Author’s Note: From this point forward, I will cite textual evidence by verse number only for convenience’s sake, since the book and chapter is already listed in the title. However, I will include both the chapter and verse if a post includes more than one chapter (like this one).
Chapter 13 wastes no time in telling us that, by the time he got out of Egypt, “Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold” (13:2). Great, he really is a carpetbagger. Even so, Abram comes off pretty good in these chapters.
Though he continues to head south (13:3), Abram is metaphorically entering the Wild West, with wide open lands apparently ripe for the taking. But he soon learns, as The Notorious B.I.G. famously stated, “mo’ money, mo’ problems” —
So begins the saga of Abram, the next big-hitter name in this book of all books. God tells Abram to “get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee” (12:1). This three-fold separation of Abram rhetorically singles him out for greatness as the chosen one, a parallel to Noah. Abram ‘hero’s journey’ is as old as storytelling itself, so we also know, at best, he will struggle greatly; at worst, it won’t end well.
Genesis 11 introduces the story of the Tower of Babel, the mythos behind the world’s many languages. While I am familiar with this story, as a secular person and 90’s kid, I must admit that I also associate this phrase with the Tower of Babble, the desert hideout in Carmen Sandiego Word Detective. (Wow, now I know why I grew up to be an English teacher. I identified parts of speech for fun.)
As an English teacher, I also know that failure and/or inability to communicate is one of the most frustrating aspects of life. So what exactly did humanity do to warrant this scattering of a previously monolingual culture? Continue reading