Notes on Genesis 11


  • Gen 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

I don't know what the one language was. I would venture to guess, Hebrew but I could be wrong. It is getting closer to the time when the earth will again be one language and one speech. The language barriers are being torn down. Will we use it for good or evil?

  • Gen 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
  • Gen 11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
  • Gen 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Is it wrong to build cities and towers? It could be that this unity was not for good purposes. Perhaps they wanted to build a structure high enough to escape another flood. This would have showed rebellion against God and unbelief because God promised not to sent one. This most probably though was a false religious system. There must be something more to this than we see on the surface.

Other references tell us that Nimrod is the one who had this tower built in rebellion against God. I read where Nimrod was killed perhaps by one of the wild beasts he fought. His wife became pregnant and declared her son Tammaz to be the reincarnation of Nimrod. This began the Babylonian mother and child image that was worshipped long before Christ. She may have tried to make people believe her son was the promised Messiah. How much of this is true, I don't know. We are at the mercy of historians and other writers. However, I wouldn't put it past Satan to try to bring in a false Messiah before the real one came along. In the latter days a false Messiah will come on the scene before the 2nd coming of Christ so why not try to send one before before the first coming of Christ?

We see though that God eventually breaks up false religious systems. He may even break up Christian religions also to keep us from getting too big and taking over governments instead of preaching the gospel that saves the soul.

What we see for sure in these passages is, "Let us make a name for ourselves." This is the beginning of apostasy and false religious systems. We tend to want to make a name for ourselves. We want to get big and create big organizations perhaps using the name of the Lord to gain followers but some use their own name. It is not wrong to have large churches because we grow bigger if the gospel is spread right and perhaps we need more space to meet and worship God but instead of trying to just get people into our own space, why not spread the gospel all over the world and start small churches all over. We don't have to make a name for ourselves, boasting of our large numbers. Our goal should be to spread the message of the gospel even if it doesn't benefit our own local church. The whole world needs to hear the gospel which is:

  • Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
  • Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem

If doing this makes our church grow, that is great but if we grow in souls whether or not they ever attend our own local body, that should be our goal.

Some people get upset over the many different denominations, saying division is not of God. I wonder though, how do we know that? I know our local congregations need to be made one in love in order have God's will in our mist but sometimes division is of God. If we all joined into one church with one head of the church and that head is not Christ but some man, we would get very big but sooner or later, we would take over governments and use force to spread our religion instead of preaching the gospel of repentance. If we stay small, we have less money and less power in this world but we would have to depend more on God to survive. The only numbers we need to be concerned with is the number of souls saved from sin whether or not we receive any material benefit.

Unbelievers, may ask, how would we know the real from the false? We shall know them by their fruits. Very rarely will a false Messiah sacrifice himself but rather will sacrifice others in his place. A true Messiah is not going to hide in the mountains and send innocent children to their deaths by encouraging them to strap bombs to themselves to blow up a bunch of people they hate. A true Messiah would encourage us to love one another and love God with all our hearts. Many old false religious systems had child sacrifices, torture, forced conversions, mysterious rites, secrets and other things that is contrary to the bible and what God really stands for. A true Messiah will want to save the lost from the sin that separates them from God. If someone had to die as a sacrifice for those sins, a true Messiah would give himself.

The devil steals, kills and destroys and his followers will do the same. Jesus came that we may have life and have the living water within us. The well of living water will spring up and we will inherit eternal life. This is available to men and women, children and adults, rich and poor, bond and free, and is available to all races, not one being inferior to another. Women are welcome. Jesus ministered to women. He cared for women as well as men. He didn't leave them out. A religion that makes women dependent upon a man for her salvation is not a true religion. Women can be filled with the Holy Spirit as well as men.

  • Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
  • Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

The gifts of God are for all who believe, not just male, not just adults, not just a certain tribe but all means all who believe in Jesus the Christ. 

  • Gen 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.
  • Gen 11:6 And the LORD said, 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.

We see God causing the first great division. If we are united in evil, we need to be stopped. If we try to set up God's kingdom before His comes by the use of force or military might, we are not doing God's will. If we didn't have separate denominations and churches, this is what we would end up doing. How do I know? I read church history.

Being one with Christ and in the same mind and one accord doesn't mean that we have to all join the same church and have one head with a hierarchy. I can accept my Baptist neighbors as brothers and sisters in the Lord, without having them join my church. I literally do have Baptist neighbors by the way. I would hope they accept me as a fellow Christian even if I don't go to their church.

  • Gen 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Who is God talking to here? He said, let us go down. It had to be either angels or Jesus. Perhaps both for Jesus existed long before He became man.

