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    Interesting answer to a question about Genesis

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    Arik
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    Interesting answer to a question about Genesis

    Post  Arik on Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:24 am

    My question was posted on MessiahTruth. and was as follows:


    In Bereishis 10:5 it states: "From these the islands of the nations were separated in their lands each according to it's language, by families..."

    In 11:1 It states "The whole earth was of one language and one common purpose..."
    is this a contradiction. on one had the Torah is stating there were different languages and on the other hand it states there was only one. What am I missin
    g?



    discussion went as follows:

    Rabbi Daniel #1 [-]



    Good question.
    I know because I asked it myself.
    It was a few years ago and I have to remember the answer.
    Better yet, I'll try and find it again.

    I do recall... I think in the Hebrew there are two different words used for what is translated as "language" both times.
    Was it Churchill who said, regarding America and Britain, something to the effect of "Two countries divided by a common language."

    So I'm pretty sure therein lies the answer but I want to find it again.


    OK, I anxiously await your answer. :-)


    Arik


    I have started looking...
    Haven't forgotten. Just haven't gotten an answer yet.
    I did find it said that G-d took away the mutual understanding of each other. They just didn't spell it out, like "even though they were speaking the same language."
    So still looking.


    Here are the two verses as translated in the Judaica Press Tanach (I've added the Hebrew terminology):

    Genesis 10:5(JPT) - From these, the islands of the nations separated in their lands, each one to his language [לִלְשֹׁנוֹ], according to their families, in their nations.

    Genesis 11:1(JPT) - Now the entire earth was of one language [שָׂפָה] and uniform words.

    The word לִלְשֹׁנוֹ (li'lshono) is an inflected form of the noun לָשׁוֹן (lashon) prepended by the preposition לְ־, to. The word לָשׁוֹן has the following meanings: a tongue (both the organ in one's mounth and language), a language, a dialect, speech. The word שָׂפָה has the following meanings: a language, speech, a lip, a border, an edge.

    Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, z"l, proposed the following explanation. In Genesis 10:5, the word לָשׁוֹן should be understood in the context of a dialect. In other words, all the people spoke the same language but in different dialects (my editorial comment: e.g., such as the Chinese people of today). In Genesis 11:1, the word שָׂפָה should be understood literally as a language. In other words, all the people spoke one language.

    Another explanation I have seen is: אֵין מֻקְדָּם וּמְאֻחָר בַּתּוֹרָה, which means that the chronological order (i.e., time-sequence) is not always kept in the order in which some accounts are presented in the Torah.

    UriYosef

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    WHOSOEVER DESTROYS A SINGLE SOUL OF ISRAEL, SCRIPTURE IMPUTES [GUILT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD DESTROYED A COMPLETE WORLD; AND WHOSOEVER PRESERVES A SINGLE SOUL OF ISRAEL, SCRIPTURE ASCRIBES [MERIT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD PRESERVED A COMPLETE WORLD. (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, 37a)

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    The battle against spiritual terrorism is being won, one soul at a time!!!
    Last Edited By: UriYosef 09/06/10 16:02:48. Edited 2 times.
    status offlineRabbi Daniel #7 [-]

    Uri,

    Just to clarify your last line, you're saying that the verses may be given to us out of chronological order so 11:1 is before the dispersion and 10:5 is after.
    I found it said that one language and "uniform words" means that each one knew precisely what the other was saying. There was no ambiguity in any of there words. And not because the vocabulary was so precise. It wasn't. They somehow knew.

    Since these are all descendants of Noah, saying they are of one language is obvious and unnecessary. So some use that verse to take the verse in a different light.
    The One in the verse is G-d. All the earth was talking about G-d and not in a pleasant way.
    Just the opposite.
    They sought to do battle with Him.

    Another "one" at that time was Abraham. This verse tells us they mocked him, the one advocate of monotheism on the planet.

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