Unraveling Babel – Date and Population


ziggurat_mod_smallAt Genesis and Genetics, we are currently working on human migration. In order to understand the migration, it is helpful to know the population and date of the scattering of humanity from Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). The genealogy presented in Genesis chapters 10 and 11 has allowed us to extract both the date and population at this pivotal event in the history of man.


We have concluded that the date was 116 ± 15 years after the flood and the population was approximately 126.

We know, for sure, that the scattering occurred before the time of Abraham since Abraham came from the land of Ur (Genesis 11:31, Genesis 12:1), and not Babel. From Table 1, we see that Abraham was born 292 years after the flood; therefore, we have a boundary time frame.

Table 1. Ten Generations (of Shem) after the Flood




Age at First Childs birth

(Chapter 10)

(Chapter 11)

Years after Flood

Arphaxad Arphaxad



Shelah Shelah



Eber Eber



Peleg Peleg





















Note: figure 1 was compiled from Genesis chapters 10 and 11.

Now we can further refine the date by using Genesis chapter 10 which is called the “table of nations.” Chapter 10 documents those who were the founders of nations and were presumably at Babel. We know that Noah had three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth; and through these three sons the entire world was populated. Genesis chapter 10 ends with the following verse:

Genesis 10:32 These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. (ESV)

Therefore, we can deduce that those not listed in the table of nations were born after the scattering. From Figure 1, we see that Peleg was born 101 years after the flood. Peleg was mentioned in the table of nations, but his son Rue was not mentioned, nor was any of Shem’s ancestry after Peleg. From figure 1, we see that Peleg was 30 years old when he begot Rue; therefore, the scattering had to happen during the first 30 years of Peleg’s life. This allows us to conclude that the scattering happened during the year 116 ± 15 years after the flood.

Now concerning the population at the time of the scattering, it is simply the table of nations population (the 62 men called by name in Genesis chapter 10 times two = 124) plus Noah and his wife (126). This assumes that there were equal numbers of men and women.

In summary, we can be assured that the dispersion at Babel happened before the birth of Abraham 292 years after the flood; and using Genesis chapter 10 as the documentation of the individuals at the time of the scattering, we conclude it happened 116 plus or minus 15 years after the flood, and the population was very close to 126. These are the numbers we will use for our forth coming human migration studies.

Additional points of interest:

(1) Noah lived 350 years after the flood, but his activities after the incident in the cave (Genesis 9:20-27) were not documented.

(2) Noah and Abraham coexisted on the earth for 58 years. Abraham’s birth was 292 years after the flood and Noah lived 350 after the flood (350-292=58).

(3) Noah was not included in Genesis chapter 10 (table of nations), so we are not sure with which family he dwelt. We feel there is a strong chance that Noah migrated with Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, or Peleg and knew Abraham very well teaching Abraham the things that he, Noah, had learned directly from God.

(4) There is also a good probability that Noah greatly influenced Job and his friends. This is a subject of a future blog.

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3 thoughts on “Unraveling Babel – Date and Population

    1. David,

      Yes, I do believe that the waters continued to rise after the flood and accompanying ice age, and the continents were divided.


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