今日经文分成四部分：第一部分是【人类家族的分散-Dispersion of the Human Family】创世记11章1节至11章9节 [Gen.11:1-11:9] ；第二部分是【国度--的开始-Beginning of Nations】创世记10章1节至10章32节 [Gen. 10:1-10:32]（按年代顺序）；第三部分是【从闪到亚伯兰的后裔-Descendants from Shem to Abram】创世记11章10节至11章32节 [Gen.11:10-11:32]；第四部分是【约伯，义人受苦难-Job, the Righteous Sufferer】无配对经文（约伯记）。
人类家族的分散-Dispersion of the Human Family
Along with this account of Noah’s own sin and that of his son, Ham, the Genesis record also shows mankind’s continued decadence as it focuses upon the now-regenerating human family in the Plain of Shinar, an area more familiarly known as Babylon. Somewhere around 2500 B.C. the people ambitiously decide to build a great city, known as Babel, together with a tower so high that, in figurative terms, it will reach “to the heavens.” This is by no means the first city ever to be built, and the tower itself is probably designed in very similar fashion to the Babylonian ziggurat temples, the ruins of which will still be found centuries later. But God is displeased with these grandiose plans, apparently because the people’s motive is characterized by a defiant and self-assertive pride in rebellion against God.
In light of this situation God determines to remind mankind once again of their human limitations. Until this time everyone has been part of one rapidly multiplying extended family, and therefore everyone has been speaking the same language. In order to break the self-willed strength found in this unity, God intervenes with his creative and divine power to confuse their language and to scatter mankind throughout the earth. It is the beginning not only of diverse languages but also diverse peoples. For the first time mankind is divided into clans, nations, and even various ethnic stocks. Although the Genesis record makes no specific reference in this regard, it is possible that this supernatural event also sets in motion the separation of human beings into different races. And the implication would be significant: despite the external differences, there is a commonness of background which compels brotherhood by creation and equality among all mankind regardless of race, nation, or tongue.
国度的开始-Beginning of Nations
As mankind begins to disperse throughout the earth, families begin to divide into clans, and the clans develop into nations. The earliest known account of the geographical, national, and dialectical divisions among the human family is contained in the Genesis record. This tabulation begins with Shem, Ham, and Japheth, three generations before the great division at Babel. In this record there is first of all a brief tracing of Japheth’s seven sons and seven grandsons, particularly the descendants through Japheth’s son Javan, whose people begin to spread north to the coastal areas of the Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean seas. The reference to the Japhethites may be as brief as it is because these Indo-Europeans will be among the latest to develop and will have the least contact with the theocratic concerns of the Hebrew people, upon whom the biblical text will soon focus.
The table of nations gives more attention to the descendants of Ham, perhaps because they will develop early and be founders of the first empires, and perhaps also because it is with these peoples that the Hebrew nation will have both its closest association and many of its conflicts. Ham’s descendants will settle in the warmer climates of the southern portions of the earth and will populate the Egyptian, Canaanite, and Arabian nations. Of particular note among Ham’s descendants is the great warrior Nimrod, who is the first leader of record to establish a monarchy. His rule over several tribes apparently comes through the power of conquest and not because he is their natural patriarchal head. It is Nimrod who establishes Babylon (from the city of Babel) in southern Mesopotamia, and later the city of Nineveh, further north in Assyria.
Of great historical significance is the record of Ham’s descendants through Canaan, Ham’s son upon whom Noah pronounced a curse. The land which will eventually be occupied by the Canaanites is known as the land of Canaan or, more modernly, Israel. Its original Canaanite inhabitants, including the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites, will come into conflict with the descendants of Shem, principally those of the Hebrew nation. That conflict, bearing out the prophetic nature of Noah’s curse on Canaan, will continue even to modern times.
As for Shem’s descendants, the table of nations concentrates on the lineage through Shem’s son Arphaxad. The principal reason undoubtedly lies in the theological significance of the descent through Arphaxad. It is through his branch of the Shemites that (after eight generations) the father of the Hebrew nation, Abraham, will come. The Shemites, later to be known as Semites, will initially settle primarily in the region of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. From the earliest Semite descendants will eventually come the Syrians, Assyrians, Joktanite Arabs and, most importantly, the Hebrews.
从闪到亚伯兰的后裔-Descendants from Shem to Abram
Following this tabulation of the nations, the Genesis record falls mostly silent upon the earth’s inhabitants except for the descendants of Shem through Arphaxad: Shelah, Eber, Peleg, and others down to Abram, who, known later as Abraham, will become the father of the Hebrews. This is the family of promise through whom God will preserve religious and moral truth. It will be through the Hebrew nation that God will ultimately speak to the whole world. Therefore it is important for the Genesis record to trace Abram’s ancestry back to Shem, who through his father, Noah, descends from the first man, Adam.
约伯，义人受苦难-Job, the Righteous Sufferer
Although there is no scriptural reference to Job during this period of time, there is compelling evidence to believe that an important historical figure named Job should be included here among the ancients. His home is in the land of Uz, which is probably in the northern Arabian desert in a territory which will come to be known as Edom, or Idumea. Job is unusually blessed with prosperity and holds his family very dear to him. Above all things, Job is a righteous man, esteemed among his peers and even those who serve him. However, disaster strikes Job when all his flocks, herds, and possessions are taken from him through a series of adversities. Even worse, all his children are killed, and he himself is stricken with a terrible, painful disease. Although he questions why such disaster should beset him, Job nevertheless maintains his faith in God. As a result, his wealth is restored to double its original worth, more children are born to him, and he dies a happy man.
The story of his great faith, and of his apparently successful struggle with the reason for his suffering, will be handed down over the generations to come. Several centuries later, at a time when a whole nation will be struggling with the problem of suffering, Job’s life will become the basis for a literary masterpiece dealing with suffering and the issue of its causes. Little does this humble man know how his very personal adversity will be a source of comfort to multitudes of fellow-sufferers for centuries to come. That fact alone might well have something to do with why he is called upon to experience such adversity. The book of Job will be presented later at the time of its writing.
Smith, F. LaGard. The Daily Bible® - In Chronological Order (NIV®) . Harvest House Publishers. Kindle 版本.