Chapter 10 is entirely a tedious genealogy of Noah’s sons. One amusing bit is chapter 10, verse 8-9: “Cush was father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.’” Really? This is the worst example of writing I have ever seen in my life, and I’m pretty bad at it myself. Also, I am totally going to start working that saying into my everyday language.
The first half of chapter 11 is about the tower of babel. I’ve heard this story before, and in the version I heard, it starts with God telling everyone to spread out and cover the earth, but they ignore him, so he makes them all speak different languages, so they have no reason to stay together. So in this version, God tried telling them nicely first, then he pulled out the big guns.
That’s not how it goes here though: God hasn’t said anything to anyone since the end of the flood, when he said, “go forth and multiply,” which doesn’t necessarily mean “don’t live all in one place.” So apparently all people had decided to build a big city to live in together, in peace. Sounds great to me. But God was apparently threatened by this…he says, “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. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So he did, and they scattered all over.
First of all, this is the second time that God has talked to himself in the plural…what the heck is up with that?
Second, apparently the motivation for the tower of babel incident was that God didn’t like that people could accomplish things, and decided, for no apparent reason (other than to be a dick, possibly), to make their lives more difficult. They didn’t even disobey him, because he never told them to do any different.
Then the last half of chapter 11, it jumps right back into the tedious genealogy again. But it doesn’t pick up where it left off, it starts over with Noah’s sons, following a different line to Abram.
Seriously, this is a terrible book, just in terms of readability and flow of the plot… some genealogy, a random story thrown in, and then more genealogy. But it’s not even chronological, the genealogy starts over. It’s like whoever put the bible together had bits of writing that they just shuffled together and said, “there it is.”