Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 11

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: To Record God's Creation and Identify His Plan (c 1-22)
Theme: The Story of Noah (c 6-11)
Message: The Tower of Babel (v 1-)

Genesis 11 Commentary

(11:3-4) The Tower of Babel - The tower of Babel was most likely a ziggurat, a common structure in Babylonia at this time. Most often built as temples, ziggurats looked like pyramids with steps or ramps leading up the sides. Ziggurats could stand nearly 300 feet high and were often just as wide; thus, they were the focal point of the city. The people in this story built their tower as a monument to their own greatness, something for the whole world to see. 1:3 The brick used to build this tower was man-made and not as hard as stone. "Slime" was naturally occurring asphalt--a sticky, tar-like substance. u1:4 The tower of Babel was a great human achievement, a wonder of the world. But it was a monument to the people themselves rather than to God. 

(11:27-28) Abram is introduced - Abram grew up in Ur of the Chaldeans (Chaldees), an important city in the ancient world. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a flourishing civilization there in Abram's day. The city carried on an extensive trade with its neighbors and had a ziggurat, a temple, and a palace. Growing up in Ur, Abram was probably well educated.

(11:31) Terea goes to Canaan -  Terah left Ur to go to Canaan but settled in Haran instead. Why did he stop halfway? It may have been his health, the climate, or even fear. But this did not change Abram's calling ("the LORD had said unto Abram",; 12:1). He had respect for his father's leadership, but when Terah died, Abram moved on to Canaan. God's will may come in stages. Just as the time in Haran was a transition period for Abram, God may give us transition periods and times of waiting to help us depend on him and trust his timing. If we patiently do his will during the transition times, we will be better prepared to serve him as we should when he calls us.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Building Towers

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. There are many applications we can make from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 11, and in today's text, we see the account of the tower of Babel. A great pyramid-type structure called a Ziggurat measures an estimated 300 ft tall. That would be a 25 to 30-story building today. Often built as a temple, this one was the most extensive structure constructed as a monument of their greatness rather than to God. This self-idol worship caused the judgment of God to scatter these people and caused the different languages we still see today. In making an application, we build these self-idols today (expensive clothes, big homes, fancy cars, etc.) to call attention to our achievements. Possessions are not wrong, but when we place our identity or self-worth in them, they replace God and become the same self-idols we see in Babel. How about you? Have you let your possessions become idols? Let us learn from our text today and the account of the tower of Babel to see that we can make our possessions idols and if we do, let us confess it to the Lord. Give these possessions back to the Lord and place them into the proper place in your life.


Genesis 11

Genesis 11

 1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

 3And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

 4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

 7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

 8So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

 9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

 10These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:

 11And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

 12And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:

 13And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

 14And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:

 15And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

 16And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:

 17And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

 18And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:

 19And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.

 20And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:

 21And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.

 22And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:

 23And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

 24And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:

 25And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.

 26And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

 27Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.

 28And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

 29And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

 30But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

 31And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

 32And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.