• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 28:26
  • Passages covered: Genesis 10:21-32, Genesis 10:31-32, Genesis 10:25, 1Chronicles 1:18-19, Genesis 11:1-2, Genesis 11:8-9.

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Genesis 10 Series, Part 10, Verses 21-32

Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #10 of Genesis, chapter 10 and we are going to read Genesis 10:21-32:

Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan. And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

Here, we have seen that God is following a pattern He established earlier in the genealogies, in Genesis, chapter 5 and in Genesis, chapter 4. There were two lines. There was the line of Seth that went back to Adam and there was a second line, the line of Cain that also went back to Adam. God did not give life spans for this second line because this was the line of the “wicked” or the unsaved people of the world because the timetable of the earth is centered around God’s elect and His salvation program. The Biblical calendar of history follows the patriarchs, many of whom were true believers.

In Genesis, chapter 10 we have seen the line of Ham and the line of Japheth, but there is no (complete) genealogy, but with the line of Shem, we will find that same pattern that was in Genesis, chapter 5 wherein one calendar reference patriarch would die and the next calendar reference patriarch would be born the same year. We are given the life spans and dates and/or ages for these men.

We also see something interesting in Genesis 10, where God makes a similar statement regarding time. Back in verse 5, God gave us the sons of Japheth and then He said, “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” We see a similar statement in Genesis 10:31-32:

These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

The Lord is highlighting the tremendous importance of the division of the continent that would take place on the earth after the flood. This division can be seen in two main aspects: 1) the tower of Babel, wherein God confounded the language of the people from one language to many languages; and 2) the division of the continents. A continental shift took place in the days of Peleg when God separated the land mass to separate the peoples from one another. This served a similar purpose to the confounding of the language because man had been unified in their proximity to one another and in their shared language. For His own purposes, the Lord brought about the division of people and those were the two main ways God divided them.

Peleg is a central figure and he is also a Biblical calendar reference patriarch, so we are not surprised to read this in Genesis 10:25:

And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided…

The calendar was keyed to Peleg in the time when God divided the earth, so we find that reference to Peleg. The Lord had arranged for his name to be called “Peleg.” In 1Chronicles, chapter 1 we see that it very closely follows the genealogy laid out in Genesis, chapter 10. It says in 1Chronicles 1:18-19:

And Arphaxad begat Shelah, and Shelah begat Eber. And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg; because in his days the earth was divided: and his brother's name was Joktan.

Notice in verse 19 we are told the reason he was called “Peleg.” It says: “because in his days the earth was divided.” In Genesis, chapter 10 the word “divided” is Strong’s #6385 and with vowel pointing it is pronounced “paw-lag.” It is very closely related and has the same consonants as “Peleg,” which is Strong’s #6389. Remember, vowel points were added later and they were not in the original, God-breathed text, so it is basically the same Hebrew word. So, that is why Peleg was called “Peleg,” because his name means “divided.” Peleg was born in 3153BC and he died in 2914BC. Somewhere in that 239-year time period, the earth was divided. We understand it to mean that prior to the division of the earth, there had been one enormous land mass when God created the world. Even after the flood, there was one large continent that all the people of the world lived on from the time after the flood in 4990BC until the days of Peleg.

There is some secular evidence that helps us to pinpoint more accurately when the division of the continents took place. It is related to the foundation date of the Mayan calendar. Remember, the Mayans were a very advanced people that lived in Central America and they came up with a very accurate calendar. Some historians refer to their civilization as extremely advanced in mathematics and they are believed to have pioneered the “concept of zero.” They were excellent at astronomy and they developed an extremely accurate calendar. We heard a lot about that calendar in the days prior to May 21, 2011 because many people said that we were “off” by a year because the Mayan calendar showed the end of time in the year 2012AD. I addressed this many times and Mr. Camping addressed it on the Open Forum.

