Peleg’s Divided Earth

“Peleg” means Sea

Q. Genesis 10:25 and 1 Chronicles 1:19 says, “And two sons were born to Eber. The name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided.” What does that mean? Is this the same Peleg in Jesus’ lineage? (Luke 3:35).


The prefix “pelag” means sea. For example, we have the word “archipelago” meaning a sea with many, divided islands. “Pelagic” sediments exist on the ocean floor. The word “pelagic” often refers to life forms found in the sea, and the word “Bathypelagic” means living in the deep sea. (Brown, 1980, 254).

Division by Water

A Hebrew professor, Dr. Bernard Northrup, has demonstrated that “peleg” originally meant division by water. According to Dr. Brown, “that meaning is embedded in all three language families of Noah’s offspring. Consequently, its meaning probably preceded the multiplication of languages at Babel” (1980, 254). Yes, this is the same “Peleg” in Jesus’ lineage from Luke 3:35.

Babel & Noah’s Day

Note that Nimrod of Babel lived three generations after Noah (Genesis 10:8-10) while Peleg lived five generations after Noah. So the continental drift or rising water levels probably began during and after the flood of Noah’s day.

Doesn’t it makes sense that Noah’s descendants would have known how to build ships patterned after Noah’s ark and probably became explorers who repopulated the whole earth after the devastating, cataclysmic flood – literally?

There are three primary theories about how the earth was divided in Peleg’s day:

1.The division of peoples when languages were confused at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

2.The continents were divided by continental drift during Peleg’s day.

3.Rising water divided the continents.

Dr. Brown feels that the hydroplate theory (rising waters) best explains how and why:

“Immediately after the flood, sea level was several miles lower than today, because the floor of the subterranean chambers was about 10 miles below the earth’s surface. As it crushed, thickened, buckled, and sediment-ladened continents sank into the mantle in the centuries after the flood, sea level had to rise in compensation. Eventually, sea level approached today’s level.” (Brown, 1980, 255).

Language Confusion Dividing Earth

Personally, I don’t see a problem in believing that language confusion at Babel may have also comprised part of “dividing the earth.” Furthermore, some legends contribute to the idea of a theory of rising waters. For example, Hopi Indian legends reveal that after a huge flood their ancestors used rafts to “island hop” for a long time somewhere outside the Americas. (Interesting tidbit).

Continental Drift

The other theory, continental drift, requires incredible violence done to land masses to cause these kinds of continental divisions. I don’t see a problem with this theory, either, since only Noah and his family survived the flood. All living things – humans and creatures – were killed by the flood’s scope and violence.


Brown, Walt. 2001. In the beginning. Phoenix, AZ: Center for Scientific Creation, Seventh Edition. Available from: (ISBN 1-878026-08-9).

Dillow, Joseph C. 1981. The waters above. Chicago: Moody press.