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eTeacherBiblical Official Newsletter
Issue #71 - 02/11
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The beginning and the end

The first eleven chapters in the Old Testament are the beginning of humanity. We can read and understand how G-d created the world, the man and the woman and more. The last story in this group of chapters is found in Genesis 11:1-9- the story of the tower of Babylon. Let us look at these verses and explain the universal model that appears there:

וַיְהִי כָל-הָאָרֶץ, שָׂפָה אֶחָת, וּדְבָרִים, אֲחָדִים. וַיְהִי, בְּנָסְעָם מִקֶּדֶם; וַיִּמְצְאוּ בִקְעָה בְּאֶרֶץ שִׁנְעָר, וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם. וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל-רֵעֵהוּ, הָבָה נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים, וְנִשְׂרְפָה, לִשְׂרֵפָה; וַתְּהִי לָהֶם הַלְּבֵנָה, לְאָבֶן, וְהַחֵמָר, הָיָה לָהֶם לַחֹמֶר.  וַיֹּאמְרוּ הָבָה נִבְנֶה-לָּנוּ עִיר, וּמִגְדָּל וְרֹאשׁוֹ בַשָּׁמַיִם, וְנַעֲשֶׂה-לָּנוּ, שֵׁם:  פֶּן-נָפוּץ, עַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָאָרֶץ.  וַיֵּרֶד יְהוָה, לִרְאֹת אֶת-הָעִיר וְאֶת-הַמִּגְדָּל, אֲשֶׁר בָּנוּ, בְּנֵי הָאָדָם.  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, הֵן עַם אֶחָד וְשָׂפָה אַחַת לְכֻלָּם, וְזֶה, הַחִלָּם לַעֲשׂוֹת; וְעַתָּה לֹא-יִבָּצֵר מֵהֶם, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יָזְמוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת.  הָבָה, נֵרְדָה, וְנָבְלָה שָׁם, שְׂפָתָם--אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ, אִישׁ שְׂפַת רֵעֵהוּ.  וַיָּפֶץ יְהוָה אֹתָם מִשָּׁם, עַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָאָרֶץ; וַיַּחְדְּלוּ, לִבְנֹת הָעִיר.  עַל-כֵּן קָרָא שְׁמָהּ, בָּבֶל, "כִּי-שָׁם בָּלַל יְהוָה, שְׂפַת כָּל-הָאָרֶץ; וּמִשָּׁם הֱפִיצָם יְהוָה, עַל-פְּנֵי כָּל-הָאָרֶץ
 

"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth." But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth"

The people of the world in those days decided to dwell in one place. They spoke the same language; some say that they even had their same vocabulary or the same plan. The initiative was to live in the same place, the land of Shinar. The land of Shinar appears in the Old Testament a few times. This is one of the places that The Lord will take the people of Israel after the exile (Isaiah 11:11). This is the place where some of the tools from the temple were held (Daniel 1:1).

What else did they want to do? Their wish was to build a city and a tower in order to publish them in the world and also in order to live together. Was this initiative wrong? Isn't this what we all want- One language that will solve all the problems of communication and enable all the people of this planet to share their thoughts?

Well, it seems to be that The Lord didn't like it? Was he afraid that this is another attempt of the people to threaten him by reaching him to the heavens? Maybe the time was wrong- should we wait to the end of days to become one?

In Isaiah 2:1-4 we can find another initiative, this time it is the one that came from The Lord. The time is different- this is the future. The place is also different- Jerusalem. The tower is different- it is not a building. It's the highest mountain in Jerusalem, as we read in Isaiah 2:1-4-

הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר חָזָה, יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶּן-אָמוֹץ, עַל-יְהוּדָה, וִירוּשָׁלִָם. וְהָיָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים, נָכוֹן יִהְיֶה הַר בֵּית-יְהוָה בְּרֹאשׁ הֶהָרִים, וְנִשָּׂא, מִגְּבָעוֹת; וְנָהֲרוּ אֵלָיו, כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם.  וְהָלְכוּ עַמִּים רַבִּים, וְאָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַעֲלֶה אֶל-הַר-יְהוָה אֶל-בֵּית אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב, וְיֹרֵנוּ מִדְּרָכָיו, וְנֵלְכָה בְּאֹרְחֹתָיו:  כִּי מִצִּיּוֹן תֵּצֵא תוֹרָה, וּדְבַר-יְהוָה מִירוּשָׁלִָם.  וְשָׁפַט בֵּין הַגּוֹיִם, וְהוֹכִיחַ "לְעַמִּים רַבִּים; וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבוֹתָם לְאִתִּים, וַחֲנִיתוֹתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֹת--לֹא-יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה

"This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore"

This initiative appears also with slight differences in the book of Micah. Today we will speak only about Isaiah. The initiative is also universal; all the nations of the world will come to Jerusalem. They need to be judged by The Lord. They need to understand what they did wrong and how to improve and act according to the place that brought the Torah to the world- Zion. The sign of this prophecy is not just by the number of people whom the city of Jerusalem will have to host, but more important is the end of wars, when the entire weapon will be used for agriculture.

Well what will happen? I can't tell, I guess we have to wait! in the meanwhile, we can try to do justice and wish for peace!
 

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

Hebrew

Transcription

Translation

מִגְדָּל

migdāl

Tower

בָּבֶל

bel

Babylon

שָׂפָה

śāpāh

Language

אַחַת

'achat

One (female)

גּוֹי

gôy

Nation

מִלְחָמָה

milchāmāh

War

שָׁלוֹם

šālôm

Peace

 
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