I. Divine Dealing With The Human Race.
A. Genesis Chapters 11 and 12 mark an important turning point in the divine dealing. Heretofore the history has been that of the whole Adamic race. There has been neither Jew nor Gentile; all have been one in “the first man Adam.” Henceforth, in the Scripture record, humanity must be thought of as a vast stream from which God, in the call of Abram and the creation of the nation of Israel, has but drawn off a slender rill, through which He may at last purify the great river itself.
1. to be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry (Deu 6:4); (Isa 43:10-12)
2. to illustrate the blessedness of serving the true God (Deu 33:26-29)
3. to receive and preserve the divine revelations; (Rom 3:1-2); (Deu 4:5-8)
4. to produce the messiah; (Gen 3:15; 21:12; 28:10; 28:14; 49:10; 2 Sam 7:16-17; Isa 4:3-4; Mt 1:1).
B. Beyond the opening comments of this paragraph, the contexts of Genesis Chapters 11 and 12 must be examined. We will continue this article with an examination of Genesis Chapter 11.
II. Genesis 11:1-9.
A. The Dispersion of the Nations at Babel. Verses.
1 The whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary. 2 When the people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” (They had brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people had started building. 6 And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why its name was called Babel—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.
B. The Dispersion of the Nations at Babel. Comments.
1. 11:1. The unbridegable gap between animal sounds and human language, as well as the statement of this verse that originally all men spoke the same language, are unable to be explained by the theory of evolution.
2. 11:2. “Shinar.” The area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, near Babylonia.
3. 11:4. “a city and a tower” were built in order to prevent people from scattering through the earth, in a direct defiance of God’s command (9:1). This tower, unlike ziggurats (rectangular stepped towers), which were built for the purpose of worshiping a deity, served these people as a rallying point and symbol of their fame.
4. 11:7. By confusing language, God established the parent languages of the earth from which other languages and dialects developed (today, a total of more than 3,000). The result of this confusion was the scattering of mankind.
5. 11:9. “Babel.” Linked by a play on words with a Hebrew verb meaning “to confuse,” though the Babylonians preferred to use the meaning that was more acceptable to them: “gate of God.”
III. Genesis 11:10-26.
A. The Genealogy Of Shem. Verses.
10 This is the account of Shem.
Shem was 100 years old when he became the father of Arphaxad, two years after the flood. 11 And after becoming the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
26 When Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
B. The Genealogy Of Shem. Comments.
11:10-26. The selective list of 10 generations is recorded for the purpose of tracing the ancestry of Abraham.
IV. Genesis 11:27-32.
A. The Record of Terah. Verses.
27 This is the account of Terah.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans, while his father Terah was still alive. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai. And the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, who was the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no children.
31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (the son of Haran), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and with them he set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. When they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The lifetime of Terah was 205 years, and he died in Haran.
B. The Record of Terah. Comments.
1. 11:27. “Abram” means “exalted father,” the progenitor of God’s chosen people. Later (17:5), his name was changed to “Abraham,” which means “Father of a great number.” He was born in 2165 B.C. Though we are told little about Terah (Abram’s father). Josh 24:2 states that he worshipped heathen gods.
2. 11:28. “Ur of the Chaldeans.” A wealthy, populous and sophisticated pagan center of southern Mesopotamia (220 mi, or 354 km, SE of Baghdad). Its most prosperous and literate era was during the time of Abraham. A great ziggurat was built there, and Abraham must have seen it.
3. 11:31. God called Abraham while he was in Ur (Acts 7:2-3). Only two routes to Canaan were available: one across the Arabian desert (impossible for transporting large herds), and the other along the Euphrates to “Huran,” in Syria, then down to Canaan, a 1,500 mile (2,400 km) journey.
V. Point Summary.
Babel—Genesis 11:9 says, “Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth.” God put a halt to one rebellious human scheme. The word Babel means the gate of the gods. But it also means confusion. The people named it Babel, the gate of the gods; God named it Babel, the gate of confusion. What God calls something is far more important than what we call it. They thought they were building the gate of heaven. They were actually building the gate of hell.
A. Paragraph I: Scofield Study Bible.
B. Paragraphs II-IV: Ryrie Study Bible.
C. Paragraph V: Vines Expository Bible Notes.
D. All Scriptures Come From The New English Translation Bible.
E. Paragraph C and D information comes from biblegateway.com