Problem

When were the languages scattered?

Genesis 10:5 - By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
Genesis 11:1 - And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

I just got an email from a friend who just started reading the Bible and asked about this apparent contradiction:

Genesis 10:5
By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Genesis 11:1
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

How could the whole world be of 1 language in chapter 11 when there are multiple tongues in chapter 10?


Solution

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Many new Bible readers assume the Bible is written in chronological order but when one takes up the cause of believing Bible study he sees that is not always so. Keeping in context we notice in
Gen 10:1 "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood."
We see here that from chapter 10 verse 1 what we have is a family tree. The family of Noah and how they were divided into nations over generations.
Gen10:32 "These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood."
Now notice in Gen. 10:25 "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided;..."
Chapter 9 covers from the flood until the death of Noah; chapter 10 the generations of Noah; and chapter 11 picks up the narrative where chapter 9 left off, the death of Noah.

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