11 Chapter 11 Verses 1-9 The Tower of Babel

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Everett’s Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures - Genesis (Vol. 2)(Gary H. Everett)

11 Chapter 11
Verses 1-9

The Tower of Babel- We know the seventy nations listed in Genesis 10:1-32 spoke many languages (see Genesis 10:31). Thus, the story of the Tower of Babel ( Genesis 11:1-9) gives an explanation to the readers of how the descends of Noah listed in chapter 10 became divided into tongues and nations. Therefore, the events of Genesis 10:1-32 do not necessarily precede all of the events in Genesis 11:1-9. For example, the Tower of Babel probably took place during the time of Peleg when the nations of the earth were divided ( Genesis 10:25).

Genesis 10:25, "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother"s name was Joktan."

The Confusion of Tongues- In Genesis 11:6 God said that because the people of the earth have one language, nothing could be held back from them which they imagined to do. Therefore, He confused their tongues. How did the confusion of tongues provide a remedy for the halting of man's accomplishments? If you look at the world today with its several hundred nations and many more cultural groups, you immediately recognize that this division keeps people from working together to accomplish great feats. Because the United States of America is united under one government and one economy, it has been able to achieve the greatest technological advances in the history of mankind. Therefore, when God confused the tongues at the Tower of Babel, it did not limit man's imaginations, but it did limit man's ability to come together for the purpose of creating what he had imagined.

We also have to note that for this many people with a common tongue to immediately begin to speak a multitude of languages would mean that the "gift of tongues" had been poured out in a similar way to the day of Pentecost.

Genesis 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

Genesis 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

Genesis 11:2 — "a plain in the land of Shinar" - Comments- The "plain in the land of Shinar" is believed to located in the southern part of Mesopotamia, which later became known as Babylon. 166]

166] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Shinar."

Genesis 11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

Genesis 11:3 — "they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter" - Word Study on "slime" - Strong says the Hebrew word "slime" ( חֵמָר) (H 2564) means, "bitumen (as rising to the surface), slime (-pit)."

Comment- Since there were no stones in this region of the fertile plain, they baked the mud in ovens to make brick. Also located in this region is a form of bitumen, a mineral pitch, which, when hardened, forms a strong cement. John Gill says this bitumen, or slime, has been used here for thousands of years. 167]

167] John Gill, Genesis , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Genesis 11:3.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 11:4 — "whose top may reach unto heaven" - Comments- The phrase "whose top may reach unto heaven" is a figurative expression that describes a tower of great height. Note other passages of Scripture that use this expression and were written by the same author.

Deuteronomy 1:28, "Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there."

Deuteronomy 9:1, "Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,"

Genesis 11:4 — "let us make us a name" - Comments- Man chose to place his name as an eternal memorial in Babel; but God has a different plan. The Lord chose to place His name in Zion. Therefore, man was out of God"s will. Man was walking after the imagination of his own heart. In fact, we see in the life of Abraham that God had already chosen Jerusalem and ordained Melchizedek as priest in this holy place as early as 2000 B.C. ( Genesis 14:18)

Genesis 14:18, "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God."

The city of Babel is called Babylon in the book of Revelations. This city will again rise out of the ruins to be a great adversary against the Church.

Revelation 14:8, "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

Genesis 11:4 — "lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" - Comments- The Lord had commanded man to replenish the earth ( Genesis 1:28). Man was out of God"s will by gathering in one location only.

Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

Genesis 11:4Comments- It is interesting to note how man was striving to reach this goal of making himself a great name without the help of God. Yet, Abraham followed the ways of the Lord and received a great name.

Genesis 12:2, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:"

Genesis 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Genesis 11:6 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.

Genesis 11:6"and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" - Comments- God has allowed man to eventually build and develop everything which he has at one time only imagined and dreamed about. For example, the French novelist Jules Verne (1828-1905) wrote of submarines (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 1870]) and spaceships going to the moon (From the Earth to the Moon 1865]) centuries before these events came to pass long before they were invented. 168]

168] Thomas H. Goetz, "Jules Verne," in The World Book Encyclopedia, vol 20 (Chicago: World Book, Inc, 1994), 362.

Genesis 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another"s speech.

Genesis 11:7Comments- In Genesis 11:7 man began to speak many different languages. How did God perform this miraculous event with the tongues of men? One similar miracle to compare is the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-11, where the Lord once again caused the early church to speak in many languages through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Note the fact that Scripture tells us that the events that man experiences are repeated in history:

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us."

