Hey y'all. Remember me? I don't know if anyone's still interested, but I'm reading on at last, so I figured I may an as well give you guys an update. ^_^;
: "The Descendants of Noah's Sons". Oh goody, one of these
There's little analysis to be done here. We are informed that all the peoples of the world are descended from Noah's sons. Each of their
sons shares his name with the people he fathers. I'm not going to bother listing them all, because it's all there in plain English if you like lists. If you're wondering who the cursed sons of Canaan are, they're the people of Sidon, the people of Heth (the Hittites, who may or may not be the same as the historical people identified by the same name), the Jebusites (not a typo or a reference to The Simpsons
), the Amorites (amirite?), the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites and the Hamathites. Sodom and Gomorrah are either within or on the edge of Canaanite borders.
Given the locations named, it seems that Japheth son's loosely correspond to Europe, Ham's sons correspond loosely to Africa, and Shem's sons are the Hebrews.
Also of note here is Nimrod, son of Cush, son of Ham. Nimrod was the world's first great conqueror, and with the Lord
's help he was also a great hunter.
Onward, then, to Genesis 11
, which opens with "The Tower of Babylon".
So, at this point, the people of the Earth, being all descended from the same three dudes, all speak the same language. They settle in a plain in the East called Babylonia, where they bake bricks and stick them together with tar to build a city. In an effort to make a name for themselves and avoid being scattered all over the Earth, they build a tower which reaches the sky.
comes down (again, insightful into the nature of the Lord
here) and sees the city and the tower. He observes that these people speak one language and have built all this, and says that they will soon be able to do anything they want. So the Lord
descends (once again, either referring to Himself in the plural or accompanied by others - angels, perhaps) and scatters the people all over the Earth and mixes up their language so that they will not be able to understand one another, halting the construction of the city, which becomes known as Babylon, Hebrew for "mixed up".
I'm a little puzzled as to the Lord
's motive here. Is He worried that humans will grow too powerful
? Is He punishing them for growing too proud
? Is this actually some convoluted way of helping humanity to progress?
I'm going to see if the KJV
sheds some light on this.
Aha. First thing I notice is that in this edition the tower is called Babel, not Babylon, which is the term I am more familiar with, now that I think about it.
So in the KJV
, this is what the Lord
Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
Not really any more enlightening. From the phrasing, it seems a reasonable assumption that He is preventing them from becoming overly powerful, but whether the concern is that they are becoming too powerful in the service of mankind (as opposed to God), thus committing the sin of pride, or whether they are becoming powerful enough to actually defy
God, is unclear.
The rest of this chapter consists mainly of genealogies, which I won't bore you with. Notably these guys are still living to well over the age of 120, which contradicts Genesis 6, although their ages are gradually decreasing. The section headed "The Descendants of Shem" in the Good News
edition starts with Shem's son Arpachshad, and ends with the 70-year-old Terah fathering Abram, Nahor and Haran.
In the following section, headed "The Descendants of Terah", Haran fathers Lot, Iscah and Milcah, before dying in the city of Ur
, in Babylonia, and is outlived by Terah. Abram marries Sarai and Nahor marries Milcah (yes, that's his niece). Sarai is unable to bear children.
Terah, Abram, Sarai and Lot leave Ur and move to Canaan, ominously enough. They settle in a place named Haran. It doesn't say whether they named it after the man, or whether it was the other way around, or what; Wikipedia suggests
that perhaps it is the same place as Harran, the ancient Turkish city. Terah dies aged 205, 2083 years after the Creation of Adam. End chapter.