Re: [asa] A question on Genesis

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sun Mar 22 2009 - 07:17:10 EDT

Preston -

1st, I don't think there's any reason to expect strict temporal order here.
Gen.10 is a summary (or summaries - see later) of what Israel later knew of
the distribution of various peoples in their known world, "the table of
nations." It's clearly written from a standpoint later than the events
spoken of in Ch.11. Note the language of v.5 - the "coastland peoples" had
already "spread."

2d, critical scholars have assigned different parts of chapters 10 & 11 to
different sources. In Ch.10 vv.1a, 2-7, 20, 22-23, 31-32 are supposed to be
from the P source & 1b, 8-19, 21 & 24-30 from J. 11:1-9, the story of the
tower of Babel, is from J. (For this breakdown see, e.g., von Rad's
_Genesis_. So the verse you mention and the Babel story are from different
sources & it wouldn't be surprising if they speak of things somewhat


----- Original Message -----
From: "Preston Garrison" <>
To: "ASA list" <>
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 11:54 PM
Subject: [asa] A question on Genesis

> All,
> This may be off topic, unless Biblical studies can be considered something
> of a science, but such things have been discussed here before, so here
> goes.
> Has anyone else noticed that multiple languages are already mentioned
> among the descendants of Jephthah in Genesis 10:5, nearly a full chapter
> before the story of Babel, which concerns Nimrod, a descendant of Ham.
> From the NASV:
> "From these [the descendents of Jephthah], the coastlands of the nations
> were separated into their lands, EVERY ONE ACCORDING TO HIS LANGUAGE,
> according to their families, and into their nations."
> The rest of chapter 10 concerns the descendants of Ham, one of whom was
> Nimrod. His kingdom and the Babel story are described in chapter 11:1-9.
> Then the descendants of Shem are described in 11:10-32.
> It starts to look like to me that Genesis 11 didn't originally refer to a
> univeral unity of language - the unity described was something that was
> imposed by the conquests of Nimrod.
> It was the working out of the curse on Ham. They were cursed by getting an
> able, effective and violent leader who unified them, conquered surrounding
> tribes and imposed the same language on all of them, which was followed by
> unified rebellion against God and the resulting judgement.
> Insert the usual admission that I haven't been to seminary, and I have no
> idea what I am talking about.
> Let the expertise commence.
> Preston
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Received on Sun Mar 22 07:17:41 2009

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