The Tower of Babel - Genesis 11

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-32

Nimrod was the great-grandson of Noah.  "He began to be a mighty one on the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the Lord....  And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel...."  Genesis 10:8-10. 

His company had journeyed from the east to a plain in the land of Shinar, where they settled down.  Since there was brick for stone and asphalt for mortar, they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens..., lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."  Genesis 11:4.  There isn't anything wrong with building cities and towers.  However, their plans were contrary to God's purpose for them.  Earlier He had said to Noah and his sons, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."  They were commissioned to go and spread the knowledge of God throughout the earth.  Instead, they became obsessed with their self-preservation.  Their reluctance to be scattered abroad over the earth expressed a defiant spirit toward the Lord.

They were also absorbed with their self-exaltation, saying, "Let us make a name for ourselves."  This tower to the heavens was to become their symbol of fame.  Some Bible teachers believe that the tower was a ziggurat with a runway or stairs that spiraled to the top, where sacrifices were offered on a pagan altar.  The primary purpose for building the tower was not to worship some gods, but to promote themselves.

The proud citizens of this kingdom were about to self-destruct.  God had decided, "Now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them."  Whenever anyone thinks and acts outside of His good and acceptable and perfect will the inevitable result is tragic.  God can execute judgment just by giving us what we demand.  The way of transgressors is always hard.

We find some humor in Genesis 11:7, where God says, "Let us go down...."  The ambitious citizens of Babel were enthusiastically building a high tower which they believed extended to the heavens.  We don't know how tall the tower stood, but we do know that God came down to take a look at it.  Undoubtedly He had to stoop over and bend down to see it.  Of course.

Until that time "the whole earth had one language and one speech."  Genesis 11:1.  But God changed all of that at Babel.  He confused their language, so that they couldn't understand each other.  Today there are more than 3,000 languages and dialects in the world.

With the confusion came dispersion.  "So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city."  Genesis 11:8.  God has His ways of having His purpose fulfilled in the world.

In conclusion consider Isaiah 57:14, which says, "For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.'" 


High and Holy God, there is no one else like You.  We have learned that You resist the proud and give grace to the humble.  Stir within us a humble and contrite spirit that will honor You in all that we do.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


Promises! Promises! - Genesis 12


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Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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