Genesis, Typically Considered. Chapter 11

Genesis 11  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Note that in verse 5, we have B'ney ha-Adam (the sons of Adam)—still their common generic name, no nations yet. As in chapter 10, the first human kingdom, so here the first great human confederacy to maintain themselves together, and exalt themselves in a joint centralizing name, which God has called "Babel" (confusion). This, though another point, was the head or beginning of Nimrod's kingdom. This was the occasion of a new character of judgment—scattering, to confound the pride—not simply destruction, to put an end to wickedness. We have then the chronology of Shem, in whose special family—for the Lord God was the God of Shem, though Japheth might be enlarged, and dwell in his tents—was the calling of God, an entirely new principle, now manifested actually, though doubtless true before; this was the principle.
We learn from Josh. 24, the occasion was idolatrous worship, i.e., ascription of power to demons, and not to God, which made judgment unavailing, for it was ascribed to the misleader of man; such was the occasion of the principle of God's calling. Till entirely disconnected from his family, he could not go to the land; Acts 7.
We have the public sin, and the Lord's judgment of the world, in providence, for it, and the descent of the chosen family from the chosen head of it. This was prepared in providence, for calling must stand by itself. Though the family afterward were called, the immediate family are called, and the notice de facto that the separation of Abraham was incomplete, for he was obliged to be left a good while in Charran, because his father was with him; afterward, God's mind and way in the matter is seen—he " went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan he came."
Thus we have man (ha-Adam) and the end of all flesh—Noah, and the new world, and his failure—the government of the world based on this failure by calling and judgment (on Ham's family), and the preference of younger to elder—providential arrangements thus ordered, and then further—Babel and violent power, beginning the subsequent history—and then the family of the owned seed. The call of Abraham begins all on a new basis.
The national order had its root and occasion in the sin, as all in the sin of Adam—the family order of the world was completely ruined in the tower of Babel; this was the beginning of Nimrod's kingdom. And there man's renewed empire began, not only with violent Nimrod, but with the divinely established throne of Nebuchadnezzar. In general, we have association in unity of men, and power in an individual as king of Babylon. We learn from Josh. 24 that Satan had set himself up as the head of providential agency, as god, even in Abram's family, so that some new intervention of God was absolutely necessary, unless He should have destroyed all, He Himself had created, again. As the sin of Adam became, in the knowledge of good and evil, the occasion of blessing far higher, so the sin of Babel and confusion became the platform of blessing in Abram—he is to be a great nation; yet the widest blessing reaches back beyond—the families of the earth are to be blessed—so did grace as to Adam.
Note.—It is upon his return out of Egypt to the altar at Beth-el, the house of God, that the separation takes place, and the world and the inheritance become clearly distinguished.