נפלגה. נִתְבַּלְבְּלוּ הַלְּשׁוֹנוֹת וְנָפוֹצוּ מִן הַבִּקְעָה וְנִתְפַּלְּגוּ בְכָל הָעוֹלָם. לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁהָיָה עֵבֶר נָבִיא, שֶׁקָּרָא שֵׁם בְּנוֹ עַל שֵׁם הֶעָתִיד; וְשָׁנִינוּ בְסֵדֶר עוֹלָם שֶׁבְּסוֹף יָמָיו נִתְפַּלְּגוּ, שֶׁאִ"תֹּ בִּתְחִלַּת יָמָיו, הֲרֵי יָקְטָן אָחִיו צָעִיר מִמֶּנּוּ וְהוֹלִיד כַּמָּה מִשְׁפָּחוֹת קֹדֶם לָכֵן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְיָקְטָן יָלַד וְגוֹ' וְאַחַר כָּךְ וַיְהִי כָל הָאָרֶץ וְגוֹ'; וְאִ"תֹּ בְּאֶמְצַע יָמָיו, לֹא בָא הַכָּתוּב לִסְתֹּם אֶלָּא לְפָרֵשׁ, הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁבִּשְׁנַת מוֹת פֶּלֶג נִתְפַּלְּגוּ:
נפלגה [THE EARTH] WAS DIVIDED — The languages became confounded and they (the peoples) were scattered abroad from the plain of Shinar, and were dispersed throughout the whole world. We may learn from this that Eber was a prophet, for he gave his son the name פלג, “division” after an event which was to happen in the future (Genesis Rabbah 37:7). For we learn in Seder Olam that it was during the last of his days that they were dispersed abroad. For if you argue that this happened early in his life (and that therefore he was not anticipating the future in so naming his son, but that the name referred to an event that had already happened), behold, his brother Joktan was younger than he and he had begotten many families previous to the dispersion, as it is said (10:26) “And Joktan begot etc.” and only afterwards is it stated “And the whole earth was etc.” (with reference to the dispersion). If, on the other hand, you argue that the dispersal happened in the middle period of his life, then I reply that the verse surely does not intend to refer to the time when the dispersion took place in an indefinite manner, but to state quite definitely when it was. Hence you may learn that it was in the year of Peleg’s death that they were dispersed.
ויקטן. שֶׁהָיָה עָנָו וּמַקְטִין עַצְמוֹ, לְכָךְ זָכָה לְהַעֲמִיד כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת הַלָּלוּ:
יקטן JOKTAN — He was so called (“the little one”) because he was so humble and thought little (ומקטין) of himself; therefore he merited the privilege of rearing all these families (Genesis Rabbah 37:7).