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Don Stewart :: How Could Genesis 10 Speak of Many Languages When Genesis 11 Says There Was Only One?

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Don Stewart
Genesis 10 lists the various nations that came from the sons of Noah. In this list we find the following statement:

These were the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands and in their nations (Genesis 10:20).

However in Genesis 11 we read the earth had only one language:

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech (Genesis 11:1).

There is a seeming contradiction between Genesis 10, which speaks of many language groups and Genesis 11, which says the earth was of only one language. How can we reconcile the two?

Not Chronological

As is true with many accounts in Scripture, the events are not listed in chronological order. Genesis tells of the disbursement of the different language groups throughout the world. It is a broad outline of where the various language groups settled. Genesis 11, on the other hand, explains how these different languages came about-through the events at the tower of Babel. Thus we have no contradiction.





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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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