Dividing the Earth

  • Biblical data

    • Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided… (Genesis 10:25)

  • Scientific Data

    • Land bridges covered by rising oceans ~11,000 ya

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Slide 96 of 109

It has been proposed that the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg was caused by the covering of land bridges at the end of the last ice age. The scientific data indicates that the temporary land bridges between continents were covered completely by 11,000 years ago.1 Peleg is derived from the Hebrew word palag, which means “divide” or “divided”. This word occurs 4 times in the Old Testament. Twice it refers to the Sons of Eber (Genesis 10:25 and 1 Chronicles 1:19).2 A third time, it refers to making a channel from a flood (Job 38:25)3 and the fourth time it refers to the confusion of the speech of the wicked (Psalm 55:9).4 The use of the word Peleg in reference to creating a channel from a flood suggests that God might have used the melting ice from the last glaciation to remove the land bridges to separate the major human populations.


To divide, split, or cleave.

Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions:

palag peleg (Strong's H6385)

  1. to divide, split

    1. (Niphal) to be split, be divided

    2. (Piel)

      1. to split, cleave

      2. to divide

Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1769

References Top of page

  1. S. A. Elias, et al. 1996. Life and Times of the Bering Land Bridge. Nature 382: 60-63.

  2. And two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother's name was Joktan. (Genesis 10:25)
    And two sons were born to Eber, the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother's name was Joktan. (1 Chronicles 1:19)

  3. "Who has cleft a channel for the flood, Or a way for the thunderbolt; (Job 38:25)

  4. Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city. (Psalm 55:9)

Last Modified June 21, 2006


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