The Tower of Babel
1Now everyone at that time spoke a single language # 11:1 Or “one lip.” with one vocabulary. 2As people migrated eastward, # 11:2 Or “from the east.” The Hebrew is ambiguous. they found a large plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3They said to one another, “Come, let’s unite together and make bricks of clay # 11:3 God’s building never includes bricks, only stones. Man makes bricks; God is the Maker of stones. The New Jerusalem will not be made from bricks but from precious stones (see Rev. 21:18–20). Pharaoh made his treasure cities out of bricks; God raises up his temple using living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). and burn them until they become hard.” So, they piled up the bricks they made to serve as stones and collected tar for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let’s begin work to build ourselves a city with a lofty tower that rises into the heavens. We’ll make a name for ourselves, a monument to us, # 11:4 An ancient historian, Philo Judaeus, says that each worker engraved their names on the bricks to memorialize themselves. Today their names are forgotten, and the Name of God stands as a High Tower. Seeking to make a name for ourselves is self-worship. We are to lay aside our reputations to make the Name of Jesus famous (see Phil. 2:3–11). Jesus emptied himself of his outward glory. instead of being scattered all over the earth.”
5But when Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower which mortals had started building, 6he said, “If they have begun this as one people sharing a common language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us # 11:7 In the plural pronoun many theologians see the three members of the Godhead. go down and confuse their language and prevent them from understanding each other.” # 11:7 Some linguists believe there are nearly seven thousand languages in the world. Although God confused the language of earth, he will one day purify (clarify) the language so that people will serve him in unity. See Zeph. 3:9. Acts 2 is the reversal of Babel, for God gave men unlearned languages as they spoke in tongues.
8So Yahweh scattered them over the entire earth, and they stopped building their city. # 11:8 The Bible ends with two figurative cities, Babylon and the New Jerusalem. Babylon-builders will always seek to make a name for themselves. Those who are a part of the New Jerusalem long to see only the name of Jesus exalted. The overcomer’s name will be engraved forever on a stone in the City of our God where he makes his dwelling with man (see Rev. 2:17). 9That is why the city was called Babel—because it was there that Yahweh confused # 11:9 Babel comes from the Hebrew word “to confuse.” However, in the Babylonian language, the city was called Bab-ilu, “the gate of God.” the language of the whole world and from there the people were scattered over the face of the earth.
Genealogy of Shem
10These are the descendants of Shem. # 11:10 See 1 Chron. 1:17–27; Luke 3:23–38.
Two years after the flood, at the age of one hundred, Shem had a son named Arphaxad. # 11:10 See Gen. 10:22. 11And after Arphaxad was born, Shem lived another five hundred years and had other sons and daughters.
12When Arphaxad was thirty-five, he had a son named Shelah. # 11:12 See Gen. 10:24. 13And after Shelah was born Arphaxad lived another four hundred and three years and had other sons and daughters.
14When Shelah was thirty, he had a son named Eber. # 11:14 See Gen. 10:24. 15And after Eber was born, Shelah lived another four hundred and three years and had other sons and daughters.
16When Eber was thirty-four, he had a son named Peleg. # 11:16 See Gen. 10:25. 17And after Peleg was born, Eber lived another four hundred and thirty years and had other sons and daughters.
18When Peleg was thirty, he had a son named Reu. 19And after Reu was born, Peleg lived another two hundred and nine years and had other sons and daughters.
20When Reu was thirty-two, # 11:20 Or “one hundred and thirty-two” (LXX, Sam. Pent.). It is Jewish tradition that Reu was born when the Tower of Babel had begun to be built. Reu means “friend” or “shepherd.” he had a son named Serug. 21And after Serug was born, Reu lived another two hundred and seven years and had other sons and daughters.
22When Serug was thirty, # 11:22 Or “one hundred and thirty” (LXX, Sam. Pent.). Serug means “interwoven” or “strength.” According to the Book of Jubilees, Serug was the first one of Shem’s descendants to turn from Yahweh to worship idols. It is said he taught sorcery to his son Nahor. he had a son named Nahor. 23And after Nahor was born, Serug lived another two hundred years and had other sons and daughters.
24When Nahor was twenty-nine, he had a son named Terah. # 11:24 Terah means “wild goat” or “wanderer.” 25And after Terah was born, Nahor # 11:25 Jewish tradition states that Nahor lived in Ur, on the Euphrates in lower Mesopotamia, the place where God appeared to Abram. Nahor means “angry,” “passionate.” lived another one hundred and nineteen years and had other sons and daughters.
