What does Genesis 11:16 mean?
ESV: When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg.
NIV: When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg.
NASB: Eber lived thirty-four years, and fathered Peleg;
CSB: Eber lived 34 years and fathered Peleg.
NLT: When Eber was 34 years old, he became the father of Peleg.
KJV: And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begot Peleg:
NKJV: Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg.
Verse Commentary:
The line from Noah to Abraham follows through Shem to Arpachshad to Shelah to Eber and now to Peleg. Peleg's name apparently comes from a word that means "to divide." Genesis 10:25 tells us that in Peleg's time the earth was divided, likely referring to the dispersion of the peoples that happened after God confused the languages in Babel (Genesis 11:1–9). If so, the generations to come after Peleg will live in a drastically divided world.

This verse also continues a trend seen in the genealogy of Genesis 11: decreasing lifespans. Children are mentioned at younger ages, and years of life are much shorter. This change takes a particularly dramatic jump in the time between Eber and Peleg—those living after the Tower of Babel seem to have lifespans around half of what they were prior to that incident (Genesis 11:17–19).
Verse Context:
Genesis 11:10–26 provides a direct genealogy from Noah to Abram, through Noah's blessed-by-God son, Shem. This record shows a direct genetic line from Noah and the flood, through Peleg and the dispersion of humanity at the Tower of Babel, to Terah, Abram's father.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 11 contains three sections: God confuses and scatters the people of the world to stop the building of Babel and its tower. A genealogy is provided showing the direct links between Noah and Abram. The ''generations'' of Terah are introduced, providing a description of the family out of which God will call Abram to become the father of His chosen people.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 10 provided a table of the nations, describing the peoples and tribes that descended from Noah's three sons and where they settled. Genesis 11 describes how God scattered the peoples of the world after confusing their languages to stop the building of Babel and its tower. The chapter also provides a direct genealogy from Noah to Abram and then introduces Abram by way of his father Terah. The following chapter will begin the story of Abram and God's chosen people, Israel.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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