what I was originally brought up to believe.


Now, over these years, I have appreciated the Bible more and more with each passing year. And, at the same time, there were many “facts” and values which I have had to discard. Let me give you one simple “fact” which I had to discard. I was not a very good history student in high school. I had very little interest in it, and, with the exception of one teacher (who was a coach), my history teachers did not inspire me either. But, one of the few “facts” which I retained decades later was, our founding fathers were deists. There are not many things from history which I recall, but I certainly remember that. A deist believes that God started up the world, like a windup clock, and then walked away from it to, I guess, let things play out. However, there are an abundance of historical documents which show this notion to be false. If there were any deists among the founders, they would have been in the minority. Most of them believed in Jesus Christ and most of them believed that the Bible was the Word of God. Often, arguments were made from the Bible. They did not believe that God wound up the world and walked away because many founders believed that the constitution was inspired of God. They believed that their destiny was intermingled with the plan of God. Some today believe that our division of powers (along with other constitutional principles) came out of the Bible.


Genesis 11:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

pûwts (פּוּץ) [pronounced poots]

to scatter, to send abroad; to agitate [harass] [anyone]; to pour out [used metaphorically of anger]; to spread oneself abroad; to cause [things] to be scattered [dispersed]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6327 BDB #806

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ʿâl and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking.

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: Then, Yehowah caused them to be scattered throughout [lit., upon the face of] the entire earth. God did not pick up large groups of people and place them hither and yon; God allowed them to separate of their own volition, based upon His confusion of their languages, to scatter throughout the earth. This explains the use of the Hiphil (causative) stem.


Gen 11:9 Therefore the name of it is called Babel; because Jehovah confused the language of all the earth there. And from there Jehovah scattered them abroad on the face of all the earth.


Babel means confusion and it is similar to the verb found in this verse. Babel (like most proper nouns) is transliterated from the Hebrew to English, which means that the spelling and pronunciation is very similar in the two languages. We get from this word babble (note the consonantal equivalence), which describes how the other languages would have sounded to the people there. Babel is an onomatopoetic word, describing what one language sounds like to a person who does not speak it: babble, babble, babble. The word Barbarian is built upon the same concept, where the language of the foreigner sounded like bar, bar, bar to other nationalities.


The name of the city, Babel, is based upon the verb in this verse, which is bâlal (בָּלַל) [pronounced baw-LAL]; and it means to mingle, mix, confuse, confound. Strong's #1101 BDB #117.


You may choose to doubt what is in the Bible. You may choose to believe that this is just some made-up story. God gave us free will, to think and believe as we choose to. However, why would Babel, the most ancient city in the world, at the center of the cradle of civilization, have that name? Its name and meaning are so lacking in dispute that our own language even today reflects its original meaning.


This confusion of the languages was a miracle, meaning that it occurred outside of the laws of science (which is, by the way, a misnomer, as science does not establish or enforce scientific laws; science merely observes and classifies the laws of God).


Gen 11:9 Therefore the name of it is called Babel; because Jehovah confused the language of all the earth there. And from there Jehovah scattered them abroad on the face of all the earth.


This final sentence, where Jehovah scatters them upon the face of the earth, scatter is a Qal perfect, indicating that the writer now looks at this as a completed event.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


What follows was interesting to me. I do not know exactly how factual all of this is, not being an expert in philology, but it is fascinating if true.

Philology from Bible Believers . Org

"Philology," which is the science of the structure and development of language, has discovered three parent groups of languages and peoples: Aryan, Semitic, and Turanian (who are Asiatic and neither Aryan nor Semitic)-Japheth, Shem, and Ham. Family traits are evident in the languages of the different groups as language determines or reflects the way men conceive of things.

The Japhetic or the Indo-Europeans have maintained the evident relationships in their particular family of languages. And the same observation applies to the Semitic languages. Even though they have spread so widely, they have continued to share a certain way of viewing things. Indo-Europeans philosophically with an emphasis on the abstract, and the Semites with their emphasis upon behavior from a more transcendental point of view.

From all over the world, wherever Ham and Canaan are found, the witness is to an entirely practical view of the world, rooted in the present, wise in a canny sort of way, specific, particular, uninterested in the abstract, always inventing new words or new terms for things, interested in particulars rather than categories, earthy, and very largely disinterested in unlikely possibilities.

The family of the Indo-European languages is readily identifiable as a family, as are the Semitic tongues. The Hamites, however, have been so inventive, they devise terms with equal facility and their languages are in such a state of flux that within a few generations, even tribes living just across the river will find themselves scarcely able to converse.

This strange tendency which has prevented the Egyptians, Hittites, Sumerians, Chinese and Central American Indians from developing an alphabetical script may have been Providence, guaranteeing the quick dispersal of Ham all over the world. Many cuneiform scholars have noted the similarities between Sumerian and Chinese. "Civilization has traveled with the sun, from the east, coming west. . . . The oldest civilization is China, . . . And sin has traveled with civilization" (We Have Seen His Star and Have Come to Worship Him, 28:188).

What divided the Hamites in this way was not a difference in language structure, for the philosophy of their languages remained remarkably similar, so that the ways of thinking of the African native, the Chinese peasant, and the American Indian have remained for a very long time comparable: it was the vocabularies which changed.

According to Genesis 10:32, the families of the sons of Noah are divided or separated by languages into tribes and nations. These boundaries also knit them together in their generic group. This is a protective measure to ensure each people would be separate yet interdependent in order to realize the maximum capacity of man with his tremendous creative potential.

Any attempt to unify the world's language, to co-mingle the races or nations with the overt intention of making all men share equally in this potential will only serve to defeat its own purpose in the end. Thus Esperanto, "multiculturalism," gender equality, the UN, WCC and "the brotherhood of all mankind", are artificial, in direct opposition to God's purposes, and in a manner of speaking, a repetition of the hubris of Babel (Genesis 11:1-6 Matthew 24:37-38)

Taken from: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/bb000319.htm


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Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The Line of Shem—the Introduction

Gen. 10:21–31 1Chronicles 1:17–27 Luke 3:34–36


Special Section: Archaeology, Primitive Man and Evolution


At this point, we are in the middle of Gen. 11. We have just covered the Tower of Babel, and the indirect scattering of man due to the confusion of the languages. In the chapter previous, we studied the families of man, and which people came from which person (or family). We are about ready to study a straight-line genealogy which fixes the time when man began on this earth. We will actually be able to place some fairly hard dates on the flood itself, although there will end up being a range of 875 years because of the differences between the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Therefore, it will be helpful for us to take a look at archaeology.


It is important that we have some kind of an idea as to what life was like during these times insofar as ancient history and archeology reveal to us. Due to preconceived ideas, most modern scholars see this period of time as being exceptionally primitive, which contradicts the Bible. We have a change in the languages for a majority of the population of the earth, as well as some physical and mental degeneration after the flood, which would require a new written language for them.


Two common archeological assumptions which contradict the Bible are: (1) early man was more primitive back then, than he is today; and (2) early man worshipped a pantheon of gods, and later evolved to worshiping one God.


Never underestimate the power of a philosophy and approach which is anti-God and, particularly, anti-Bible. You must recognize that there are those who will favor theory and philosophy above truth and actual scientific discovery.


Let me give you some examples where science has favored theory and philosophy over truth: man is said to have walked the earth 3 million years ago as homo habilis, then 2 million years ago as homo erectus, and then 1 million years ago as homo sapiens (if my memory of such things can be depended upon). We would expect the fossil evidence to support this general classification of the evolution of man. However, it does not—all these various forms of man are found all over the time-map (placed there by paleontologists by their own dates), with no regards to this long-standing evolutionary classification. So, even though the actual evidence accepted by paleontologists contradicts this evolutionary progression of man, these groupings are taught virtually everywhere to have evolved one from the other.


Marvin Lubenow, who wrote the excellent book, Bones of Contention, tells about one of his classes at a Christian college, where he assigned each student 5 human or australopithecine (our supposed ancestors) fossils to research (for a total of 150 human and pre-human fossils). The students were to spend no less than 8 hours each on this research, they needed to study at least 5 separate sources on each fossil, and they needed to find an agreed upon date for each fossil. The students found out that there was very little agreement among evolutionists, so they were allowed to assign a date to a fossil if they could find two independent sources who agreed upon a date for that fossil. Then, part of the assignment included the students affixing their fossils to a timeline (obviously, not the actual fossil itself). What would have been expected is, australopithecine fossils could be found clustering around 4 to 5 million years ago, homo habilis 3 mya, homo erectus 2 mya, and homo sapiens 1 mya. No such clustering takes place. Using the numbers which evolutionists give to these various fossils, there was no such organization occurring on the human timeline.


Lubenow admits that he loaded the dice, to some degree, and included some of the more obscure human fossils—those about which, very little has been written, but have been discovered and classified by evolutionary scientists. There are some fossils which receive a lot of press, but the majority of human and pre-human fossils are unknown to the general public. This latter group of fossils are known within the archaeological community, their findings having been written up in various archaeological journals and studies, but they are not known to the outside world. We don’t find them in textbooks or in Time Magazine articles about the latest discovery in evolution. In fact, there are a lot of these fossils which do not fit into evolutionary theory.


This resulting timeline always has quite an impact upon the students, who do their own independent research, where the results are always the same—there is no clustering of our ancestors as evolutionary science tells us. They find out other things as well. An ancient fossil is discovered, classified as one kind of human; and dated; and then, if the date is not right, this fossil is often reclassified. Everything I have read in evolution books indicates that homo habilis, homo erectus and homo sapiens are distinct evolutionary families of man. Therefore, how do you take a fossil which is clearly determined to be a homo sapiens and then, suddenly determine that, it is a homo habilis fossil? This happens a lot in evolution, because theory is more important than truth.


