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Genesis 11:5

Context

11:5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people 1  had started 2  building.

Genesis 11:7

Context
11:7 Come, let’s go down and confuse 3  their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” 4 

1 tn Heb “the sons of man.” The phrase is intended in this polemic to portray the builders as mere mortals, not the lesser deities that the Babylonians claimed built the city.

2 tn The Hebrew text simply has בָּנוּ (banu), but since v. 8 says they left off building the city, an ingressive idea (“had started building”) should be understood here.

3 tn The cohortatives mirror the cohortatives of the people. They build to ascend the heavens; God comes down to destroy their language. God speaks here to his angelic assembly. See the notes on the word “make” in 1:26 and “know” in 3:5, as well as Jub. 10:22-23, where an angel recounts this incident and says “And the Lord our God said to us…. And the Lord went down and we went down with him. And we saw the city and the tower which the sons of men built.” On the chiastic structure of the story, see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:235.

4 tn Heb “they will not hear, a man the lip of his neighbor.”



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