Although the calendar was accurate the Mayan calendar had nothing to do with the end of the world, but the way they set up the calendar their period of keeping time came to an end in 2012. Mr. Camping noted in his book, “Adam When”? that the foundation date for the Mayan calendar was 3114BC and that date would have been within the lifespan of Peleg when the earth was divided. Peleg was born in 3153BC, so he would have been about 39 or 40 years of age in 3114BC, which also fits in with important events that happen in the Bible. Peleg would have been 39 or 40 in 3114BC, but since the Mayan calendar is secular evidence, we are not saying that 3114BC was the date for the dividing of the continent, but at some point in Peleg’s lifetime the continents were broken apart and began to drift away from each other. Since the land of Shinar was central to civilization at the time, they would probably have experienced some sort of earthquake(s) and the lands would have moved away from that area and it may have been a much more traumatic experience for people in that area. There would have been smaller groups of people in the more outlying areas that had gathered together. Some lived in the area that would become North and South America. Others lived in an area that would have become the continent of Australia, and so forth. All these groups of people began to spread out and move away from the main land mass in this development of the continents.

We cannot imagine what this experience would have been like for these people when their entire city or nation moved. It probably happened at a more rapid rate than we can imagine, as the continents shifted across the oceans. When we get a little tremor of an earthquake, everything is upset, but this event would have been ongoing for some time. It would have been an enormous disturbance of earthquake-related events all the time the continents were moving, like the building of mountain chains, and so forth, on a magnitude we cannot understand. It would certainly have seemed like “the end of the world” for these people and it would have been an occasion to remember – something that so impressed itself upon these people that became known as the Mayan civilization that when they developed their calendar they set the foundation date as 3114BC. I believe they also marked the month as August, but it was the year when the world “turned upside down” and everything changed. And now they were in a remote part of the earth now known as Central America and there would have been drastic changes. Again, we just cannot imagine the turmoil the division of continents caused and it was certainly worth noting as a calendar reference point in 3114BC.

When we think of these two major events – the tower of Babel and the division of the continent – we often think of them “combined” together. Mr. Camping had done this in his writing and we have made assumption that the tower of Babel and the division of the continents occurred simultaneously. That is not correct and we must make that correction now because we have been learning more information from the Bible and we are taking a fresh look at some of these things. It is a prolonged and careful look.

For instance, have we thought through the entire situation? Let us ask the question: Which came first? Was it the tower of Babel or was it the division of the continent?

Is it possible the division of the continent happened first? The answer is, “No.” We can know that because it says in Genesis 11:1-2:

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

If the continents were already divided before the tower of Babel and the confounding of speech, then the Mayans would have lived in their “neck of the woods” and the aborigines would have lived in their part of the earth in Australia, and so forth, and when we would come into contact with these groups of people in remote locations they would all speak the same language. The Mayans, the North American Indians and the aborigines would all speak the same language because when the continents were divided and they were transported apart from other groups they all spoke the same language and same speech. Even if we found a tribe in Papua New Guinea we would find they would also speak the same language, but what we find is that the people of Papua New Guinea, which are around four million in number, speak upward of 850 different languages. They are a relatively small number of people and, yet, they speak a great many languages, not just one language. There may be some dialects that are similar, but there are also many different languages, so there is no question that the tower of Babel took place before the division of the continents.

We know that with certainty that the continents were divided in the days of Peleg, sometime between 3153 and 2914BC. Again, there is secular evidence in the Mayan calendar of the year 3114BC when the actual division of continents may have taken place. Peleg’s name means “divided.” It is significant that when we read in Genesis 11 regarding the confusion of tongues, God does not say that He divided the languages. He does not use the word “peleg,” like it says when it refers to the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg. It does not say that in Peleg’s days the languages were divided, so we can be certain that Peleg was the calendar reference patriarch when there was the division of the continent, but in Genesis, chapter 11 when God “confounded the language” of the people, God does not use the word “divide,” but He uses the word “scatter” in Genesis 11:8-9:

So JEHOVAH scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because JEHOVAH did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did JEHOVAH scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

By necessity, we have been looking ahead in chapter 11, but we want to go slowly. We will look more at the word “scatter” later, but all we need to know right now is that God used a different word. God could have said that He “divided” the language, instead of “scattering” them. God could have said, “JEHOVAH did divide them upon the face of all the earth,” but God used a different word because the division of language took place before the dividing of the continent. The dividing of the continent in the days of Peleg occurred after the tower of Babel.