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Verse 9

"Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because Jehovah did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did Jehovah scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."

This is the conclusion of this remarkably important episode. We shall notice, in passing, some of the insinuations against this account, not because of any value in them, but as a notation that evil men are STILL opposed to the will of God. Skinner called this account "a myth,"[14] and Neil spoke of it as "a parable,"[15] but, to us, this is just about the most historic episode that history has ever been handed down to us. The proof of it is right here in the narrative.

Take the word Babylon. Here is the story of how Babylon got its name, a name which has been on the tongue of all generations, and a name that memorializes eternally the dramatic event that produced its name. We do not blame critics for trying to find another explanation for the name of this ancient and wicked city, because, just as long as this Genesis record stands, the proof of the event is in the name itself! Leupold's comment on it is perceptive:

"The word [~balal] means to `confuse'; and from it the form [~balbel] (contracted to Babel) is derived, and here we have the actual origin of the name of this famed city. Thus, we translate part of Genesis 11:9, "Called Babel because there Yahweh made a babble!" Whatever other interpretations the Babylonians themselves may have put upon this name, this Biblical interpretation is the original, and it remains valid."[16]

Payne refers to something that must have been an effort of the Babylonians to avoid such a name as that which has been fastened upon them throughout history: "The Akkadian `babili' means `the gate of God'."[17] However, no one could believe that such a name as "the gate of God" could possibly have been accepted for Babylon by all generations and nations. Such a name simply does not fit, nor did it ever fit. The Genesis record has the true account of the name Babylon. As Whitelaw noted, that explanation of the name Babylon is "unsupported by any evidence."[18]

Marks referred to this passage as one of the "most important in the O.T., because it is the point where primeval history and sacred history dovetail."[19] Primeval history left open the question of human salvation, but sacred history provides the certain promise of it in the call of Abraham and the announcement that "all the families of the earth" would be blessed through his seed (singular). The actual announcement of this is in Genesis 11:12, and the transition from primeval history to sacred history occurs precisely in Genesis 11:1-3.

The remainder of this chapter presents the Messianic line leading to Abraham. That line is clearly and logically presented, and we shall not concern ourselves with the ages of the various patriarchs listed here, nor with the discrepancies between those as related in LXX and various other ancient versions, simply because such minutae are unimportant. God's message in the following verses relates to the truth that GOD was still in charge. Satan would not be allowed to frustrate the purpose of human redemption; a Messiah was indeed coming, and we should not dwell overly long upon the consideration of those human instruments through whom he would come.

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