Genesis 10 and 11 – an Overview


There is no parallel to these chapters in antiquity

These verses are used again in 1 Chronicles 1:4-23


Acts 17:26

Deuteronomy 32:;8

Amos 9:7


Abraham’s nation is the divine answer to man’s problem concerning nations in darkness


Spreading mankind over the earth was not God’s punishment to destroy but God’s discipline to preserve mankind


Similar Words in Chapter 10 and 11:

  1. territories/earth = “eres” (10:5, 20, 31-32; 11:1, 8-9)
  2. language = “leson” (10:5, 20-21), “sapa” (11:6-7, 9)
  3. dispersion of people with words like:
    1. spread = “parad” (10:5, 32)
    2. scattered = “pus” (10:18; 11:1, 9)
    3. divided = “palag” (10:25)
  4. Babylon,  Shinar (10:10; 11:1, 9)
  5. Eastern, eastward = “qedem” (10:30; 11:1)
  6. Building of cities (10:11-12; 11:4-5, 8)


The three sons:

  1. Japheth in verse 2 ends with “territories, language, clans and nation in verse 5.
  2. Ham in verse 6 and ends with “clans, language, territories, nations in verse 20.
  3. Shem in verse 21 and ends with “clans, language, territories, nations in verse 31.


  • Shem is the oldest and the promised seed will come through his line.
  • Japheth is the youngest and the one whose people move north and west out of the Bible story.
  • Ham is the middle child and his family account is given right before Shem’s since Ham’s descendents will have the most interaction with Shem


Japheth has 14 nations

Ham has 30 nations

Shem has 26 nations

This is a total of 70 nations

70 elders represent Israel on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:9; Num. 11:24)

70 disciples were sent out by Jesus (Luke 10:1-16)


In Genesis 12 Abram is called to bless the nations

In Acts 1:8 the apostles are told they will go to the ends of the earth

In Acts 2:5-11 there were people from every nation under heaven in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.


The Contrasts at the Tower of Babel:

  1. Unity empowered them but their partnership caused God to end their endeavors.
  2. They feared they would be scattered and rebelled but when God  came down their greatest fear was realized.
  3. Their goal was to reach to heaven (absolute power) but this caused God in heaven to come down.  They were left with so little power they could not finish the city and tower.
  4. They sought a “name” and were called mockingly “Babel
  5. They refused to obey but were forced by God to comply.



Isaiah 2:1-4

Revelation 7:9

Psalm 47:1