This question is related to my Genesis 11:1 question.

5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

Here is the theory. The structure of the verses above provide the context to understand how the word SEPHA is to be interpreted in Genesis 11:1. These verses all speak of how the nations were established after the Tower of Babel incident. We know it's after the Babel incident for the verses say "after their tongues"; prior to Babel there was just one tongue.

These verses speak of “nations” and “tongues” after Babel. Wouldn’t it make complete sense that when the author went back to relate the status prior to Babel in Genesis 11:1, he wrote using the same structure, ie nation and tongue? It appears to me that all the verses above speak to the nations being formed based on their own languages. So, doesn't make sense that the author starts out the story of Babel with the national status which was one nation and one tongue?

Continuing the evidence:

Genesis 11:6:

6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language;

Verse 6 appears to be the same structure as verse 1 where "the people" in V6 relates to "sapha" in V1 and "one language" in V6 relates to "speech" in V6.

In addition, in Genesis 11:5, the word "isles" has the meaning of "coasts" which relates to "shore" which is a possible translation of the word sapha.

So to summarize my question: does the surrounding context of Genesis 11:1 support the idea that we could interpret 11:1 as "And the whole earth had one coast/boundary/nation/people and one language?" I'm asking you to either support the theory or shoot holes in it.

  • 1
    Sorry, I missed what exactly was your question ? – Nigel J May 14 '18 at 11:54
  • Why post this as a separate question and not as an answer to the other question? – Alex May 14 '18 at 16:32
  • How do you know that Chapter 10 refers to after the Tower incident? – Alex May 14 '18 at 16:32
  • If 11:1 is trying to say the same thing as the verses in Chapter 10, why did it change both of the terms? – Alex May 14 '18 at 16:33
  • 1
    Sorry for the confusing question; it's a bit hard to express since i am not an expert in Hebrew. I edited the question; hopefully it's more clear. – alb May 14 '18 at 22:58

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