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They propose to build
á city and a tower. A M. cir. 1757. us make brick, and burn them and a tower whose top may A. d. cir: 2747.
throughly. And they had brick reach unto heaven; and let us for stone, and slime had they for mortar. make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, upon the face of the whole earth.
e Heb. burn them to a burning.
"Deut. i. 28.
lon, where the holy tongue ceased from being com- scarcity of stones in that district ; and on the same acmonly used, and the mixed Hebrew (or Chaldee) came count they were obliged to use slime, that is, bitumen, in its place.”
(Vulg.) aopaatos, (Septuagint,) for mortar: so it apIt cannot be reasonably imagined that the Jews lost pears they had neither common stone nor lime-stone ; the Hebrew tongue entirely in the seventy years of hence they had brick for stone, and asphallus or bitutheir captivity in Babylon; yet, as they were mixed men instead of mortar. with the Chaldeans, their children would of course Verse 4. Lel us build us a city and a tower] On learn that dialect, and to them the pure Hebrew would this subject there have been various conjectures. Mr. be unintelligible; and this probably gave rise to the Hutchinson supposed that the design of the builders necessity of explaining the Hebrew Scriptures in the was to erect a temple to the host of heaven—the sun, Chaldee tongue, that the children might understand as moon, planets, &c.; and, to support this interpretation, well as their fathers. As we may safely presume the he says D'ava Wat verosho bashshamayim should be parents could not have forgotten the Hebrew, so we translated, not, whose top may reach unto heaven, for may conclude the children in general could not have there is nothing for may reach in the Hebrew, but its learned it, as they did not live in an insulated state, but head or summit to the heavens, i. e. to the heavenly were mixed with the Babylonians. This conjecture bodies : and, to make this interpretation the more proremoves the difficulty with which many have been bable, he says that previously to this time the descendembarrassed ; one party supposing that the knowledge ants of Noah were all agreed in one form of religious of the Hebrew language was lost during the Babylonish worship, (for so he understands nnx novi vesaphah captivity, and hence the necessity of the Chaldee Tar- achath, and of one lip,) i. e. according to him, they had gums to explain the Scriptures ; another party insist- one litany; and as God confounded their litany, they ing that this was impossible in so short a period as began to disagree in their religious opinions, and seventy years.
branched out into sects and parties, each associating Verse 2. As they journeyed from the east) Assyria, with those of his own sentiment; and thus their tower Mesopotamia, and the country on the borders and be- or temple was left unfinished. yond the Euphrates, are called the east in the sacred It is probable that their being of one language and writings. Balaam said that the king of Moab had of one speech implies, not only a sameness of language, brought him from the mountains of the east, Num. but also a unity of sentiment and design, as seems xxiii. 7. Now it appears, from chap. xxii. 5, that Ba- pretty clearly intimated in ver. 6. Being therefore Jaam dwelt at Pethor, on the river Euphrates. And it strictly united in all things, coming to the fertile plains is very probable that it was from this country that the of Shinar they proposed to settle themselves there, wise men came to adore Christ; for it is said they instead of spreading themselves over all the countries came from the east to Jerusalem, Matt. ii. 1. Abraham of the earth, according to the design of God; and in is said to have come from the east to Canaan, Isa. xli. reference to this purpose they'encouraged one another 2 ; but it is well known that he came from Mesopotamia to build a city and a tower, probably a temple, to preand Chaldea. Isaiah, xlvi. 11, represents Cyrus as vent their separation, “ lest,” say they, we be scatcoming from the east against Babylon. And the same tered abroad upon the face of the whole earth :" but prophet represents the Syrians as dwelling eastward God, miraculously interposing, confounded or frustrated of Jerusalem, chap. ix. 12 : The Syrians before, 07p) their rebellious design, which was inconsistent with mikkedem, from the east, the same word which Moses his will ; see Deut. xxxii. 8; Acts xvii. 26; and, partly uses here. Daniel ix. 44, represents Antiochus as by confounding their language, and disturbing their troubled at news received from the east; i. e. of a re- counsels, they could no longer keep in a united state; volt in the eastern provinces, beyond the Euphrales. so that agreeing in nothing but the necessity of sepa
Noah and his family, landing after the flood on one rating, they went off in different directions, and thus of the mountains of Armenia, would doubtless descend became scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. and cultivate the valleys : as they increased, they ap- The Targums, both of Jonathan ben Uzziel and of Jepear to have passed along the banks of the Euphrates, rusalem, assert that the tower was for idolatrous wortill
, at the time specified here, they came to the plains ship; and that they intended to place an image on the of Shinar, allowed to be the most fertile country in the top of the tower with a sword in its hand, probably to east. See Calmet. That Babel was built in the land act as a talisman against their enemies. Whatever of Shinar we have the authority of the sacred text to their design might have been, it is certain that this prove; and that Babylon was built in the same country temple or tower was afterwards devoted to idolatrous we have the testimony of Eusebius, Præp. Evang. lib. purposés. Nebuchadnezzar repaired and beautified ix., c. 15; and Josephus, Antiq., lib. i., c. 5. this tower, and it was dedicated to Bel, or the sun.
