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The Earth Was Divided


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In Peleg's time, the earth was divided. Peleg is said to have lived 239 years. I have been struggling with this a bit, and could use some help. First off, it's apparent that ancient man thought the earth was flat and square. I'm not positive about the square bit, but it seems that way. They also saw the sun as the moving object relative to earth. Needless to say, they would have had no knowledge of other continents or even other cultures outside their little "corner" of the world. Yet the myth that the earth was divided in Peleg's time seems profound. Any ideas as to what this Genesis passage might be talking about?

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In Peleg's time, the earth was divided. Peleg is said to have lived 239 years. I have been struggling with this a bit, and could use some help. First off, it's apparent that ancient man thought the earth was flat and square. I'm not positive about the square bit, but it seems that way. They also saw the sun as the moving object relative to earth. Needless to say, they would have had no knowledge of other continents or even other cultures outside their little "corner" of the world. Yet the myth that the earth was divided in Peleg's time seems profound. Any ideas as to what this Genesis passage might be talking about?

From commentaries:

 

(l) This division came by the diversity of language, as appears in Ge 11:9.

 

25. Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided-After the flood (Ge 11:10-16) the descendants of Noah settled at pleasure and enjoyed the produce of the undivided soil. But according to divine instruction, made probably through Eber, who seems to have been distinguished for piety or a prophetic character, the earth was divided and his son's name, "Peleg," was given in memory of that event (see De 32:8; Ac 17:26).

 

It seems to be a political and/or linguistic division which explains why some tribes are at war and/or don't speak the same languages.

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There is some thought that there may have been some knowledge of other continents...South America specifically. It's been theorized recently that portions of South America may in fact be what was considered Atlantis.

 

Thor Heyerdahl's adventures did open up the plausibility of trade actually happening between ancient cultures.

 

Peleg's time still happened long before the Jewish culture existed. Long before Hebrew was even a written language, so it's very likely to simply be another character of folklore that the Jews built their history upon.

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In Peleg's time, the earth was divided. Peleg is said to have lived 239 years. I have been struggling with this a bit, and could use some help. First off, it's apparent that ancient man thought the earth was flat and square. I'm not positive about the square bit, but it seems that way. They also saw the sun as the moving object relative to earth. Needless to say, they would have had no knowledge of other continents or even other cultures outside their little "corner" of the world. Yet the myth that the earth was divided in Peleg's time seems profound. Any ideas as to what this Genesis passage might be talking about?

When I read things like that I tend to understand them like this (from wikipedia):

Babylonia was a civilization in Lower Mesopotamia (central and southern Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi (fl. ca. 1696 – 1654 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad. The Amorites being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language.

The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century BC.

Following the collapse of the last Sumerian "Ur-III" dynasty at the hands of the Elamites (2002 BC traditional, 1940 BC short), the Amorites gained control over most of Mesopotamia, where they formed a series of small kingdoms.

So what happens? You have the Tower of Babylon incident. That takes a "unified" language and breaks it apart. Compare with the Akkadian language (or Sumerian depending on purpose). All the little nations would have their own languages but a single language they would use for "offical" purposes. Then the empire falls and they all have no reason to stick with this convention.

 

So you can see this is essentially what happens. A bunch of nation states arise. The world is divided up. Linguistically and nationally. This will happen more than once. I'd have to check but I believe the Persians have a similar language system about the time of Alexander the Great. A single language for government issues (which wasn't their own even) and then everyone just used their own languages for everything else.

 

mwc

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Great info. Thanks everyone!

 

Except for Davko...I used to be a fundamentailst and I actually believed the text DID infact refer to continantal drift! I know, it sounds stupid!

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All the little nations would have their own languages but a single language they would use for "offical" purposes. Then the empire falls and they all have no reason to stick with this convention.

 

So you can see this is essentially what happens. A bunch of nation states arise. The world is divided up. Linguistically and nationally. This will happen more than once. I'd have to check but I believe the Persians have a similar language system about the time of Alexander the Great. A single language for government issues (which wasn't their own even) and then everyone just used their own languages for everything else.

 

mwc

Or China, with Mandarin being the most common "trade language," with lots of provincial dialectic diversity.

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