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Ge 11:1-32. CONFUSION OF TONGUES.
1. the whole earth was of one language. The descendants of Noah, united by the strong bond of a common language, had not separated, and notwithstanding the divine command to replenish the earth, were unwilling to separate. The more pious and well-disposed would of course obey the divine will; but a numerous body, seemingly the aggressive horde mentioned (Ge 10:10), determined to please themselves by occupying the fairest region they came to.
3. brick--There being no stone in that quarter, brick is, and
was, the only material used for building, as appears in the mass of
ruins which at the Birs Nimroud may have been the very town formed by
those ancient rebels. Some of these are sun-dried--others burnt in the
kiln and of different colors.
4. a tower whose top may reach unto heaven--a common figurative
expression for great height
(De 1:28; 9:1-6).
6. and now nothing will be restrained from them--an apparent admission that the design was practicable, and would have been executed but for the divine interposition.
7. confound their language--literally, "their lip"; it was a failure in utterance, occasioning a difference in dialect which was intelligible only to those of the same tribe. Thus easily by God their purpose was defeated, and they were compelled to the dispersion they had combined to prevent. It is only from the Scriptures we learn the true origin of the different nations and languages of the world. By one miracle of tongues men were dispersed and gradually fell from true religion. By another, national barriers were broken down--that all men might be brought back to the family of God.
28. Ur--now Orfa; that is, "light," or "fire." Its name probably derived from its being devoted to the rites of fire-worship. Terah and his family were equally infected with that idolatry as the rest of the inhabitants (Jos 24:15).
31. Sarai his daughter-in-law--the same as Iscah
granddaughter of Terah, probably by a second wife, and by early usages
considered marriageable to her uncle, Abraham.