Genesis Chapter 11

Noah and his family spread across nations of the earth. This chapter begins:

1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 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.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Having all come directly from Noah and his sons, all of the people on the earth at this time spoke the same language and could communicate with one another. Ham’s descendants included Nimrod, who was of the land of Shinar. The people there began to build in the land. They wanted to build a tower to heaven and to come up with a name for themselves to identify themselves if they were scattered. This was the tower of Babel. My understanding here is that the people were at a point where they were trusting too much in their own abilities and no longer depending on the Lord like they should have been. Because of the building of the tower, the Lord confounded the language of the people, meaning they could no longer communicate with one another plainly. I can imagine just how frustrating this change would be. This caused the people to become scattered across the earth.

I think part of the wisdom in the miracle of confounding the language of people at that time, was to cause them (or rather us now) to rely more on the spirit. Part of what has allowed the gospel to spread today, is missionaries relying on the gifts of the spirit, specifically the gift of tongues, to communicate properly the teachings. This reliance on the spirit, allows the spirit to teach both the missionaries as well as those who are hearing the messages. I am sure that throughout the history of the world, people have been touched by this gift of the spirit to communicate the messages of the gospel, and that their testimonies have been strengthened in ways that they would not have been had everyone continued to speak the same language.

In addition, the scattering of people due to this confounding has been a blessing because the knowledge of gospel truths, even in their smallest form, has been taken to all the areas of the earth. In some places they may have been forgotten over time, but the influence of good has been able to touch many souls. This scattering makes the gathering of people back together again, an exciting thing to come.

A Family Tree

10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:
13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:
15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:
17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.
18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:
19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.
20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:
21 And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.
22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:
23 And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:
25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Abram, who we later know as the great prophet Abraham. We learn from these verses that he was a descendant of Noah through the line of Shem.

27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Abram (Abraham) married Sarai and they lived in Ur. Sarai was not able to have any children. They left with their family and went to the Haran in the land of Canaan. We learn from the book of Abraham, that they left because of the famine in the land of Ur, which had been so bad that it had caused his brother Haran to die. Part of the reason for leaving was also because Abraham was commanded of the Lord to leave and go to Cannan to leave the traditions of his fathers. I think that this move was a preparation for the great prophet that Abraham would become.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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