I have previously mentioned that I have taught my students about the population growth curve and the associated exponential growth curve, and, armed with calculators and their notes, I then take them to the library and ask them to determine at what point in time were there 100 people on this earth, according to any population figures which they want to use (this assignment requires 2 sets of world population figures from any point in time in human history). I always remind them that, according to evolution, man is a million years old. Most of them believe in evolution. Consequently, they are quite surprised when their mathematical calculations lead them to answers of man being a few thousand years old, as opposed to their answers being in the hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Like Lubenow, I simply give the assignment. They use a human population growth formula found in virtually every Calculus and Pre-Calculus book in the world (and, at one time, found in nearly every Algebra II book) and they are free, in the library, to get their figures from any book they choose. What is even better, is when I get the precocious student, who checked with his older brother or sister, and knows that this assignment is coming up, and they figure out how to choose numbers which yield the oldest age for man. If memory serves, by their intentional loading of the dice in order to get the oldest age for man possible, a couple of my students came up with 20,000 or 25,000 years. As I found out, independent of Lubenow, when the child does the work himself, it is often more effective, and it stays with him longer.


Mathematically, there is no way to match up mathematical population models with human evolution. We have discussed this before. Mankind being less than 10,000 years old matches up nicely with mathematical population growth models; Homo sapiens being 1 million years old does not match up with any population growth model. Is this mentioned in any college or high school course or textbook? Hardly. That is because theory is more important than evidence, and contrary evidence is set aside.


Ask yourself that, in an age where you can find a summary of every television show along with the plotlines and cast for each episode on the internet, why don’t we find the same thing for human fossils? Why can’t we go to Evolution.com or Evolution.org and find a list of every single ancient human who has been unearthed, all of the pertinent information about this fossil (e.g., where is it, who has it, what does it consist of, photographs, when was this fossil alive, who discovered it, how its age and classification was determined, etc.), along with any pictures of same. And then, on some timeline, have these human fossils placed. The problem would be, according to the data of evolutionary scientists, there would not be this nice grouping of 3 kinds of man, but they would be scattered willy nilly on such a timeline. Homo sapiens would be too old, homo habilis would be too recent, and it would not conform to this model which evolutionary science has given us. This is why we do not even have a reference book on fossil man where all of the fossils are listed, with all of their pertinent information, which these individual fossil being dropped onto a timeline according to scientific consensus. Such a reference book seems like it would be fundamental to the study of evolution, and yet, this reference book does not exist. You will find a greater variety of human and pre-human fossils in Lubenow’s book than you will in any reference book on the same subject (he lists around 300 human fossils with much of this information). Why would someone who disputes evolution fill up his book with scientific discoveries which are not found in reference book favoring evolution? It is because theory is more important than truth.


What few students or adults know is that, the disagreements of multi-degreed evolutionists is profound. They agree only on one thing: the concept of evolution, and on just about nothing else. This information is rarely presented to high school or college students studying these things (I was taught evolution in college in a math course and in a child development course, if memory serves; and, of course, in my high school or Junior High science classes). Furthermore, there are various pictures, graphs, brain-size comparisons, etc. which are found in textbooks and museums which have been debunked as absolutely false (by evolutionary scientists), for the most part, and yet continue to find their way into classrooms and museums.


Although there is a great opportunity here to teach debate, critical thinking, scientific evidence, etc., this is almost never seized upon by a science teacher. There is a multitude of information out there, both for and against evolution, for this or that theory of evolution, and what more engaging way to get a class stimulated than to put this up for debate, but, for most science teachers, this would be sacrilegious. The idea of even considering God specifically creating man as recently as 6500 years ago is just, in their minds, ridiculous. Furthermore, I can guarantee you that, if some upstart science teacher opened up this topic to debate in his classes, this would be tamped down so fast by his colleagues that his head would spin. He would be called in to meetings, berated in front of his peers, and incessantly attacked, simply for allowing his students to question and debate evolution.


Can you point to an accepted scientific textbook anywhere that opens up evolution to a fair and reasonable debate? Can you point to a textbook which reveals that differences between evolutionary scientists are not minor but profound? Of course not. However, if you disagree with some philosophical tenet of science, and you will be labeled as being at war with science.


Most of what I have just written, could also be said of the science of global warming, now called climate change; which science has also found its way into the classroom. This is a very young science, and there is profound disagreement in this area; and what greater motivating factor than to jazz up students by getting them to debate; but is this found in the public schools? Not to my knowledge. Global warming is, and Al Gore’s film is; and the notion that, if you recycle, change the light bulbs in your house, and drive a tiny car when you grow up, that will really help the earth—that is taught.


Let me give you one more example of how philosophy supercedes the facts: I was in grammar school in the 50's and in high school in the 60's, and schools were not seen as so radicalized at that point. However, I came out of my education believing in my heart that most of our founding fathers were deists (that is, they believed that God started up the world and then wandered off to do something else, and left everything in our hands to deal with). I did not know what Christianity was at that time in my life, but I was taught clearly that our founding fathers did not believe in it.


I was also brought up to believe that there ought to be a dramatic wall of separation between public education and anything related to the Bible, and I had the impression that was the intention of the Founding Fathers. Neither of these facts are true, and we have copious original documents to show that most of the founding fathers were Protestant Christians who believed in an active God who was clearly involved in the actual founding of our country (the common name for God at that time was Providence, always capitalized). Almost every educational institution, both private and public, was originally founded upon teaching reading and writing so that one might study the Bible. 187 of the first 200 colleges in America were Christian, they were Bible teaching institutions.


The idea of separating the Bible from education in our early years as a nation would have been seen as preposterous. We are the nation that we are today, because Bible-believing Christians tried to formulate a government which allowed great freedom and which did not allow one protestant group to persecute another protestant group. Throughout our early history, there has always been a co-mingling of prayers, the Bible and government, stopping short of proclaiming that Baptists, for instance, are the most accurate purveyors of truth.


But, what would happen today if a teacher read or posted a verse from the Bible or even just kept a Bible on his or her desk? In my former classroom, I posted all kinds of quotations about the room, but what would have happened if some of these came from the Bible? I could put up the words of Shakespear, Euclid, Frank Zappa and Cecil Adams, without a word being said, but if I added to these quotations something from the Bible, at some point in time, that would be questioned, and I might even be asked to remove it. Particularly, if that verse was, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31a). The Supreme Court in 1980 actually ruled that the Ten Commandments could not be displayed on a classroom wall, despite the fact that they are accepted by Christians, Jews and Muslims!


This year (2010), in Florida public schools, they celebrate religious freedom day. So, nonprofit groups wanted to distribute Bibles (with disclaimers on the inside covers of the Bibles). Nope, there would be no distribution of Bibles on religious freedom day; Bibles were banned!


A school in Fort Wayne, Indiana has allowed the teaching of Bible classes as a part of its curriculum since 1944. The ACLU this year filed suit against this school district and got them to stop this evil practice.


In Knoxville, TN, students at a grammar school apparently gathered for a Bible study during recess, and this is now being litigated.


This is how powerful the forces are which work against God and against truth and against the Bible. A significant portion of all lawsuits against schools and school districts over the past several decades are related to the Bible, Christian clubs, Christmas carols, etc. The NEA (the National Education Association) promotes and recommends a book actually dedicated to Satan, but they would never ever suggest that one read the Bible.


The Supreme Court has not always ruled that the Bible has no place in the classroom. In 1799 Runkel v. Winemiller, Justice Samuel Chase concluded: “By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion, and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing.”


In 1844 Vidal v. Girard, the ruling included these words: "Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools --Its general precepts expounded and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”


My point in all of this is, there are powerful forces which want you to believe a certain way, and history and science are both manipulated, edited and falsified in order to get you to think that way. Therefore, most of us believe that ancient man was not very smart, had little or no technology, beyond pottery plates, bowls and beverage containers, and that man evolved mentally, spiritually and technologically. That is the philosophy, and all the information that you will find in the average textbook, will support that view. Two lessons from now, you will see a chart of ancient technology which is going to greatly surprise you.


Coming from the hand of God—and let me stress that this is a personal theory—early man’s comprehension and memory was phenomenal, so that everything, or very nearly everything, that early man heard, he retained. We do not know when a written language was developed. My guess is, there was no written language until after the confusion of the languages, and here is why: the mind of Adam (and his early descendants) was so powerful that, they had no reason to write anything down. They heard something once and they remembered it. There would be no reason to record contracts, land agreements, trade and purchase agreements, because this could be discussed, an agreement could be reached, and everyone heard, understood and could remember this agreement. Furthermore, these men stood by their agreements, for the most part (I deal with contracts all of the time, today, and for most people, the contracts that they sign is just some piece of paper which stands between them and what they want).


At this point in our technologically advanced age, we do not fully understand why we remember some things and forget others; why our brain prints and retains some information, and yet, other information seems to be printed and becomes almost immediately inaccessible (lack of short-term memory). Ideally speaking, our own minds seem as though they ought to keep all of our memories somewhere, which is why hypnotism, rightly or wrongly, is used to dredge up old memories. And for all of us, who meet a person and then, 2 seconds later, have forgotten that person’s name, know that sometimes information just does not seem to print at all.


As man degenerated physically, he also degenerated mentally, and a written language became a necessity. Since man needed a written language, he developed one. My guess is, this occurred after the flood and after the confusion of languages.


Special Section: Traditional Archaeological Views


Some assumptions of archeology have remained unchanged since the early 19th century. It was at that time that archeologists separated the earth into several layers representing various time periods and we have held to that model until this day even though it was made prior to carbon dating methods at a time when very little fossil evidence had been uncovered. It was at that time that ancient history was separated into three ages: the Stone Age (10,000–3200 b.c.), the Bronze Age (3200-1200 b.c.) and the Iron Age (1200–330 b.c.). For this reason, a lot of archeological finds are grouped into these preordained time periods. Only organic matter may be dated using C-14 dating methods and there is a dearth of organic matter to be found in Palestinian excavations. Therefore, a lot of dating is done by strata (that is, if it is found in a certain layer, then it is dated according to that layer). This is primarily true of dating layers of earth which is determined to be pre-man.


