Genesis 11:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 11:9, NIV: "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."

Genesis 11:9, ESV: "Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth."

Genesis 11:9, KJV: "Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."

Genesis 11:9, NASB: "Therefore it was named Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth."

Genesis 11:9, NLT: "That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world."

Genesis 11:9, CSB: "Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the LORD scattered them throughout the earth."

What does Genesis 11:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verse 9 sums up God's act of judgment with a play on words. The word for the name of the city Babel is very similar in Hebrew to the word for "confused." In fact, the whole section of verses 1 through 9 includes several allusions, in the Hebrew language, to the name of Babel. It is very likely that Babel became known as Babylon, the great and ancient city that became a seat of power in the world. This city, in fact, would later become symbolic of the man-centered, worldly system which sets itself against God.

Later, the Babylonians were quite proud of their impressive city. God's people understood, however, that the city's history was evidence that human pride and arrogance cannot stand against God. He stops the plans of humanity anytime He chooses to do so (Job 42:2).

One day, though, God will create a new kingdom with a single language and culture once again. Zephaniah 3:9–11 describes that moment, and the Holy Spirit's act of uniting the languages at Pentecost may hint at it as well (Acts 2:6–11).