The Earth Divided in the Days of Peleg
The word Peleg first appeared in Genesis 10:25, “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” The word Peleg means “division.” Peleg was the first-born son of Eber and one of the ancestors of Abraham. Although the text speaks literally of a splitting up of the “earth,” the word signifies its people, as Genesis 9:19 and Genesis 11:1 point.
All of Genesis 10 talks about the dividing up of Noah’s family into its three divisions based on Noah’s three sons and their families, and then to the sub-family groups. Because these genealogical lists encompassed all the people in the post-Flood earth, the division referred to in verse 25 must have affected the whole post-Flood human population.
Other verses throughout Genesis chapter 10 indicate that it was these people who were being split up by language and moved across the earth to different geographical locations or lands:
“. . . separated into their land . . .” (Genesis 10:5).
“. . . the families of the Canaanites were dispersed” (Genesis 10:18).
“. . . according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands and in their nations” (Genesis 10:20).
Then, the concluding verse states:
“These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood” (Genesis 10:32).
Following Genesis 10 is the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. The wickedness of the people became great as the inhabitants of the earth centralized. And the people rebelled against God in building the tower of Babel to “make a name” for themselves (Genesis 11:4). They wanted to defy the Creator after the flood and build a tower that will protect them against His judgements.
So, the Lord disrupted their work by confusing their languages that they will not understand one another. When their schemes failed, they dispersed into all the earth. This resulted in dividing the earth. “That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:9).
Since the confusion of tongues that took place about the time of Peleg’s birth, we can see how he received the name Peleg, “division.” And even today, the different languages that exist in our world serve as walls and barriers of division between the nations and cultures.
In His service,