Babel is mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 11:1-9. This passage tells us that the peoples on Earth spoke one language. The word of God first came to a man named Abram as he was living in Ur, located in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Abram eventually settled in a land called Haran (also in Mesopotamia). While settling various disputes at home, Abram heard about his family and relatives back in Ur. He thought it would be nice to visit them.
The Tower of Babel is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament. It is about a time when people decided to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven to meet God. God didn’t like this, so he destroyed the tower and scattered everyone that had worked there from one place on Earth to the other. But what happened next?
Babel In The Bible Introduction Babel and the Tower of Babel are featured prominently in both the Bible and other ancient near east literature. In a general sense, the story of Babel tells us how God governs all aspects of societies and how He control’s even the secular and religious powers that hold sway over those societies. Because of this it is important to explore the details of the Babel story.
If you have some idea what Babel is, this article probably isn’t for you. Just in case though, Babel is mentioned in the Bible as a city in Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq). All of this was explained in the article above.
Babel In The Bible
Babel or Babylon – which name do you know? You might have heard of the Biblical story in Genesis 11 on the Tower of Babel. But what else do you know about this? What can we learn from the story that is not often talked about? Is it really just a story or is there a meaning behind it all?
The origin of language was not that of one single developing language, but rather many languages. These languages were not all created at once, but over thousands of years. The earliest recorded language dates back to 3500 B.C., while the use of cuneiform began around 3500 BC.
Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, leads us through the maze of language in his latest book: Why is There a Language
Babel, or Bab-ilu, was a city in Mesopotamia, which the Bible mentions as one of the locations where people came together to build the Tower of Babel. Babel or Bab-ilu is an Akkadian word meaning “Gate of God(s)”. Ancient inscriptions suggest that inhabitants of this city believed that it would protect them from evil and harm; that it would be heaven on earth. The Bible reports that Babylonians were beginning to build enormous structures around the city of Babylon in honor gods such as Anshar, Kishar and Anu.
Babel In The Bible
The story of the Tower of Babel is explained in chapter 11 of Genesis in just a few verses. This is a summary of the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel. You can read more in-depth Bible verses from the Scripture below and use the articles and videos to understand the meaning behind this teachable event in the Bible.
The descendants of Noah were living in the area of Mesopotamia in Babylon. They settled in a land named Shinar. The population was growing and they all spoke one language. The people decided to build a tall, proud symbol of how great they had made their nation. The Babylonians wanted a tower that would “reach to the heavens” so that they could be like God and that they would not need Him. They began to construct a great ziggurat.
God did not like the pride and arrogance in the hearts of the people. God caused the people to suddenly speak different languages so they could not communicate and work together to build the tower. This caused the people to scatter across the land. The tower was named The Tower of Babel because the word Babel means confusion. This story is a powerful reminder of how important it is to obey God’s Word and not think that we can build a successful but godless life on our own!
What Is the Tower of Babel?
As Nimrod began his reign, he and his followers had one overriding goal for their new territory; they wanted to ensure the security of their community by building a prestigious landmark to make a name for themselves. “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
The structure—a tower made from man-made building materials—would be a symbol of their power and self-sufficiency, and some historians believe that Nimrod had an additional motive for wanting to build the tower of Babel.
In What Was the Sin That Condemned the Tower of Babel? Alyssa Roat offers a quote that gives insight into Nimrod’s frame of mind. “The ancient historian Josephus states of Nimrod, ‘He also said he would be revenged on God if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 4).”
God saw that the people were working together toward a common goal. But unfortunately, the goal they were working toward was steeped in arrogance and in direct opposition to God’s command to multiply and “fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1).
In their attempt to maintain unity and create a name for themselves, God’s people rebelled against God’s sovereign authority and embraced their own self-sufficiency. They felt they didn’t need God to rule over them—they could rule themselves; they could reach the heavens on their own terms, with their own hands, by their own means.
God’s justice and His grace could not allow this treachery to continue. “So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:8-9)
Location of the Tower of Babel:
There has been much difference of opinion as to the geographical position of the Tower of Babel. Following the tradition handed down by the Jews and Arabs, most writers upon the subject have identified it with the great Temple of Nebo in the city of Borsippa, now called the Birs-Nimroud (explained as a corruption of Birj Nimroud, “Tower of Nimrod”). This building, however, notwithstanding its importance, was to all appearance never regarded by the Babylonians as the Tower of Babel, for the very good reason that it was not situated in Babylon, but in Borsippa, which, though called, in later times, “the second Babylon,” was naturally not the original city of that name. The erection regarded by the Babylonians as the great Tower of their ancient city was E-temen-ana-ki, “the Temple of the foundation of heaven and earth,” called by Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar ziqqurat Babili, “the Tower of Babylon”–the world-renowned temple dedicated to Merodach and his consort Zer- panitum, Babylon’s chief deities.
The Builders of the Tower:
The Bible record does not state who the people were who journeyed in the East and built the city and the Tower. The indefinite “they” might be taken to mean whatever people were there at the time the record was written, and probably presupposes that the reader would certainly know. As the Tower of Babel bears, in the native inscriptions, a Sumero-Akkadian name, it may be supposed that the builders referred to belonged to that race.