Verse 3. Let us make brick] It appears they were An account of this tower, and of the confusion of obliged to make use of brick, as there was an utter tongues, is given by several ancient authors. Herodo
The Lord comes down to see
the tower which was built.
A. M. cir. 1757,
A. M. cir. 1757.
5 & And the LORD came down is one, and they have all
i to see the city and the tower, language ; and this they begin to which the children of men builded.
do : and now nothing will be restrained from 6 And the Lord said, Behold, h the people them, which they have imagined to do.
8 Chap. xviii. 21.
- Chap. ix. 19; Acts xvii. 26.
i Ver. 1.-k Psa. ii. 1.
tus saw the tower and described it. A sybil, whose (and it must have prevailed in the first ages of the oracle is yet extant, spoke both of it and of the confu- world) men would necessarily have simple ideas, and sion of tongues ; so did Eupolemus and Abydenus. a corresponding simplicity of manners. The Chinese See Bochart Geogr. Sacr., lib. i., c. 13, edit. 1692. language is exactly such as this; and the Hebrew, if On this point Bochart observes that these things are stripped of its vowel points, and its prefixes, suffixes, taken from the Chaldeans, who preserve many remains and postfixes separated from their combinations, so that of ancient facts; and though they often add circum- they might stand by themselves, it would nearly anstances, yet they are, in general, in some sort depend swer to this character even in its present state. In ent on the text. 1. They say Babel was built by the order therefore to remove this unity of sentiment and giants, because Nimrod, one of the builders, is called design, which I suppose to be the necessary consein the Hebrew text 7132 gibbor, a mighty man; or, as quence of such a language, God confounded their lanthe Septuagint, yıyac, a giant. 2. These giants, they guage--caused them to articulate the same word difsay, sprang from the earth, because, in Gen. x. 11, it ferently, to affix different ideas to the same term, and is said, He went, xinn p 187 73 min haarets hahiv, out perhaps, by transposing syllables and interchanging letof that earth; but this is rather spoken of Asshur, ters, form new terms and compounds, so that the mind who was another of the Babel builders. 3. These of the speaker was apprehended by the hearer in a giants are said to have waged war with the gods, be- contrary sense to what was intended. This idea is cause it is said of Nimrod, Gen. x. 9, He was a mighty not ill expressed by an ancient French poet, Du Barhunter before the Lord; or, as others have rendered tas ; and not badly, though rather quaintly, metait, a warrior and a rebel against the Lord. See Jar- phrased by our countryman, Mr. Sylvester. chi in loco. 4. These giants are said to have raised
Some speak between the teeth, some in the nose, a tower up to heaven, as if they had intended to have
Some in the throat their words do ill disposeascended thither. This appears to have been founded on "whose top may reach to heaven," which has been already explained. 5. It is said that the gods sent
“ Bring me," quoth one, a trowel, quickly, quick !". strong winds against them, which dispersed both them
One brings him up a hammer. " Hew this brick," and their work. This appears to have been taken
Another bids ; and then they cleave a tree ; from the Chaldean history, in which it is said their
“Make fast this rope," and then they let it flee. dispersion was made to the four winds of heaven, y37x)
One calls for planks, another mortar lacks ; lepo ini bearba ruchey shemaiya, i. e. to the four
They bear the first a stone, the last an are. quarters of the world. 6. And because the verb pid
One would have spikes, and him a spade they give;
Another asks a saw, and gets a sieve. phuts, or pod naphats, used by Moses, signifies, not only to scatter, but also to break to pieces ; whence
Thus crossly crost, they prate and point in vain;
What one hath made another mars again. thunder, Isa. xxx. 30, is called yod nephets, a breaking to pieces; hence they supposed the whole work was broken to pieces and overturned. It was probably
These masons then, seeing the storm arrived from this disguised representation of the Hebrew text
Of God's just wrath, all weak and heart-deprived, that the Greek and Roman poets took their fable of the Forsake their purpose, and, like frantic fools, giants waging war with the gods, and piling mountain Scatter their stuff and tumble down their tools. upon mountain in order to scale heaven. See Bochart
Du Bartas. — Babylon. as above..
