Genesis 11:6 - 7
ESV - 6 And the Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.
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One language in the world, The building of Babel. (1-4) The confusion of tongues, The builders of Babel dispersed. (5-9) The descendants of Shem. (10-26) Terah, father of Abram, grandfather of Lot, they remove to Haran. (27-32) Here is an expression after the manner of men; The Lord came down to see the city. God is just and fair in all he does against sin and sinners, and condemns none unheard. Pious Eber is not found among this ungodly crew; for he and his are called the children of God; their souls joined not themselves to the assembly of these children of men. God suffered them to go on some way, that the works of their hands, from which they promised themselves lasting honour, might turn to their lasting reproach. God has wise and holy ends, in allowing the enemies of his glory to carry on their wicked projects a great way, and to prosper long. Observe the wisdom and mercy of God, in the methods taken for defeating this undertaking. And the mercy of God in not making the penalty equal to the offence; for he deals not with us according to our sins. The wisdom of God, in fixing upon a sure way to stop these proceedings. If they could not understand one another, they could not help one another; this would take them off from their building. God has various means, and effectual ones, to baffle and defeat the projects of proud men that set themselves against him, and particularly he divides them among themselves. Notwithstanding their union and obstinacy God was above them; for who ever hardened his heart against him, and prospered? Their language was confounded. We all suffer by it to this day: in all the pains and trouble used to learn the languages we have occasion for, we suffer for the rebellion of our ancestors at Babel. Nay, and those unhappy disputes, which are strifes of words, and arise from misunderstanding one another's words, for aught we know, are owing to this confusion of tongues. They left off to build the city. The confusion of their tongues not only unfitted them for helping one another, but they saw the hand of the Lord gone out against them. It is wisdom to leave off that which we see God fights against. God is able to blast and bring to nought all the devices and designs of Babel-builders: there is no wisdom nor counsel against the Lord. The builders departed according to their families, and the tongue they spake, to the countries and places allotted to them. The children of men never did, nor ever will, come all together again, till the great day, when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and all nations shall be gathered before him.
CONFOUND - kon-found': The physical origin of spiritual terms is well illustrated by one of the principal Hebrew words for "confou: "In Gen 11:7,9, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [ISBE] one of the Hebrew words for CONFOUND - kon-found' is used of the confusion of tongues, the word in Hebrew is balal, "to mix," "mingle." The Net Bible has this to say: NET © Come, let’s go down and confuse 1 their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” 2 NET © Notes 1 The cohortatives --(: belonging to or constituting a set of verb forms expressing exhortation.; i.e. "the cohortative verb in Hebrew is used to express plea, insistence, imploring, self-encouragement, wish, desire, intent, command, purpose or consequence") --mirror the cohortatives of the people. They build to ascend the heavens; God comes down to destroy their language. God speaks here to his angelic assembly. See the notes on the word “make” in 1:26 and “know” in 3:5, as well as Jub. 10:22-23, where an angel recounts this incident and says “And the Lord our God said to us…. And the Lord went down and we went down with him. And we saw the city and the tower which the sons of men built.” On the chiastic structure of the story, see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:235. 2 Heb “they will not hear, a man the lip of his neighbor.” It is this attitude of arrogant self-confidence and independence of God which God knew was inevitable if man succeeded. Because of this, God purposed to thwart man’s plans: “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7). What we see here is not so much a punishment being meted out as preventive measures being taken. The mechanics of the confusion of language can only be guessed at, but the outcome is evident. The project came to an abrupt halt, a monument to man’s sin. Conditions After the Confusion of Tongues (11:9) That which man most feared had come to pass. “Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:9). The irony of this event is that what men most desired would have destroyed them, and what they most dreaded would prove to be a part of their deliverance. At one time in history the name Babel (Bab-ili) meant in Babylonian “the gate of God.”By means of a play on words God changed its name to “confusion” (Balal). In this brief narrative, we find some principles which are vital to true believers of any age. --Man’s plans will never thwart God’s purposes. God had commanded mankind to “fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). Man preferred to cloister rather than to comply with God’s command to spread out. In spite of man’s greatest efforts, God’s purposes prevailed. My friend, men of every age have learned that God’s will cannot be resisted. You may be destroyed, but God will not be diverted from His purposes. Such was the conclusion to which Saul was forced: And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads’ (Acts 26:14). A friend of mine used to say, “Is that brick wall getting any softer, or is my head just getting bloodier and bloodier?” No man can thwart the will of God. A life lived in resistance to the revealed Word of God must end in frustration and failure. No one can succeed in resisting God.
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