Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What Peleg Teaches Us - Part I

What do we learn from Peleg? His name appears only once in the Old Testament (Genesis 10:25), the word origin appearing three times (Genesis 10:25; Job 38:25; Psalm 55:9). The name is close to the Hebrew word Palag, meaning “division,” and is considered by most scholars as the meaning of the actual name given, Peleg. 
Naturally, Moses draws that parallel, for he writes: “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg for in his days was the earth divided” (Genesis 10:25).
    “In the Days of Peleg” have become synonymous with several changes, including a previous article we wrote here about the division of the Priesthood between the Old World (Jews) and the New World (Jared). ‘When we follow that line of thinking, we find the story of Jared where it begins in the Old Terstament and begins the Book of Mormon. We also find that ancient documents in the days of Peleg are consistent with the total accuracy of the Bible’s chronology.
As an example, four generations after the Flood, and six generations from Noah, Moses records the birth of Peleg. Some suggest the continents of the earth were divided at this time, while others feel this is unlikely, as such a process would have had to occur within a very confined time period (of course, nothing is too difficult for the Lord), believing that the resultant geological violence would be overwhelmingly catastrophic—like another Noahic Flood all over again.
    Whether the Flood and the division occurred at the same time, or one followed the other, is a matter of another article (see the book Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths for a scholarly explanation). The point is, these events occurred. One thing is for certain, that about this time, with the Tower of Babel disbursement and the scattering of the people, continents were divided and nations established.
    Amidst this period, then, the Jaredite nation came into being, their language was not confounded, and they were led to a land of promise—that same Land of Promise later given to Lehi.  Now the placement of Jared within this time frame is one of speculation, however, the overall timing can be closely determined by the events described in Genesis and those in Ether.
The Jaredites were between the establishment of the Tower at Babylon and the forming of Egypt after the disbursement 
    At what point did the nations become established?
    According to the biblical chronology as deduced by Archbishop Ussher, the Flood occurred in 2349–2348 BC, and Peleg was born in 2247 BC about a hundred years later. According to our interpretation of Moses in Genesis, following the births of the Patriarchs, the Flood occurred in 2344-2343 B.C., about five years later.
    As we look at the historical writers of the past, we find a resounding agreement with these dates generally, beginning with the establishment of the first settlement of which we know and that is Babylon
    In the year 331 B.C. After Alexander the Great had defeated Darius at Gaugmela near Arbela, he journeyed to Babylon. Here he received 1903 years of astronomical observations from the Chaldeans, which they claimed dated back to the founding of Babylon. If this was so, then that would place the founding of Babylon in 2234 BC, or about thirteen years after the birth of Peleg. This was recorded in the sixth book of De Caelo (“About the heavens”) by Simplicius, a Latin writer in the 6th century AD. Porphyry (an anti-Christian Greek philosopher, c. 234–305 AD).
    Following Babylon, we find that historically Egypt emerged. The Byzantine chronicler Constantinus Manasses (d. 1187) wrote that the Egyptian state lasted 1663 years. If correct, then counting backward from the time that Cambyses, king of Persia, conquered Egypt in 526 BC, gives us the year of 2188 B.C. for the founding of Egypt, which is about 60 years after the birth of Peleg. About this time Mizraim, the son of Ham, led his colony into Egypt. Hence the Hebrew word for Egypt is Mizraim, sometimes referred to as “the land of Ham” (Psalm 105:23, 27). In fact, even today Egyptians call their country Mizr, sometimes referring to Cairo as Mizr; and Egyptians are called Mizrim (Augustin Calmet, Dicitonary of the Holy Bible by Charles Taylor, Holdsworth and Ball, 1832).
    Next came Greece. According to the 4th Century bishop and historian Eusebius of Caesarea, Egialeus, king of the Greek city of Sicyon, west of Corinth in Peloponnesus, began his reign in 2089 B.C., 1313 years before the first Olympiad in 776 BC. (J. Ussher, Annales Veteris Testamenti, Flesher and Sadler, London, p. 6, or paragraph 54 in the revised work, 1654).
    If Eusebius is correct, then this king started to reign about 160 years after the birth of Peleg.
    Note that Babylon, Egypt, and Greece each spoke a different language. These ancient historians have unwittingly confirmed the extreme accuracy of the biblical genealogies as found in the Hebrew scriptures. The Tower of Babel would have had to have occurred before the founding of these other three kingdoms. Babel (Babylon), being in the same region as the Tower, would have been one of the earliest kingdoms, of course, as the confounding of the languages drove people away from one another and scattered them abroad.
    Of the other kingdoms, the ones most distant from Babel would have been founded the latest. This is exactly what these writers have described. First Babylon, then Egypt, and then Greece were founded.
1=Ark landed; 2=Rebellious settled in Babylon, where their language was confounded and the first settlement after the confusion of tongues took place; 3; Egypt was the second settlement after the confusion of tongues; 4=Greece was the third settlement after the confusion of tongues. Note the increasing distances from the Tower
    Another point is also shown here, and that is about human nature. After the Tower of Babel, people were forced to split into groups according to their new language. Humans are basically lazy. They would have moved away only as far from Babel as they had to in order to live in peace. However, population pressure, military force, or the desire to search for “greener pastures” would have induced them to move out further and further. So civilization would have slowly spread by periodic migrations from its center at Babel.
    Although secular historians ignore the events of Babel and the Flood, they assume civilization started in the Middle East, likely near Babylon, and spread out slowly from there. However, they use a time frame much earlier than the time deduced from the biblical chronologies.
    Manetho (Manethos), the 3rd Century B.C. writer of Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt), which has been used by Egyptologists to establish the reigns of the pharaohs, also connects the Flood with Peleg, claiming that the Tower was built five years after Peleg’s birth. (Manetho, The Book of Sothis, Harvard Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 239. (Loeb Classical Library 350).
    If this is correct, then it would be confirmed that the migrations recorded in Genesis 10 occurred over a period of time, for the apparent leaders of many of these national groups would have been very young children when the confusion of languages occurred. In fact, J. Ussher deduced that the division of the earth at the time of Peleg’s birth was Noah dividing the land among his grandchildren, which is most likely part of this event, though it may not be the only part of the division. Some of these divisions moved to Shinar, where they conspired to hinder this dispersion of them as commanded by God and begun by Noah, building the city and tower of Babylon (Babel). God frustrated this project with the confusion of languages, which was then followed by the dispersion of nations.

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