5. The Confusion of Tongues (Genesis 11)
This incident, like the story of Cain and Abel and of the flood, seems to have been recorded to emphasize the hopeless sinfulness of the race.
(1) Men planned to build
Disobeying the divine command to go forth and replenish the earth, the people planned to build a city and an immense tower which should "reach to heaven"
(2) God confused tongues
Men said, "Let us build"; but God said, "Let Us confound." When their language was confounded, the people could no longer co-operate in their building operations.
(3) The people dispersed
"The people scattered abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth." The descendants of Shem drifted toward Central Asia, the sons of Ham went south and filled the continent of Africa, the children of Japheth went westward and occupied Asia Minor and Europe.
(4) The nations of "one blood"
This incident, which accounts for the rise of nationalities and for various languages, goes to confirm the assertion of Paul, that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26).
In the first eleven chapters of Genesis, which we have studied, we have some graphic sketches and some important incidents in which sin and failure are prominent. Thus far God has dealt with the race and the race has signally failed. God now selected one man, Abraham, at first called Abram, and decreed that through this man and his descendants revelation and blessing should be given to the world: "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blesses." We come now to the second period of Bible history.