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Is there a contradiction between Genesis chapter 10 and chapter 11?

q.gif (1639 bytes)     In Genesis 10:31, the people had different languages, but in chapter 11 they had one language.   I would like to know why.


a.gif (1659 bytes)   Genesis chapter 10 is a simple listing of the genealogy of Noah’s descendants. Japheth and his descendants (10:2-5); Ham and his descendants (10:6-20); and Shem and his descendants (10:21-31). Most of the names listed do not receive any special comments in this chapter, except for Nimrod (10:9), etc. It is an official registry of how the nations were divided (10:32) “These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.”

Chapter 11 now tells us how the earth came about to be divided into all of those nations, when it all started with one family. The earth was all one language (11:1) “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” The people did not want to get scattered from each other, so they began to build a huge city and a tower (11:4) “And 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.” It was a thing of pride to glorify themselves, and not God. “Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and LET US MAKE US A NAME…” God saw what was happening in their minds and imaginations, so He did something that forced them to be broken up into smaller groups (11:5-8) “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And 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. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” Pride always brings man low, in the end. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Chapter 11 is like someone coming up to you and asking how many children you have. You may begin by saying, “I have a son in Mexico, a daughter in a city 3 hours from here, and three children yet at home, etc.” The person asking you may be curious enough to ask, “How did your son happen to go to Mexico?” You may say to him, “Well, the Lord called him to go there as a Missionary when he was 19 years old.” The person may then ask, “How did your daughter happen to move to a city 3 hours away from you?” You may say, “Because her husband is seeking further training in that city for an occupation to which he believes the Lord has called him.”

Chapter 10 is mostly the basic facts of the descendants of Noah. Chapter 11 gives the interesting details as to how they all got spread apart so far, and the ages when certain children were born to them. It fills in a lot of the questions that people would normally have about someone else’s family. Chapter 11 also centers in on one son’s line, Shem, because that is the line that God has chosen to use in a particular way to bring forth the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So there is no contradiction here, because chapter 11 is going back and covering the details of chapter 10 that were left unanswered, and going into greater detail about the son that would be in the line of the Messiah.

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