Is Genesis 11:6 translated or phrased accurately (sentence framing) in NASB, as the meaning changes in it, if we compare with KJV/ASV or even with Hebrew


The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.


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.


And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do.

Hebrew : בָּצַר batsar {baw-tsar'} mostly means restrain, withheld, fortify

Westminster Leningrad Codex וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֗ה הֵ֣ן עַ֤ם אֶחָד֙ וְשָׂפָ֤ה אַחַת֙ לְכֻלָּ֔ם וְזֶ֖ה הַחִלָּ֣ם לַעֲשֹׂ֑ות וְעַתָּה֙ לֹֽא־יִבָּצֵ֣ר מֵהֶ֔ם כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָזְמ֖וּ לַֽעֲשֹֽׂות׃

WLC (Consonants Only) ויאמר יהוה הן עם אחד ושפה אחת לכלם וזה החלם לעשות ועתה לא־יבצר מהם כל אשר יזמו לעשות׃

Aleppo Codex ו ויאמר יהוה הן עם אחד ושפה אחת לכלם וזה החלם לעשות ועתה לא יבצר מהם כל אשר יזמו לעשות

Hebrew source: biblehub.com | lexiconcordance.com


3 Answers 3


The King James Version and the Hebrew align in this translation. Nothing will "restrain" them from being a wicked people who willingly rebel against God. The NASB has incorrectly translated as nothing "will be impossible" to which they (purpose) to do", because we see in vs 9 of the same chapter their plans are thwarted and impossible to achieve because their language and communication is confounded and they are removed from their vicinity. In vs 8 "they left off building the city and it was not possible to finish their goal, to reach up into Heaven and punish God as dictated by Nimrod their leader. Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 1:4:2


If you did not confine to the meaning of words, but expand the scope to see the big picture, they are the same. God dismissed their plan by making them not able to communicated.

I always wonder, at that time of their technology, how high could they build able to reach the heavens? and why God was in such concern? Then I discovered, it was not the Babel God in concern, it was their arrogant that they would worship the idol they created, the Babel, and they would stay in one place. So confusing their language, God broke their plan and also accomplished His plan recorded in Genesis 11:9 (NIV)

From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.


The Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, had not come yet. So with one language there would be no stopping the progress of evil before the plan of God was unfolded at the Cross. So God confused the languages to slow them down.

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