11 At that time all mankind spoke a single language. 2 As the population grew and spread eastward, a plain was discovered in the land of Babylon and was soon thickly populated. 3-4 The people who lived there began to talk about building a great city, with a temple-tower reaching to the skies—a proud, eternal monument to themselves.
“This will weld us together,” they said, “and keep us from scattering all over the world.” So they made great piles of hard-burned brick, and collected bitumen to use as mortar.
5 But when God came down to see the city and the tower mankind was making, 6 he said, “Look! If they are able to accomplish all this when they have just begun to exploit their linguistic and political unity, just think of what they will do later! Nothing will be unattainable for them![a] 7 Come, let us go down and give them different languages, so that they won’t understand each other’s words!”
8 So, in that way, God scattered them all over the earth; and that ended the building of the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel (meaning “confusion”), because it was there that Jehovah confused them by giving them many languages, thus widely scattering them across the face of the earth.
10-11 Shem’s line of descendants included Arpachshad, born two years after the flood when Shem was 100 years old; after that he lived another 500 years and had many sons and daughters.
12-13 When Arpachshad was thirty-five years old, his son Shelah was born,[b] and after that he lived another 403 years and had many sons and daughters.
14-15 Shelah was thirty years old when his son Eber was born, living 403 years after that, and had many sons and daughters.
16-17 Eber was thirty-four years old when his son Peleg was born. He lived another 430 years afterwards and had many sons and daughters.
18-19 Peleg was thirty years old when his son Reu was born. He lived another 209 years afterwards and had many sons and daughters.
20-21 Reu was thirty-two years old when Serug was born. He lived 207 years after that, with many sons and daughters.
22-23 Serug was thirty years old when his son Nahor was born. He lived 200 years afterwards, with many sons and daughters.
24-25 Nahor was twenty-nine years old at the birth of his son Terah. He lived 119 years afterwards and had sons and daughters.
26 By the time Terah was seventy years old, he had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
27 And Haran had a son named Lot. 28 But Haran died young, in the land where he was born (in Ur of the Chaldeans), and was survived by his father.
29 Meanwhile, Abram married his half sister[c] Sarai, while his brother Nahor married their orphaned niece, Milcah,* who was the daughter of their brother Haran; and she had a sister named Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no children. 31 Then Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, and left Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; but they stopped instead at the city of Haran and settled there. 32 And there Terah died at the age of 205.[d]
- Genesis 11:6 Language is the basis on which science feeds upon itself and grows. This was the beginning of an explosion of knowledge, nipped in the bud because of wrong motives and wrong use of the knowledge gained. Similarity with today’s world is significant.
- Genesis 11:12 his son Shelah was born, or by Hebrew usage, “there was born to him the ancestor of Shelah.” So also throughout the remainder of the chapter.
- Genesis 11:29 half sister, implied; see 20:12. orphaned niece, Milcah, implied.
- Genesis 11:32 age of 205, implied. The Samaritan Pentateuch says that Terah died when he was 145 years old, so that his death occurred in the year of Abraham’s departure from Haran. This is more consistent with 11:26 and 12:4. See also Acts 7:4.
New International Version
The Tower of Babel
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks(C) and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone,(D) and tar(E) for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens,(F) so that we may make a name(G) for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered(H) over the face of the whole earth.”(I)
5 But the Lord came down(J) to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language(K) they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us(L) go down(M) and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”(N)
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth,(O) and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel[c](P)—because there the Lord confused the language(Q) of the whole world.(R) From there the Lord scattered(S) them over the face of the whole earth.
From Shem to Abram(T)
10 This is the account(U) of Shem’s family line.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.(X) 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.(Y) 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.(Z) 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.(AA) 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.(AB) 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.(AC) 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
27 This is the account(AG) of Terah’s family line.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor(AH) and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot.(AI) 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans,(AJ) in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor(AK) both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai,(AL) and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah;(AM) she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.(AN)
31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot(AO) son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law(AP) Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans(AQ) to go to Canaan.(AR) But when they came to Harran,(AS) they settled there.
32 Terah(AT) lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.
- Genesis 11:2 Or from the east; or in the east
- Genesis 11:2 That is, Babylonia
- Genesis 11:9 That is, Babylon; Babel sounds like the Hebrew for confused.
- Genesis 11:10 Father may mean ancestor; also in verses 11-25.
- Genesis 11:13 Hebrew; Septuagint (see also Luke 3:35, 36 and note at Gen. 10:24) 35 years, he became the father of Cainan. 13 And after he became the father of Cainan, Arphaxad lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters, and then he died. When Cainan had lived 130 years, he became the father of Shelah. And after he became the father of Shelah, Cainan lived 330 years and had other sons and daughters