There are other places where the text of Genesis
introduces a theme and then elaborates on it shortly
afterwards. The creation account of Genesis 2 in relation
to the Garden of Eden and the formation of Adam relays a
more detailed account of events of the sixth day after they
are first mentioned in Genesis 1. And the details of the Babel
confusion of languages in Genesis 11 are first alluded to in
Genesis 10. There are good reasons from the biblical text
and commentaries to hold to the traditional understanding,
not least that it is closest to a plain sense reading of Genesis
10 and 11 in giving a single account.
Date of Peleg’s division
There are two main points to consider in order to
determine from the biblical text the time of Peleg’s division,
and from this the destruction of the Tower of Babel. This
will help constrain the time of the Babel incident. First,
at what point in Peleg’s life did the events take place, and
second, which Old Testament source should be considered
the more reliable out of the main Old Testament document
types available: especially the Masoretic Text (MT), the
Septuagint (LXX), and the Samaritan Pentateuch (SP)?
The extra-biblical Book of Jubilees may also be consulted
for historical purposes. These give different dates for the
lifespan and life events of the post-Flood Patriarchs, even
though they broadly record the same information. Cosner
and Carter have in fact already provided a useful analysis of
the problem and give good reasons why the MT is the more
reliable, and their view is preferred here.
17 However, as will
be shown below, the different sources in fact offer support
to the MT in placing the Babel event several hundred years
after the Flood.
There are a number of views in the thinking of present-day creationists, ranging from those who hold to the LXX
and those who hold to the MT. John Whitcomb and Henry
Morris were at one time sympathetic to the LXX in The
Genesis Flood and even considered the possibility of early
gaps in the record. Babel they thought might have occurred
1,000 years post-Flood.
18 But more recent creationists tend
towards acceptance of the MT. Bodie Hodge suggests a
date for the Babel incident related to Peleg’s birth between
101 and 130 years after the Flood, acknowledging the
influence of the MT (although he prefers 120 years). He
also acknowledges Ussher’s work on his view, but suggests
Ussher’s work is sometimes influenced by Manetho and not
19 Snelling and Matthews suggest a similar
view correlating with Peleg’s birth as a ‘first estimate’, and
have a graphic which offers support to this early view, but
they are open to later times in Peleg’s 239 years of life.
John Morris and James Johnson broadly follow Ussher
in suggesting that the birth of Peleg took place around
101 years after the Flood according to the MT, although
because they suggest two events may be implied, it is not
clear that it is linked to Babel.
21 The view of Sarfati, who
follows the MT, is that the Babel event and dispersion may
have occurred around the time of Peleg’s birth or at some
Figure 2. The Tower of Babel, Ur and Noah’s Ark on the Mappa Mundi (world map) in Hereford Cathedral, England, c.1300