All the people of the earth spoke one language; and as they travelled westward, they found a broad valley in the land of Babylonia, and made their home there.
Then they said one to another, |Come, let us make bricks and thoroughly bake them.| So they had bricks for stone and asphalt for mortar. And they said, |Come, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top will touch the heavens, and thus make a landmark, that we may not be scattered over all the earth.|
But when Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower men had built, he said, |See, they are one people and all have one language. This is but the beginning, and now nothing which they plan to do will seem too difficult for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language, that they may not understand one another.|
So Jehovah scattered them from there over all the earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore they named it Babel, which means Confusion, for there Jehovah confused the language of all the people on the earth and scattered them over the whole world.
ABRAHAM, THE FRIEND OF GOD AND MAN
The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Terah, a descendant of Shem, was the father of Abraham, Nahor and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot.
Jehovah said to Abraham, |Go from your country, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation; and I will surely bless you and make your name famous, so that you shall be a blessing. And all the families of the earth shall ask for themselves a blessing like your own.|
So Abraham set out, as Jehovah had commanded him; and Lot went with him. Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took Sarah his wife and Lot his brother's son and everything that they had, and started for the land of Canaan.
Abraham passed through the land to a place called Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. There Jehovah appeared to Abraham and said, |To your children will I give this land.| There Abraham built an altar to Jehovah who had appeared to him. From there he removed to the hill near Bethel and pitched his tent with Bethel on one side and Ai on the other, and there too he built an altar to Jehovah and prayed to him.
Now Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold; Lot also, who went with Abraham, had so many flocks and herds and tents that the land was not rich enough to support them both. So when there was a quarrel between Lot's herdsmen and Abraham's herdsmen, Abraham said to Lot, |I beg of you, let there be no quarrel between me and you, nor between my herdsmen and yours, for we are relatives. Is not the whole land before you? I beg of you, separate yourself from me. If you go to the left, then I will go to the right; or if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.|
[Illustration: Building the Tower of Babel
Painted by J. James Tissot]
So Lot looked about and saw that all the plain of the Jordan, as far as Zoar, was well watered everywhere, like a garden of Jehovah. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and lived in the cities of the plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were very wicked and sinned against Jehovah.
Jehovah said to Abraham, after Lot had gone away from him, |Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are northward, southward, eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your children forever. I will make them as many as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can count the dust of the earth, then your children may also be counted. Rise, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.|
Then Abraham moved his tent and lived in the oak grove of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar to Jehovah.
Jehovah also appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he was sitting at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day; and, as he looked up, three men stood there before him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed to the ground and said, |Sirs, if you are willing to do me a favor, do not, I beg of you, pass by your servant. Since you have come to your servant, let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet, and lie down under the tree. And let me bring some food, that you may refresh yourselves; afterward you may go on your way.| They replied, |Do as you have said.|
So Abraham hastened to Sarah's tent and said, |Make ready quickly four measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.| Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a calf that was tender and good, and gave it to the servant, and he prepared it quickly. Then Abraham took curd and milk, with the calf which he had prepared, and served them; and he waited on them under the tree, while they ate.
Then they said to him, |Where is your wife?| He said, |There, within the tent.| One of them said, |I will surely return to you about nine months from now, and then, Sarah your wife shall have a son.|