Genesis 11:1-32, Tower of Babel, Dispersion of nations
Genesis 11 traced the genealogy from Shem to Abraham. Human beings became proud, arrogant, and self-sufficient. Under the leadership of Nimrod, they started to build a tall skyscraper in Shinar called the Tower of Babe. Nimrod in Hebrews means to rebel. The tower was to be a pagan religious, astrological centre that will reach into heaven. Instead of worshiping the Creator God, they worshiped the sun, the moon, and the stars. God confused their language and dispersed them all over the world. Babel in Hebrews means confusion. Shinar is Mesopotamia or modern-day Babylon. At the end of world history, during the seven-year tribulation, Babylon will be the political and religious headquarter of the one-world government under the antichrist.
Verses 1-4, 1 The whole earth was of one language and of one speech. 2 As they traveled east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4 They said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth.”
The people of the post-flood world spoke only one language and one dialect. The people traveled east and settled in Shinar. They became arrogant, ambitious, and proceeded to construct a skyscraper in Shinar called the Tower of Babel high up in the sky towards heaven. They wanted to build a name, city, and tower by and for themselves so as to be independent of God.
Verses 5-7, 5 Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6 Yahweh said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do. 7 Come, let’s go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
The Trinitarian LORD came down from heaven to see their construction. Seeing their pride, arrogant, self-dependence, defiance, and rebellious attitudes, God confused their language so that different people speak a different language. The people could not understand each other and discontinued building the skyscraper.
Verses 8-9, 8 So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of all the earth. From there, Yahweh scattered them abroad on the surface of all the earth.
The LORD dispersed the people to different parts of the earth according to their family clans, language, and people group. The people migrated out from Shinar to settle in other countries. The people of different countries spoke different languages, adopted different cultures, lifestyles, and customs.
Verses 10-11, 10 This is the history of the generations of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old when he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11 Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad and became the father of more sons and daughters.
This is the sixth time the word generations or genealogy was used, compare Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, and 10:32. Shem was one hundred and ten years of age when he fathered Arpachshad, two years after the flood. Shem lived another five hundred years and died at the age of six hundred years.
Verses 12-15, 12 Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and became the father of Shelah. 13 Arpachshad lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Shelah and became the father of more sons and daughters. 14 Shelah lived thirty years and became the father of Eber. 15 Shelah lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Eber, and became the father of more sons and daughters.
Arpachshad was the father of Shelah, and he died at the age of 438 years. Shelah was the father of Eber, and he died at the age of 435 years.
Verses 16-19, 16 Eber lived thirty-four years and became the father of Peleg. 17 Eber lived four hundred thirty years after he became the father of Peleg and became the father of more sons and daughters. 18 Peleg lived thirty years and became the father of Reu. 19 Peleg lived two hundred nine years after he became the father of Reu and became the father of more sons and daughters.
Eber was the father of Peleg and he died at the age of 239 years. Peleg was the father of Reu, and he died at the age of 238 years.
Verses 20-26, 20 Reu lived thirty-two years and became the father of Serug. 21 Reu lived two hundred seven years after he became the father of Serug and became the father of more sons and daughters. 22 Serug lived thirty years and became the father of Nahor. 23 Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor and became the father of more sons and daughters. 24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years and became the father of Terah. 25 Nahor lived one hundred nineteen years after he became the father of Terah and became the father of more sons and daughters. 26 Terah lived seventy years and became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Reu was the father of Serug and he died at the age of 239 years. Sreug was the father of Nahor and he lived 230 years. Nahor was the father of Terah and he lived 238 years. Terah was the father of Abram, whom God renamed Abraham.
Verses 27-32, 27 Now this is the history of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldees, while his father Terah was still alive. 29 Abram and Nahor married wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, who was also the father of Iscah. 30 Sarai was barren. She had no child. 31 Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife. They went from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. They came to Haran and lived there. 32 The days of Terah were two hundred five years. Terah died in Haran.
This is the seventh time the word generations or genealogy was used, compare Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 10:32, and 11:10. The genealogy of Terah was listed. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Terah died at the age of 205 years. Haran was the father of Lot. Abram married Sarai but Sarai was barren. Later, God will rename Sarai to Sarah. Terah took Abram, Lot, and Sarai and went from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan but he settled in Haran and did not make it to Canaan. Terah died at the age of two hundred and five years. The life span of the people post-flood became shorter and shorter. Noah lived 950 years, Shem lived 600 years, and Terah lived only 205 yeras. Haran is modern-day Syria.
There were ten generations from Noah to Abraham, viz. Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu,Serug, Nahor, Terah, and Abram or Abraham.
The people wanted to build a name, a city, and a tower for themselves by their own self-effort, independent of God. This is rebellion towards God. They wanted to worship the sun, the moon, and the stars instead of God. There is a saying, “man proposes but God disposes”. God confused their language and dispersed them from Shinar. Are you building a name for yourselves or are you trusting in God to build a name for you? Humble yourself to God and He will raise you up. Do not be self-sufficient but be God-dependent.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the stamina, strength, persistence, perseverance, insight, and wisdom to study Your word in the book of Genesis. We believe that You created the heavens and earth. We believe that the Bible is Your word written by You to us, for our benefit, to instruct, correct, convict, and to train us in righties living, in Jesus’ name, Amen.