Restored English Translation of Genesis: Chapter 11

Here is my Restored English Translation (RET) of the 10th chapter of the Book of Genesis (Hebrew: Beresheet).  As usual, it contains the Hebrew names and a glossary of them after the chapter.  As I don’t believe in the Aleph/Tavs any more, I have included a separate section at the very end showing where the Aleph/Tavs appear in the Hebrew text.

The first half of this chapter contains the infamous account of the Tower of Babel.  The latter half contains a genealogy from Shem to Noah.  Like the Genesis 5 genealogy, the main versions of this genealogy – Masoretic (which in this case agrees with the Samaritan Pentateuch) and the Septuagint – disagree on the ages of the patriarchs.  To make matters worse, the Septuagint – which is widely known to exaggerate the numbers in the genealogies (making its numbers generally unreliable) – includes an extra generation (a Cainan in between Arpachshad and Shelah) not found in the other versions.

IF that extra generation is authentic, then it presents a huge problem for the genealogy: it’s a well-known fact that the Septuagint is somewhat unreliable for ages, and yet if Cainan was real, what does it do for the Masoretic numbers?  Does that age of Arpachshad in the Masoretic when he had his son apply to Cainan?  Is it Cainan’s age when he had Shelah?  Does the number of years Arpachshad lived after fathering his son apply to Arpachshad after he fathered Cainan?  Is it how long Cainan lived after fathering Shelah?

One can easily see the problems presented.  Fortunately, other books of the Bible come to the rescue.

In the twenty-ninth jubilee, in the first week, in the beginning thereof Arpachshad took to himself a wife and her name was Rasu’eja, the daughter of Susan, the daughter of Elam, and she bare him a son in the third year in this week, and he called his name Kainam [Cainan]. … And in the thirtieth jubilee, in the second week, in the first year thereof, he took to himself a wife, and her name was Melka, the daughter of Madai, the son of Japheth, and in the fourth year he begat a son, and called his name Shelah.” (Jubilees 8:1, 5; Charles’ translation)

“… the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Salah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad…” (Luke 3:35-36, HRB)

So, the Septuagint presents the complete genealogy, with a generation skipped in the other versions.  So, what numbers is one to use?  The Septuagint is generally unreliable in that regard (their numbers would have Methuselah live beyond the Flood without being on the Ark).  And the Masoretic numbers for that part of the genealogy are probably quite confused due to missing one.  And how do we know that it didn’t have a ripple effect on the rest of the Masoretic and Samaritan text of that genealogy?

Thankfully, the Book of Jubilees comes to the rescue (again).  It gives detailed genealogies with precise years.  And, to the best of my knowledge, there are no textual variations on these genealogies.  Surprise, surprise (not): neither text’s numbers are correct for most (but not all) of the generations.  This translation follows the numbers in Jubilees (as strictly following the numbers of either of the main versions of Genesis is very problematic at best).

CHAPTER 11

1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. 2 And it happened, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there. 3 And they said, each one to his neighbour, “Come and let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone and asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build a city and a tower whose top will reach to the heavens. And let us make for ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the face of all the earth.” 5 And YEHOVAH came down to see the city and the tower which the humans had built. 6 And YEHOVAH said, “Behold, the people are one, and they all have one language. And they begin to do this; and now nothing which they imagined to do will be restrained from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and confuse their language, that one won’t understand their neighbour’s speech.” 8 So YEHOVAH scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth. And they ceased from building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Bavel, because there YEHOVAH confused all the language of the earth. And from there YEHOVAH scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

10 These are the generations of Shem. Shem was 100 years old. And he fathered Arpakshad 2 years after the flood. 11 And after he fathered Arpakshad, Shem lived 500 years and fathered sons and daughters.

12 And Arpakshad lived 64 years and fathered Keynan. 13 And Arpakshad lived 401 years after he fathered Keynan, and fathered sons and daughters.

14 And Keynan lived 57 years and fathered Shelach. 15 After he fathered Shelach, Keynan lived 403 years and fathered sons and daughters.

16 And Shelach lived 71 years and fathered Ever. 17 And after he fathered Ever, Shelach lived 362 years and fathered sons and daughters.

