although acknowledging a diversity of views, for instance
he discussed whether the events occurred at the birth of
Peleg or afterwards, and highlights several positions from
Josephus and other Jewish writers.
11 Some suggested the
division occurred at Peleg’s birth, while others pointed to
events during his life, or his demise. Keil and Delitzsch,
and Leupold, also hold to this traditional view, with the
former commentary suggesting it correlates with Peleg’s
birth, while Leupold suggests Peleg was named in memory
of the Babel incident.
Are different events implied?
John Skinner suggested there was no strong reason to
hold the division to the event of Babel and considered that
it may refer to some other dispersal, or to the separation
of Peleg’s family from that of his brother Joktan.
comment from Morris and Johnson points out that a different
verb, parad, is used in Genesis 10: 5 and 10: 32, which might
imply separate events. Genesis 10: 5 is with reference to the
sons of Japheth: “From these the coastland peoples spread
[nip̄ ·rə·ḏ וּ ֞ ד ְ רְפִנ] in their lands, each with his own language,
by their clans, in their nations.” And Genesis 10:32: for all
the sons of Noah “These are the clans of the sons of Noah,
according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from
these the nations spread [nip̄ ·rə·ḏ וּ ֧ ד ְ רְפִנ] abroad on the earth
after the flood.”
14 At a superficial level use of nip̄ ·lə·ḡāh,
instead of nip̄ ·rə·ḏ , might suggest that a different event is
alluded to in Genesis 10: 25.
Taken as a whole, the passage through Genesis 10 and
11 appears to be giving a single account of the life and
subsequent separation of the sons of Noah into geographic
locations after the Flood. But the actual time of division
occurred at some significant point in the lifespan of Peleg.
The use of the verb nip̄ ·lə·ḡāh in Genesis 10: 25, as opposed
to alternatives, may be merely giving the reader additional
information about the nature of the event without the need
to hold to separate events. The verb nip̄ ·rə·ḏ is often used
to refer to the act of separation of people (for instance in
Genesis 13: 9, 11), while nip̄ ·lə·ḡāh is sometimes used of a
more general division or splitting in two (Psalm 55: 10).
Figure 1. The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1563