The Tower of Babel 11 1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in z the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, a and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower b 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.” 5 And c the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 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. 7 Come, d let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So e the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called f Babel, because there the Lord confused 1 the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Shem’s Descendants 10 g These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11 And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. 13 And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he fathered Eber. 15 And Shelah lived after he fathered Eber 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg. 17 And Eber lived after he fathered Peleg 430 years and had other sons and daughters. 18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu. 19 And Peleg lived after he fathered Reu 209 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug. 21 And Reu lived after he fathered Serug 207 years and had other sons and daughters. 22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor. 23 And Serug lived after he fathered Nahor 200 years and had other sons and daughters. 24 When h Nahor had lived 29 years, he fathered Terah. 25 And Nahor lived after he fathered Terah 119 years and had other sons and daughters. 26 When h Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Terah’s Descendants 27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was i Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, j Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 Terah k 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 forth together l from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
11 1 וַֽיְהִ֥י כָל ־ הָאָ֖רֶץ שָׂפָ֣ה אֶחָ֑ת וּדְבָרִ֖ים אֲחָדִֽים ׃ 2 וַֽיְהִ֖י בְּנָסְעָ֣ם מִקֶּ֑דֶם וַֽיִּמְצְא֥וּ בִקְעָ֛ה בְּאֶ֥רֶץ שִׁנְעָ֖ר וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָֽׁם ׃ 3 וַיֹּאמְר֞וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל ־ רֵעֵ֗הוּ הָ֚בָה נִלְבְּנָ֣ה לְבֵנִ֔ים וְנִשְׂרְפָ֖ה לִשְׂרֵפָ֑ה וַתְּהִ֨י לָהֶ֤ם הַלְּבֵנָה֙ לְאָ֔בֶן וְהַ֣חֵמָ֔ר הָיָ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם לַחֹֽמֶר ׃ 4 וַיֹּאמְר֞וּ הָ֣בָה ׀ נִבְנֶה ־ לָּ֣נוּ עִ֗יר וּמִגְדָּל֙ וְרֹאשׁ֣וֹ בַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְנַֽעֲשֶׂה ־ לָּ֖נוּ שֵׁ֑ם פֶּן ־ נָפ֖וּץ עַל ־ פְּנֵ֥י כָל ־ הָאָֽרֶץ ׃ 5 וַיֵּ֣רֶד יְהוָ֔ה לִרְאֹ֥ת אֶת ־ הָעִ֖יר וְאֶת ־ הַמִּגְדָּ֑ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּנ֖וּ בְּנֵ֥י הָאָדָֽם ׃ 6 וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֗ה הֵ֣ן עַ֤ם אֶחָד֙ וְשָׂפָ֤ה אַחַת֙ לְכֻלָּ֔ם וְזֶ֖ה הַחִלָּ֣ם לַעֲשׂ֑וֹת וְעַתָּה֙ לֹֽא ־ יִבָּצֵ֣ר מֵהֶ֔ם כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָזְמ֖וּ לַֽעֲשֽׂוֹת ׃ 7 הָ֚בָה נֵֽרְדָ֔ה וְנָבְלָ֥ה שָׁ֖ם שְׂפָתָ֑ם אֲשֶׁר֙ לֹ֣א יִשְׁמְע֔וּ אִ֖ישׁ שְׂפַ֥ת רֵעֵֽהוּ ׃ 8 וַיָּ֨פֶץ יְהוָ֥ה אֹתָ֛ם מִשָּׁ֖ם עַל ־ פְּנֵ֣י כָל ־ הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיַּחְדְּל֖וּ לִבְנֹ֥ת הָעִֽיר ׃ 9 עַל ־ כֵּ֞ן קָרָ֤א שְׁמָהּ֙ בָּבֶ֔ל כִּי ־ שָׁ֛ם בָּלַ֥ל יְהוָ֖ה שְׂפַ֣ת כָּל ־ הָאָ֑רֶץ וּמִשָּׁם֙ הֱפִיצָ֣ם יְהוָ֔ה עַל ־ פְּנֵ֖י כָּל ־ הָאָֽרֶץ ׃ פ 10 אֵ֚לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת שֵׁ֔ם שֵׁ֚ם בֶּן ־ מְאַ֣ת שָׁנָ֔ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ אַרְפַּכְשָׁ֑ד שְׁנָתַ֖יִם אַחַ֥ר הַמַּבּֽוּל ׃ 11 וַֽיְחִי ־ שֵׁ֗ם אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ אַרְפַּכְשָׁ֔ד חֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 12 וְאַרְפַּכְשַׁ֣ד חַ֔י חָמֵ֥שׁ וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ שָֽׁלַח ׃ 13 וַֽיְחִ֣י אַרְפַּכְשַׁ֗ד אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ שֶׁ֔לַח שָׁלֹ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֔ים וְאַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 14 וְשֶׁ֥לַח חַ֖י שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ עֵֽבֶר ׃ 15 וַֽיְחִי ־ שֶׁ֗לַח אַחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ עֵ֔בֶר שָׁלֹ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֔ים וְאַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 16 וַֽיְחִי ־ עֵ֕בֶר אַרְבַּ֥ע וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ פָּֽלֶג ׃ 17 וַֽיְחִי ־ עֵ֗בֶר אַחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ פֶּ֔לֶג שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה וְאַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 18 וַֽיְחִי ־ פֶ֖לֶג שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ רְעֽוּ ׃ 19 וַֽיְחִי ־ פֶ֗לֶג אַחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ רְע֔וּ תֵּ֥שַׁע שָׁנִ֖ים וּמָאתַ֣יִם שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 20 וַיְחִ֣י רְע֔וּ שְׁתַּ֥יִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ שְׂרֽוּג ׃ 21 וַיְחִ֣י רְע֗וּ אַחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ שְׂר֔וּג שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִ֖ים וּמָאתַ֣יִם שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 22 וַיְחִ֥י שְׂר֖וּג שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ נָחֽוֹר ׃ 23 וַיְחִ֣י שְׂר֗וּג אַחֲרֵ֛י הוֹלִיד֥וֹ אֶת ־ נָח֖וֹר מָאתַ֣יִם שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 24 וַיְחִ֣י נָח֔וֹר תֵּ֥שַׁע וְעֶשְׂרִ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת ־ תָּֽרַח ׃ 25 וַיְחִ֣י נָח֗וֹר אַחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת ־ תֶּ֔רַח תְּשַֽׁע ־ עֶשְׂרֵ֥ה שָׁנָ֖ה וּמְאַ֣ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת ׃ ס 26 וַֽיְחִי ־ תֶ֖רַח שִׁבְעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֙וֹלֶד֙ אֶת ־ אַבְרָ֔ם אֶת ־ נָח֖וֹר וְאֶת ־ הָרָֽן ׃ 27 וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת תֶּ֔רַח תֶּ֚רַח הוֹלִ֣יד אֶת ־ אַבְרָ֔ם אֶת ־ נָח֖וֹר וְאֶת ־ הָרָ֑ן וְהָרָ֖ן הוֹלִ֥יד אֶת ־ לֽוֹט ׃ 28 וַיָּ֣מָת הָרָ֔ן עַל ־ פְּנֵ֖י תֶּ֣רַח אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מוֹלַדְתּ֖וֹ בְּא֥וּר כַּשְׂדִּֽים ׃ 29 וַיִּקַּ֨ח אַבְרָ֧ם וְנָח֛וֹר לָהֶ֖ם נָשִׁ֑ים שֵׁ֤ם אֵֽשֶׁת ־ אַבְרָם֙ שָׂרָ֔י וְשֵׁ֤ם אֵֽשֶׁת ־ נָחוֹר֙ מִלְכָּ֔ה בַּת ־ הָרָ֥ן אֲבִֽי ־ מִלְכָּ֖ה וַֽאֲבִ֥י יִסְכָּֽה ׃ 30 וַתְּהִ֥י שָׂרַ֖י עֲקָרָ֑ה אֵ֥ין לָ֖הּ וָלָֽד ׃ 31 וַיִּקַּ֨ח תֶּ֜רַח אֶת ־ אַבְרָ֣ם בְּנ֗וֹ וְאֶת ־ ל֤וֹט בֶּן ־ הָרָן֙ בֶּן ־ בְּנ֔וֹ וְאֵת֙ שָׂרַ֣י כַּלָּת֔וֹ אֵ֖שֶׁת אַבְרָ֣ם בְּנ֑וֹ וַיֵּצְא֨וּ אִתָּ֜ם מֵא֣וּר כַּשְׂדִּ֗ים לָלֶ֙כֶת֙ אַ֣רְצָה כְּנַ֔עַן וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ עַד ־ חָרָ֖ן וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָֽׁם ׃ 32 וַיִּהְי֣וּ יְמֵי ־ תֶ֔רַח חָמֵ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים וּמָאתַ֣יִם שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּ֥מָת תֶּ֖רַח בְּחָרָֽן ׃ ס
People spread out across the earth in their language groups Introduction The thousands of diverse languages around the world stem from this event Ways in which we chase a 'great name' 1. Humanity starts building a tower of proud rebellion, but God confused their languages and dispersed them v3 early technology again What did it look like? Ziggurats etc? Hang on, isn't it a good thing for all humanity to be united in language and purpose? This was humanity united in proud rebellion. Proud - a great name. Rebellion - not filling the earth. God's viewpoint on our proud, apparently wonderful achievements. Their desire to transgress limits, like Adam and Eve's. The 'sky' was not actually our dominion. And therefore cast out of the garden-like state of the Tigris/Euphrates. 