Genesis 11:5-9

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.
6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
9 That is why it was called Babel[a] —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11:5 in Other Translations

KJV
5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
ESV
5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.
NLT
5 But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building.
MSG
5 God came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built.
CSB
5 Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building.

Genesis 11:5-9 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 11

This chapter gives an account of the inhabitants of the earth before the confusion of tongues at Babel, of their speech and language, which was one and the same, and of the place where they dwelt, Ge 11:1,2 and of their design to build a city and tower, to make them a name and keep them together, which they put in execution, Ge 11:3,4 of the notice the Lord took of this affair, and of the method he took to put a stop to their designs, by confounding their speech, and dispersing them abroad upon the face of the earth, Ge 11:5-9 then follows a genealogy of Shem's posterity down to Abraham, Ge 11:10-26 and a particular relation is given of Terah, the father of Abraham, and his family, and of his going forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, in order to go into the land of Canaan, and of his death at Haran by the way, Ge 11:27-32.

Genesis 11:5-9 In-Context

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.
4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.
6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
9 That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
10 This is the account of Shem’s family line. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad.
11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

Cross References 10

  • 1. ver 7; Genesis 18:21; Exodus 3:8; Exodus 19:11,18,20; Psalms 18:9; Psalms 144:5
  • 2. S ver 1
  • 3. S Genesis 1:26
  • 4. S ver 5
  • 5. Genesis 42:23; Deuteronomy 28:49; Isaiah 28:11; Isaiah 33:19; Jeremiah 5:15; 1 Corinthians 14:2,11
  • 6. S Genesis 9:19; Deuteronomy 32:8; S Luke 1:51
  • 7. S Genesis 10:10
  • 8. Psalms 55:9
  • 9. Acts 2:5-11
  • 10. Isaiah 2:10,21; Isaiah 13:14; Isaiah 24:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. That is, Babylon; "Babel" sounds like the Hebrew for "confused" .
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