The Tower of Babel
1: And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 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. 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 morter. 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. 5: And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 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. 7: Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8: So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 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.
10: These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: 11: And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 12: And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: 13: And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 14: And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: 15: And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 16: And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: 17: And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 18: And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: 19: And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. 20: And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: 21: And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. 22: And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: 23: And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 24: And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: 25: And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. 26: And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
27: Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. 28: And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 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. 30: But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 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. 32: And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Abram Called by God
1: Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4: So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5: And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6: And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7: And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8: And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9: And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
Abram in Egypt
10: And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11: And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13: Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14: And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15: The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16: And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17: And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 18: And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19: Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20: And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
Abram and Lot separate
1: And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
2: And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3: And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4: Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5: And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6: And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7: And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the anaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8: And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9: Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10: And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11: Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12: Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13: But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Abram goes to Hebron
14: And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16: And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17: Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18: Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
In today’s Bible reading we have the close of the first half of Genesis. Already we have seen the Creation, the fall, and the flood. The next crisis is the Tower of Babel. Then later we will see the genealogy of Shem and Terah. This will introduce the second half of Genesis which begins with the life of Abraham followed by Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. The first thing Moses points out is that the whole earth was speaking one language and it was with one dialect. The next thing we notice is that there is a mass movement of men from the Promised Land to the east and the area of Iraq. They found a plain in the land of Shinar and they lived there. This is what we might call a one world political system. The next thing we see is another mass movement to build a tower made of brick. (God always builds in stone but men build out of inferior mud bricks) The tower is a religious edifice and it points to the stars. The third thing we find is that they say let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered. This again was a mass movement and its aim was a culture that was in contra-distinction to the name of God. This was an attempt by men to unify themselves in such a way that puts God out of their lives. Then we are told that the LORD came down to see the city and the tower. (This was probably a Christophany ). The LORD saw that men were united and that nothing would be able to stop the plans of men, and as men are sinners this could involve huge abominations such that God might need to destroy men again. The men were united religiously, politically and culturally. They had the potential to have Priests, Kings and Prophets and all united against God. the LORD stepped into human history and divided them. Right from the beginning God had been dividing and now he divides the tribes and families into nations. They found that working together was impossible and so the city was not completed. The tower was called Babel after the babbling of the languages that were heard there. In the future the Antichrist will seek to build this city again but God will destroy it again in one hour. The people were scattered to every continent. Next Moses records the fifth division of Genesis by saying ‘These are the generations of’ - Shem. Shem was 100 yrs old when he had Arphaxad and this was two years after the flood. (This is one of the most remarkable time clues of scripture. It not only pin points the year but gives as a time check on the flood as 2348 BC.) Then Moses continues to give very accurate details of the sons and dates of his family. The genealogy comes right down to Terah the father of Abram (Later called Abraham) Next a new section begins with the words ‘these are the generations of’ – Terah. Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran had a son that he named Lot. Haran died young – before his own father. Terah lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram took Sarai as his wife. And she was barren. (There are seven barren women in the Bible.) The family of Terah started on a westward journey to the Promised Land, but we find that it was Abram’s vision that started the journey. The next four paragraphs describe the first four events in the life of Abram. First we have Abram’s call. Then we have the digression of Abram into Egypt and of the consequences when they returned. Then we find that Abram sorts himself out and builds another altar to the LORD. (Abram builds four altars) In Ur the LORD appeared to Abram, telling him to get out of his country and from him family and from his father’s house and to go into a land that the LORD would show him. The Lord promised to make him a Great nation and that he would bless him. He also promised that he would bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them. Abraham was obedient yet his family came with him and they seemed to be a hindrance because when his father was very old they stayed at Haran. When his father died they took up the journey again and came into Canaan. Then the LORD appeared to him again and promised that he would give Abram all the land that he could see. Faith had become sight. Abraham build an altar to the LORD. Then he moved to Bethel. Then he built another altar to the LORD and he called on the name of the LORD. Abram continued his journey and didn’t stop until he reached Egypt. (There was a famine in the land) God always tests faith. When they came near to Egypt Abram said to Sarai, Tell everyone that you are my sister. He was afraid because Sarai was very beautiful. This was half true but it was not the whole truth. We must tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The princes liked the look of Sarai so she was taken to the King of Egypt. The king gave Abram a great deal of flocks, donkeys and camels but the LORD sent a plague to Pharaoh. Pharaoh knew what had gone wrong so he called Abram and asked him why he had kept back part of the truth. And Abram replied he was afraid. This was the whole truth. Abram left but he carried with him the seeds of his exit crisis. (Lot had got a taste for the cities and they left with too much livestock!) We are told that Abram was very rich, in cattle, silver and gold. Eventually he arrived at exactly the place where he had set out. He had been restored to the LORD and he called on the name of the LORD. Then a problem occurred. Its one thing to be restored to the Lord but the consequences sometimes carry on afterwards. The small area of land where they stopped was not big enough for all the herds and livestock that they has accumulated. Now there was no difficulty between Abraham and Lot but thee was between the herdsmen. Abraham spoke to Lot and suggested that they part company. It does not seem to have occurred to them to get rid of some of the livestock. Abram gave Lot first choice instead of taking the lead and Lot choose the plain near Sodom and Gomorrah. The area was very lush like Eden and Egypt. Lot chose Jordan and so they parted company. Abram lived in Canaan. But the men of Sodom were very great sinners before the LORD. Lot was moving into danger. Abram had allowed Lot to put himself in danger morally and later militarily. When they parted the LORD appeared to Abram again telling him that all he could see north, south, east and west would be his. Yet he never personally possessed any land while he lived apart from the grave of his wife. The Lord promised that it would be his and his seed forever. The LORD also promised that his seed would be as numerous as the grains of sand on the earth. Then the Lord told him to get up and explore the land. Abraham moved to Hebron and built another altar to the LORD.