I shall not examine how the different languages of Verse 5. And the Lord came down] A lesson, the earth were formed. It certainly was not the work says an ancient Jewish commentator, to magistrates to of a moment; different climates must have a conexamine every evidence before they decree -judgment siderable share in the formation of tongues, by their and execute justice.
influence on the organs of speech. The invention of Verse 6. The people is one, fc.] From this, as be- new arts and trades must give birth to a variety of fore observed, we may infer, that as the people had terms and expressions. Merchandise, commerce, and the same language, so they had a unity of design and the cultivation of the sciences, would produce their sentiment. It is very likely that the original language share; and different forms of government, modes of was composed of monosyllables, that each had a dis- life, and means of instruction, also contribute their tinct ideal meaning, and only one meaning; as different quota. The Arabic, Chaldee, Syriac, and Æthiopic, acceptations of the same word would undoubtedly arise, still bear the most striking resemblance to their parent, either from compounding terms, or, when there were the Hebrew. Many others might be reduced to a but few words in a language, using them by a different common source, yet everywhere there is sufficient mode of pronunciation to express a variety of things. evidence of this confusion. The anomalies even in Where this simple monosyllabic language prevailed the most regular languages sufficiently prove this.
A. M. cir. 1757.
B. C. 1846.
B. C. 2311.
B. C. 1908.
God confounds their language. CHAP. XI. Of the postdiluvian patriarchs.
7 Go to, 'let us go down, and 11 And Shem lived after he be. A. M. 2158. B. C. cir. 2247.
there confound their language, gat Arphaxad five hundred years, that they may not understand one another's and begat sons and daughters. speech.
12 And Arphaxad lived five and A. M. 1693. 8 So n the Lord scattered them abroad from thirty years, and begat Salah : thence o upon the face of all the earth : and 13 And Arphaxad lived after he A. M. 2096. they left off to build the city.
begat Salah four hundred and three 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel ; years, and begat sons and daughters. q because the LORD did there confound the 14 And Salah lived thirty years, A. M. 1723. anguage of all the earth : and from thence and begat Eber : did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the 15 And Salah lived after he be- A. M. 2126. face of all the earth.
gat Eber four hundred and three 10 These are the generations years, and begat sons and daughters.
of Shem: Shem was a hundred 16 + And Eber lived four and A. M. 1757. years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after thirty years, and begat "Peleg : the flood :
17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four
B. C. 1878.
A. M. 1658.
B. C. 2247.
Chap. i. 26; Psa. ii. 4; Acts ii. 4, 5, 6. Deut. xxviii. 49; Jer. v. 15; I Cor. xiv. 2, 11. o Chap. x, 25, 32.
Chap. xlii. 23;
n Luke i. 51.
p That is, confusion. -4 Wisd. x. 5; 1 Cor. xiv. 23. -Chap X. 22; 1 Chron. i. 17. See Luke iii. 36.-1 Chron. i. 19. Called, Luke iii. 35, Phalec.
