So what happened at Babylon? The Scriptures tell us that the whole earth had one language, and that the people who all had the same words migrated to the plain of Shinar, where they built a tower whose top was to reach to heaven. Now the reason for this tower was: “Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the whole earth.” God put a stop to this tower building by confusing the languages. I always used to wonder why building a tower was so bad.
Josephus fills in some of the details:
Now the sons of Noah were three—Shem, Japheth, and Ham, born one hundred years before the Deluge. These first of all descended from the mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there; and persuaded others who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on account of the Flood, and so were very loathe to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their examples.
Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar. God also commanded them to send colonies abroad, for the thorough peopling of the earth, that they might not raise rebellions among themselves, but might cultivate a great part of the earth, and enjoy its fruits after a plentiful manner. But they were so ill instructed that they did not obey God; for which reason they fell into calamities, and were made sensible, by experience, of what sin they had been guilty: for when they flourished with numerous children, God admonished them again to send out colonies; but they, imagining the prosperity they enjoyed was not derived from the favor of God, but supposing that their own power was the proper cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not obey Him. They added to this their disobedience to the divine will, the suspicion that they were ordered to send out separate colonies, that, being divided asunder, they might the more easily be oppressed.
Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through His means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness.
He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach; and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers!
Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than anyone could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, at first, to be less than it really was. It was built of burned brick, cemented together of mortar made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, He did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners: but He caused a disturbance among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another.
The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion.
Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 109-119
Now Josephus does have some mistakes in his history. I found several instances where a detail contradicted Scripture. In that case, we know that Scripture’s account is accurate, and Josephus needs to be corrected by Scripture. So the approach I took in analyzing the accuracy of this account of Nimrod and the Tower, was, does Scripture support these details, or contradict them?
the babylon connection, part three
the babylon connection, part four
the babylon connection, part five
the babylon connection, part six
the babylon connection, part seven
the babylon connection, part eight
the babylon connection, part nine
the babylon connection, part ten
the babylon connection, part eleven
the babylon connection, part twelve
the babylon connection, part thirteen
the babylon connection, part fourteen
the babylon connection, part fifteen
the babylon connection, part sixteen
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