I don't believe God stopped something innocent here. I often wonder what it was that God was putting a stop to. There will come a time when God will stop mankind again from crossing bounds that are not to be crossed.

That must have been a time of great confusion for a while but it seems as if God allowed certain groups to speak the same language so that they would not be divided not be completely alone.

  • Gen 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
  • Gen 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

This is different from the tongues given on the day of Pentecost because when one speaks in tongues by the Holy Spirit they do not lose their ability to understand and speak their own native language. Here at Babel, they seemed to have lost their ability to communicate with one another and had to scatter all over the world in groups.

Before the literal return of Jesus Christ, we can't have total unity. Man has proven himself too weak and vulnerable and easily is lifted up in pride. We tend to rob God of glory when we get too big. I'm not against church growth but something happens when we get so big and powerful. We are then less likely to keep putting our trust in God but glory in our own numbers. We need to keep trusting the Lord, spreading the true gospel and operating in the gifts of the spirit God gave the church until that which is perfect has come and all believers are perfected in the faith.  Look around us, that which is perfect has not yet come.

This tower of Babel represented a false unity. It was a unity against God. True unity will not exalt one person above another. It may be hard for some to believe but there should be no difference between clergy and laity, a bishop and a minister or even a lay minister. The whole feet washing incident with Jesus and His disciples was to show us humility and that we are the same in Christ. Unity is being in the same mind and one accord in the spreading of the gospel. It doesn't mean all join one large church with a leader, under him bishops and elders and under him others and the laity being on the bottom of a big totem pole.

No religious system should be set up that makes people dependent upon man for salvation. Man has no business getting in the way between and individual and Jesus Christ. Never should we forsake the assembling of ourselves together with other believers but this is not confined to any one denomination or church organization. We can meet in homes or church buildings. It makes no difference as long as Jesus is held as the head and no man or woman is exalted above Him or stands in between Him and the individual believer. We can intercede for other believers in prayer with the same mind and one accord but we are not to do the praying for them all the time but encourage them to learn to pray to God themselves. A true minister brings people to Christ for salvation, not become a go medium between that person and God. We want to bring people to God, not ourselves.

If a person lived in a remote area where there was no church body, he or she should be able to live for God and stay near to Him. It is not the best way but God's salvation is individual. It is being born again by the spirit that saves, not being baptized into a church or joining a church.

Now we have the genealogy or line of Abraham from which comes the promised Messiah that is to be a light to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

  • Gen 11:10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was a hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood:
  • Gen 11:11 And Shem lived after he begot Arphaxad five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begot Salah:
  • Gen 11:13 And Arphaxad lived after he begot Salah four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber:
  • Gen 11:15 And Salah lived after he begot Eber four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begot Peleg:
  • Gen 11:17 And Eber lived after he begot Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu:
  • Gen 11:19 And Peleg lived after he begot Reu two hundred and nine years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begot Serug:
  • Gen 11:21 And Reu lived after he begot Serug two hundred and seven years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begot Nahor:
  • Gen 11:23 And Serug lived after he begot Nahor two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begot Terah:
  • Gen 11:25 And Nahor lived after he begot Terah a hundred and nineteen years, and begot sons and daughters.
  • Gen 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
  • Gen 11:27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot.
  • Gen 11:28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

So we see some of Shem's descendants came from the area of Babylon as well as the whole human race. They were scattered from Babel unto different parts of the earth. The line of Shem through which came Abraham was from the Ur of the Chaldees.

  • Gen 11:29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
  • Gen 11:30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
  • Gen 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

Haran is close to what is Syria today so we see some of Abraham's kin settled in that area while Abraham and Lot went further south into the land of Canaan.

  • Gen 11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Abraham didn't depart from Haran until the death of his father, Terah. Although the lives of men were considerable shorter, they still lived longer than men do today. Disease and inherited disease had not yet totally increased in the line of Shem.

The bible does not give us all genealogies of men but concentrates on those that leads to the Messiah that is to save the world from the sin that separates them from God. We see through Abraham the hope of all mankind to have eternal life. After Jesus Christ came years later, genealogy records were no longer recorded in the bible. The purpose had been fulfilled by then to show us how Christ fulfills all the law and is the one God promised to send to us in Genesis 3:15. I'm not totally against researching genealogy but there may be a good reason that it is no longer important in the bible. Now it doesn't matter who our ancestors were, through Christ we can inherit eternal life and become a child of God.

Both Moses and the prophets wrote of Him. David prophesied of Him. His name is Jesus or Yeshiva. This is the Son of God, Christ, Messiah and savior. The only bridge between God and man. There is no other way to receive eternal life.

Genesis 12



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