In terms of a Biblical timeline, there has been some corruption of Biblical texts in regards to the years given. The years given in the Masoretic text are slightly different from those in the Greek text (the very early translation from Hebrew into Greek of the Old Testament; and this translated used very old Hebrew manuscripts which are not available to us today). Also, there is one name left out of Shem’s line in the Massoretic text, which is found in the Greek text. It is, in part, for these reasons that it is difficult to correlate Biblical and archeological dates. Somewhere in the Middle Bronze Age (after 2300 b.c.) Is when we begin to see greater correlation between archeological dating and Biblical dates. The dates given for the Old Stone Age (also known as the Paleolithic Age) is based as much upon evolution and geological theories as it is upon sound archeological evidence. There is no existing archeological evidence which requires us to go back further in man’s history than 10,000 b.c.


It is assumed by archeology, but not taught by the Bible, that earliest man primarily hunted and gathered food from nature. Their earliest implements were made of flint and chipped stone. This is what as known as the Paleolithic period. It is very likely that some groups from Gen. 11 functioned that way, but farming predates the flood and Noah was a farmer immediately after the flood, so there did exist some agrarian societies before and after the flood (recall that Cain was also a farmer).


The second period of the Stone Age, the Mesolithic period, was when, according to archeological assumptions, we first saw food-producing societies and real settlements. There certainly existed advances in the arts of civilization during this time. The Bible would group these two periods of time together.


As Charles Clough points out, the original inhabitants of the ark emerged to a cruel world. Even though the antediluvian people were forbidden to enter into the garden of God, they still seemed to have a very moist, and comfortable climate with a great deal of vegetation. However, those in the ark first emerged to a flood-ruined land with some, but very little vegetation. In fact, it was possibly due to the lack of vegetation that they were given permission to eat animals, as they had additional clean beasts on the ark.


The third part of the stone age is called the Neolithic period, which began about 5000 b.c., and it is at this point where the interpretations of archeological finds and the Bible begin to fall into some agreement. With all the clay available to the post-diluvian societies, and the lack of large trees, they made mud-brick shelters, which, after a few heavy rains, disintegrated to nothing. Charles Clough points out where archeology assumes that each stage of building these mud huts represents a century, the first few stages more than likely represent a decade or less for each layer of mud huts. Man certainly experimented and his first mud huts were worthless. Afterward, he learned to fire his clay bricks and to affix them with a mortar for a more permanent dwelling.


When Noah and his family came down from the mountains from the east and moved into the Euphrates valley, there would have been far more water on the ground and far more rain, and much more temperate weather as a result. In Gen. 11:1–4, man built a city with a great tower. There is no reason to think that, immediately upon leaving the mountains that they built successful buildings, but, given their age and intellect, within 100–200 years (or less), they were probably building a city which could withstand heavy rains.


In archeological sites in Jericho (Jericho is in Israel; not in the Euphrates valley), we have four Neolithic periods; two which were pre-pottery and two which had pottery. This would correlate with eventually discovering how to fire bricks to make shelters which would withstand rain. With the first group in Jericho, we have found massive defensive walls which have been built. After this wall was destroyed (perhaps by invaders and likely by heavy rains), the second period of time still lacks the ability to make pottery, but they did make realistic portraits of human heads or skulls using clay for molding and shell inset for eyes. The next group in Jericho could make pottery. We do not know if these were new groups which supplanted to original peoples, or whether these ages represented technological advances.


It may occur to you, how can man successfully figure out how to build a city in Shinar (in the Euphrates Valley), and then, hundreds of years later, experiment once again with building? Technology is built upon technology. There is not a person alive in the world today who could build, from raw materials, an airplane, a car or a computer (or even a stainless steel fork). When man dispersed, some families had some knowledge of this; and others had some knowledge of that. When man began to spread out, he faced different environments with different building materials. Whatever shelters were built to begin with, would have reflected expediency, a loss of some technology and a new set of raw building materials. Expediency may have been the biggest factor. This occurs today. On a plot of ground, a person may first set up a trailer; then he may build a frame home, and then he may build a brick home. It is not that this person has never heard of bricks before and discovers them right before building his brick home; he started out simply lacking in resources, and did what he could. This could explain mud huts which were later replaced by better mud huts, which were later replaced with brick huts, all occurring not over a century or two, but over a few decades (as Clough suggests). Given the rains, which were probably much heavier in the Middle east at this time, it would not take much time for a few heavy rains to take out the first mud huts in Babel, and later in Jericho.


Prior to the Neolithic Age (the "New Stone Age"), people appeared to live in small migrating groups which had no permanent settlements but they did seem to return to the same areas sometimes for generations. They were concerned with hunting and agriculture and some had hunting camps which were separate from these settlements.


Neolithic peoples domesticated wild animals and were familiar with irrigation and storage insofar as agriculture was concerned. Certainly, most communities would do both, and some would specialize, depending upon the personal preferences of the group. Neolithic villages have been discovered in the mountains of northern Iraq, indicating that these small, roving bands had begun to settle down in one place, but away from Shinar.


It is important to recognize that man is not a monolithic being. People did not spread out from the Tower of Babel and all do exactly the same thing at the same time. Some probably settled into areas, some possibly roamed about, and others kept moving until they came upon a plot of ground that they liked and could defend. Some carried various aspects of technology with them and others carried other aspects of technology with them.


Recall that these groups of peoples had heard about the antediluvian civilization as well as about the true God and it is quite possible, if not likely, that to the unbelievers, information from the past, given to them orally, became mixed up. After all, most people today who are unsaved and liberal in their religious background see Buddha and Confucius and Jesus Christ as very similar types of people, if not essentially the same. In their eyes, these men represent man's search for God. Christians with any amount of doctrine understand that Buddha and Confucius represent not a search for the truth but a rejection of the truth.


Because of the oral history which they had received, we would expect early, post-deluvian (after the flood) man to be polytheistic, which he is (in some cases). Each had their own gods and goddesses, which would be slightly different because (1) information was passed down orally for several centuries and (2) each group had its own language. We find evidence that there would be a power shifting to the local cult and the officiators of that cult. The result as often what we call a temple-town, when many of the citizens worked for the local temple in one way or another. Some built religious towers (ziggurats). We would expect this because even though the fallen angels who cohabited with man in the antediluvian era have been put into chains of darkness, there still remains perhaps millions of fallen angels who desire to interact with man. They are able to do this through pagan religions. We would further expect to see a power struggle and to see power shift into the hands of these cults, and that is what history seems to bear out.


As these racial groups separated and moved away from Babel, they also began to record their language in writing and to keep economic records. Most (probably all) developed arithmetic and they recorded their myths, legends, ethics, history, laws, songs and literature. So, by Abram's time, many of these villages and temple-towns had put their language into writing. There were certainly struggles between groups for land and buildings and some groups conquered other groups, causing an amalgamation of language, religion and customs. Although it seems that Neolithic man was pretty consistent in their polytheism, or worship of many gods, we also have evidence of ancient monotheism as well. In fact, what we would expect is monotheism predating polytheism, and for polytheism to be based, in part, upon Gen. 6 (the intermingling of man and angelic beings).


You may wonder, how can ancient man, just a few generations after the flood; and not that far removed even from creation, be polytheistic? It is simple: negative volition. Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves. For they changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever (Rom. 1:21–25).


As Rush Limbaugh often says, “When a person is born, that is when history begins for that person.” So, a few hundred years after the flood and the earth is populated by thousands of people who never witnessed the flood; they have not seen the ark; and these concepts are just words to them. They undoubtedly heard about creation and they undoubtedly heard about the angelic infiltration and the resulting half-human/half-angelic race. But, again, these are just words to them. Every man chooses in his own soul what to believe.


Not too long ago, I spoke to a college professor who told me that everything she believed was based upon peer-reviewed studies. First of all, there are not peer-reviewed studies on every aspect of life; and secondly, some of these peer-reviewed studies have been shown to be false. This same woman, a brilliant college professor, also believed that prepared food (as in fast foods) were cheaper than buying unprepared foods (which viewpoint lacks any sort of real logic). My point here is, people believe what they choose to believe.


If you are reading this, you probably believe in Jesus Christ. Now, you have never seen Him; you did not have an apparition of some sort; probably, no one took you through long, complex arguments as to His existence. Someone told you the gospel, that Jesus died for your sins, and you believed. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him (1Peter 1:8b). For all intents and purposes, you made the free will choice to believe in Him.


At the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze age, we have since inserted the Chalcolithic period, which is the copper-stone period. This is around 4000 b.c. or so when copper was used extensively.


Interestingly enough, I came across at least 2 different secular sources which, prior to 10,000 b.c. there was an Ice Age which was later followed by higher ocean levels (which would be inline with the Biblical narrative).

Traditional View of the Ages

10,000 b.c.

8000 b.c.

6000 b.c.

4000 b.c.

2000 b.c.

Stone Age

Bronze Age

Mesolithic Period

Neolithic Era

 

 

The Iron Age begins circa 700 b.c.

I would assume, based upon the information of the Bible, that various groups of people went through these ages at different times.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


During the early part of the 3rd millennium b.c., these various groups became city-states. In fact, for all intents and purposes, these were the first empires. As their groups became larger, they became more efficient at providing the daily necessities and it became more important to provide some sort of defense against those from without. We see in history a simultaneous population explosion, better organized religions, and better defined boundaries. We find these early empires scattered throughout the Near East, in Egypt, Elam and the cities of the Mesopotamian area, Syria and Israel. We have found huge palace complexes and temples and evidence of large-scale commerce, including trade-agreements, cooperation and competition. Much of civilization seemed to be centered about what is known as the fertile crescent; the area in and about the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (which, according to Gen. 11:2, was where civilization began). With the almost impenetrable Arabian desert in the south (which likely became more and more inhospitable with time), trade between empires often involved routes going through Palestine.


