11:3 Then they said to one another, 1 “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” 2 (They had brick instead of stone and tar 3 instead of mortar.) 4
14:10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. 5 When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them, 6 but some survivors 7 fled to the hills. 8
1 tn Heb “a man to his neighbor.” The Hebrew idiom may be translated “to each other” or “one to another.”
2 tn The speech contains two cohortatives of exhortation followed by their respective cognate accusatives: “let us brick bricks” (נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים, nilbbÿnah lÿvenim) and “burn for burning” (נִשְׂרְפָה לִשְׂרֵפָה, nisrÿfah lisrefah). This stresses the intensity of the undertaking; it also reflects the Akkadian text which uses similar constructions (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 75-76).
3 tn Or “bitumen” (cf. NEB, NRSV).
4 tn The disjunctive clause gives information parenthetical to the narrative.
5 tn Heb “Now the Valley of Siddim [was] pits, pits of tar.” This parenthetical disjunctive clause emphasizes the abundance of tar pits in the area through repetition of the noun “pits.”
sn The word for “tar” (or “bitumen”) occurs earlier in the story of the building of the tower in Babylon (see Gen 11:3).
6 tn Or “they were defeated there.” After a verb of motion the Hebrew particle שָׁם (sham) with the directional heh (שָׁמָּה, shammah) can mean “into it, therein” (BDB 1027 s.v. שָׁם).
7 tn Heb “the rest.”
8 sn The reference to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah must mean the kings along with their armies. Most of them were defeated in the valley, but some of them escaped to the hills.