“These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood” (10:32). And, so, we are told how the generations following Noah were divided into nations and the geographical locations of them. Abraham was descended from Shem, and the term “Hebrew” seems to be derived Shem’s great-grandson Eber. All this, though, leads to the nations unifying to build the Tower of Babel, an effort toward human autonomy and existence without reference to God. Not good! But even when we come across the “not good,” how regularly do we quickly come upon God’s gracious response. God would not allow such autonomy, he scattered the peoples, and he began to focus on Terah who “fathered Abram” (11:27).
And, now, everything changes! The story telescopes from the wide-angle lens of the nations to focus precisely on Abram and his descendants. We are about to read, “Now the Lord said to Abram . . .” (12:1), and we draw that much closer to the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 and the man who will defeat Satan and sin and death. What a story!
Father eternal, Ruler of creation,
Spirit of life, which moved ere form was made;
Through the thick darkness covering every nation,
Light to man's blindness, O be Thou our aid:
Thy Kingdom come, O Lord, Thy will be done. --Laurence Housman (1919)