"Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood" (Gen 10:1 KJV).
The fourth section starts in Genesis 10:1 with the table of nations that came from Noah’s sons. Not only had God been faithful to His covenant to redeem Noah and his family, but God continued to delay the final judgment day. After the Flood God made a covenant with creation to continue to provide before the judgment day. God would supply rain and crops for the believer and unbeliever (Acts 14:17). God covenanted,
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease” (Gen 8:22).
In this common grace covenant, God continued to delay the final judgment day. As God told Adam and Eve, they would continue to have children, God told Noah, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 9:1). As God had instituted the state to preclude a state of anarchy, so God said, “Whoever sheds human blood, by man his blood shall be shed” (Gen 9:6). Unlike the covenant God had made with the believing line, God made this covenant with all men, all the animals, indeed even earth. God placed His bow in the cloud as a sign of the covenant “between Me and the earth” (Gen 9:13). God would continue to provide for all man before the final judgment as He redeemed men.
Noah's sons and their descendants populated the earth. The offspring of Shem produced Abraham and his children. Ham’s offspring would the Canaanites who would occupy the promised land. Japheth would be the father of what would be known as the gentiles. Moses summarizes in 10:32, "These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their descendants, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood."
As the unbelieving sons of men spread over the earth, east of Eden (Gen 11:1; cf. 4:16), Moses recounts their utopian enterprise. They said,
“Come, let’s make bricks and fire them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of all the earth” (Gen 11:3-4).
They would not wait for the kingdom of God. They rejected God program of redemption and the promised Redeemer (Gen 3:15) and committed themselves to replace God’s kingdom in Eden with one made by man and for man. Man would build a city for man’s glory, a stairway to the gods. Though not a building physically reaching the heavens, they sought to make a tower that would connect heaven and earth. The ancient ziggurats memorialized this pagan theology. This tower of Babel would be the axis for glorified man. He would be god.
The Lord came down with His angels to inspect man’s project (Gen 11:5). God noted that in man’s unity nothing limited what they planned to do (Gen 11:6). If not stopped, there would be no wickedness this antichrist enterprise could not lead to. So the Lord confused their language (Gen 11:7; cf. 11:1) and scattered them from building the city (Gen 11:8). The ruins of the tower would be left at this place called “Babel.” For there God confused their language and scattered them.
But their dedication to build the kingdom of man for man’s name would not cease. Moses weaves the beginning of the thematic threads. Moses refers to the mighty hunter, Nimrod, and his kingdom, Babel, in the land of Shinar (Gen 10:9-10). He was a mighty warrior (Gen 10:8; gibbor; cf. 6:4). He went to Assyria and built Nineveh (Gen 10:11). The tower of Babel was built at Shinar (Gen 11:2). This would be the kingdom of Babylon (Dan 1:2). Both Babylon and Assyria would be significant enemies of the kingdom of God. Assyria would conquer Israel in 722 B.C., and Judah would fall to Babylon in 605 B.C. Babylon was only the head of the antichrist utopian beast that would seek to conquer the people of God (Dan 2:36-44; 7:1-7). The Medes, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and others would follow with the same utopian dream.
There will be a day when this beast will again threaten the existence of God’s people (Rev 16:14-16; 2 Thes 2:8-10). But God scattered man to restrain his wicked intent so that He might continue his program of redemption. The enemy was real, but the time was not yet. God was still to bring His kingdom and King.
Meredith G. Kline, Genesis: A New Commentary
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