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Translation - Genesis 11:1-9

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Genesis 11:1-9

A Translation and Commentary

Frank A. Shirvinski, Ph.D (ABD)

All of the earth had one language and the same words. 

2When they traveled from the east,[1] they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  3They said to one another,[2]

“Come, let us make bricks, and bake them thoroughly.” And the brick served them as stone, and bitumen served them as mortar. 

4And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and let us make a name for ourselves; so that we will not be scattered over the face of the entire earth.”  

5The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which humanity[3] had built.  6And the Lord said, “If as one people, with one language for all of them, this is how they have begun to act; now nothing they devise to do will be impossible for them. 

7Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that each person will not be able to understand the language of his friend." 

8And the Lord scattered them from there over the face of all the entire earth, and they stopped building the city.  

9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused[4] the language of the entire earth; and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the entire earth.


[1] 'from the east' following the Greek and Vulgate.  May also be translated 'eastward' or 'in the east.'

[2] Heb. 'a man to his friend.'

[3] Heb. 'sons of man.'

[4] Heb. bābal means 'to confuse'.  The Babylonians understood Babel to mean "the gate of God."

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