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Genesis 11

1Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words.

vai-HEE khol ha-A-retz sa-FAH e-KHAT ud-va-REEM a-kha-DEEM

אוַיְהִי כָל־הָאָרֶץ שָׂפָה אֶחָת וּדְבָרִים אֲחָדִים׃

 11:1   Everyone on earth had the same language

The Hebrew word for ‘language,’ safa (שפה), also appears in Sefer Tzefanya (3:9) when the prophet describes a safa b’rurah (שפה ברורה), ‘purity of speech,’ that will be shared by all the nations of the world in the end of days: “For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they all invoke Hashem by name and serve Him with one accord.” Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra comments that the pure language that Tzefanya promises is the Hebrew language. In future times, the world will begin to learn Hebrew, the language of Creation. This promise has begun to come true in our age. Not only has the Hebrew language been revitalized over the past century as the spoken language in the Jewish homeland, but in more recent years, thousands of non-Jews have also begun to study Hebrew as a way to connect with their Creator and gain a deeper understanding of the Bible.

2And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

בוַיְהִי בְּנָסְעָם מִקֶּדֶם וַיִּמְצְאוּ בִקְעָה בְּאֶרֶץ שִׁנְעָר וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם׃

3They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard.”—Brick served them as stone, and bitumen served them as mortar.

גוַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ הָבָה נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים וְנִשְׂרְפָה לִשְׂרֵפָה וַתְּהִי לָהֶם הַלְּבֵנָה לְאָבֶן וְהַחֵמָר הָיָה לָהֶם לַחֹמֶר׃

4And they said, “Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world.”

דוַיֹּאמְרוּ הָבָה נִבְנֶה־לָּנוּ עִיר וּמִגְדָּל וְרֹאשׁוֹ בַשָּׁמַיִם וְנַעֲשֶׂה־לָּנוּ שֵׁם פֶּן־נָפוּץ עַל־פְּנֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ׃

5Hashem came down to look at the city and tower that man had built,

הוַיֵּרֶד יְהֹוָה לִרְאֹת אֶת־הָעִיר וְאֶת־הַמִּגְדָּל אֲשֶׁר בָּנוּ בְּנֵי הָאָדָם׃

6and Hashem said, “If, as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing that they may propose to do will be out of their reach.

ווַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה הֵן עַם אֶחָד וְשָׂפָה אַחַת לְכֻלָּם וְזֶה הַחִלָּם לַעֲשׂוֹת וְעַתָּה לֹא־יִבָּצֵר מֵהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יָזְמוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת׃

7Let us, then, go down and confound their speech there, so that they shall not understand one another's speech.”

זהָבָה נֵרְדָה וְנָבְלָה שָׁם שְׂפָתָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ אִישׁ שְׂפַת רֵעֵהוּ׃

8Thus Hashem scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city

חוַיָּפֶץ יְהֹוָה אֹתָם מִשָּׁם עַל־פְּנֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ וַיַּחְדְּלוּ לִבְנֹת הָעִיר׃

9That is why it was called Babel, because there Hashem confounded the speech of the whole earth; and from there Hashem scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

טעַל־כֵּן קָרָא שְׁמָהּ בָּבֶל כִּי־שָׁם בָּלַל יְהֹוָה שְׂפַת כָּל־הָאָרֶץ וּמִשָּׁם הֱפִיצָם יְהֹוָה עַל־פְּנֵי כָּל־הָאָרֶץ׃

10This is the line of Shem. Shem was 100 years old when he begot Arpachshad, two years after the Flood.

יאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת שֵׁם שֵׁם בֶּן־מְאַת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־אַרְפַּכְשָׁד שְׁנָתַיִם אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל׃

11After the birth of Arpachshad, Shem lived 500 years and begot sons and daughters.

יאוַיְחִי־שֵׁם אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־אַרְפַּכְשָׁד חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

12When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he begot Shelach.

