The Tower of Babel

After the worldwide flood, Genesis gives us the genealogy of Noah’s sons: Japheth, Ham, and Shem.  Genesis then focuses on Nimrod, the son of Cush who was the son of Ham.  According to Genesis 10:8, Nimrod was the first powerful ruler on earth and a mighty hunter before the Lord.  Even though the Bible doesn’t give a lot of detail about Nimrod, we can learn more about him from the Book of Jasher. 

Jasher 9:20-22 reveals Nimrod’s involvement in the building of the tower of Babel:  “And king Nimrod reigned securely, and all the earth was under his control, and all the earth was of one tongue and words of union. And all the princes of Nimrod and his great men took counsel together; Phut, Mitzraim, Cush and Canaan with their families, and they said to each other, Come let us build ourselves a city and in it a strong tower, and its top reaching heaven, and we will make ourselves famed, so that we may reign upon the whole world, in order that the evil of our enemies may cease from us, that we may reign mightily over them, and that we may not become scattered over the earth on account of their wars. And they all went before the king, and they told the king these words, and the king agreed with them in this affair, and he did so.”

From this passage we can learn several things:

  • There was only one language when Nimrod controlled all the earth.
  • Nimrod was influenced primarily by the descendants of Ham to build a tower in the plain of Shinar (Babylon).
  • They didn’t just want to be free of the evil of their enemies but to be famous and reign mightily over their enemies as well.
  • They didn’t want to be scattered over the earth as a result of wars.

As I pondered these things, I wondered if there was more to the story of the tower of Babel than is found in Genesis.  Jasher 9:25-26 continues:  “And the building of the tower was unto them a transgression and a sin, and they began to build it, and whilst they were building against the Lord God of heaven, they imagined in their hearts to war against him and to ascend into heaven. And all these people and all the families divided themselves in three parts; the first said We will ascend into heaven and fight against him; the second said, We will ascend to heaven and place our own gods there and serve them; and the third part said, We will ascend to heaven and smite him with bows and spears; and God knew all their works and all their evil thoughts, and he saw the city and the tower which they were building.” 

Jasher goes on to say that they actually attempted to attack those in heaven with arrows and God let them think they killed the heavenly host by covering the arrows with blood before they fell back to the ground.  I don’t know about you but I think making war with God is a mighty foolish thing to attempt!  Thinking you can kill God and His heavenly army and then replace the Creator of the universe with powerless gods of wood and stone which are created by man is even more ridiculous.  It’s no wonder God ended up coming down to interrupt this project, confuse their language, and scatter them throughout the earth. 

Foolish as all this may sound, this has been attempted several times since the building of the tower of Babel and is being attempted again today because there is nothing new under the sun.  We may not be shooting arrows into the sky but certain people desire to take over and rule the world.  Man has managed to overcome language differences by using interpreters or by being multi-lingual.  Even now, the nations of the world are seeking to be as united as they were when the tower of Babel was built.  People are trying to “kill” God by denying His existence or by erasing God and Jesus’ name from every facet of society.  The laws that gave us freedom of religion are being used by God’s enemies to advance the supremacy of their own god.  These gods are not just idols or gods of other religions but also include materialism, wealth, and power.  Surely unseen powers play a role in motivating man to do this.  God intends to allow all of this and to let man think he will accomplish his goal for now in order to fulfill prophecy.  Eventually, one world religion will come to the forefront and be enforced, many of God’s people will be martyred, an abomination of desolation will be set up in God’s temple, and a mere man will declare himself to be God!  One day, Jesus will come down with His army to take care of this foolishness and destroy His enemies.  Instead of God’s people being scattered over the face of the earth, His angels will gather them from the four corners of the earth to bring them home, and there will be only one language in the land. 

In order to learn a more personal lesson here, there are several questions that need to be asked…

Do you ever find yourself at war with God?

Do you try to rule over your enemies or do they rule over you?

How does God want you to live among men? How can that be accomplished?

When is it proper to submit to the authorities over you or to obey God rather than men?

Should you spend your time seeking fame and glory or something else?

What does God want from you?  Is God leading you to work on a project or be involved in something that would bring honor and glory to Him?  Is His desire to work only on you for a time or to use you to minister to those around you?  Either one is equally important.  Sometimes both can be accomplished at the same time.

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