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Man’s Plan at Babel

line Man’s Plan at Babel

Pause and Consider



‘Man’s Plan at Babel’


And they said one to another, ‘Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.  (4)  And they said, ‘Come, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ (Gen 11:3, 4)

We return to our consideration of the event at the Tower of Babel so long ago.  To catch up, this occurred about 300 years after the Flood.  Following the Flood, mankind was given the privilege of governing himself.  He was to scatter, multiply, and fill the earth; repeated twice (Gen 1:28; 9:7).

Clearly the decision to build a tower was made by a group, perhaps a council.  Lacking stone and timber, they used clay for bricks.  The ‘slime’ used for mortar refers to bitumen, which could be asphalt, tar or some other petroleum based substance.

What did they build?  A ziggurat—this was like a pyramid except that the successive layers were recessed so that you could walk to the top of the ‘steps.’  At the top was a special shrine dedicated to a god or goddess.  They desired that its top would ‘reach unto heaven.’  This likely involved some false worship, perhaps astrology.  Here we have man trying to reach God by his own efforts.  They hoped that the god would come down from heaven to meet them.

‘Babel’ means ‘gate of the gods’ in the Akkadian language.  In Hebrew it means ‘confusion.’  It is an example of onomatopoeia—it sounds like what it is.

Let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered abroad…”  As Francis Schaeffer writes, “This is the first public declaration of humanism.”  They wished to maintain a human unity and achieve a social stability. Man, as always, is seeking to be autonomous from God.

Who was the leader?  Nimrod.  The previous chapter describes him.  And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, ‘Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.’  (10)  And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.  (11)  Out of that land went forth Asshur, and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, (12) and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. (Gen 10:8-12)

Nimrod was a powerful, wicked leader who “hunted” people to follow his rebellion.  It appears he was worshipped as a god.  His wife Semiramis and his son Tammuz, also came into the picture.  His wife was the ‘queen of heaven,’ the forerunner of all female goddess worship and the exaltation of Mary.  She was worshipped throughout the Bible lands, and was referred to in Jeremiah (chapters 7, 44).

There are three sins that Nimrod and his ilk committed: pride (4) Let us build for ourselves; Let us make a name for ourselves; rebellion (4) “…lest we be scattered; and idolatry, as worship was performed atop the tower.

At some point after the Flood, Nimrod convinced many of the early descendants of Noah who had congregated in the Valley of Shinar to build a ziggurat as a pathway for unknown gods to descend to earth, thereby introducing to the globe a paganism that has never ceased, and effectively destroying humanity’s slowly degenerating view of the image of Noah’s God.

How did God respond to this?  We plan to take this up next time.

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