In Genesis chapter 11 mankind groups together to build powerful cities instead of obeying the command of Genesis 9:1, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” The old spirit of rebellion and human pride was again in control, mankind was back to doing their own thing. The people came together to build a tower that would reach the heavens. God saw that their effort was leading to a rebellion against Him, so God intervened. After these events, another genealogy is given from Shem that leads to Abram. This chapter answers the questions, why are we divided and why are there so many different languages? It ends with the beginning of Abraham’s story.

Genesis 11:1-3

At this time there was only one language used worldwide. A group of people settled in the plain of Shinar where they learned to make bricks and use mortar to build.

Genesis 11:4

The people wanted to build a city and a tower in order to make a name for themselves. They did not want to be scattered over the whole earth, as God had commanded.

Genesis 11:5-9

God came down to see the work of these people. He saw their unity and decided to confuse their language and to scatter them over the earth. The name of the city was now called Babel.

Genesis 11:10-15

The lineage of Shem is presented, including Arpachshad, Shelah, and Eber.

Genesis 11:16-21

The genealogy covering the ten generations from Shem to Abraham continues with Peleg, Reu, and Serug.

Genesis 11:22-26

The lineage tracing from Shem to Abram draws to a close with Abram and his two brothers.

Genesis 11:27-32

These verses tell the story of Abram’s father Terah and the family leaving Ur for Canaan only to go as far as Haran where Terah dies.