New American Bible (Revised Edition)
2 (A)The descendants of Japheth: Gomer,[a] Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.(B) 3 The descendants of Gomer: Ashkenaz,[b] Diphath and Togarmah. 4 The descendants of Javan: Elishah,[c] Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. 5 From these branched out the maritime nations.
These are the descendants of Japheth by their lands, each with its own language, according to their clans, by their nations.
6 The descendants of Ham: Cush,[d] Mizraim, Put and Canaan. 7 The descendants of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush[e] became the father of Nimrod, who was the first to become a mighty warrior on earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter in the eyes of the Lord; hence the saying, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter in the eyes of the Lord.” 10 His kingdom originated in Babylon, Erech and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.[f] 11 From that land he went forth to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir[g] and Calah, 12 as well as Resen, between Nineveh and Calah,[h] the latter being the principal city.
15 Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and of Heth;[j] 16 also of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward, the clans of the Canaanites spread out, 19 so that the Canaanite borders extended from Sidon all the way to Gerar, near Gaza, and all the way to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, near Lasha.
20 These are the descendants of Ham, according to their clans, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.
21 To Shem also, Japheth’s oldest brother and the ancestor of all the children of Eber,[k] children were born. 22 (D)The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram. 23 The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash.
24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah, and Shelah became the father of Eber. 25 To Eber two sons were born: the name of the first was Peleg, for in his time the world was divided;[l] and the name of his brother was Joktan.
26 Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan. 30 Their settlements extended all the way from Mesha to Sephar, the eastern hill country.
31 These are the descendants of Shem, according to their clans, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.
32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their origins and by their nations. From these the nations of the earth branched out after the flood.
Tower of Babel.[m] 1 The whole world had the same language and the same words. 2 When they were migrating from the east, they came to a valley in the land of Shinar[n] and settled there. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.” They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky,[o] and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”
5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. 6 Then the Lord said: If now, while they are one people and all have the same language, they have started to do this, nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that no one will understand the speech of another. 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel,[p] because there the Lord confused the speech of all the world. From there the Lord scattered them over all the earth.
Descendants from Shem to Abraham.[q]
- 10:2 Gomer: the Cimmerians; Madai: the Medes; Javan: the Greeks.
- 10:3 Ashkenaz: an Indo-European people, which later became the medieval rabbinic name for Germany. It now designates one of the great divisions of Judaism, Eastern European Yiddish-speaking Jews.
- 10:4 Elishah: Cyprus; the Kittim: certain inhabitants of Cyprus; the Rodanim: the inhabitants of Rhodes.
- 10:6 Cush: biblical Ethiopia, modern Nubia. Mizraim: Lower (i.e., northern) Egypt; Put: either Punt in East Africa or Libya.
- 10:8 Cush: here seems to be Cossea, the country of the Kassites; see note on 2:10–14. Nimrod: possibly Tukulti-Ninurta I (thirteenth century B.C.), the first Assyrian conqueror of Babylonia and a famous city-builder at home.
- 10:10 Shinar: the land of ancient Babylonia, embracing Sumer and Akkad, present-day southern Iraq, mentioned also in 11:2; 14:1.
- 10:11 Rehoboth-Ir: lit., “wide-streets city,” was probably not the name of another city, but an epithet of Nineveh; cf. Jon 3:3.
- 10:12 Calah: Assyrian Kalhu, the capital of Assyria in the ninth century B.C.
- 10:14 The Pathrusim: the people of Upper (southern) Egypt; cf. Is 11:11; Jer 44:1; Ez 29:14; 30:13. Caphtorim: Crete; for Caphtor as the place of origin of the Philistines, cf. Dt 2:23; Am 9:7; Jer 47:4.
- 10:15 Heth: the biblical Hittites; see note on 23:3.
- 10:21 Eber: the eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews, that is, the one to whom they traced their name.
- 10:25 In the Hebrew text there is a play on the name Peleg and the word niplega, “was divided.”
- 11:1–9 This story illustrates increasing human wickedness, shown here in the sinful pride that human beings take in their own achievements apart from God. Secondarily, the story explains the diversity of languages among the peoples of the earth.
- 11:2 Shinar: see note on 10:10.
- 11:4 Tower with its top in the sky: possibly a reference to the chief ziggurat of Babylon, E-sag-ila, lit., “the house that raises high its head.”
- 11:9 Babel: the Hebrew form of the name “Babylon”; the Babylonians interpreted their name for the city, Bab-ili, as “gate of god.” The Hebrew word balal, “he confused,” has a similar sound.
- 11:10–26 The second Priestly genealogy goes from Shem to Terah and his three sons Abram, Nahor, and Haran, just as the genealogy in 5:3–32 went from Adam to Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. This genealogy marks the important transition in Genesis between the story of the nations in 1:1–11:26 and the story of Israel in the person of its ancestors (11:27–50:26). As chaps. 1–11 showed the increase and spread of the nations, so chaps. 12–50 will show the increase and spread of Israel. The contrast between Israel and the nations is a persistent biblical theme. The ages given here are from the Hebrew text; the Samaritan and Greek texts have divergent sets of numbers in most cases. In comparable accounts of the pre-flood period, enormous life spans are attributed to human beings. It may be an attempt to show that the pre-flood generations were extraordinary and more vital than post-flood human beings.