Genesis 11:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 11:3, NIV: "They said to each other, 'Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly.' They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar."

Genesis 11:3, ESV: "And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar."

Genesis 11:3, KJV: "And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter."

Genesis 11:3, NASB: "Then they said to one another, 'Come, let’s make bricks and fire them thoroughly.' And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar."

Genesis 11:3, NLT: "They began saying to each other, 'Let's make bricks and harden them with fire.' (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.)"

Genesis 11:3, CSB: "They said to each other, "Come, let us make oven-fired bricks." (They used brick for stone and asphalt for mortar.)"

What does Genesis 11:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The previous verses revealed that the peoples of the earth had not yet divided and scattered into separate tribes and nations. The descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth remained a single people group with a single culture and language. Together, they had migrated to the region of Shinar where Babylon would be established.

Here, we're told that together these people made plans to build a huge structure in their new homeland. This verse seems oddly specific in describing their building materials: bricks hardened by burning—or baking—and mortar made from tar. Scholars suggest there is wordplay going on in these verses, connecting the words for these building materials to the name of Babel. In addition, Israelite readers would have likely been interested to know that these ancient people used bricks while they themselves often used stone for building.