18 And Ever lived 64 years and fathered Peleg. 19 And Ever lived 430 years after he fathered Peleg, and fathered sons and daughters.

20 And Peleg lived 12 years and fathered Reu. 21 And after he fathered Reu, Peleg lived 127 years and fathered sons and daughters.

22 And Reu lived 118 years and fathered Serug. 23 And Reu lived 121 years after he fathered Serug, and fathered sons and daughters.

24 And Serug lived 57 years and fathered Nachor. 25 And after he fathered Nachor, Serug lived 163 years and fathered sons and daughters.

26 And Nachor lived 62 years and fathered Terach. 27 And Nachor lived 86 years after he fathered Terach, and fathered sons and daughters.

28 And Terach lived 70 years and fathered Avram, Nachor and Charan. 29 Now these are the generations of Terach: Terach fathered Avram, Nachor and Charan; and Charan fathered Lot. 30 And Charan died before his father Terach’s face in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Kasdim. 31 And Avram and Nachor took wives for themselves; the name of Avram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nachor’s wife was Milkah, the daughter of Charan (the father of Milkah and the father of Yiskah). 32 But Sarai was barren; there was no child to her. 33 And Terach took Avram his son, and Lot the son of Charan, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law (his son Avram’s wife); and left with them from Ur of the Kasdim, to go into the land of Kena’an. And they came to Charan and lived there. 34 And the days of Terach were 205 years. And Terach died in Charan.

Glossary

YEHOVAH – The Lord

Bavel – Babel

Arpakshad – Arpachshad/Arphaxad

Keynan – Cainan/Kainam

Shelach – Shelah/Salah

Ever – Eber

Nachor – Nahor

Terach – Terah

Avram – Abram

Charan – Haran

Kasdim – Chaldeans

Milkah – Milcah

Yiskah – Iscah

Kena’an – Canaan

Where the Aleph/Tavs occur

Verse 5:  And came down YEHOVAH to see את the city and את the tower which the humans had built.

Verse 10: These are the generations of Shem. Shem was 100 years old. And he fathered את Arpakshad 2 years after the flood.

Verse 11: And after he fathered את Arpakshad, Shem lived 500 years and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 12: And Arpakshad lived 64 years and fathered את Keynan.

Verse 13: And Arpakshad lived 401 years after he fathered את Keynan, and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 14: And Keynan lived 57 years and fathered את Shelach.

Verse 15: After he fathered את Shelach, Keynan lived 403 years and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 16: And Shelach lived 71 years and fathered את Ever.

Verse 17: And after he fathered את Ever, Shelach lived 362 years and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 18: And Ever lived 64 years and fathered את Peleg.

Verse 19: And Ever lived 430 years after he fathered את Peleg, and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 20: And Peleg lived 12 years and fathered את Reu.

Verse 21: And after he fathered את Reu, Peleg lived 127 years and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 22: And Reu lived 118 years and fathered את Serug.

Verse 23: And Reu lived 121 years after he fathered את Serug, and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 24: And Serug lived 57 years and fathered את Nachor.

Verse 25: And after he fathered את Nachor, Serug lived 163 years and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 26: And Nachor lived 62 years and fathered את Terach.

Verse 27: And Nachor lived 86 years after he fathered את Terach, and fathered sons and daughters.

Verse 28: And Terach lived 70 years and fathered את Avram, את Nachor and את Charan.

Verse 29: Now these are the generations of Terach: Terach fathered את Avram, את Nachor and את Charan; and Charan fathered את Lot.

Verse 33: And Terach took את Avram his son, and את Lot the son of Charan, his grandson, and את Sarai his daughter-in-law (his son Avram’s wife); and left with them from Ur of the Kasdim, to go into the land of Kena’an. And they came to Charan and lived there.

12 thoughts on “Restored English Translation of Genesis: Chapter 11

    1. I revise previous translations – updating language, comparing with the Hebrew and correcting any mistakes there, and researching manuscript traditions etc for alternate readings. (A good source for those are the footnotes in the Hebraic Roots Version (HRV); another is the footnotes in the NIV.)

      Liked by 2 people

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