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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Tongues Confusion of

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The part of the primeval history which relates this fact, so remarkable and influential upon the subsequent fortunes of mankind, is contained in . This narrative, which is given in the style best adapted to the comprehension of mankind in the infantile state of our race, may, we conceive, be resolved into a statement to this effect:—

1. An orderly and peaceful distribution and migration of the families descended from Noah had been directed by divine authority, and carried into general effect. But there was a part of mankind who would not conform themselves to this wise and benevolent arrangement. This rebellious party, having discovered a region to their taste, determined to remain in it. They proceeded to erect a lofty edifice, which was to be a signal house, a rallying point, and probably to erect around it groups of habitations, not mere tents, but houses with brick walls, so that the adventurers had both a city and a tower. This was an act of rebellion against the divine government. The omniscient and righteous God therefore frustrated it, by inflicting upon them a remarkable affection of the organs of speech, which produced discord and separation.

II. The date of this event we cannot satisfactorily place so early as at 100 years after the flood, as it is in the commonly received chronology. Every view that we can take of the previous history inclines us to one of the larger systems, that of the Septuagint, which gives 530 years, or that of Josephus, adopted with a little emendation by Dr. Hales, which gives 600 years; and thus we have at least five centuries for the intervening period.

III. Upon the question, Whether all of mankind were engaged in this act of concerted disobedience, or only a part? we confess ourselves unable to adduce irrefragable evidence on either side, but we think that there is a great preponderance of argument on the part of the latter supposition.

IV. Admitting, however, our inability to determine, with absolute certainty, on which side of this alternative the truth lies, no difference accrues to the subject of this article, What were the phenomena of the case? In what did the Confusion of Tongues actually consist? For the answer a considerable variety of opinions has been promulgated.

But the hypothesis of a change in the pronunciation, leading to diversified results, some of which might be of permanent influence, appears to us to have the most of probability and reason on its side.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Tongues Confusion of'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Friday, June 22nd, 2018
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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