It is during this time which we have also discovered sea-faring nations out on the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. It is not inconceivable that there were even a few imitation arks where groups of people built their own ark and launched themselves out into the seas. Satan has always been a great counterfeiter of the truth.


Throughout the 3rd millennium b.c., Egypt had developed into an empire, having gone through dynasties 1-6 prior to Abraham's visit to Egypt. One of the first, great historical records is a plaque of slate, called the Palatte of Narmer which dates back to 3000 b.c., depicting the conquest of Lower Egypt by King Narmer of Upper Egypt (he was unable to subjugate it but his successor, Menes was). There is still much confusion surrounding this and some believe that these two are one and the same person. When Mennes united the two sections of Egypt, he proclaimed Horus, the sky god, the national god, and then claimed that he was the incarnation of Horus. Most of the pharaohs of the next several dynasties did likewise.


There is one more lesson on archeology coming up, then we will then return to the exegesis. In this next lesson, you will be exposed to a chart about the technology of ancient man, which you are going to find to be quite surprising.


Special Section: Archaeological Assumptions, C-14 Dating and Ancient Technology


We are spending a few lessons on archaeology for several reasons. First, when we come to the end of Gen. 11, we will actually put a date range upon the flood, and therefore, upon the restoration of the earth. We ought to have some idea why archaeology and evolution disagree with these numbers. We also should have some idea about why the Bible teaches somewhat of an inverted evolution and whether or not that can be at all squared with archaeological findings. At the end of this lesson, I will reproduce a chart of what we know about ancient technology, and I think you are going to be quite surprised.


Theologians from centuries ago were not troubled by modern science and modern assumptions, but present-day theologians do not want to appear as though they are alfalfa-chewing barbarians when faced with the assumptions and conclusions of what is called modern science. In the past century, modern science has become quite technologically advanced to the point where people view science as some sort of a god and science sees itself that way as well (have you ever heard of the surgeon with a god-complex?).


Science has, as a result, become more authoritative, more political and more philosophy driven—particularly in some branches of science. In the realm of evolution, many scientists now equate the evolution theory with the theory of gravity. That is, they are both theories, but who could really doubt them? In the realm of medical advance, there are some scientists who see nothing wrong with abortion—and certainly, nothing wrong with aborting a baby with some clear disease or condition—and, therefore, they see nothing wrong with doing scientific experiments on embryonic stem cells. In this realm, many scientists have taken the position that, if we can conceive of doing something, then we can do it; after all, we are scientists. This takes us into the areas of cloning, embryonic stem cell research and abortion. And then, more recently, we have the theory of man-made global warming, which, only 4 decades ago, was the theory of global cooling. Not all doctors and scientists subscribe to these philosophies, approaches or medical procedures. Although doctors have a variety of views on abortion, there are only a few doctors who actually perform them and a few nurses who participate in such a procedure. I knew one such nurse, and it sickened her and plagued her conscience. Even though there is a modern-day push to redistribute wealth as a means of correcting global warming, there are very few scientists actually involved in that movement. In fact, some of the organizations who claim to be involved in global warming research are not even scientists, but people who have cherry-picked scientific research.


So, in many of these areas, science has not just taken on an authoritative position, but a self righteous one as well. Quite obviously, this has bled into politics. I have heard some politicians being fiercely questioned about whether or not they believe in evolution as if this were one of the most important questions to be answered. I recall in the previous election, on many occasions, George W. Bush as being at war with science. For the most part, the Democratic party has aligned itself with embryonic stem cell research, with abortion on demand (often funded in part by taxpayers), and with the idea that, if we charge enough for energy usage, that will save our planet. These are not positions taken by most Democrats; but they are positions taken by their party, and it is done in the name of science.


In the realm of archaeology, there is the problem of theologians latching onto the Sumerian king list. This list gives us a list of kings which reigned before and after the flood. There are parallels between this list and the Biblical account of the flood which are similar. Before the flood, kings ruled for an incredibly long time (18,000 years and longer); and after the flood, their reigns were much shorter. They live in the same area as the Bible speaks of, after the flood. We also appear to be dealing with a Semitic people, which is also in agreement with the Bible. FInally, this list seems to begin to reasonably parallel the Bible around 2300 b.c., where the length of reigns is reasonable and archaeology is comfortable assigning some real dates to these rulers lives. Unfortunately, some theologians have been so anxious to grasp at some extra-Biblical corroboration for the Genesis flood that they have assumed that this list is it, and it isn’t.


The main cause of concern for some believers is archaeology and paleontology. Archaeology is the study of ancient man through his relics, monuments, pottery and artifacts. Paleontology is the study of past geological ages based upon the study of fossils. These sciences make several assumptions:

The Assumptions of Archaeology and Paleontology

                The age of man on this earth is very ancient;

                Man evolved from a primate-type being which was not human;

                Man either is, was or has always been in a state of evolution; that is, a progression from more primitive to less primitive to civilized to modern.

The data which these scientist collect are dropped conveniently into these slots of general agreement.

Not all archaeologists and paleontologists make these assumptions. These assumptions are essentially moot with regards to archaeology covering the time of around 2300 b.c. and forward.

It is interesting that, the Bible, the Sumerian King List and archaeology all come together around 2300 b.c.


Chapter Outline

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The dating of man is accomplished by radioactive dating methods and by the strata in which fossils have been found. There are two types of commonly used radioactive dating, carbon-14 and potassium argon dating. C-14 dating is done as follows. All living and previously living things have a certain amount of carbon in them. We constantly ingest and egest carbon and carbon carries within it a minute amount of radioactive carbon, known as C-14. When that which is living dies, it no longer ingests carbon; however, it has a certain amount of carbon within it which has a tiny amount of C-14 within it. The C-14 begins to disintegrate, thus changing the ratio of C-14 to carbon within this once living organism. The half-life of C-14 is approximately 5700 years so that once a living organism dies, the C-14 within it is reduced by weight by half every 5700 years. To get an idea as to the kind of ratio that we are dealing with, there is approximately one atom of radiocarbon for every trillion molecules of carbon dioxide in the air. It is important to realize that we are dealing with a very minute amount of carbon and an even smaller amount of C-14 (less than one trillionth of the carbon examined) and that this method of dating assumes that the ratio of C-14 to carbon in the atmosphere has always been constant throughout all human history. Since the antediluvian world was probably surrounded by an atmosphere with more water vapor in it than the present world, this may have had an affect upon this ratio. What happened in the flood was cataclysmic, and what set the flood off is unknown. Is it possible that a higher concentration of radioactive carbon was introduced into the earth’s atmosphere during these cataclysmic events? I have previously suggested that the earth was struck by meteors or asteroids, which both set off the 40 days of rain and tilted the earth. Although I came up with these thoughts independently, others have hypothesized similar events which set off the great flood of Noah. Such a series of events could have changed the C-14 concentration in the earth’s atmosphere, throwing off all calculations which extend beyond 5000 (or so) years ago.


Furthermore, due to the very small amount of carbon that we examine, there is significant time limitation to using this method. Although some have touted C-14 dating as being accurate for 50,000 years, it may not be accurate for even 10,000 years, even assuming atmospheric constancy. Also, the interpretation of the results can be distorted. As Charlie Clough points out, when a piece of wood found in a tomb is tested using carbon dating methods, the age given is not the age of the tomb nor is it the age of the tree when it was put into the tomb but, rather, it is the age of the tree when it was cut down originally. Furthermore, there have been instances where C-14 dating produced clearly inaccurate results.


C-14 Accuracy

In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology held at Uppsala in 1969, T. Säve-Söderbergh and I. U. Olsson introduce their report with these words:

"C-14 dating was being discussed at a symposium on the prehistory of the Nile Valley. A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists towards it, as follows: If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely out of date we just drop it. Few archaeologists who have concerned themselves with absolute chronology are innocent of having sometimes applied this method. . ."

Although I came upon at least one critic who followed the evolution of this statement, he did not seem to dispute the original statement which is quoted above. His problem with the statement is, there were more and more details being left out (i.e., this was a reference to a very specific arena of study—Egyptian archaeology). With what I know about human evolution evidence, this same principle seems to be true in this field of study as well.

The critic: http://www.ntanet.net/quote.html

We have several documented instances where living animals or recently dead animals were determined to be thousands of years old. Some living penguins were determined to be 8000 years old; shells of living mollusks have been dated as 23,000 years old, a freshly killed seal was dated as having died 1300 years ago.

My point is, people with agendas, including creationists, will cling to data which they like and dismiss that which they do not. Many of us begin with assumptions in this area (for instance, I believe in man’s age being recent, but hesitate to assign any sort of a date to the earth itself).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Potassium-argon dating depends upon the decay of potassium 40 into argon 40. This decay rate is much slower than that of C-14, and is used to date items which might be a million or more years old. Certain rock formations are dated this way. The assumption here is that when some rock formations of Africa show to be 1.5 million years old, then the tools and the bones of primitive man found in that vicinity are also 1.5 million years old. I hope that it is obvious that this does not indicate the true age of the artifacts or the bones found with the rock but, at best, dates only the rock itself.


I have mentioned these methods of dating for several reasons:

                To indicate that the methods of dating are not infallible

                To show you that they are the product of a certain number of assumptions which may or may not be erroneous


Archeologists have, on a number of occasions, come to faulty conclusions. In the Bible, the Elamites are Semitic (descended from Shem). However, 19th century archeology determined that they were Hamitic. This caused a number of people to turn away from the Scriptures as being the Word of God, and liberal protestant theology in the mid-19th century was the result of this (in part). If you cannot trust the basic history of the Bible, then what in the Bible can be trusted? Later, in the 20th century, it was discovered that, in this area named after Elam, where decidedly Hamitic ancestors were discovered, there were lower layers of people, who were of a distinctly different racial stock. It was determined that the original settlers of Elam were Semitic. Interestingly enough, liberal protestant theology continued unabated, as it is based more on negative volition toward the Word of God than on specific scientific facts.


