11:2 from the east. The phrase may mean “eastward.” It is also possible that, as the people migrated from Ararat, they first went farther to the east, and then turned back westward until they came to the plain of Shinar (Sumer). This fertile valley so reminded them of Eden that they named its two rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) after two of the Edenic rivers.
11:2 land of Shinar. The reference to Shinar ties back in to Genesis 10:10, reminding us that the leader of the population by this time was Nimrod, “the mighty tyrant in the face of the LORD” (Genesis 10:9).
11:2 dwelt there. Their decision to “dwell” here in one location was in defiance of God’s command to “fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1,7). God’s design was to have a multiplicity of local governmental units (Genesis 9:5,6; Acts 17:26,27), but Nimrod purposed to establish a one-government dictatorship under himself. When Shem’s son Asshur settled in a separate location, Nimrod quickly took it over (Genesis 10:11).