26When Terah was seventy, he had sons named Abram, # 11:26 This was the Patriarch who would later have his name changed to Abraham. Abram means “exalted father.” Abraham means “father of a multitude.” There were ten generations from Adam to Noah and ten generations from Shem to Abram. Nahor, and Haran. # 11:26 Haran means “living in the high place” or “mountaineer.”
The Story of Terah
27Here are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Haran was the father of Lot. 28Haran preceded his father, Terah, in death in the land of his birth, in the Chaldean city of Ur. # 11:28 The word Chaldea means “demonic;” Ur means “flame.” Ur was an ancient city-state in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), which was approximately fifty miles south of Babylon. The ruins of Ur can still be seen at modern Tell el-Muqayyar. In 2000 BC, Ur was perhaps one of the largest cities of the world. It is clear that Abram and his father served foreign gods. Ur was named after the moon goddess and was her center of worship. The Chaldeans were astrologers, occultists, and idol worshipers. Ancient traditions state that Terah was an idol-maker until his death. The Jewish writers have a tradition that Abram and his father were cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship idols and were miraculously delivered. See Josh. 24:2. 29The brothers, Abram and Nahor, were both married. Abram’s wife was Sarai. # 11:29 Sarai means “ruler” or “my princess.” God would later change her name to “Sarah.” Nahor married the daughter of his deceased brother Haran; her name was Milcah, # 11:29 Nahor married his orphaned niece. Milcah means “queen.” and her sister was Iscah. # 11:29 Iscah means “discerner” or “one who scans abroad.” Iscah is Jessica in English. 30Now Sarai was barren and childless.
31Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot, # 11:31 Lot means “to wrap a covering” or “to envelop.” the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they all departed together from the Chaldean city of Ur to go into the land of Canaan. # 11:31 The land of Canaan takes its name from the son of Ham, Canaan. The land of Canaan is mentioned sixty-six times in the Old Testament but not found in the New Testament. But when they journeyed as far as Haran, # 11:31 Most scholars identify Haran with a city in Turkey, now in ruins, called Harran, which is approximately six hundred miles from Ur. It is the city that Jacob fled to (see Gen. 27:43; 28:10) and, later, that the Assyrians destroyed in the days of Hezekiah (see 2 Kings 19:12; Isa. 37:12). they settled there. 32Terah lived two hundred and five years and died in Haran.
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The tower of Babel
1At first everyone spoke the same language, 2but after some of them moved from the east#11.2 from the east: Or “to the east”. and settled in Babylonia,#11.2 Babylonia: See the note at 10.6-20. 3-4they 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.
5But when the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower, 6he 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. 7Come on! Let's go down and confuse them by making them speak different languages—then they won't be able to understand each other.
8-9So 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#11.8,9 Babel: In Hebrew “Babel” sounds like “confused”. got its name.
The descendants of Shem
10-11Two 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:
12When Arpachshad was thirty-five, he had a son named Shelah. 13Arpachshad had more children and died at the age of four hundred and thirty-eight.
14When Shelah was thirty, he had a son named Eber. 15Shelah had more children and died at the age of four hundred and thirty-three.
16When Eber was thirty-four, he had a son named Peleg. 17Eber had more children and died at the age of four hundred and sixty-four.
18When Peleg was thirty, he had a son named Reu. 19Peleg had more children and died at the age of two hundred and thirty-nine.
20When Reu was thirty-two he had a son named Serug. 21Reu had more children and died at the age of two hundred and thirty-nine.
22When Serug was thirty, he had a son named Nahor. 23Serug had more children and died at the age of two hundred and thirty.
24When Nahor was twenty-nine, he had a son named Terah. 25Nahor had more children and died at the age of one hundred and forty-eight.
The descendants of Terah
26-28After Terah was seventy years old, he had three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran, who became the father of Lot. Terah's sons were born in the city of Ur in Chaldea,#11.26-28 Ur in Chaldea: Chaldea was a region at the head of the Persian Gulf. Ur was on the main trade routes from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea. and Haran died there before the death of his father. The following is the story of Terah's descendants.
29-30Abram married Sarai, but she was not able to have any children. And Nahor married Milcah, who was the daughter of Haran and the sister of Iscah.
31Terah decided to move from Ur to the land of Canaan. He took along Abram and Sarai and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran. But when they came to the city of Haran,#11.31 Haran: About 885 kilometres north-west of Ur. they decided to settle there instead. 32Terah lived to be two hundred and five years old and died in Haran.
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