The JEPD theory, which believes that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, was based upon faulty assumptions that man had not developed writing by the time of Moses. Even though this assumption has since been proven false, the JEPD theory not only persists, but it is one of the dominant theories taught in seminaries throughout the world. In other words, you can go to a seminary, designed to build up pastors and evangelists for the ministry, which teaches that which is fundamentally false based upon theories and assumptions which have been proven false. This may help to explain why it is hard to find a decent church in your city. So many ministers have been trained to doubt some of the most fundamental facts of Scripture (e.g., the Mosaic authorship of Exodus through Deuteronomy), that Christianity becomes a watered-down morality.


Stratigraphy is the study of various strata of sites where man has lived. Due to man's predisposition toward evolution, it is thought that the stone age came first (which can be separated into different eras), then the Chalcolithic (copper/stone) period, the bronze age, etc. A period of man's history is assigned to these strata which are postulated to be in one of these categories and everything found in that strata are then dated by the strata in which they are found. When man is dated based upon the strata within which he is found, then we are at the mercy of the precepts upon which stratigraphy is founded. That is, a particular human fossil may be determined to be a million years old because the strata in which he is found is assumed to be a million years old. You see, carbon dating destroys portions of the items which are found in archaeological digs, so using this method conserves the organic matter which is found (which is very little in the Palestinian area).


The problem here is that anyone can go out today and find people who are living in one of these ages. There are people who are living in the stone age; people who function as hunters and gatherers who join in tribes. It has been a fact throughout all human history that these various kinds of people have lived almost side-by-side since the dawn of man. It is true that many societies go through a period of growth and prosperity in which their culture becomes richer and more diversified during which we see a technological boom. In fact, in many countries today we see a tremendous boom in technology. However, it takes but a superficial examination of human history to see that the world has moved through ages of advance and decline, advance and decline. Man in Rome in the first four centuries a.d. was light years ahead of man in the dark ages, which occurred centuries later.


The second problem with strata identification is, these nice neat strata variations as we would find in any textbook so not agree with what is out there in the real world. A geology textbook has these layers of earth neatly piled upon one another, but, in the real world, they are random 95% of the time (I have forgotten from where I got that figure). There are all kinds of theories as to why older layers end up on top of more recent strata, but, as I pointed out before, you cannot back up one theory with another theory. That is not logical.


Despite my spending 3 lessons on this material, many people will continue to believe that ancient man with his pottery was undeveloped and barbaric, and modern man is tremendously evolved since then. However, we know a lot about ancient man, and you rarely find this information in any book on archaeology, because it flies in the face archaeological assumptions.


Now, I do not wish to disparage the work of archaeologists or paleontologists. The Bible has been continually vindicated in several areas of archaeology and historical accuracy due to their discoveries. They have also been force-fed certain assumptions throughout their entire school life; and when you are told something long enough at an early enough age by people that you trust and admire, it is only natural to accept those premises. As either Lenin or Hitler said, "A lie told often enough becomes truth."

 

Will Durant, one of the greatest ancient historians of the 20th century, wrote: The discoveries here summarized have restored considerable credit to those chapters of Genesis that record the early traditions of the Jews. In its outline, and barring supernatural incidents, the story of the Jews as unfolded in the Old Testament has stood the test of criticism and archeology; every year adds corroboration from documents, monuments, or excavations...we must accept the Biblical account provisionally until it is disproved. If Will Durant, a man who knows far more about ancient history than you or I, and a man who doubts Old Testament miracles, can accept that which is not miraculous in the Old Testament as accurate history; how much more ought we, as believers in Jesus Christ, be able to accept the Word of God as it stands written?


Charles Clough, in his book Dawn of the Kingdom, section III, gives a list of the technological advances made by early post-diluvian man (he took these from Arthur Custance, Doorway Papers). I’ve reproduced Custance’s list below:

Scientific Achievements of Ancient Hamitic Peoples

Mechanical Principles and Applications: Gears, pulleys, lathes, fire pistons, gimbal suspension, suspension bridges, domes and arches, lock gates and lifts, steam engine principle, clockwork mechanism, etc.

Materials: Copper, bronze, iron, cast iron, steel, cement, dyes and inks, rubber, lenses of several types, glass (including possibly a malleable glass), china and porcelain, glues, preservatives, shellacs, varnishes, enamels, gold and silver work (including sheet, wire, and plating of metals), etc.

Building Techniques, Tools and Materials: Nails, saws, hammers, brace and bit, sandpaper, Carborundum, plans and maps, surveying instruments, central heating systems, window materials, including glass, protective coatings, street drainage systems, sewage drainage on a wide scale, running water in piped systems, piped gas for heating, drills (including diamond drills), buildings of all types (including genuine skyscrapers and earthquake-proof construction), etc.

Fabrics and Weaving: Cotton, silk, wool, linen, felt, lace, needles, gauze, mechanical looms, mending, tapestry, batik, thimbles, parchment, tailored clothing, feather and fur garments, knitted and crocheted materials, all types of thread, ropes up to 12 inches in diameter, paper of all kinds (including coated stocks), etc.

Foods: Aloes, Chickle gum, Tomato, Pears, Cascara, Sweet potato, Kidney beans, Pineapple, Prickly pear, Cereals, Chili pepper, Squash, Cocoa, Cashew and peanut, Corn, Coffee, Manioc, Beans, Tea, Artichoke, Strawberries, Tobacco, Potato, Arrowroot.

Foodgathering Methods: Fish poisons and animal intoxicants, Elephants for labor and land clearance, Traps and nets of all kinds, The use of tamed animals to catch "game": cats for hunting, birds of prey such as eagles, falcons, etc.,dogs and cormorants for fishing.

Writing, Painting, etc: Inks, chalks, pencils, crayons, block printing, literary forms, movable type, textbooks, encyclopedias, envelopes and postal stamps, libraries and catalogues, etc.

Medical & Surgical Practices & Instruments: Anaesthetics, Cocaine, Adhesive tapes, Bandages, Poultices, Troches, Decoctions Infusions, Pills, Suppositories Snuffs, Splints Plasters Tourniquet, Enemas, Gargles Lotions Soaps Ointments, Inhalators, Vaccine for smallpox, Cascara and other emetics, Tranquillizing drugs, Caesarian operations, Trephination, Insecticides, Fumigators, Quinine, Surgical stitching, Truth serums, Curare, Animal-stupefying drugs, Surgical instruments: knives, forceps, tweezers, etc., Identification of, and treatment of, hundreds of common diseases and injuries, , including brain and eye operations and surgery in general.

Animals Domesticated: Pigs, Dogs, Llama and Alpaca, Horses, Cats, Sheep, Fowl, Camels, Cows, In agriculture, use of: multiculture and fertilizers mechanical seeders, and such.

Travel Conveyances, etc.: Compass, Canals and locks, Road rollers, Skis, Snowshoes, Toboggans, Sternpost rudder, Wheelbarrows, Cement paving, Surfaced roads, All types of water craft, Stirrups, harness for domestic animals, Wheels: solid, spoked, rimmed and tired, Wheeled vehicles, travois, Boats with water-tight compartments, Bridges (suspension, cantilever, arch, etc.), Use of birds for navigation.

"Aircraft": Balloons, Gliders and helicopters, Kites and Parachutes, Jet Propulsion, Weather-signaling and forecasting.

Cosmetics, etc.: Mirrors, Nail polishes, Toothbrushes, Wigs, Scissors, Shaving equipment, Combs, Powders and ointments, Jewelry of all kinds.

Mathematics: Geometry, A kind of logarithms, Trigonometry, Concept of zero, Algebra, Use of place system.

Trade and Commerce: Paper money and coinage, Systems of inspection, Banking houses, Accounting systems, Trade regulations and price-fixing, Wage regulation and compensation, Loans with interest systems, Weights and measures, Postal systems, Formal contracts.

Household Furnishing: Hammocks, Gas cookers, Fans, Folding beds, Oil stoves, Space heaters, A form of "telephone", Rocking stools, Whistling pots and kettles, Go-carts for children, and other toys, Lamps, Clocks, Rotary querns, Running water.

Games: Revolving stages for theaters, Rubber ball games, Board games (chess, checkers, etc.), Wrestling, Lacrosse.

Warfare: Bows and crossbows, Bolas, All types of piercing and striking weapons, Repeating bow, a form of machine gun, Rifled weapons, Guided missiles, Body armour, Aerial bombardment, Flame throwers, Poison gases and toxic agents, Gun powder, Heavy artillery (catapults of several kinds).

Musical Instruments: Tuning forks of various kinds, Wind instruments (organ, pipes, horns, flutes, etc.), String instruments (various modifications of the harp), , Percussion instruments (tubes, bars, stones, bells, and diaphragms).

Miscellaneous: Umbrellas, Safety pins, Straws for drinking, Spectacles, Calendars, Telescopes (?), Snow goggles, Cigar holders, finger printing for identification.

Does this sound like the ancient man you have been taught about in school?

Custance explains: For many readers this list will be entirely unsatisfactory. However, a word of further explanation about it may help to clarify things. Many of the items, in fact the majority of them, could be called Hamitic "firsts". Some of them bear no relationship historically to their western counterparts as far as we can ascertain from a study of the transmission of culture traits. Still, they had the idea before we did. The ingenuity of many of these devices and techniques is truly extraordinary, particularly in view of the paucity of natural resources. It is no exaggeration to state that primitive people have done marvels with their natural resources as they found them. The difficulty for us is that we are deceived by their very simplicity. Whether highly civilized or of primitive culture, the Hamitic people have shown an amazing ability to exploit the immediate resources of their environment to the limit.