Every language is confounded less or more but that Besides Mr. Hutchinson's opinion, (see on ver. 4,) of eternal truth. This is ever the same; in all coun- there have been various conjectures concerning the tries, climates, and ages, the language of truth, like purpose for which this tower was built. that God from whom it sprang, is unchangeable. It pose it was intended to prevent the effects of another speaks in all tongues, to all nations, and in all hearts : food, by affording an asylum to the builders and their “ There is one God, the fountain of goodness, justice, families in case of another general deluge. Others and truth. Man, thou art his creature, ignorant, weak, think that it was designed to be a grand city, the seat and dependent ; but he is all-sufficient--hates nothing of government, in order to prevent a general dispersion. that he has made_loves thee—is able and willing to This God would not permit, as he had purposed that save thee ; return to and depend on him, take his men should be dispersed over the earth, and thererevealed will for thy law, submit to his authority, fore caused the means which they were using to preand accept eternal life on the terms proposed in his vent it to become the grand instrument of its accomword, and thou shalt never perish nor be wretched.” plishment. Humanly speaking, the earth could not This language of truth all the ancient and modern have been so speedily peopled, had it not been for this Babel builders have not been able to confound, not very circumstance which the counsel of man had withstanding their repeated attempts. How have men devised to prevent it. Some say that these builders toiled to make this language clothe their own ideas ; were divided into seventy-two nations, with seventyand thus cause God to speak according to the pride, two different languages; but this is an idle, unfounded prejudice, and worst passions of men ! But through tale. a just judgment of God, the language of all those who Verse 10. These are the generations of Shem] This have attempted to do this has been confounded, and may be called the holy family, as from it sprang Abrathe word of the Lord abideth for ever.
ham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, David, SoloVerse 7. Go to) A form of speech which, whatever mon, and all the great progenitors of the Messiah. it might have signified formerly, now means nothing. We have already seen that the Scripture chronoThe Hebrew 17277 habah signifies come, make pre-logy, as it exists in the Hebrew text, the Samaritan, paration, as it were for a journey, the execution of a the Septuagint, Josephus, and some of the fathers, is purpose, &c.
Almost all the versions understand the greatly embarrassed, and it is yet much more so in word in this way; the Septuagint have devre, the Vul- the various systems of learned and unlearned chronogate venite, both signifying come, or come ye. This logists. For a full and rational view of this subject, makes a very good sense, Come, let us go down, fc. into which the nature of these notes forbids me farther For the meaning of these latter words see chap. i. 26, to enter, I must refer my reader to Dr. Hales's laboand xviii. 21.
rious work, “ A New Analysis of Sacred Chronology," Verse 9. Therefore is the name of it called Babel] vol. ii., part 1, &c., in which he enters into the sub533 babel, from a bal, to mingle, confound, destroy ; ject with a cautious but firm step; and, if he has not hence Babel, from the mingling together and confound been able to remove all its difficulties, has thrown very ing of the projects and language of these descendants considerable light upon most parts of it. of Noah; and this confounding did not so much imply Verse 12. And Arpharad lived] The Septuagint the producing new languages, as giving them a different bring in here a second Cainan, with an addition of one method of pronouncing the same words, and leading hundred and thirty years. St. Luke follows the Septhem to affix different ideas to them.
tuagint, and brings in the same person in the same way
B. C. 2056.
B. C. 2217.
B. C. 1996.
A. M. 1996.
A. M. 1819.
A. M. 2026.
Of the postdiluvian patriarchs. GENESIS. Terah and his family leave Ur.
