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The Tower Of Babel

The Tower Of Babel

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Conceit of the People

It was towards the end of Peleg’s life that something happened which changed the social life of all men on earth.

After the Flood, man had again begun to multiply and fill the earth. They all spoke one language and understood one another well. The generations of people before the Flood had been interested only in themselves; they thought of themselves as supermen and lived each one for himself alone; they used violence and force against their weaker neighbors, paying no attention to laws and rules. The new generation of mankind was different. They stressed the opposite code of living. The individual did not count for himself; he counted only as part of the community, and he had to subject his own interests to those of the group. Had they confined themselves to this kind of social life, all might have been well. But they overdid it. The tremendous strength that grew out of their organization and goodwill made them proud, and their pride made them turn against G‑d.

They decided to build a tower which was to reach to heaven, to make them equal to G‑d, and at the same time, to make it possible for them to stay together. This symbol of their divine strength, as they thought, was to be built in the valley of the Land of Shinear.

Their Punishment

G‑d decided to destroy their arrogance by destroying their ability to understand one another. He, therefore, confused the people by splitting them up into seventy different nations and tribes, each with a language of its own, (hence the name Babel, meaning “confusion”).

When this happened, the project of the Tower had to be given up. The various groups migrated in different directions and settled in all parts of the world. The Tower itself was partly burned and partly swallowed by the earth.

Nimrod

But even this severe punishment did not bring the people back to the ways of G‑d. During the time of Nimrod, who was the grandson of Ham, the wickedness of the people increased tremendously. Nimrod had inherited the clothes of Adam, made out of the skin of the Serpent, and he was unconquerable. All the animals of the world obeyed him and kings recognized his rule. He proclaimed himself god, and images of his face were shown all over the country. People had to serve him and bring him offerings.

It was in this age of idolatry that a new star appeared on the horizon-the only shining star in a dark sky.

From Our People by Jacob Isaacs published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society 1946-1948
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Discussion (19)
June 27, 2016
History repeated itself,like today we a lot of example of tower.
grant
phillipines
April 24, 2016
I see you are missing the point in all of this. It is a blatant act in defiance of the Living God. Which is easily seen in the world we live in now. The height of the tower does not matter. The meaning of its existence was a symbol of direct defiance toward the Lord.
Jason Michaud
Portland
February 25, 2016
In ancient Greek the word tower translates to Observatory, which also has an alternate definition meaning window. So what was the Tower of Babel really? with their technology they wouldn't be able to build a tower as high as we can today and God doesn't stop that...
noah
moon
January 31, 2016
I believe this is how "Pangea" happened. Does anyone agree?
Anthony
Florida
January 21, 2016
Nimrod
Nimrod was after the flood.
mischelle
ohio
December 28, 2015
" The Tower itself was partly burned and partly swallowed by the earth."

Where is that in the Bible?
Darrell Birkey
Lakewood
November 12, 2015
Re: 70 nations
The 70 nations refer to the 70 descendants of Noah mentioned in Genesis 10. For a reading of this chapter, see here
Shaul Wolf
Chabad.org
November 8, 2015
Do the Torah tells us who were the 70 nations and the languages spoken? I read an article that the 70 nations were listed in Genesis 10 and 11 but I'm not sure.
jason wyck
October 18, 2015
Nimrod was before the flood and Abraham came after the flood.
Karen
louisiana
August 17, 2015
G-d decided to destroy their arrogance by destroying their ability to understand one another. He, therefore, confused the people by splitting them up into seventy different nations and tribes, each with a language of its own, (hence the name Babel, meaning “confusion”). What are the commentaries of the sages regarding the consequences of G-d's punishment? Although one language would perhaps create an opportunity for dictatorship and abuse of power by man, separation by multiple languages and cultures has certainly created difficulties for Tikun Olam.
Anonymous
virginia