It is only recently that we in our culture have become aware of our indebtedness to non-Indo-European people for practically all the basic elements, simple and complex, of our own technological civilization. The only purpose of this list here is to draw attention to the fact that in each of these elements of culture Hamitic peoples got there first and independently, and in most cases were our instructors. As we have already said this aspect of the subject is elaborated with documentation in Part IV of this volume.

We may sum up what has been said thus far by setting forth the following propositions. First, the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a historic document indicating how the present population of the world has been derived from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Secondly, this threefold division is more than merely a genetic variation of certain "racial" types: there is evidence that it is intended to indicate that the three branches of the race were divinely apportioned a characteristic capacity which has been reflected in the unique contribution each branch has rendered in the service of mankind as a whole. And thirdly, the contribution of Shem has been a spiritual one, of Ham a technological one, and of Japheth an intellectual one: in the process of history, these contributions were made effective in this order.

Certainly, ancient man lacked i-phone and WordPerfect, but this partial list should indicate that these men were not the grunting, semi-civilized, "let's go throw a rock at the head of an animal and see what happens" types, as they are all too-often portrayed. One of the main reasons that the authorship of Moses is questioned by higher critics is that they do not like the idea of such civilized literary content coming from bronze age man. However, it is clear now that writing and language occurred as much as a millennium before Moses.

I reproduced this list to indicate that man has, even in ancient history, been extremely intelligent, very inventive, and that identifying the age of man by stratification, under the assumption that man has progressed over a long period of time from very primitive to highly civilized (I guess we are the ones who view ourselves as being highly civilized), is fraught with inaccurate presuppositions.

This list was taken from:

http://www.custance.org/Library/Volume1/Part_I/Chapter3.html

Arthur Custance’s background and credentials are listed here:

http://custance.org/insight.html


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Having spend such a short time in archeology, we will return to the exegesis of Gen. 11 in the next lesson.


——————————


Types of Genealogies Found in the Bible

 

This information is repeated from Gen. 10 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD):

 

Because this is a chapter dealing with genealogical lines, we should note a fascinating peculiarity in the Bible. Somewhere between 5 to 10 authors follow out a specific genealogy, which genealogy could be strung together and take us all the way from Adam to Jesus (which Luke presents). No other lines are followed out in this way. Typically, we have one patriarch and his sons and possibly some of his grandsons (or more) are named. But, no author in the Bible just follows, say, a particular line of Ham out for 5 or 6 or 7 generations and then stops. Maybe 2, 3 or 4 generations are listed.

 

There are two types of genealogies found in the Bible. There is the cluster, family or group genealogy, where the father is mentioned, some of his sons are named, some of their sons are named and, on occasion, some of their sons are named (e.g., Gen. 10:2–5 21–31). This is pretty much how the entire line of Japheth is presented in the previous chapter. Only 1–4 generations are typically listed.

 

However, there is also the linear or straight-line genealogy when the father is named, then a son of his, then his son, then his son. Only on rare occasions do we find two brothers named in such a line; and these lines typically go on for 7–10 generations (see Gen. 10:24–26a 11:10–24).

 

Here is the interesting question: how did 5 or more Biblical authors (who did not personally know one another or even live in the same time period) know to list only the linear genealogies that take us from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David to Jesus? If a family typically had 5 to 10 male children, how did they know which line to choose? Why don’t we find the occasional odd splintered linear genealogical line from Adam to Noah to Jeffrey to Virgil? Human viewpoint cannot give us a satisfactory answer. However, our understanding of the Bible, that this is the Word of God, written by God the Holy Spirit utilizing the hand of man, explains it. God the Holy Spirit knows the line of Jesus. He knew it in eternity past. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit knows which linear line to follow; and which lines to relegate to a cluster genealogies.


At this point, we will begin the study of a straight-line genealogy.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The Line of Shem—the Exegesis

Gen. 10:21–31 1Chronicles 1:17–27 Luke 3:34–36


These [are] the generations [or, genealogies, history, families] of Shem: Shem [is] a son of a hundred a year and so he sires Arphaxad two years after the flood.

Genesis

11:10

These [are] the generations [genealogies, families, history] of Shem: Shem [was] 100 years old when he fathered Arphaxad two years after the flood.

What follows is the genealogical line of Shem. She was 100 years old when he fathered Arphaxas two years after the flood.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                These are the generations of Shem. Shem was a son of a hundred years, and he begat Arphakshad, two years after the deluge.

Latin Vulgate                          These are the generations of Sem: Sem was a hundred years old when he begot Arphaxad, two years after the flood.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        These [are] the generations [or, genealogies, history, families] of Shem: Shem [is] a son of a hundred a year and so he sires Arphaxad two years after the flood.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    These are the descendants of Shem: Shem was a hundred years old, and begot Arphakhashar, two years after the flood.

Septuagint (Greek)                And these are the generations of Shem: and Shem was one hundred years old when he begot Arphaxad, the second year after the flood.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Two years after the flood, when Shem was one hundred, he had a son named Arpachshad. He had more children and died at the age of six hundred. This is a list of his descendants:...

Easy English                          This is the history of Shem's family. When Shem was 100 years old, he became Arpachshad's father. That was two years after the flood.

New Century Version             The Story of Shem's Family

This is the family history of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, his son Arphaxad was born.

New Living Translation           The Line of Descent from Shem to Abram

This is the account of Shem's family.

Two years after the great flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of [Or the ancestor of; also in 11:12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24.] Arphaxad.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          These are the generations of Shem:

Shem was a hundred years old when he became father to Arphaxad in the second year after the Downpour.

Christian Community Bible     These are Shem’s descendants:

When Shem was a hundred years old he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the flood.

New American Bible (R.E.)    Descendants from Shem to Abraham.

These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was one hundred years old, he begot Arpachshad, two years after the flood. [11:10-26] The second Priestly genealogy goes from Shem to Terah and his three sons Abram, Nahor, and Haran, just as the genealogy in 5:3-32 went from Adam to Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. This genealogy marks the important transition in Genesis between the story of the nations in 1:1-11:26 and the story of Israel in the person of its ancestors (11:27-50:26). As chaps. 1-11 showed the increase and spread of the nations, so chaps. 12-50 will show the increase and spread of Israel. The contrast between Israel and the nations is a persistent biblical theme. The ages given here are from the Hebrew text; the Samaritan and Greek texts have divergent sets of numbers in most cases. In comparable accounts of the pre-flood period, enormous life spans are attributed to human beings. It may be an attempt to show that the pre-flood generations were extraordinary and more vital than post-flood human beings. Compare 1Chr 1:24-27; Lk 3:34-36.

NIRV                                      The Family Line of Shem

Here is the story of Shem.

It was two years after the flood. When Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad.

New Simplified Bible              This is the genealogy of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was one hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad.

Today’s NIV                          From Shem to Abram

This is the account of Shem's family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father [Father may mean ancestor; also in verses 11-25.] of Arphaxad.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      These are the progeny of Shem: Shem, a son of a hundred years, begat Arphaxad two years after the flood.

Bible in Basic English             These are the generations of Shem. Shem was a hundred years old when he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the great flow of waters;...

Complete Jewish Bible           Here is the genealogy of Shem. Shem was 100 years old when he fathered Arpakhshad two years after the flood.

The Expanded Bible              The Story of Shem's Family

This is the ·family history [L?book of the generations; 2:4] of Shem [9:18; 10:21-31]. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, his son Arphaxad [10:22] was born.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 The History of Shem’s Descendants.

These are the genealogies of Shem; Shem was one hundred years old when Arphaxad was born to him two years after the deluge,...

HCSB                                     These are the family records of Shem. Shem lived 100 years and fathered Arpachshad two years after the deluge.

New Advent Bible                  These are the generations of Sem: Sem was a hundred years old when he begot Arphaxad, two years after the flood.

NET Bible®                             The Genealogy of Shem

This is the account of Shem.

Shem was 100 old when he became the father of Arphaxad, two years after the flood.

NIV – UK                                From Shem to Abram

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.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                This is the history of the generations of Shem. Shem was 100 years old when he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the flood.

Concordant Literal Version    And these are the genealogical annals of Shem: Shem is a hundred years of age, and begetting is he Arphaxad two years after the deluge.

English Standard V. – UK       Shem's Descendants

These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.

The Geneva Bible                  These [are] the generations of Shem: Shem [was] an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood. He returns to the genealogy of Shem, to come to the history of Abram, in which the Church of God is described, which is Moses principle purpose.

NASB                                     Descendants of Shem

These are the records of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old, and became [Lit begot, and so throughout the ch] the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood;...

New King James Version       Shem's Descendants

This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood.

Syndein/Thieme                     These . . . {are} the generations of Shem. Shem was an hundred years old, and sired/'caused the birth of' {yalad} Arphaxad two years after the flood.

World English Bible                This is the history of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old, and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood.

Young’s Updated LT             These are births of Shem: Shem is a son of an hundred years, and begets Arphaxad two years after the deluge.

 

The gist of this verse:          At age 100, 2 years after the flood, Shem fathered Arphaxad.


Genesis 11:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾêlleh (אֵלֶּה) [pronounced ALE-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural

Strong's #428 BDB #41

tôwledôth (תּוֹלְדֹת) [pronounced tohle-DOTH]

generations, results, proceedings, genealogies, history, course of history; origin; families; races

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #8435 BDB #410

Shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character; and is transliterated Shem

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8035 BDB #1028


Translation: These [are] the generations [genealogies, families, history] of Shem:... For all intents and purposes, this phrase is the title of this second of Gen. 11. It tells us that we are going to study the genealogical line of Shem.


Genesis 11:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character; and is transliterated Shem

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8035 BDB #1028

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

mêʾâh (מֵאָה) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred, a hundred, hundred

feminine singular numeral; construct form

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

shânâh (שָנָה) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: ...Shem [was] 100 years old... You may recall that Noah, at age 500, had 3 sons, all of them born about 100 years before the flood. Also recall that God gave a 120 year heads up about the flood. So, on his own, Noah began making preparations for the flood and for 20 years, on his own, he began building this ark and collecting animals. For one man, this must have seemed like an impossible task. And then, about 100 years before the flood, he begins to father children. At Flood-minus-97-years, Noah fathered Shem. When Shem exited the ark, he was 98 years old. When he began to father his own children, he was 100 years old.


