Genesis – Chapter 11: The Tower of Babel

Before I begin the Tower of Babel, here’s a quick recap of Genesis Chapter 10.  Noah’s three sons re-populated the Earth somehow.  There was a man named Nimrod in the Bible.  He was a mighty warrior.  Women are not important.  Women are worthless, aside from reproduction.

The story of Noah is officially over.  He died at the end of Chapter 10 at the ripe old age of 950 years.  He must have discovered/created some amazing anti-aging cream to keep his skin silky smooth all those years.  🙂 Next up in Genesis is the Tower of Babel.  At this time in the world, every human on Earth spoke the same language.

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.” – Genesis 11:1

People of the time learned to make bricks and began constructing a large tower.

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:4

God was having nothing to do with this.

“The Lord said ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’” – Genesis 11:6-7

Wow!  To put it bluntly, God is a jackass!  If God is all-powerful and men are His creation, why is he so insecure?  A few men stacking bricks on top of bricks makes God fearful such that He has to stop it?  Wow!  My study Bible tries to change the story to say that men building a tall tower is an attack on God and if men succeed, they’ll no longer need God.  This is a lame apology.  If men building a tower is all it takes to topple the all-mighty God, then God wasn’t all-mighty to begin with.  This is also a story in the Bible used to suppress the education of the masses.  The Bible is saying it’s not okay to come together, learn, and use this learning to do something magnificent.  No, it’s better to remain stupid.  Disgusting.

Does God destroy the tower, as He could easily do if He is all-powerful?  No, God decides to take a more complicated approach by introducing different languages among the people.  Let’s consider the two possibilities for different languages on Earth.

Option 1:  Humans evolved over time, across different areas of the globe, and developed their own languages based on geography.

Option 2:  Men built a tall tower.  God threw a hissy fit.  God changed their languages.

Um…going to have to go with Option #1!

The unfinished tower (somehow people forgot how to stack bricks…not sure how speaking different languages affects brick stacking) is called Babel.

The next part of Chapter 11 is a list of men from Shem (Noah’s son) to Abram (later to become Abraham).

“Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad….and after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years old and had other sons and daughters.” – Genesis 11:10-12

Hold on just a second.  In Genesis 6:3, BEFORE the flood, God states that man’s days will be 120 years.  AFTER the flood, Arphaxad is born and lives 400+ years!!!  It didn’t take long for God to forget how to count to 120.  I’ll also point out that Genesis 11:12 acknowledges that daughters were born.  That’s a huge step forward given the previous chapters.  Six more characters in this chapter live lives greatly exceeding 120 years.  Finally we come to Abram

“After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.” – Genesis 11:26

This version of the Bible doesn’t use the Oxford comma, and this annoys me. 🙂

“The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai….Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.” – Genesis 11:29-30

“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Caldeans to go to Canaan.  But when they came to Haran, they settled there.” – Genesis 11:31

I mention these verses now because Abram, Sarai, and Lot have large roles to play in upcoming chapters.

That ends Genesis Chapter 11.  What did we learn?  We learned that God is quite petty and threw a hissy fit over men building a tall tower.  I can only imagine what He thinks of today’s buildings.  God punished men by introducing different languages across the Earth.  We also learned that despite God stating very clearly the “days of men are 120 years”, people born AFTER this proclamation continue to live several hundred years.  Finally we learned Abram’s wife is Sarai and Abram’s nephew is Lot.

Coming Soon:  Job – Chapter 1:  Prologue

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