Genesis 11:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.

New Living Translation
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words.

English Standard Version
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.

New American Standard Bible
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.

King James Bible
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
At one time the whole earth had the same language and vocabulary.

International Standard Version
There was a time when the entire earth spoke a common language with an identical vocabulary.

NET Bible
The whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The whole world had one language with a common vocabulary.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

New American Standard 1977
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

King James 2000 Bible
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

American King James Version
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

American Standard Version
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech.

Darby Bible Translation
And the whole earth had one language, and the same words.

English Revised Version
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

World English Bible
The whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

Young's Literal Translation
And the whole earth is of one pronunciation, and of the same words,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

11:1-4 How soon men forget the most tremendous judgments, and go back to their former crimes! Though the desolations of the deluge were before their eyes, though they sprang from the stock of righteous Noah, yet even during his life-time, wickedness increases exceedingly. Nothing but the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit can remove the sinful lusts of the human will, and the depravity of the human heart. God's purpose was, that mankind should form many nations, and people all lands. In contempt of the Divine will, and against the counsel of Noah, the bulk of mankind united to build a city and a tower to prevent their separating. Idolatry was begun, and Babel became one of its chief seats. They made one another more daring and resolute. Let us learn to provoke one another to love and to good works, as sinners stir up and encourage one another to wicked works.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - And the whole earth. I.e. the entire population of the globe, and not simply the inhabitants of the land of Shinar (Ingiis; cf. Genesis 9:29). Was. Prior to the dispersion spoken of in the preceding chapter, though obviously it may have been subsequent to that event, if, as the above-named author believes, the present paragraph refers to the Shemites alone. Of one language. Literally, of one lip, i.e. one articulation, or one way of pronouncing their vocables. And of one speech. Literally, one (kind of) words, i.e. the matter as well as the form of human speech was the same. The primitive language was believed by the Rabbins, the Fathers, and the older theologians to be Hebrew; but Keil declares this view to be utterly untenable. Bleek shows that the family of Abraham spoke in Aramaic (cf. Jegar-sahadutha, Genesis 31:47), and that the patriarch himself acquired Hebrew from the Canaanites, who may themselves have adopted it from the early Semites whom they displace& While regarding neither the Aramaic, Hebrew, nor Arabic as the original tongue of mankind, he thinks the Hebrew approaches nearest the primitive Semite language out of which all three were developed.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech,.... Or had been (w), before the flood, and from that time to this, and still was, until the confusion took place; the account of which, and the occasion of it, are given in this chapter: by the whole earth is meant the inhabitants of it, see Isaiah 37:18 and so the Jerusalem Targum paraphrases the words,"and all the generations of the earth were of one language, and of one speech, and of one counsel, for they spoke in the holy tongue in which the world was created at the beginning;''and to the same purpose the Targum of Jonathan: all the posterity of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, used the same language, though it does not appear that they were all in one counsel or consultation, or of one mind about building a city or tower, which the Targum seems to suggest; for it is not likely that Shem and his sons were in it: nor by "one lip" and "the same words or things" (x), as these phrases may be rendered, are we to understand the same simplicity of speech and business, and likeness of manners; for it appears there was a difference with respect to these in the immediate sons of Noah, and it may be supposed to be much more in their remote offspring; nor as if they were all of the same religion, embraced the same doctrines, and spoke the same things; for as idolatry and superstition obtained in the race of Cain before the flood, so Ham and his posterity soon fell into the same, or the like, afterwards: and it may be observed that the same distinction was made of the children of God, and of the children of men, before the confusion and dispersion, as was before the flood, Genesis 11:5 from whence it appears they were not in the same sentiments and practice of religion: but this is to be understood of one and the same language, without any diversity of dialects, or without any hard and strange words, not easily understood; and perhaps it was pronounced by the lip and other instruments of speech in the same way; so that there was no difficulty in understanding one another, men, women, and children, all the people in common, princes and peasants, wise and unwise, all spoke the same language and used the same words; and this the Targumists take to be the holy or Hebrew language; and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra, and the Jewish writers in general, and most Christians; though some make a question of it, whether it might not be rather the Syriac, or Chaldee, or Arabic; but there is no need of such a question, since these with the Hebrew are all one and the same language; and no doubt it was the eastern language, without giving it any other name, which now subsists in the above dialects, though not in anyone alone, which was first spoken; though more purely and without the difference of dialects it now consists of, or without the various different inflexions now made in it; for nothing is more reasonable to suppose, than that the language Adam spoke was used by Noah, since Adam lived within one hundred years and a little more of the birth of Noah; and it is not to be questioned but Noah's sons spoke the same language as he did, and their posterity now, which was but little more than one hundred years after the flood: there are various testimonies of Heathens confirming this truth, that originally men spoke but one language; thus Sibylla in Josephus (y), who says,"when all men were of the same language, some began to build a most high tower, &c.''so Abydenus (z) an Heathen historian, speaking of the building of the tower of Babel, says,"at that time men were of the same tongue;''in like manner Hyginus (a), speaking of Phoroneus, the first of mortals, that reigned, says,"many ages before, men lived without towns and laws, "una lirgua loquentes", speaking one language, under the empire of Jove.''

(w) "et fuerat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "caeterum fuit olim", Schmidt. (x) "unum labium et verba eadem", Schmidt; "Labii unius et sermonum eorundem, vel rerum", Clarius. (y) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 4. sect. 3.((z) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 14. p. 416. (a) Fabulae, Fab. 143.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary


Ge 11:1-32. Confusion of Tongues.

1. the whole earth was of one language. The descendants of Noah, united by the strong bond of a common language, had not separated, and notwithstanding the divine command to replenish the earth, were unwilling to separate. The more pious and well-disposed would of course obey the divine will; but a numerous body, seemingly the aggressive horde mentioned (Ge 10:10), determined to please themselves by occupying the fairest region they came to.

Genesis 11:1 Additional Commentaries
The Tower of Babel
1Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. 2It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.…
Cross References
Genesis 10:32
These are the clans of Noah's sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

Genesis 11:2
As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

Genesis 11:6
The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
Treasury of Scripture

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.


Isaiah 19:18 In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language …

Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may …

Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and …

language. Heb. lip. speech. Heb. words.

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