Genesis 11:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of; to became the founder of

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect (specifically with a masculine subject)

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾArepakeshad (אַרְפַּכְשַד) [pronounced ahr-pahk-SHAHD]

stronghold of the Chaldees; I shall fail as the breast: he cursed the breast-bottle; transliterated Arpakshad, Arphaxad

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #775 BDB #75

shenâthayim (שְנָתַיִם) [pronounced shֶeh-naw-thah-yihm]

two years

feminine dual noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040

ʾachar (אַחַר) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind; afterwards, after that

preposition/adverb

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

mabbûwl (מַבּוּל) [pronounced mahb-BOOL]

flood, a deluge, an inundation of water

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3999 BDB #550


Translation: ...when he fathered Arphaxad two years after the flood. Arpashchad means boundary; its stem means to define or limit.


There are a very different set of meanings given to Arphaxad’s name. The first given above comes from Smith and Fausset; the second two come from BDB.


One has to be careful of these commentaries. For instance, one person I read (I forgot who) called him the 3rd son of Shem because he is named third in the lists of Shem’s sons (Gen. 10:22 1Chron. 1:17). However, we do not know that to necessarily be the case. It is physically possible. Shem could have impregnated his wife when first being on the ark, and then she could have had 2 more children in quick succession after exiting the ark. However, it is more reasonable that these sons are listed in accordance with their prominence at that point in time, when this information was first recorded.


We will continue with this straight-line genealogy, and eventually we will combine the verses together, as there will be a pattern established in the Hebrew.


——————————


And so lives Shem after his siring of Arphaxad five hundreds a year; and so he sires sons and daughters.

Genesis

11:11

After fathering Arphaxad, Shem lives [another] 500 years. He also fathered [other] sons and daughters.

After fathering Arphaxad, Shem lived another 500 years. He also fathered other sons and daughters.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And Shem lived after he had begotten Arphakshad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

Latin Vulgate                          And Sem lived after he begot Arphaxad, five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so lives Shem after his siring of Arphaxad five hundreds a year; and so he sires sons and daughters.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Shem lived after he begot Arphakhashar five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Shem lived five hundred years after he had begotten Arphaxad, and begot sons and daughters, and died.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           After Arpachshad was born, Shem lived 500 years; he had other sons and daughters.

Easy English                          After Arpachshad was born, Shem lived for 500 more years. Shem had other sons and daughters.

The Message                         After he had Arphaxad, he lived 600 more years and had other sons and daughters.

New Berkeley Version           Shem lived 500 years, getting sons and daughters.

New Century Version             After that, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

New Living Translation           After the birth of [Or the ancestor of; also in 11:12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24.] Arphaxad, Shem lived another 500 years and had other sons and daughters.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And after Shem became father to Arphaxad, he lived three hundred and thirty five more years (fathering other sons and daughters), and then he died.

Christian Community Bible     Shem lived five hundred years and he had more sons and daughters..

NIRV                                      After Arphaxad was born, Shem lived 500 years. And he had other sons and daughters.

Revised English Bible            After the birth of Arphaxad he lived five hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.

Today’s NIV                          And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And after the birth of Arpachshad, Shem went on living for five hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

The Expanded Bible              After that, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...Shem then lived after the birth of Axphaxad, five hundred years, and had sons and daughters born to him.

NET Bible®                             And after becoming the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other [The word "other" is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.] sons and daughters.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And living is Shem after his begetting Arphaxad five hundred years. And begetting is he sons and daughters. And he die.

LTHB                                     And after he fathered Arpachshad, Shem lived five hundred years. And he fathered sons and daughters.

NASB                                     ...and Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and he had other sons and daughters.

Syndein/Thieme                     And Shem lived after he sired/'caused the birth of' {yalad} Arphaxad five hundred years {Shem lived to be 700 years old}, and sired/'caused the birth of' {yalad} sons and daughters.

World English Bible                Shem lived after he became the father of Arpachshad five hundred years, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Young’s Updated LT             And Shem lives after his begetting Arphaxad five hundred years, and fathers sons and daughters.

 

The gist of this verse:          Shem lived another 500 yeas after fathering Arphaxad and fathered other sons and daughters as well.


Genesis 11:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châyâh (חָיָה) [pronounced khaw-YAW]

 to live, to have life, to revive, to recover health, to be healed, to be refreshed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2421 & #2425 BDB #310

Shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character; and is transliterated Shem

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8035 BDB #1028

ʾachărêy (אַחֲרֵי) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

behind, after; following; after that, afterwards; hinder parts

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of; to became the founder of

Hiphil infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾArepakeshad (אַרְפַּכְשַד) [pronounced ahr-pahk-SHAHD]

stronghold of the Chaldees; I shall fail as the breast: he cursed the breast-bottle; transliterated Arpakshad, Arphaxad

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #775 BDB #75

châmêsh (חָמֵש) [pronounced khaw-MAYSH]

five

masculine singular numeral

Strong’s #2568 BDB #331

mêʾôwth (מֵאוֹת) [pronounced may-OHTH]

hundreds

feminine plural absolute; numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

shânâh (שָנָה) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: After fathering Arphaxad, Shem lives [another] 500 years. You may recall that Noah lived 950 years. Shem, his son, will live 600 years, and his son will live even fewer years. So there will be a degeneration of the people over time. They will live fewer and fewer years with each successive generation.


This means that Shem lived for 502 years after the flood up until Abram. In fact, he outlived all of his ancestors, with the exception of Eber, including Abram, down until Isaac. This is according to the numbers in the Masoretic text (the Hebrew); the Greek text adds nearly 900 years to the extent of this line. .


Genesis 11:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of; to became the founder of

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect (specifically with a masculine subject)

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

bânîym (בָּנִים) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; children; people; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bath (בַּת) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine plural noun

Strong's #1323 BDB #123


Translation: He also fathered [other] sons and daughters. There is no indication that Arphaxad was Shem’s first son (or third son). However, Shem also had other sons and daughters.


This tells us that Shem had at least 5 children one of them is Arpachshad, but then he also has sons and daughters, which means at least two of each gender beside Arpachshad. My guess would be, lots more than just two of each.


Recall that Noah had 3 surviving sons who went with him onto the ark: Shem, Ham and Japheth; and that we followed out these generations of Noah in Gen. 10 and saw how the children of each man could be followed out to which area he settled in.


However, now we come back and look at the generations (tôwledôth or תּוֹלְדֹת) of Shem. We did not look at the toledoth of Ham or Japheth, per se. That is, we did not find this word used in conjunction with them. However, we find this word used with Shem, which, in the Hebrew, should jump out at you. God the Holy Spirit is saying, “This is the line to watch.” This is not always the case when we follow a line, but the repetition of Shem’s line, at this point, stands out, along with the use of the word toledoth.


There are two kinds of genealogies generally found in the Bible: there is the cluster genealogy which concentrates on the sons, grandsons, and sometimes great grandsons of one man; and then there is the straight-line or the linear genealogy which is much like a relay race, where the baton is handed off from one generation to the next, and 5–10 generations are listed. Shem had several sons—Elam, and Asshur, and Arpachshad, and Lud, and Aram—but we only look at one of those sons: Arpachshad. He takes the baton from Shem and hands it off to Salah. Salah hands off the baton to Eber, and so it goes. So this is not a repeat of Gen. 10:22–31. Gen. 10 presented 3 cluster genealogies; and this portion of Gen. 11 presents a particular straight-line genealogy. The purpose of a straight-line genealogy is to eventually take us from Adam to Jesus (the last Adam—1Cor. 15:45). Somehow, every author of Scripture who listed a genealogy seemed to know that there was one particular straight-line genealogy to follow, even though most of then contributed only 7–10 pieces of the entire puzzle.


It is my personal opinion that this genealogy in this form was composed around 2100 b.c. Liberal theologians claim, without any real proof, that someone wrote this down a 1000 or so years later. There are a large number of details in the Bible, some cultural and some historical, which archaeologists continually discover to tell us that the Bible got it right. I gave you a quotation from Will Durant, one of the greatest of the ancient historians, who does not believe in anything supernatural, but says that, historically, you cannot fault the Bible. Now, if an historian says that the history of the Bible, insofar as he knows (and he knows a lot more than you and I) is accurate, then does it make more sense for these words to be composed near to the time these events took place, or for someone to write this a millennium later?


When I say composed, I am saying that I do not know if this was committed to writing, but it was committed to memory, at the very least. I personally believe that man’s memory had a greater capacity at this time, and that writing and a written language probably existed before Abraham (who will be the focus of the next several chapters).


No matter who you believe when it comes to the date these things were composed, somehow, 2 millenniums before the birth of Jesus Christ, someone knew which line to watch. Furthermore, this would have been counter-intuitive. At this time, there is a great civilization in Egypt, but we have no straight-line genealogy for any of the sons of Ham. Japheth is settling in lands all over western Asian and Europe, spreading out further than the other 2 sons of Noah, but no one in his line is followed out. But Abraham’s genealogy is followed out. In my opinion, this genealogy was recorded long, long before there was an Israel. God the Holy Spirit knew this was the line to watch and that this line would lead to the genetic and legal lines of Jesus Christ (which lines are distinguished after King David).


This is a genealogy, which I won’t cover in any detail, except for the fact that, this gives us a precise timeline going from the flood to Abraham (which timeline will be made clear in a chart to follow). You will recall that the timeline before the flood was also very precise in this same way. When we put this information together, we can actually determine how long it has been since the flood and how long man lived prior to the flood.