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22 that the Father's divine plan in redemption is to break down the dividing walls among nations in order to build a habitation for God to dwell among His people. Thus, He is trying to bring unity back to the people on the earth. The first time God poured out His Spirit at the Tower of Babel was to divide the peoples into nations. The second time was the day of Pentecost and it was intended to bring all nations back into one group making peace.

In Genesis 11:1-9 the gift of tongues was intended to divide the people into nations. In contrast, the gift of tongues that was poured out on the day of Pentecost was intended to unite all people into one new man in Christ Jesus. This is why the Jews of the Diaspora clearly understood them speaking in their own language in order for them to hear the Gospel and become one in Christ Jesus.

Genesis 11:7Comments- If God can confound a language, then he can adequately provide the means to spread the Gospel to various languages on the earth today.

Genesis 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

Genesis 11:8Comments- If God had not confounded the tongues of men, and they had maintained one language, then they would have been able to give birth to the inventions that we are just discovering today. But, because men have been divided by war and hatred, knowledge has been slow to increase upon the earth.

Genesis 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Genesis 11:9 — "Therefore is the name of it called Babel" - Comments- The ISBE says, "Babylon was the Greek name of the city written in the cuneiform script of the Babylonians, bab-ili, which means in Semitic, ‘the gate of god.' The Hebrews called the country, as well as the city, Babhel. This name they considered came from the root, balal, ‘to confound'." 169]

169] A.T. Clay, "Babel," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Genesis 11:9 — "from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth" - Comments- Note a reference to this event in several passages of Scripture:

Deuteronomy 32:8, "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel."

Acts 17:26, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;"

This scattering was the result of God judging a people for their sins. This event is similar to how God judged the nation of Israel by sending them into captivity by using the Assyrians and Babylonians.

Psalm 55:9, "Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city."

Note the fact that Scripture tells us that the events that mankind experiences are repeated in history.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us."

Genesis 11:9Scripture References- Note Genesis 10:10 regarding Nimrod, who founded the kingdom of Babel, "And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."

Verses 10-26

The Genealogy of Shem - Shem's Divine Destiny- The fifth genealogy in the book of Genesis is entitled "The Genealogy of Shem" ( Genesis 11:10-26), which reveals the role of Shem in producing Abraham has a descendant, through which God would produce a righteous seed. Shem's destiny was not marked by a personal, divine intervention. He simply was called to be fruitful and multiply a righteous seed. Thus, his genealogy culminates with the birth of the sons of Terah, one of which was Abraham.

Mankind's Shortened Lifespan- Note how the length of man"s life begins to decreases during this time period from the longevity before the Flood to the limit of one hundred twenty years instituted by God in Genesis 6:3. This shortened lifespan was certainly affected as well by the new and more harsh characteristics of the post-flood environment on earth. We all aspire to live as long as our fathers, so men must have despaired of their decreasing life spans reflected in this genealogy.

Genesis 6:3, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with Prayer of Manasseh , for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."

Genesis 11:10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:

Genesis 11:11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:

Genesis 11:13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:

Genesis 11:15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:

Genesis 11:16Comments- According to Genesis 11:10-16, Peleg was born one hundred and one (101) years after the flood.

Genesis 11:17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:

Genesis 11:18Word Study on "Reu" - Strong says the Hebrew name "Reu" "ruw" ( רְעוּ) (H 7466) means, "friend," and is derived from the primitive root ( רָעָה) (H 7462), which means, "to pasture, tend, graze, feed," and "to associate with, (Hithpael) to be companions, (Piel) to be a special friend." PTW says it means, "friendship."

Comments- Perhaps the name Reu indicates that the children of men were not scattering over the earth to inhabit it; rather, they were gathering together in the land of Shinar in order to be one people, which was against God's command to inhabit the whole earth.

Genesis 11:19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:

Genesis 11:20Word Study on "Serug" - Gesenius says the Hebrew name "Serug" ( שְׂרוּג) (H 8286) means, "shoot." Hitchcock says it means, "branch, layer, twining." PTW says that the name means, "strength, firmness." Strong says it means, "branch," and is derived from the primitive root ( שָׂרַג) (H 8276), which means, "to be intertwined."

