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Genesis 11:8-9

Context

11:8 So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building 1  the city. 11:9 That is why its name was called 2  Babel 3  – because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth.

1 tn The infinitive construct לִבְנֹת (livnot, “building”) here serves as the object of the verb “they ceased, stopped,” answering the question of what they stopped doing.

2 tn The verb has no expressed subject and so can be rendered as a passive in the translation.

3 sn Babel. Here is the climax of the account, a parody on the pride of Babylon. In the Babylonian literature the name bab-ili meant “the gate of God,” but in Hebrew it sounds like the word for “confusion,” and so retained that connotation. The name “Babel” (בָּבֶל, bavel) and the verb translated “confused” (בָּלַל, balal) form a paronomasia (sound play). For the many wordplays and other rhetorical devices in Genesis, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN).



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