Where the Different Languages Came From

Now God had told Noah and his sons to have many children who would live all over the earth. Noah's three sons began to have many children. But the people did not at first spread all over the earth. Instead they all stayed together. Now at that time they all spoke the same language. As they moved from place to place, they came to a plain in the land that was later called Babylonia. They decided to build a city and live there. So they started to make bricks and build a city. And they said, "Let us build a tower that reaches high into the sky and make a name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered all over the earth."

When God saw what they were doing, He said, "These are all one people with just one language. This is just the beginning of what they will be able to do. Soon nothing will be too hard for them. Let us go down and mix up their language so that the people will speak many different languages. Because they could not understand one another, the work stopped on the tower. The city was named Babel or Babylon, a name which means "mixed up." The people who spoke the same language began to move away together and so many people were scattered all over the world. Most of Japheth's children moved toward Europe; most of Ham's children stayed in Asia. Shem had a great-grandson named Eber and Eber's children were called Hebrews.

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Last updated on November 18, 2010
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