Comments- The Book of Jubilees (116-7) tells us that Reu changed the name of his son from Seroh to Serug during his day because everyone turned to do all manner of sin and evil.

Genesis 11:21 And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:

Genesis 11:23 And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:

Genesis 11:24Word Study on "Terah" - Gesenius says the Hebrew name "Terah" ( תֶּרַח) (H 8646) is from an unused root that means, "to delay." Strong says the name means, "station." PTW says that the name means, "turning, duration."

Comments- The Book of Jubilees tells us that Nahor named his son Terah because reduced them to destitution by eating the seeds that they had planted.

"And she bare him Terah in the seventh year of this week. 1806 A.M.] And the prince Mastema sent ravens and birds to devour the seed which was sown in the land, in order to destroy the land, and rob the children of men of their labours. Before they could plough in the seed, the ravens picked (it) from the surface of the ground. And for this reason he called his name Terah because the ravens and the birds reduced them to destitution and devoured their seed. And the years began to be barren, owing to the birds, and they devoured all the fruit of the trees from the trees: it was only with great effort that they could save a little of all the fruit of the earth in their days." (The Book of Jubilees 1110-14)

Genesis 11:25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.

Genesis 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Genesis 11:26Word Study on "Abram" - Strong says the Hebrew name "Abram" ( אַבְרָם) (H 87) means, "high father."

Comments- The Book of Jubilees tells us that Abram was named after his grandfather who carried this same name because he died before his daughter has conceived a son.

"And in this thirty-ninth jubilee, in the second week in the first year, 1870 A.M.] Terah took to himself a wife, and her name was "Edna, the daughter of "Abram, the daughter of his father"s sister. And in the seventh year of this week 1876 A.M.] she bare him a Song of Solomon , and he called his name Abram, by the name of the father of his mother; for he had died before his daughter had conceived a son." (The Book of Jubilees 1114-15)

Genesis 11:26Comments- Noah was 892years old when Abraham was born. Noah lived to be 950 years old. Thus, Noah could have easily told Abraham personally about the flood and pre-flood history in those 58 years that overlapped their lives. Noah"s Song of Solomon , Shem, was 392years when Abraham was born. Therefore, Abraham could have learned the stories of the origins of man from Noah himself.

Verse 27

The Genealogy of Terah (and of Abraham) - The genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have a common structure in that they open with God speaking to a patriarch and giving him a commission and a promise in which to believe. In each of these genealogies, the patriarch's calling is to believe God's promise, while this passage of Scripture serves as a witness to God's faithfulness in fulfilling each promise. Only then does the genealogy come to a close.

Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11 gives the account of the genealogy of Terah and his son Abraham. (Perhaps the reason this genealogy is not exclusively of Abraham, but rather of his father Terah, is because of the importance of Lot and the two tribes descended from him, the Moabites and the Ammonites, who will play a significant role in Israel's redemptive history.) Hebrews 11:8-19 reveals the central message in this genealogy that stirs our faith in God when it describes Abraham's acts of faith and obedience to God, culminating in the offering of his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. The genealogy of Abraham opens with God's promise to him that if he would separate himself from his father and dwell in the land of Canaan, then God would make from him a great nation through his son ( Genesis 12:1-3), and it closes with God fulfilling His promise to Abraham by giving Him a son Isaac. However, this genealogy records Abraham's spiritual journey to maturity in his faith in God, as is typical of each child of God. We find a summary of this genealogy in Hebrews 11:8-19. During the course of Abraham's calling, God appeared to Abraham a number of times. God reappeared to him and told him that He would make his seed as numerous as the stars in the sky ( Genesis 15:5). God later appeared to Abraham and made the covenant of circumcision with him and said, "I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."( Genesis 17:2) After Abraham offered Isaac his son upon the altar, God reconfirmed His promise that "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." ( Genesis 22:17). The event on Mount Moriah serves as a testimony that Abraham fulfilled his part in believing that God would raise up a nation from Isaac, his son of promise. Thus, Abraham fulfilled his calling and destiny for his generation by dwelling in the land of Canaan and believing in God's promise of the birth of his son Isaac. All of God's promises to Abraham emphasized the birth of his one seed called Isaac. This genealogy testifies to God's faithfulness to fulfill His promise of giving Abraham a son and of Abraham's faith to believe in God's promises. Romans 9:6-9 reflects the theme of Abraham's genealogy in that it discusses the son of promise called Isaac.