'lest we dispersed across the face of all the earth' - like serpent and Eve, thinking God's will is not good; that God is tricksy and holding something back. God's descent is the fulcrum. And it's the irony; they didn't need to 'go up' to heaven for significance; God comes down to man! v5 the LORD came down; as he did to Adam, and as he will to Sodom etc The scattering is a judgment; God is not paranoid, but merciful; the awful schemes mankind could do if all spoke the same language. It's like the concerns with google; if they know everything about everyone that would actually be terrible - think of the evil that could be inflicted. Same with removing the tree of life, same with promising a flood 'deadline', same with destroying Sodom. God is merciful in limiting evil on earth. Scattering was a judgment, but one which would lead in the fulness of time to blessing in all the nations of the earth. cf scattering [through persecution] of the church in Acts 8 , which leads to blessing to the ends of the earth. The great name is given, not grasped. Given to Abraham, to David, and above all to Jesus. Why we need organisations like Wycliffe. The origins of their name; brave pre-reformers like Wycliffe putting the Bible into words we understand. God's glory: In his mercy he restrains evil on earth. He 'comes down' to us. He spread us out in order that his blessing might actually be manifested. FCF: Pride of man; make a name for ourselves. Resist or ignore God's call on us. Insistent that God's will for us is bad, that he is holding something back from us (as the serpent to Eve). E.g., chasing - big achievements. Try to 'make' the blessing (we want) happen, rather than receive the blessing already given to us. E.g., - glory from what we know; what our reputation is. Pride at how religious we are. This is still the posture of our hearts, even in shame and misery. Because what we are focusing on is the glory and 'name' we longed for. We feel less valuable because we do not have a great name. Person of Jesus: the true human. Didn't consider greatness something to be grasped, but humbled himself. Jesus shows us what true greatness is. God himself came down to us - the irony in trying to work our way up to him. In Jesus, God has given his very self. Work of Jesus: Humbled himself to death, on a cross. God raised him up and gave him a name above every name. God has given his own Son for us; what more can possibly be shown of his love and goodness? The outpoured Spirit at Pentecost, shows that in him humans again become one family, and language no longer is an impossible barrier Union with Jesus: since I am raised in him I can live with the same humility. E.g., why weren't Christian slaves told to revolt by Paul in the 1st century? Because they truly, in Jesus, already had significance, and already had a glorious future hope. Already raised and seated with Christ in God; already a recipient of all of God's loving kindness to his people in Jesus. I'm not working for a name. I know that it is within and through my normal life as a redeemed human under God in a particular place that his blessing is manifested. I can follow Jesus' call to be truly great, because my life is held by him. 2. Hope lies in Abram, the tenth from Noah Remember that Noah was the 'tenth from Adam' v10 we pick up Shem again; now a linear genealogy like chapter 5 was after Seth. This time we follow Eber and Peleg. A seam to take us rapidly from Babel to Abram. Differing ages between MT and LXX? And v27 a separate genealogy (note the formula). It is Abram, the nobody, who will receive the 'great name' from God. It is through Abram that all the scattered peoples of the earth will yet be blessed. Wrap up: Jesus has brought heaven down to earth in his very body. He has been given the name above every name in this age and the one to come. He calls us, in him, to live lives of true greatness.