יבוְאַרְפַּכְשַׁד חַי חָמֵשׁ וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־שָׁלַח׃

13After the birth of Shelach, Arpachshad lived 403 years and begot sons and daughters.

יגוַיְחִי אַרְפַּכְשַׁד אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־שֶׁלַח שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

14When Shelach had lived 30 years, he begot Ever.

ידוְשֶׁלַח חַי שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־עֵבֶר׃

15After the birth of Ever, Shelach lived 403 years and begot sons and daughters.

טווַיְחִי־שֶׁלַח אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־עֵבֶר שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

16When Ever had lived 34 years, he begot Peleg

טזוַיְחִי־עֵבֶר אַרְבַּע וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־פָּלֶג׃

17After the birth of Peleg, Ever lived 430 years and begot sons and daughters.

יזוַיְחִי־עֵבֶר אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־פֶּלֶג שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

18When Peleg had lived 30 years, he begot Re'u.

יחוַיְחִי־פֶלֶג שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־רְעוּ׃

19After the birth of Re'u, Peleg lived 209 years and begot sons and daughters.

יטוַיְחִי־פֶלֶג אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־רְעוּ תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

20When Re'u had lived 32 years, he begot Serug.

כוַיְחִי רְעוּ שְׁתַּיִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־שְׂרוּג׃

21After the birth of Serug, Re'u lived 207 years and begot sons and daughters.

כאוַיְחִי רְעוּ אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־שְׂרוּג שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

22When Serug had lived 30 years, he begot Nachor.

כבוַיְחִי שְׂרוּג שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־נָחוֹר׃

23After the birth of Nachor, Serug lived 200 years and begot sons and daughters.

כגוַיְחִי שְׂרוּג אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־נָחוֹר מָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

24When Nachor had lived 29 years, he begot Terach.

כדוַיְחִי נָחוֹר תֵּשַׁע וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־תָּרַח׃

25After the birth of Terach, Nachor lived 119 years and begot sons and daughters.

כהוַיְחִי נָחוֹר אַחֲרֵי הוֹלִידוֹ אֶת־תֶּרַח תְּשַׁע־עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וּמְאַת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת׃

26When Terach had lived 70 years, he begot Avram, Nahor, and Haran.

כווַיְחִי־תֶרַח שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־אַבְרָם אֶת־נָחוֹר וְאֶת־הָרָן׃

27Now this is the line of Terach: Terach begot Avram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot.

כזוְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת תֶּרַח תֶּרַח הוֹלִיד אֶת־אַבְרָם אֶת־נָחוֹר וְאֶת־הָרָן וְהָרָן הוֹלִיד אֶת־לוֹט׃

28Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terach, in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans.

כחוַיָּמָת הָרָן עַל־פְּנֵי תֶּרַח אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹלַדְתּוֹ בְּאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים׃

29Avram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name of Avram's wife being Sarai and that of Nahor's wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.

כטוַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם וְנָחוֹר לָהֶם נָשִׁים שֵׁם אֵשֶׁת־אַבְרָם שָׂרָי וְשֵׁם אֵשֶׁת־נָחוֹר מִלְכָּה בַּת־הָרָן אֲבִי־מִלְכָּה וַאֲבִי יִסְכָּה׃

30Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.

לוַתְּהִי שָׂרַי עֲקָרָה אֵין לָהּ וָלָד׃

31Terach took his son Avram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Avram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan; but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.

לאוַיִּקַּח תֶּרַח אֶת־אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ וְאֶת־לוֹט בֶּן־הָרָן בֶּן־בְּנוֹ וְאֵת שָׂרַי כַּלָּתוֹ אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ וַיֵּצְאוּ אִתָּם מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד־חָרָן וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם׃

32The days of Terach came to 205 years; and Terach died in Haran.

לבוַיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי־תֶרַח חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיָּמָת תֶּרַח בְּחָרָן׃