Abraham's Faith Perfected ( James 2:21-22) - Abraham had a promise from God that he would have a son by Sarai his wife. However, when we read the Scriptures in the book of Genesis where God gave Abraham this promise, we see that he did not immediately believe the promise from God ( Genesis 17:17-18).

Genesis 17:17-18, "Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!"

Instead of agreeing with God"s promise, Abraham laughed and suggested that God use Ishmael to fulfill His promise. However, many years later, by the time God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his Song of Solomon , he was fully persuaded that God was able to use Isaac to make him a father of nations. We see Abraham"s faith when he told his son Isaac that God Himself was able to provide a sacrifice, because he knew that God would raise Isaac from the dead, if need be, in order to fulfill His promise ( Genesis 22:8).

Genesis 22:8, "And Abraham said, My Song of Solomon , God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together."

Hebrews 11:17-19, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten Song of Solomon , Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."

The best illustration of being fully persuaded is when Abraham believed that God would raise up Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His promise. This is truly being fully persuaded and this is what Romans 4:21 is referring to.

What distinguished Abraham as a man of faith was not his somewhat initial weak reaction to the promises of God in Genesis 17:17-18, but it was his daily obedience to God. Note a reference to Abraham"s daily obedience in Hebrews 11:8.

Hebrews 11:8, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."

Abraham was righteous before God because he believed and obeyed God"s Words on a daily basis. A good illustration how God considers obedience as an act of righteousness is found in Genesis 19. Abraham had prayed for ten righteous people to deliver Sodom from destruction. The angels found only four people who hearkened to their words. These people were considered righteous in God"s eyes because they were obedient and left the city as they had been told to do by the angels.

Abraham"s ability to stagger not ( Romans 4:20) and to be fully persuaded ( Romans 4:21) came through time. As he was obedient to God, his faith in God"s promise began to take hold of his heart and grow, until he came to a place of conviction that circumstances no longer moved him. Abraham had to learn to be obedient to God when he did not understand the big picture. Romans 5:3-5 teaches us that tribulation produces patience, and patience produces experience, and experience hope. Abraham had to pass through these four phases of faith in order to develop strong faith that is no longer moved by circumstances.

Let us look at Abraham"s history of obedience to God. He had first been obedient to follow his father from Ur to Haran.

Genesis 11:31, "And Terah took Abram his Song of Solomon , and Lot the son of Haran his son"s Song of Solomon , and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram"s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there."

He was further obedient when he left Haran and went to a land that he did not know.

Genesis 12:1, "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father"s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:"

He was further obedient for the next twenty-five years in this Promised Land, learning that God was his Shield and his Reward. Note:

Genesis 15:1, "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."

God called Himself Abraham"s shield and reward because Abraham had come to know Him as a God who protects him and as a God who prospers him. Note that Abraham was living in a land where people believed in many gods, where people believed that there was a god for every area of their lives. God was teaching Abraham that He was an All-sufficient God. This was why God said to Abraham in Genesis 17:1, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." In other words, God was telling Abraham to be obedient. Abraham"s role in fulfilling this third promise was to be obedient, and to live a holy life. As Abraham did this, he began to know God as an Almighty God, a God who would be with him in every situation in life. As Abraham fulfilled his role, God fulfilled His divine role in Abraham"s life.

God would later test Abraham"s faith in Genesis 22:1 to see if Abraham believed that God was Almighty.

Genesis 22:1, "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am."

God knew Abraham"s heart. However, Abraham was about to learn what was in his heart. For on Mount Moriah, Abraham"s heart was fully persuaded that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His promise:

Hebrews 11:19, "Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."

Abraham had to die to his own ways of reasoning out God"s plan. He had taken Eliezer of Damascus as his heir as a result of God"s first promise. Then, he had conceived Ishmael in an attempt to fulfill God"s second promise. Now, Abraham was going to have to learn to totally depend upon God"s plan and learn to follow it.

The first promise to Abraham was made to him at the age of 75, when he first entered the Promised Land.

Genesis 12:7, "And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him."

This first promise was simple, that God would give this land to Abraham"s seed. Song of Solomon , Abraham took Eliezer of Damascus as his heir. But the second promise was greater in magnitude and more specific.

