Genesis 11
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1  Everyone 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

א  וַיְהִי 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.16 comments

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

ב  וַיְהִי בְּנָסְעָם מִקֶּדֶם וַיִּמְצְאוּ בִקְעָה בְּאֶרֶץ שִׁנְעָר וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם׃

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

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

4  And 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.”

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

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

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

6  and 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.

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

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

ז  הָבָה נֵרְדָה וְנָבְלָה שָׁם שְׂפָתָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ אִישׁ שְׂפַת רֵעֵהוּ׃

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

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

9  That 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

יב  וְאַרְפַּכְשַׁד חַי חָמֵשׁ וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־שָׁלַח׃

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

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

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

יד  וְשֶׁלַח חַי שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־עֵבֶר׃

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

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

16  When Ever had lived 34 years, he begot Peleg

טז  וַיְחִי־עֵבֶר אַרְבַּע וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־פָּלֶג׃

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

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

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

יח  וַיְחִי־פֶלֶג שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־רְעוּ׃

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

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

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

כ  וַיְחִי רְעוּ שְׁתַּיִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־שְׂרוּג׃

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

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

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

כב  וַיְחִי שְׂרוּג שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־נָחוֹר׃

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

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

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

כד  וַיְחִי נָחוֹר תֵּשַׁע וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־תָּרַח׃

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

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

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

כו  וַיְחִי־תֶרַח שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת־אַבְרָם אֶת־נָחוֹר וְאֶת־הָרָן׃

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

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

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

כח  וַיָּמָת הָרָן עַל־פְּנֵי תֶּרַח אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹלַדְתּוֹ בְּאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים׃

29  Avram 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.

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

30  Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.

ל  וַתְּהִי שָׂרַי עֲקָרָה אֵין לָהּ וָלָד׃

31  Terach 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.

לא  וַיִּקַּח 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׃

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

לב  וַיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי־תֶרַח חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיָּמָת תֶּרַח בְּחָרָן׃

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  • DannyLee ben Israel

    These people were no different than people of our day. They were a proud people, intent upon doing things there own way. They built this tower so they could get to heaven on their own terms. As we know, there is only one way to attain that goal–faith and trust in the Living Elohim.
    In a parallel link to our day, it is evident people haven't changed. They're still trying to obtain heaven on their own terms. They're even trying to imitate Elohim by creating life in a test tube. They're trying to make Elohim obsolete. Could that actually be what the ancients were doing? As YHVH brought down their tower, He's about to bring down the towers we've built today.

    • DannyLee ben Israel

      Could the overt attempts of many elite today to set up a "one-world" government be the same attempt with "Babel"? They were one people, one language, and in one accord. That's a very powerful unity capable of just about anything. Would not a one-world government today have even more power to go against the Almighty and His followers?

      • DannyLee ben Israel

        Elohim is said in Scripture to be a "jealous Elohim". These people weren't just building some architectural wonder to beautify their city. They were building a monument to rival and overthrow Elohim. As we might say in our time, "Them's fightin' words, buddy". Through the ages, Elohim has shown His long suffering. However, on other occasions, He's shown the propensity to "lower the boom". He won't allow anyone or anything to be higher than He, and frowns mightily upon those that try.

  • Kara Strain

    There is a verse in Zephaniah in which every letter of the language of Hebrew appears. A good witness of that pure language that we see being restored to every tongue.

    • Glennis Rogerson

      Kara, do you know the reference as I would like to document this in my studies. thank you.

Genesis 11

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