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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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grant phillipines June 27, 2016

History repeated itself,like today we a lot of example of tower. Reply

Jason Michaud Portland 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. Reply

noah moon 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... Reply

Anthony Florida January 31, 2016

I believe this is how "Pangea" happened. Does anyone agree? Reply

mischelle ohio January 21, 2016

Nimrod Nimrod was after the flood. Reply

Darrell Birkey Lakewood December 28, 2015

" The Tower itself was partly burned and partly swallowed by the earth."

Where is that in the Bible? Reply

Shaul Wolf Chabad.org 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 Reply

jason wyck 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. Reply

Karen louisiana October 18, 2015

Nimrod was before the flood and Abraham came after the flood. Reply

Anonymous virginia 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. Reply

adielavictor N July 2, 2015

interesting Reply

Menachem Posner March 17, 2015

Re: Nimrod The origin of these clothing and the special properties they brought to Nimrod is found in Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer (chapters 20 and 24).

Ultimately, everything--even the serpent--is from G-d Himself. Reply

Jessy Jee Africa. March 10, 2015

Nimrod: Please, i need some clarification here, 'cause it all sounds like a fairytale to me. "That Nimrod derived his power from Adam's clothing which he had in his possession," is none biblical. And , diabolical, to my understanding. Again, the bible did mention (Gen.3:21) 'long garment of skin', but never the animal specie----------lion,bull or serpent. How do we know this? And, is that the Power of God, or the power of the davil? Reply

Paul (Yaakov) Philadelphia PA May 18, 2014

Are you sure you meant to say this? "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." I don't believe that is true or that is Judaism, particularly not American Judaism. There has to be a balance betweenvaluing the individual and valuing the community. Thank you. Reply

Anonymous February 21, 2014

"c. According the Midrash, Nimrod derived his strength from Adam’s clothing which he had in his possession. Since his strength was not due to physique but to the clothing, his age had no bearing on his power."

Magic clothes? really? Reply

Anonymous -, Cartersville,Ga August 22, 2013

Was Nemrod nephilim of Genesis (6:4) ? Reply

yaakov February 28, 2012

nimrod bad man Hey, Thanks for writing this article, I needed a reliable explanation. Reply

Menachem Posner for Chabad.org October 3, 2008

RE: Nimrod While one would indeed have expected Nimrod to be irrelevant by the time Abraham came onto the scene, there are a few factors which come into play here:

a. The average lifespan in those days was much longer than it is today, with the oldest people pushing 1,000 years!
b. They did not age as we do. Instead, many people were hale and hardy until their last day. For this reason, even a very old Nimrod would be as influential as ever.
c. According the Midrash, Nimrod derived his strength from Adam’s clothing which he had in his possession. Since his strength was not due to physique but to the clothing, his age had no bearing on his power.
Reply

Anonymous Phoeniix, AZ, USA September 30, 2008

Nimrod Nimrod would be dead before Abram(Abraham) was born. Nimrod was the third generation from Noah, Abraham was the tenth generation. Even if Nimrod did survive to see Abraham grow to an adult, Nimrod would be a very old man and the people of Shinar would have several new rulers by Abraham's generation, effectively making Nimrod quite useless with exception for being the central figure of a widespread folktale. Reply