Genesis 15:4-5, "And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

This next promise said that God would give Abraham this land to Abraham"s biological child and that his seed would proliferate and multiply as the stars of heaven. Song of Solomon , Abraham has a Song of Solomon , Ishmael, by Hagar, his handmaid in order to fulfill this promise.

The third promise, which came twenty-five years after the first promise, was greater than the first and second promises. God said that Abraham would become a father of many nations through Sarah, his wife. Abraham had seen God be his Shield and protect him from the Canaanites. He had seen God as his Reward, by increasing his wealth ( Genesis 15:1). But now, Abraham was to learn that God was Almighty ( Genesis 17:1), that with God, all things are possible.

It was on Mount Moriah that Abraham truly died to himself, and learned to live unto God. In the same way, it was at Peniel that Jacob died to his own self and learned to totally depend upon God. After Mount Moriah, Abraham stopped making foolish decisions. There is not a fault to find in Abraham after his experience of sacrificing his son. When Abraham was making wrong decisions, he had the wisdom to build an altar at every place he pitched his tent. It was at these altars that he dealt with his sins and wrong decisions.

At Peniel God called Jacob by the name Israel. Why would God give Jacob this name? Because Jacob must now learn to totally trust in God. His thigh was limp and his physical strength was gone. The only might that he will ever know the rest of his life will be the strength that he finds in trusting God. Jacob was about to meet his brother and for the first time in his life, he was facing a situation that he could not handle in his own strength and cunning. He has been able to get himself out of every other situation in his life, but this time, it was different. He was going to have to trust God or die, and Jacob knew this. His name was now Israel, a mighty one in God. Jacob would have to now find his strength in God, because he had no strength to fight in the flesh. Thus, his name showed him that he could look to God and prevail as a mighty one both with God and with man. After this night, the Scriptures never record a foolish decision that Jacob made. He began to learn how to totally rely upon the Lord as his father Abraham had learned.

After Mount Moriah and Peniel, we read no more of foolish decisions by Abraham and Jacob. We just see men broken to God"s will and humble before God"s mercy.

Obedience is the key, and total obedience is not learned quickly. I believe that it takes decades, as we see in the life of Abraham, to learn to be obedient to a God whom we know as Almighty. This is not learned over night.

Abraham had a word from God before he left Ur. When he reached Canaan, he received a promise from God. Don"t mess with a man and his promise. Pharaoh tried to mess with this man"s promise and God judged him. King Abimelech tried to take Abraham"s promise, but God judged him.

Like Abraham, we may start the journey making some poor judgments, but God is greater than our errors.

We will first know God as our shield and our reward. He will protect us throughout our ministry. He will reward us. He will prosper our ministry. As we learn to be obedient, we will come to know our God as the Almighty in a way that we have never known Him before.

Do not mess with a man who has laid Isaac on the altar. I have heard Genesis 17:17 taught as the laugh of faith.

Genesis 17:17-18, "Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!"

I see very little faith in Abraham"s words in these verses. On the other hand, I have heard other preachers criticize Abraham for his lack of faith at these times in his life; yet, I do not see God criticizing his faith. Abraham was not fully persuaded at this point, but he did not fail God. Abraham simply continued being obedient and living holy until the faith grew in his heart. Every wrong decision that Abraham made brought him that much closer to the right decision. We call this the school of hard knocks. As a result, faith continued to grow in his heart. By Genesis 22, Abraham was fully persuaded and strong in faith that God was Almighty.

Watch out, lest you criticize a man learning to walk in his promise. He may look foolish at times, but do not look on the outward appearance. You either run with him, or get out of the way, but don"t get in the way.

When I left Seminary and a Master"s degree, I was given a job driving a garbage truck while learning to pastor a Charismatic church. I was learning to walk in a promise from God. I will never forget riding on the back of these garbage trucks in my hometown, while the church members who had given money to send me to Seminary watched me in disbelief.

God does not measure a man by the size of his ministry, but by the size of his heart. When Jimmy Swaggart fell into sin, Alethia Fellowship Church was one of his partners, so this church was receiving his monthly ministry tapes during this period in his ministry. In a cassette tape immediately after his fall, he gave a testimony of how he told the Lord that he had failed. The Lord replied to him that he had not failed; rather the Lord had to get some things out of his life. 170] That word from God gave him the courage to go on in the midst of failure. You see, God was more pleased with Jimmy Swaggart living a godly life in fellowship with Him than preaching in great crusades while living in sin.

