Genesis 10 is primarily a record of genealogies and the various divisions which would eventually take place. However, when we come to Genesis 11, we see what caused the division of nations and languages mentioned in the preceding chapter. All the people of the earth were together in the plain of Shinar and shared one language. They were determined to build a tower "whose top is in the heavens" (Genesis 11:4, NKJV).
There are a few other words inside ta related to the construction of the tower. If the image for dust is removed from the left side, the character then becomes UNDERTAKING (tà). Certainly, the building project they planned was a huge undertaking. But further, if we remove the image for grass from the top of UNDERTAKING, we are left with the word UNITED (ge). To finish the tower would be a huge undertaking that would require a united effort.
However, the building of the tower was not God's will. The LORD had commanded,
...be fruitful and multiply on the earth ... be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth ... be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it. (Genesis 8:17; 9:1, 7, NKJV)
Rather than heeding the voice of the LORD and departing from the plain of Shinar to populate the earth, the people stayed together, saying,
...let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4, NKJV)
...the LORD said, 'Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. (Genesis 11:6-7, NKJV)
...the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth ... Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:8-9, NKJV)
The Hebrew word for Babel literally means confusion. The Chinese word for BABEL (ba bié) speaks of the reason behind the confusion. It records God's DESIRE for man to SEPARATE or DEPART from the plain of Shinar, that the whole earth might be populated.
by William J. Stewart