Haran. A. M. 1787. 18 And Peleg lived thirty years, 27 Now these are the generations A. M. 2008. and begat Reu:
of Terah: Terah begat Abram, 19 And Peleg lived after he be- Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. B. C. 2008.
gat Reu two hundred and nine 28 And Haran died before his father Terah in years, and begat sons and daughters.
the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 20 And Reu lived two and thirty 29 And Abram and Nahor look them wives : B. C. 2185. years, and begat Serug : :
the name of Abram's wife was y Sarai : and 21 And Reu lived after he begat the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the
Serug two hundred and seven years, daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and and begat sons and daughters.
the father of Iscah. 22 And Serug lived thirty years, 30 But a Sarai was barren ; she had no child. B. C. 2155. and begat Nahor :
31 And Terah btook Abram A. M. cir. 2078.
B. C. cir. 1926. A. M. 2049. 23 And Serug lived after he be- his son, and Lot the son of
gat Nahor two hundred years, and Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughterbegat sons and daughters.
in-law, his son Abram's wife ; and they went 24 And Nahor lived nine and forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, B. C. 2126.
twenty years, and begat w Terah : to go into a the land of Canaan; and they
25 And Nahor lived after he be- came unto Haran, and dwelt there. gat Terah a hundred and nineteen 32 And the days of Terah A. M. 2083.
B. C. 1921, years, and begat sons and daughters. were two hundred and five years :
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and Terah died in Haran.
A. M. 1849.
B. C. 1955.
A. M. 1878.
A. M. 1997.
Luke üri. 35, Saruch.- w Luke ii. 34, Thara.xxiv. 2; 1 Chron. i. 26. — Chap. xvii. 15; xx. 12. xxii. 20.
* Joshi a Chap. xvi. 1, 2; xviii. 11, 12. Lo Chap. xii. 1. - Neh. -2 Chap. ix. 7; Judith v. 7; Acts vii. 4; Heb. xi. 8. d Chap. x. 19;
xxiv. 10; xxix. 4.
But the Hebrew text, both here and in 1 Chron. i., Abram before his two elder brethren Haran and Na. is perfectly silent on this subject, and the best chro- hor. These observations are sufficient to remove all nologists have agreed in rejecting this as a spurious difficulty from this place. generation.
Verse 29. Milcah, the daughter of Haran] Many Verse 26. And Terah lived seventy years, and be suppose Sarai and Iscah are the same person under gat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.) Haran was certainly two different names ; but this is improbable, as Iseah the eldest son of Terah, and he appears to have been is expressly said to be the daughter of Haran, and born when Terah was about seventy years of age, and Sarai was the daughter of Terah, and half sister of his birth was followed in successive periods with those Abram. of Nahor his second, and Abram his youngest son. Verse 31. They went forth—from Ur of the ChalMany have been greatly puzzled with the account dees) Chaldea is sometimes understood as comprising here, supposing because Abram is mentioned first, the whole of Babylonia ; at other times, that province that therefore he was the eldest son of Terah : but he towards Arabia Deserta, called in Scripture The land is only put first by way of dignity. An instance of of the Chaldeans. The capital of this place was this we have already seen, chap. v. 32, where Noah Babylon, called in Scripture The beauty of the Chalis represented as having Shem, Ham, and Japheth in dees' ercellency, Isa. xiii. 19. this order of succession ; whereas it is evident from Ur appears to have been a city of some considerother scriptures that Shem was the youngest son, who able consequence at that time in Chaldea ; but where for dignity is named first, as Abram is here; and Ja- situated is not well known. It probably had its name pheth the eldest, named last, as Haran is here. Terah Ur wx, which signifies fire, from the worship practised died two hundred and five years old, ver. 32 ; then there. The learned are almost unanimously of opinion Abram departed from Haran when seventy-five years that the ancient inhabitants of this region were ignicoold, chap. xii
. 4; therefore Abram was born, not when lists or worshippers of fire, and in that place this sort his father Terah was seventy, but when he was one of worship probably originated ; and in honour of this hundred and thirty.
element, the symbol of the Supreme Being, the whole When any case of dignity or pre-eminence is to country, or a particular city in it, might have had the be marked, then even the youngest son is set before name Ur. Bochart has observed that there is a place all the rest, though contrary to the usage of the called Ouri, south of the Euphrates, in the way from Scriptures in other cases. Hence we find Shem, the Nisibis to the river Tigris. The Chaldees mentioned youngest son of Noah, always mentioned first ; Moses here had not this name in the time of which Moses is mentioned before his elder brother Aaron; and I spegks, but they were called so in the time in which