170] Jimmy Swaggart, "Monthly Partner Cassette Tape," (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, February 1988), audiocassette.

Joyce Meyer said that if God measured our success by the way the world measured us, He would have called us "achievers" and not "believers." 171] Abraham was justified by faith and not by his works. Our work is to believe, not to achieve.

171] Joyce Meyer, Life in the Word (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Many of my church friends and relatives criticized me as a failure. However, I knew somehow that the walk of faith was obedience to the Word of God, and not a walk of pleasing man. I obviously did not spend much time with people who thought that I was nuts. Instead, I spent so much time in my bedroom studying my Bible that I looked dysfunctional. Yet, the Lord strengthened me. I will never forget, after riding the garbage truck during the day, and hiding in God"s Word in the night. One night, I laid down about a.m. and the glory of God filled my room until 5:00 a.m. in the morning. It was during these most difficult times that the Lord strengthened me the most.

The Lord strengthened Abraham in the midst of his questions and errors. If you will just stay obedient, God will see His Word come to pass through you, as did Abraham learn to see God as Almighty.

Genesis 11:27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.

Genesis 11:28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

Genesis 11:28 — "Ur of the Chaldees" - Comments- We can find some history of an individual named Ur in The Book of Jubilees, who built for himself a city named Ara of the Chaldees and named it after himself. Thus, we have a record of the origin of Ur of the Chaldees.

"And in the thirty-fifth jubilee, in the third week, in the first year 1681 A.M.] thereof, Reu took to himself a wife, and her name was "Ora, the daughter of "Ur, the son of Kesed, and she bare him a Song of Solomon , and he called his name Seroh, in the seventh year of this week in this jubilee…. And "Ur, the son of Kesed, built the city of "Ara of the Chaldees, and called its name after his own name and the name of his father. And they made for themselves molten images, and they worshipped each the idol, the molten image which they had made for themselves, and they began to make graven images and unclean simulacra, and malignant spirits assisted and seduced (them) into committing transgression and uncleanness." (The Book of Jubilees 111-5)

Genesis 11:29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram"s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor"s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

Genesis 11:29"And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram"s wife was Sarai" - Comments- Sarah was Abraham's half-sister ( Genesis 20:12).

Genesis 20:12, "And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife."

Compare the comments in Genesis 11:29 where Nahor, Abraham's brother, took his niece, the daughter of Haran, as his wife.

Genesis 11:29 — "and the name of Nahor"s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah" - Word Study on "Milcah" - Gesenius tells us that by Chaldean usage the Hebrew name "Milcah" "Milkah" ( מִלְכָּה) (H 4435) means "counsel." Strong tells us that the name means, "queen." PTW tells us it means, "counsel." She is daughter of Haran and sister to Lot and Iscah. She married her uncle named Nahor and bare him eight children. She is first mentioned in Genesis 11:29 in the genealogy of Terah. She is mentioned a second time in Scripture Genesis 22:20-24, where Nahor's genealogy is given. Her name is mentioned on a third occasion in the chapter where Isaac takes Rebekah as his bride ( Genesis 24:15; Genesis 24:24; Genesis 24:47). She is mentioned no more in the Scriptures.

Directory: Old%20Testament -> 01Gen -> 01Genesis-E
01Genesis-E -> 《John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible – Genesis (Ch. 0~15)》(John Gill) Commentator
Old%20Testament -> 《Keil & Delitzsch Commentary – Job (Vol. 1)》(Karl F. Keil, etc.) Commentator
01Genesis-E -> 《Peake’s Commentary on the Bible Genesis》(Arthur Peake) Commentator
Old%20Testament -> 《The Biblical Illustrator – Lamentations (Ch. 0~5)》(a compilation) General Introduction
Old%20Testament -> 《The Biblical Illustrator – Joshua (Ch. 0~8)》(a compilation) General Introduction
01Genesis-E -> 《Coke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible – Genesis (Vol. 2)》(Thomas Coke) 21 Chapter 21
01Genesis-E -> 《Unabridged Commentary Critical and Explanatory on Genesis (Vol. 2)》(Robert Jamieson) 21 Chapter 21
01Genesis-E -> 《Expository Notes on the Whole Bible – Genesis》(Thomas Constable) Commentator
01Genesis-E -> 《The Pulpit Commentaries – Genesis (Vol. 1)》(Joseph S. Exell) Contents and the Editors

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