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Preaching The Bible- Pre-Babel

04 May

Genesis 10 gives us a record of the descendents of Noah’s sons. Again you might be bored by the list of names but if one looks closely we can find little tidbits of interesting details. For example:

#1.The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and [a]Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and [b]Dodanim. From these the coastlands of the nations [c]were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.

The bold words are the key here though i cannot be sure if the first 4 refer to the children of Javan or if they refer to all of Japheth’s descendents. As verse 5 tells us these people inhabited the coastlands, we get a foreshadowing of what is to come at Babel. If you read the last part of verse 5 we see that they were separated according to their language and families.

We can conclude that there were enough families in each group to avoid the genetic pitfalls of inbreeding and enough people to warrant their own separate language. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that the unbeliever seems to be obsessed with knowing how many languages; how many groups; the age of things and so on. They like to focus on things that do not matter nor can be proven.

These obsessions not only waste time and valuable resources but allows for the unbeliever to ignore the lessons that God wants them to learn. Nothing can be gained by trying to track down the amount of groups, languages or size of those groups and since God doesn’t give us those statistics we only be speculating at best. Believers need to avoid such traps and time wasters as their purpose is to derail the real message of the Bible so it cannot reach the hearts of the unsaved.

#2. Now Cush [d]became the father of Nimrod; he [e]became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was [f]Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.

Now lots has been written on Nimrod and most of what I have read seems to be faulty thinking as all we know about Nimrod is contained in those few verses, yet scholars think they can hypothesize and build a whole personality and reign out of those few words. Here is one example:

http://davelivingston.com/nimrod.htm

I do not agree that we can build a whole life out of a meaning of a name of Timothy McVey and his act of bombing would be considered “honouring God” and that would be far from the purpose of McVey’s actions. To assume that a name’s meaning has to do with the actual character of a person is insulting t the person especially if they are Christian and have been redeemed by Jesus.

There is nothing in those scant passages that indicate that Nimrod was evil and a rebel. The term ‘mighty hunter before the Lord’ could well be a description of praise and according to Keil & Delitzsch it was:

Nimrod “began to be a mighty one in the earth.” גּבּר is used here, as in Genesis 6:4, to denote a man who makes himself renowned for bold and daring deeds. Nimrod was mighty in hunting, and that in opposition to Jehovah (ἐναντίον κυρίον, lxx); not before Jehovah in the sense of, according to the purpose and will of Jehovah, (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/genesis/10-9.htm)

On that page is several commentaries on that verse and as you will see, they all do not agree with each other. We should not assume something that i snot in evidence. K & D say at the end, ‘according to the purpose and will of Jehovah’, but it would be hard to say that Nimrod was disobeying God’s will when God had given the  animals as food for humans.

But what really got my attention in this passage were those words ‘and built’:

The beginning of his kingdom was [f]Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, 12 and Resen

I will venture a guess and say that Babel, Erech and Accad and Caleh were cities built by Nimrod’s father or siblings. It is hard to say as the passage is only clear on the fact that he built the last four cities named in those verses. Now one may ask how could Nimrod build such cities? Well like shipbuilding, the art of building construction was carried forward from the pre-flood world. How do we know that the pre-flood world lived in homes and built buildings? There are two sources for this information. First the Bible–

17 Cain [j]had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.

We do not know how big it was or how sophisticated it was but the knowledge to build homes and other buildings was known in the pre-flood world. They were not a bunch of cave dwelling primitives who were traumatized by fire. The second source are all the mysterious ruins we find throughout the world. From Malta to India, to England to the Middle East and so on we find sophisticated structures that no one can explain. Built so finely that thousands of years later a piece of paper cannot slip between the joints.

The knowledge of construction was vastly superior in the pre-flood world thus Nimrod would have been given that knowledge or some of his siblings or cousins may have been given that knowledge.  When Sir Leonard Woolley was alive, he dug in the Middle East (http://www.digonsite.com/drdig/general/5.html) and on  one particular dig he dug so deep that he came to a patch of untouched sediment. When he dug beneath that virgin layer he uncovered fantastic pottery, again vastly superior to what had been discovered in the post-flood areas.

These discoveries tell us that skill and ability were well-developed in the pre-flood world and that it is no stretch of the imagination that Nimrod (most likely his workers), was able to build cities. The Bible is not misleading us when it says ancient people built cities, an ark and so on. The knowledge was there to be learned and put into practice.

Now secular scientists tell us that many people lived in caves in prehistorical times (their term) and they base their evidence on scant remains like bones, pottery, paintings etc. yet those pieces of evidence may also point to simple life pleasures like camping, hunting, fishing trips, or as Abraham did, the caves were used for funerary purposes.  We cannot be sure exactly because all documentation for those uses are lost and secular scientists are relying upon their imaginations not real evidence.

I will concede that maybe when the groups of people who left Babel and went to their new lands they lived in caves or temporary shelters until more permanent structures could be built. But we cannot be sure because the Bible tells us that God only changed their language. it does not tell us that he changed their memories, took away their possessions or animals. So to assume that they were, as secular scientists depict, a bunch of unknowing wandering people is ridiculous at best.

They would have all the knowledge they were taught, all the skills they had been given, all the equipment or the know how to make such equipment to aid them in finding their new homes. The biblical view of history is far better than what secular scientists concoct and does not insult our ancestors. God did not leave the people he scattered defenseless or unable to take care of themselves.

#3. 25 Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was [m]Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided;

Much has been written about the ending of that verse as well and by far greater minds than mine. For me, though, I think the clue as to what is meant by those words is found a few verses later;

32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.

I do not see how the continents were divided at this time. verse 32 seems to say that Babel was the division referred to in verse 25. Keil & Delitzsch seem to agree with that conclusion as they say:

The words, “And by these were the nations of the earth divided in the earth
after the flood,” prepare the way for the description of that event which led
to the division of the one race into many nations with different languages (Commentary on the OT Vol. 1)

But if the continents did not separate how did the animals get to only those locations that are their natural habitats? The answer to this question is very simple. Guam has had a snake problem for several years now but those problem snakes were not indigenous to the island, the original snakes came as hitchhikers brought over unknowingly in the cargo holds of some ships. They have since taken over the island and destroyed many animal species in the process.

We can say that the animals got to their current homes via secrete hitchhiking, brought knowingly by the people or they swam, walked or whatever. it i snot a real mystery as to how they got to their present locales. But then one might ask, why are some areas the ONLY locations for those animals? I refer you back to Genesis 10:9-10. Nimrod was a mighty hunter and since he had a kingdom and there were other people, he was not the ONLY hunter living at the time nor after his death.

I would submit that the animals found today in only one area did travel to different locations but were hunted to extinction by humans and by other animals, much like the aggressive snake in Guam is doing today. Why don’t we find their fossils then in those different lands? Fossilization is rare and not all areas of the earth are conducive to creating fossils.

The Bible is not going to give us a lot of tales rivaling the fantasy genre. It will give us concrete historical fact and evidence to help us see the truth. If we use our heads and follow the HS to the truth we can see the true picture of the past. Our ancestors were not dumb, primitive, helpless unintelligent beings who hid out in caves because the natural world was to big and scary for them.

We also see God still providing for his creation whether they give him credit or not. He may have changed their language and scattered them across the globe but he did not do so without providing for them the things they needed to make it in their new lands. God has done his part, sadly too many people chose to follow his enemy instead and mock what he has done for them.

 

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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in academics, archaeology, Bible, faith, history, leadership, theology

 

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