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Genesis 11 General Notes

Structure and formatting

This chapter is a story traditionally referred to as the "Tower of Babel."

This chapter seeks to answer the questions: why do people speak different languages? how did people become so dispersed across the earth? God's punishment described in this chapter may also explain why the world has racial and ethnic divisions.

Special concepts in this chapter

Age of people when they die

After the flood, people began to live shorter lives. This chapter begins to record the shortening of the average lifespan.

Important figures of speech in this chapter


The statement "Yahweh came down to see" is a type of personification. Yahweh always knows what happens on earth. This statement indicates that Yahweh is about to bring judgment on mankind. (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-personification and rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/judge)

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter

"Let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top will reach to the sky"

The people were very full of pride and rebelled against God in this action. (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-explicit)

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