Dispersion of the Human Family

“Along with this account of Noah’s own sin and that of his son, Ham, the Genesis record also shows mankind’s continued decadence as it focuses upon the now-regenerating human family in the Plain of Shinar, an area more familiarly known as Babylon.  Somewhere around 2500 B.C. the people ambitiously decide to build a great city, known as Babel, together with a tower so high, it will reach “to the heavens.”

In light of this situation God determines to remind mankind once again of their human limitations.  God intervenes with his creative and divine power to confuse their language and to scatter mankind throughout the earth.  For the first time mankind is divided into clans, nations and even various ethnic stocks.”

Read Genesis 11:1-9

Beginning of Nations

“As mankind begins to disperse throughout the earth, families begin to divide into clans, and the clans develop into nations. The earliest known account of the geographical, national, and dialectical divisions among the human family is contained in the Genesis record.  This tabulation begins with Shem, Ham and Japheth.  In this record there is a brief tracing of the descendants of Japheth.  The reference to the Japhethites may be as brief as it is because these Indo-Europeans will be among the latest to develop and will have the least contact with the theocratic concerns of the Hebrew people, upon whom the biblical text will soon focus.

The table of nations gives more attention to the descendants of Ham, perhaps because they will develop early and be founders of the first empires, and perhaps also because it is with these peoples that the Hebrew nation will have both its closest association and many of its conflicts.

As for Shem’s descendants, the table of nations concentrates on the lineage through Shems’s son Arphaxad.  It is through his branch of the Shemites that the father of the Hebrew nation, Abraham, will come.”

Read Genesis 10

Descendants from Shem to Abram

“Following this tabulation of the nations, the Genesis record falls mostly silent upon the earth’s inhabitants except for the descendants of Shem down to Abram, who  known later as Abraham, will become the father of the Hebrews.  This is the family of promise through whom God will preserve religious and moral truth.  It will be through the Hebrew nation that God will ultimately speak to the whole world.”

Read Genesis 11:10-26

“It is interesting to observe in this account that there is a gradual decline in the longevity of Shem’s descendants.  The combined result of earlier longevity and now-decreasing lifespans is that there are surprisingly few links in the chain from Adam to Abram.

Of major importance at this point is the record of Terah’s journey to Harran.  It is important in that it sets the stage for an even more significant journey for Abram in fulfilling the purpose that God has in mind.”

Read Genesis 11:27-32

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible
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