Universal Language, Babel, Confusion
1Now the whole earth [a]spoke one language and used the same words (vocabulary). 2 And as people journeyed eastward, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they settled there. 3 They said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly [in a kiln, to harden and strengthen them].” So they used brick for stone [as building material], and they used tar (bitumen, asphalt) for mortar. 4 They said, “Come, let us build a city for ourselves, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a [famous] name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered [into separate groups] and be dispersed over the surface of the entire earth [as the Lord instructed].” 5 Now the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one [unified] people, and they all have the same language. This is only the beginning of what they will do [in rebellion against Me], and now no evil thing they imagine they can do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) go down and there confuse and mix up their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the surface of the entire earth; and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore the name of the city was [b]Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire earth; and from that place the Lord scattered and dispersed them over the surface of all the earth.
Descendants of Shem
10 These are the records of the generations of Shem [from whom Abraham descended]. Shem was a hundred years old when he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the flood. 11 And Shem lived five hundred years after Arpachshad was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years after Shelah was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived thirty years, he became the father of Eber. 15 Shelah lived four hundred and three years after Eber was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived thirty-four years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And Eber lived four hundred and thirty years after Peleg was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived thirty years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And Peleg lived two hundred and nine years after Reu was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived thirty-two years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And Reu lived two hundred and seven years after Serug was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived thirty years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And Serug lived two hundred years after Nahor was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived twenty-nine years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And Nahor lived a hundred and nineteen years after Terah was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
26 After Terah had lived seventy years, he became the father of [c]Abram and Nahor and Haran [his firstborn].
27 Now these are the records of the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram (Abraham), Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. 28 Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in [d]Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai (later called Sarah), and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she did not have a child.
31 Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together to go from Ur of the Chaldeans into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran [about five hundred and fifty miles northwest of Ur], they settled there. 32 Terah lived two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
- Genesis 11:1 Lit was one lip.
- Genesis 11:9 The word “Babel” is similar to the word “confuse” (Heb balal), but not identical.
- Genesis 11:26 Abram (Abraham) is mentioned first because of his importance, not his birth order.
- Genesis 11:28 Abram’s home town was Ur of the Chaldeans. As the result of extensive archeological excavations there in 1922-34, a great deal is known about Abram’s background. The house of the average middle-class person had from ten to twenty rooms and measured forty to fifty-two feet; the lower floor was for servants, the upper floor for the family, with five rooms for their use; additionally, there was a guest chamber and a lavatory reserved for visitors, and a private chapel. A school was found and what the students studied was shown by the clay tablets discovered there. In the days of Abram the pupils had reading, writing, and arithmetic as today. They learned the multiplication and division tables and even worked at square and cube roots. A bill of lading of about 2040 b.c. (about the era in which Abram is believed to have lived) showed that the commerce of that time was far-reaching. Even the name “Abraham” has been found on the excavated clay tablets.