Genesis 11:8

Hebrew Bible

6 And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why its name was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth. 10 This is the account of Shem. Shem was 100 years old when he became the father of Arphaxad, two years after the flood.

Exodus 5:12

Hebrew Bible

10 So the slave masters of the people and their foremen went to the Israelites and said, “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I am not giving you straw. 11 You go get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, because there will be no reduction at all in your workload.’” 12 So the people spread out through all the land of Egypt to collect stubble for straw. 13 The slave masters were pressuring them, saying, “Complete your work for each day, just like when there was straw!” 14 The Israelite foremen whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them were beaten and were asked, “Why did you not complete your requirement for brickmaking as in the past—both yesterday and today?”

 Notes and References

"... An indicator of literary analogy is the repetition of rarely used words and phrases in the context of parallel motifs. In this case, we see a shared use of the word for building bricks connecting the Babel narrative with the Exodus narrative. It is essential to note that the verb ןבל ‘to make bricks’ and the plural noun םיִנֵבְל ‘bricks’ are used together only in these two places in the Torah (Genesis 11:3; Exodus 5:7), and in both places refer to building projects that are antithetical to the purposes of God for his people. Just prior to Abram’s exodus from Egypt (Genesis 12:10–13:4), the Babel narrative describes the building of a city of bricks (םיִנֵבְל, Genesis 11:3). God, however, thwarts this building project by scattering its builders over the face of the whole land: ץֶראָָה־לָכ יֵנְפּ־לַע םָשִּׁמ םָתֹא הָוהְי ץֶפָיַּו (Genesis 11:8). Likewise, just prior to Israel’s exodus from Egypt and return to the Promised Land, the Israelites build cities of bricks (םיִנֵבְל) for Pharaoh (Exodus 5:7). This building project, however, is thwarted (Exodus 5:14-19) when the Israelites are compelled to scatter over all the land: ץֶפָיַּו םָעָה םִיָרְצִמ ץֶרֶא־לָכְבּ (Exodus 5:12). The nearly identical wording of Exodus 5:12 and Genesis 11:8 in a matrix of parallel motifs suggest the presence of an intentional analogy ..."

Postell, Seth D. Abram As Israel, Israel As Abram Literary Analogy As Macro-Structural Strategy In The Torah (pp. 161-182) Tyndale Bulletin 67.2, 2016

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