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Genesis 11:6

    Genesis 11:6 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And the Lord said, See, they are all one people and have all one language; and this is only the start of what they may do: and now it will not be possible to keep them from any purpose of theirs.

    Webster's Revision

    And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do.

    World English Bible

    Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And the LORD said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do.

    Clarke's Commentary on Genesis 11:6

    The people is one, etc. - From this, as before observed, we may infer, that as the people had the same language, so they had a unity of design and sentiment. It is very likely that the original language was composed of monosyllables, that each had a distinct ideal meaning, and only one meaning; as different acceptations of the same word would undoubtedly arise, either from compounding terms, or, when there were but few words in a language, using them by a different mode of pronunciation to express a variety of things. Where this simple monosyllabic language prevailed (and it must have prevailed in the first ages of the world) men would necessarily have simple ideas, and a corresponding simplicity of manners. The Chinese language is exactly such as this; and the Hebrew, if stripped of its vowel points, and its prefixes, suffixes, and postfixes separated from their combinations, so that they might stand by themselves, it would nearly answer to this character even in its present state. In order therefore to remove this unity of sentiment and design, which I suppose to be the necessary consequence of such a language, God confounded their language - caused them to articulate the same word differently, to affix different ideas to the same term, and perhaps, by transposing syllables and interchanging letters, form new terms and compounds, so that the mind of the speaker was apprehended by the hearer in a contrary sense to what was intended. This idea is not iii expressed by an ancient French poet, Du Bartas; and not badly, though rather quaintly, metaphrased by our countryman, Mr. Sylvester.

    Some speak between the teeth, some in the nose, Some in the throat their words do ill dispose -

    "Bring me," quoth one, "a trowel, quickly, quick!"

    One brings him up a hammer. "Hew this brick,"

    Another bids; and then they cleave a tree;

    "Make fast this rope," and then they let it flee.

    One calls for planks, another mortar lacks;

    They bear the first a stone, the last an axe.

    One would have spikes, and him a spade they give;

    Another asks a saw, and gets a sieve.

    Thus crossly crost, they prate and point in vain:

    What one hath made another mars again

    These masons then, seeing the storm arrived

    Of God's just wrath, all weak and heart-deprived,

    continued...

    Barnes' Notes on Genesis 11:6

    In like simplicity is depicted the self-willed, God-defying spirit of combination and ambition which had now budded in the imagination of man. "The People is one" - one race, with one purpose. "And they have all one lip." They understand one another's mind. No misunderstanding has arisen from diversity of language. "This is their beginning." The beginning of sin, like that of strife, is as when one letteth out water. The Lord sees in this commencement the seed of growing evil. All sin is dim and small in its first rise; but it swells by insensible degrees to the most glaring and gigantic proportions. "And now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." Now that they have made this notable beginning of concentration, ambition, and renown, there is nothing in this way which they will not imagine or attempt.