The Tower of Babel Incident

The previous post in this series is:

Genealogies Galore: Shem’s Lineage

The first post in this series about Creation is In the Beginning.

Genesis eleven discusses the third cataclysmic event in history, the Tower of Babel incident. Humans clumped together into a city in what is now Iran and Iraq. They built a big tower there. Today we would call it a pyramid.

Naturally, all of them shared the same language. I think this language was Hebrew, due to the many instances where a Hebrew word-play occurs in Genesis prior to Babel. Now, it could simply be that Moses translated the names of the other nations to Hebrew, and included the wordplays. In my opinion, that seems unlikely, due to the large changes in style in the sections of Genesis. However, this is speculation, not fact; we don’t really know what the language was.

In any case, we DO know who was present in this “city”: the fifty-six named descendants of Noah, and their families. It is also possible that the thirteen sons of Joktan (Peleg’s brother, the other son of Eber) were alive, but the implication is that they were not yet born.

This event occurred within four generations of Noah. It occurs between 199 and 229 years after the flood, or between 2150 BC and 2120 BC.

Further, the ages of the patriarchs listed later in Genesis eleven show a dramatic reduction in lifespans after the Deluge. The Deluge apparently changed more than just the landscape. Nobody after Noah would live for 900+ years again.

Now, the biggest question about the language confusion at Babel is why? Why did God confuse the languages? Because of translation issues, it seems as though God was worried about their tower reaching heaven.

In fact, the reason for the language changes was because they were disobeying the dominion mandate given in Genesis two and again in Genesis nine. Instead of filling the earth, they were congregating together into this city.

The language change forced the people to stop working together, because they could no longer communicate. Each man and his family had to fend for themselves. I imagine there were a few brawls as a result, but the bottom line is that they were forced away from each other.

The next post in this series is:

The Rest of the Creation Story