Those of you who know me will be quite surprised (maybe even shocked) to find me quoting the Bible today. Perhaps it is merely a symptom of these unstable times, as they say? However, do read on.
Genesis, Chapter 11 1-9:
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to the other, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime they had for mortar. And they said, Go to, 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. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. Therefore, is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Most archeologists and historians have determined that the city and tower mentioned were indeed Babel (Babylon), which is near the city of Hillah in Iraq. Moreover, Biblical Scholars seem to agree that the leader of the people at that time was Nimrod, who had decided to build that city and its tower as a defiance and an uprising against God (not the only Biblical uprising against God). Incidentally, the Arabic word: Namrood translates to Defiant. Fascinating, how ancient languages continue to find so many similarities amongst the Hebrew and Arabic. Tragic, how the people who speak those languages cannot find common ground!!
Now, please continue to read the following excerpts from an interesting parsing of Genesis 10:
What Happened at the Tower of Babel?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
Genesis 10 has come to be known as the Table of Nations, for it documents 70 nations/language groups migrating to fill the earth, prodded on by their lack of ability to communicate with the others. Archeology has confirmed these basic details, identifying major locations and people groups, although some have been obscured or lost in time.
Ever since then, human history has been marked by the conquest of uninhabited lands and by the wars between tribes who spoke different tongues.
With the one language, all genetic traits were originally shared among humankind, but once the break-up occurred, ethnic traits began to be expressed, quickly leading to today’s “races.” Natural selection would match traits to an environment.
The Ice Age was occurring during the centuries following Babel, resulting in harsh climates in Europe, a well-watered Egypt, and a lower sea-level allowing global migration across land bridges such as between Siberia and Alaska.
Without Babel and the dispersion, in our thinking, we would be hard pressed to devise a coherent view of human history. With it the facts fall into place and our appreciation for Scripture increases.
Cite this article: Morris, J. 2003. What Happened at the Tower of Babel? Acts & Facts. 32 (10).
My first reaction upon re-reading the Biblical story of Babel was: This God, who is apparent throughout the Old Testament, is really a cruel and heartless cynic. From turning people into stone, to sending them plagues, floods, fires and pests, He comes across as a vengeful deity and not as the Loving, Forgiving, Compassionate image that He was later on – especially in the New Testament – depicted as being.
My second reaction was that this is such a neat, concise, precise, perceptive way of describing why and how we humans have come to speak all those different languages and to be unable to understand, or communicate with each other in a non-belligerent and peaceful way.
Makes one think, how could they have known that this would occur thousands of years ago? Hmm! However, and since I believe that the Old Testament was merely a book of myths and lore that was meant to provide humanity of that age with a moral compass, I generally tend to have a skeptical eye. Nevertheless, this is such a plausible (and, maybe, inadvertent?) depiction of our current world, where we are all simply Babbling (origin of the word: Babel) away at each other!!
It makes it even more conceivable for this skeptic when every day there is more and more horrid news and tragic events occurring across the globe; more and more idiotic statements, decisions and behaviors by a political and corporate class who, like Nimrod, seem to be defying and challenging God and any interpretation of Godliness and Decency.
This does not bode well for a world that is either in a deep coma, or totally delusional. I think that the latest nauseating propaganda spectacle of our American Political Conventions, and the illusion of democracy they imparted, is only more proof that the political, corporate and mainstream media class, in the US (and across most of the world) is high on its own powers and riches, and that by electing either one of our two party candidates we would deserve what we would be getting due to our arrogance, selfishness, lethargy and unprincipled buying into the dangerous hallucinations that the powerful choreograph in order to bewilder and brain-wash us even more.
We are in the throes of experiencing a planet that is groaning with anguish, inhabited by humans who have consistently been opting for the lesser of two evils and the superficial hype rather than betting on upsetting a war-mongering, selfish, arrogant system, turning it on its head, creating an insurgency of thought that just might pull us away from the precipice that we are teetering upon and into a new social contract that could save us from the abyss we are certainly headed for, as well as a continuation of the Tower of Babel saga that has been confounding us for eons.