All Nations and Babel

Read for This Week’s Study

Gen. 9:18–11:9, Luke 10:1, Matt. 1:1–17, Luke 1:26–33, Ps. 139:7–12, Gen. 1:28, Gen. 9:1.

Memory Text:

“Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9, NKJV).

After the Flood, the biblical account shifts from a focus on the single individual, Noah, to his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The particular attention on Ham, the father of Canaan (Gen. 10:6, 15), introduces the idea of “Canaan,” the Promised Land (Gen. 12:5), an anticipation of Abraham, whose blessing will go to all nations (Gen. 12:3).

However, the line is broken by the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9). Once again, God’s plans for humankind are disrupted. What was supposed to be a blessing, the birth of all nations, becomes another occasion for another curse. The nations unite in order to try to take God’s place; God responds in judgment on them; and, through the resulting confusion, the people get scattered throughout the world (Gen. 11:8), thus fulfilling God’s original plan to “fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1, NKJV).

In the end, in spite of human wickedness, God turns evil into good; He has, as always, the last word. The curse of Ham in his father’s tent (Gen. 9:21, 22) and the curse of the confused nations at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:9) will, eventually, be turned into a blessing for the nations.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, April 30.


All Nations and Babel


The Curse of Ham


The Genesis Genealogy


One Language


“Let Us Go Down”


The Redemption of the Exile


Further Thought