A son of Eber of the family of Shem, in whose days
the "earth or Land
was divided". BCE 2222. Gen.10:25; 11:16-19; 1 Chron.1:19-25.
name "Peleg" means "division" (Strong translates as "earthquake") and
tells us that he was so named, "for in his days the earth (Heb: 'erets
earth [at large, or partitively a land] was divided". The Bible is full
little explanatory comments like that and usually they are either
or "interpreted" to mean something other than the clear meaning of the
The word Peleg means division or earthquake as by cutting a canal or by
movement. Some have suggested a political division but the text
suggests a physical, geological act.
be over awed by the implications of time-scale. We should think about
we have learned in recent years concerning "Plate Tectonics" and
Drift" or the possibility of sudden geological upheavals caused by
impact or a close miss by some other heavenly body such as a comet,
the potential to distort the whole global structure of the earth at
notice. We should also look at other scriptures and factors such
race and we will find some interesting food for thought.
account of creation and man's early time on earth we learn the
human inhabitants of earth, alive today, descend from an original
was originally a single land mass and a single sea. "waters below the
be gathered into ONE place". Gen.1:9.
flesh, save eight persons, was destroyed in the flood of Noah and the
was re-populated from one family.
many different races of people living all over the globe on a
earth-surface. There have been many theories and expeditions to solve
mystery how "primitive" peoples managed to reach such distant places
solution lies in the account in Genesis.
be remembered that Genesis is a series of, overlapping profiles of
and not necessarily a sequential narrative. This is demonstrated in
which speak of "languages, lands and nations", yet the next chapter v.1
"the whole earth used the same language and the same words". Then the
goes on to describe the confusion of tongues at Babel from whence
diversity of language with the consequence of the scattering of the
Gen 11:9. We should note this "overlap" again with reference to
subject person "Peleg".
this literary structure is essential to a sound knowledge of what the
Genesis record is telling us. The four dimensional nature of our
be described in a single continuous narrative, hence numerous
overlapping "views" have to be described. Yet for some obscure
reason most, even learned scholars, demand that we explain Genesis
sequentially, verse by verse,
hour by hour as it were. (see item on Genesis)
Peleg is mentioned as a descendant of Noah (Shem) and his notoriety
established by the single statement, "for in his days the earth was
The next chapter traces the same time period detailing the descendants
Shem and again mentioning Peleg v.17-25. An interesting point may
raised as to how Peleg got his name ? supposedly, he was not so named
birth for the text says "in his days", as, during his lifetime, it
that he was someone of importance, a ruler, who acquired a name
memorializing an historic event. Not unlike many names today that
reflect the trade or character of some original bearer (Smith, Cooper,
etc.) names with which the original bearers were not born.
1 Chron.1:19-25 Peleg and the "division of the earth" are again
mentioned in another recital of the descendants of Noah v.19. Two
sons were born to Eber: One was
named Peleg, "because in his time the earth was divided"; his
was named Joktan.
here we find Peleg is in the line of Abraham.
if we again
consider our 4 points:
earth, after the flood, was populated from a single family.
the sea and land were two individual, separate masses.
Gen.1:9,10. And God said, "Let the water under the sky be
gathered to one
place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry
"land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it
translations say that "God called the dry land earth, and the ...
He called seas". The Hebrew word translated here for "seas" is
and is singular and usually translated "sea". The word "mayim", is
but used as we speak of "the waters". If I offered you a drink of water
Hebrew I would use the word "mayim". So we see a picture of a
with a single sea and a sole land-mass just as scientists have recently
and is even confirmed by some ancient drawings.
We see the
new population "scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth".
Gen.11:9. This would seem to suggest that "the whole earth" was a
suppose that some event of cosmic proportions, (many possibilities have
discussed lately), let's say a stray comet, causes a sudden global
that precipitates at a much quicker rate than imagined today, the
phenomenon of "Continental Drift". We do not, as yet have the
scientific evidence to
totally support this proposition but the whole subject is rather new
it would be presumptuous to rule out such a possibility. Drift today is
but the globe has been wracked by huge climatic and geological changes
allow considerable room for sanctified speculation. Some are asking
happened to the dinosaurs?", well, our ignorance alone leaves ample
for speculation but if we take note of the "evidence" of scripture, I
we have a good foundation for at least a logical theory for many of
questions about our origins that intrigue us. Isn't that what
is about? It seems clear that God wanted us to know about these
and it seems reasonable that our (unbiased) observation of our
would not contradict or confuse our reading of the Biblical
Indeed the Apostle Paul said "For since the creation of the world God's
qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly
being understood from what has been made, so that men are without
if we are
judged by the record then God's justice demands the record be
Joshua and the Sun standing still or Hezikiah's stairs and the
These may have been small local miracles or may illustrate that the
slow, predictable procession of cosmic events can be interrupted or
accelerated by One who has the power. Terraforming is the theme of many
science fiction stories, recognizing that many planets may be
inhospitable. We can imagine in our story telling, puny man venturing
into space and remaking worlds to
his needs yet have trouble with the idea that the Creator may put
finishing touches on His work, when and how He pleases.
the principle of concurrent phases of creation, and that the record
what it says, it may well be that the separation of the land began or
in Peleg's time in a catastrophic manner, while in fact it continues
at a slow but measurable rate.
of tongues and the consequential dispersion of the "one people" from
"one place" meant they were spread out over the one continent and were
separated or lost to each other by the "division" of the single
into the beginnings of the continental dispersion that we have today.
speaking different languages and living in different climates, becoming
accustomed to new foods, in time, the various separated groups,
"nations", with aid of
our in-built diversity potential, would develop differences in culture
environment, as well as changes to physical characteristics leading to
variety of races we have today.