Q: #115. Where did our different languages come from?
By: Steve Shirley
A: Up until the incident at the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9), all people spoke a common language (Gen 11:1). Most suspect this original language was Hebrew, which also means it was likely the language God used to speak to all people prior to Babel. After the flood, which God sent to destroy all people on the Earth except for Noah and his family, He told those survivors aboard the Ark to "replenish (fill) the Earth" (Gen 9:1). God wanted them to spread out all over the Earth.
As their descendants were doing this, they decided to stop in the land of Shinar (likely Babylon) and make a name for themselves and stop scattering by building a city and a tower to "reach unto heaven" (Gen 11:4). This was a prideful act of rebellion against God. In order to put an end to this rebellion, God caused the people to speak many different languages so that they could not work together to carry out any more evil plans. In doing this, God caused the people to scatter, and they stopped building the city (Gen 11:8-9).
*** Two interesting little side notes:
Chronologically, Genesis 10 should go after Genesis 11 in the Bible. (Gen 10:5) tells us that the people were separated by language into nations, but we don't actually find out why until (Gen 11:1-9). (I never knew this until this study)
Also, many believe that one day we will all speak a common language again, and this language will most likely be the same language (Hebrew) spoken by all of the people and God prior to Babel.