——————————


And so Arxphaxad lived five and thirty a year and so he sires Shela.

Genesis

11:12

Arphaxad lived 35 years and fathered Cainan. Arphaxad lived 400 years after he fathered Cainan and fathered other sons and daughters [as well].

After living 35 years, Arphaxad fathered Cainan. Arphaxad fathered other sons and daughters, living another 400 years after he fathered Cainan.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And Arphakshad lived thirty and five years, and begat Shelach.

Latin Vulgate                          And Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Sale.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so Arxphaxad lived five and thirty a year and so he sires Shela.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Arphakhashar lived thirty-five years, and begot Shalah.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Arphaxad lived one hundred and thirty-five years, and begot Cainan. And Arphaxad lived four hundred years after he had begotten Cainan, and begot sons and daughters, and died. And Cainan lived one hundred and thirty years and begot Salah. A portion of v. 13 was added to get us to Shelah.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek inserts another generation here, along with the phrase and then he died.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       When Arpachshad was thirty-five, he had a son named Shelah.

Easy English                          When Arpachshad had lived for 35 years, he became Shelah's father.

Easy-to-Read Version            When Arphaxad was 35 years old, his son Shelah was born.

The Message                         When Arphaxad was thirty-five years old, he had Shelah.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Arphaxad was a hundred and thirty-five years old when became father to Kainan.

Beck’s American Translation Arpachshad at 35 got Shelah...

New American Bible (R.E.)    When Arpachshad was thirty-five years old, he begot Shelah. The Greek text adds Kenan (cf. 5:9-10) between Arpachshad and Shelah. The Greek listing is followed in Lk 3:36.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Arpakhshad lived thirty-five years and fathered Shelach.

The Expanded Bible              When Arphaxad was 35 years old, his son Shelah [10:24] was born.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 And Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, then had Shelah born to him;...

New Advent Bible                  And Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Sale.


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah.

Concordant Literal Version    And Arphaxad lives a hundred and thirty-five years, and he is begetting Cainan.

Context Group Version          And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years, and fathered Shelah.

English Standard Version      When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah.

Syndein/Thieme                     And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and sired/'caused the birth of' {yalad} Salah.

Young’s Updated LT             And Arphaxad has lived five and thirty years, and he sires Salah.

 

The gist of this verse:          Arphaxad fathered Shelah (or possibly Cainan) at age 35.


Genesis 11:12

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾArepakeshad (אַרְפַּכְשַד) [pronounced ahr-pahk-SHAHD]

stronghold of the Chaldees; I shall fail as the breast: he cursed the breast-bottle; transliterated Arpakshad, Arphaxad

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #775 BDB #75

châyâh (חָיָה) [pronounced khaw-YAW]

 to live, to have life, to revive, to recover health, to be healed, to be refreshed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #2421 & #2425 BDB #310

châmêsh (חָמֵש) [pronounced khaw-MAYSH]

five

masculine singular numeral

Strong’s #2568 BDB #331

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelôwshîym (שְלוֹשִים) [pronounced shelow-SHEEM]

thirty

plural numeral

Strong’s #7970 BDB #1026

shânâh (שָנָה) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of; to became the founder of

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect (specifically with a masculine subject)

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shelach (שֶלַח) [pronounced SHEH-lahk]

petition; sprout; and is transliterated Shelah, Shelach, Salah

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #7974 BDB #1019

The Greek has another generation inserted here: And Arphaxad lived one hundred and thirty-five years, and begot Cainan. And Arphaxad lived four hundred years after he had begotten Cainan, and begot sons and daughters, and died. And Cainan lived one hundred and thirty years and begot Salah;... (Gen. 11:12–13a; The Complete Apostles Bible). The book of Luke is in agreement with this: ...Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah,... (Luke 3:36b–37a; The Complete Apostles Bible).

Normally, I would go to the trouble of including the Greek text, but I don’t think that there is any nuance here that is necessary to capture. However, let me include the name of Cainan here as it is found in the Greek:

Kainan (Kαϊνάν) [pronounced kah-ee-NAHN]

their smith; transliterated Cainan

proper noun

Strong’s #2536


Translation: Arphaxad lived 35 years and fathered Cainan. Arphaxad lived 400 years after he fathered Cainan and fathered other sons and daughters [as well]. Cainan lived 130 years and fathered Shelah. In the Greek, this is vv. 12–13a. Unlike Noah, who lived 500 years before having children, Arphaxas was a little more normal, having a son at age 35. There is no reason to assume that this was his first son. I am not aware of any questions with the Lukian passage, which has Cainan as one of the links in the chain. The 130 years found twice could explain how an early Hebrew copyist skip a sentence and a half, leaving out one entire generation. These two things make it very likely that there is an additional generation which belongs here.


I don’t want to give you the impression that this was a clean, easy mistake. Although it appears to be clear what has happened which yielded up the first mistake, Arphaxad is associated again with Shelah in the next verse, so someone along the way had to make another change to make all of this come out okay.


We are going to view a couple of charts at the end of this chapter, and this additional generation is only going to add in about 130 years that is not found in the Hebrew.


Shelah means missile, weapon, or sprout. Certainly it was used in the latter sense when it came to naming Shelah. Certainly a playful use of the language, considering that many in this line were farmers.


——————————


And so lives Arphaxad after his siring Shelah three years and four hundreds a year; and so he sires sons and daughters.

Genesis

11:13

Cainan lived 130 years and fathered Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Cainan lived another 330 years and had other sons and daughters .

Cainan lived 130 years and fathered Shelah. Cainan then lived 330 years after fathering Shelah; fathering other sons and daughters as well.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And Arphakshad lived after he had begotten Shelach four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

Latin Vulgate                          And Arphaxad lived after he begot Sale, three hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so lives Arphaxad after his siring Shelah three years and four hundreds a year; and so he sires sons and daughters.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Arphakhashar lived after he begot Shalah four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Arphaxad lived four hundred years after he had begotten Cainan, and begot sons and daughters, and died. And Cainan lived one hundred and thirty years and begot Salah; and Canaan lived three hundred and thirty years after he had begotten Salah, and begot sons and daughters, and died.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Arpachshad had more children and died at the age of four hundred thirty-eight.

The Message                         After Arphaxad had Shelah, he lived 403 more years and had other sons and daughters.

New Living Translation           After the birth of Shelah, Arphaxad lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters. Greek version reads 12 When Arphaxad was 135 years old, he became the father of Cainan. 13 After the birth of Cainan, Arphaxad lived another 430 years and had other sons and daughters, and then he died. When Cainan was 130 years old, he became the father of Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Cainan lived another 330 years and had other sons and daughters, and then he died. Compare Luke 3:35-36.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And after Arphaxad became the father to Kainan, he lived three hundred and thirty years more (as he fathered other sons and daughters), and then he died. Kainan was a hundred and thirty years old when he became father to Sala. And after he became father to Sala, he lived three hundred and thirty years (as he fathered other sons and daughters), and then he died.

Beck’s American Translation ...and lived 403 years after Shelah’s birth [Luke 3:36 mentions Cainan as Shelah’s father and Arphaxad’s son, from Gen. 11:14 in the Greek translation (the Septuagint) which adds, “and Cainan lived 130 years and begat Shelay” —a number of years omitted in Usher’s chronology. Cainan (or his House) lived 460 years altogether], getting sons and daughters.

Christian Community Bible     After the birth of Shelah, Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years and he had more sons and daughters.

God’s Word                         After he became the father of Shelah, Arpachshad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

Today’s NIV                          And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 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 daughters.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And after the birth of Shelah, Arpachshad went on living for four hundred and three years, and had sons and daughters:...

Complete Jewish Bible           After Shelach was born, Arpakhshad lived another 403 years and had sons and daughters.

New Advent Bible                  And Arphaxad lived after he begot Sale, three hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.

NET Bible®                             And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other [The word "other" is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.] sons and daughters. The reading of the MT is followed in vv. 11-12; the LXX reads, "And [= when] Arphaxad had lived thirty-five years, [and] he fathered [= became the father of] Cainan. And after he fathered [= became the father of] Cainan, Arphaxad lived four hundred and thirty years and fathered [= had] [other] sons and daughters, and [then] he died. And [= when] Cainan had lived one hundred and thirty years, [and] he fathered [= became the father of] Sala [= Shelah]. And after he fathered [= became the father of] Sala [= Shelah], Cainan lived three hundred and thirty years and fathered [= had] [other] sons and daughters, and [then] he died." See also the note on "Shelah" in Gen 10:24; the LXX reading also appears to lie behind Luke 3:35-36


Limited Vocabulary Translations:


 

International Standard V        .


Catholic Bibles (those having the Imprimatur):

 

The Heritage Bible                 .


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 .


Expanded/Embellished Bibles:

 

Kretzmann’s Commentary    .

Lexham English Bible            .

Translation for Translators     .

The Voice                               .


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And living is Arphaxad after his begetting Cainan four hundred and three years. And begetting is he sons and daughters. And he died. And living is Cainan a hundred and thirty years, and begetting is he Shelach. And living is Cainan after his begetting Shelach three hundred and thirty years, and begetting is he sons and daughters. And he died.

English Standard Version      And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

New RSV                               ...and Arpachshad lived after the birth of Shelah for four hundred and three years, and had other sons and daughters.

Syndein/Thieme                     And Arphaxad lived after he sired/'caused the birth of' {yalad} Salah four hundred and three years, and sired/'caused the birth of' {yalad} sons and daughters.

World English Bible                Arpachshad lived after he became the father of Shelah four hundred three years, and became the father of sons and daughter.

Young’s Updated LT             And Arphaxad lives after his begetting Salah four hundred and three years, and sires sons and daughters.

 

The gist of this verse:          Arphaxad fathered Cainan who fathered Shelah (in the Greek text).


Genesis 11:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châyâh (חָיָה) [pronounced khaw-YAW]

 to live, to have life, to revive, to recover health, to be healed, to be re