Old Testament

The Pentateuch

What was the Tower of Babel?

At this time, people spoke with one language—and liked it that way. In a movement of solidarity, they began to build a tower. “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” (NRSV, Genesis 11:4) God did not like this. So, again invoking the plural first person, God said, “Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” (NRSV, Genesis 11:7) In this, what many Bible scholars see as his final step in creating civilized humanity, God established a variety of territorial groups and a variety of languages by scattering these people all over the earth.


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