LESSON 09 – The Tower of Babel – Genesis 11:1-9

  1. Discussion– See Genesis: Finding our Roots pages 82-88.
    • Read Genesis 10:8-10.   Who was Nimrod? (the grandson of Ham, the son of Cush, a mighty warrior, an empire-builder, he built many cities, one of which was Babylon, in Shinar) Shinar is the Biblical name for Sumer. Sumer was the first large civilization of the world after the Flood. It precedes the empire in Egypt, but soon after this Ancient Egypt became the world’s largest.  Some have suggested that not only was Nimrod a great hunter of animals, but he was also hunting for men’s souls.
    • Read Gen. 11:1-9.  What language did the people speak at this time? (They all had the language that God had given Adam at his creation. Some speculate that this language was Hebrew.) What plans did the people of Shinar make? (They would build a city and a tower. They would make a name for themselves and not be scattered around the earth.)   The wording of the tower should read, “a tower whose top is heaven”. They did not foolishly believe they could build a tower that would reach into outer space. Instead, it was much worse. They were worshipping the heavens (also called astrology) and believed that they could reach God and even be gods through their worship at this tower.  Satan’s lie that man could be god was alive and well in Babel. The ruins of this tower are in present day Iraq it is believed. It was made in seven stages or levels that look like a pyramid with steps (also called a ziggurat). On the next page I’ve included a photo of the site today. A quote from Dr. D. Barnhouse states, “It was an open, definite turning to Satan and the beginning of devil worship. This is why the Bible everywhere pronounces a curse on those who consult the sun, the moon and the stars of heaven.”
    • How does God react to their plans? (He does not like it. He notes that their common speech gives them power to defy God and pool their evil resources. They would be unrestrained in their abilities to worship themselves and Satan.) [NOTE:  Another evidence of the Trinity – that God is three in one – is given in this passage. In verse 7 God says, “Let us”. ] How does God solve the problem at Babel? (He makes the people speak different languages; they can no longer understand each other.) What happens next? (As a result of their languages being confused, the people leave Babel in groups that speak the same language and they spread throughout the world.)
  2. Application– Why was it not good for all of mankind to live together and have one government? Because man has a sinful nature, a one-world government would not honor God, but themselves or Satan.  Peaceful unity in our world will not come until Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign personally on the earth. He reigns now in the hearts and lives of His people, but any one-world government at this time would only produce the problems that occurred at the Tower of Babel. How did God’s solution fulfill his command to Adam and Noah in Gen. 1:28 and 9:1? (The people were finally forced to spread out over the world and populate it.) So was what happened at Babel a blessing or a curse? How do we see God’s mercy and judgment at work here? There was judgment on their sin, but by dispersing them God revealed His power and gave them the chance to one again chose to worship Him and be part of His family. In the next lesson we will see that God has a plan for the salvation of the world and He will pick out one special person from the land of Sumer to be a light to the world.
  3. Digging Deeper
    1. Do a study on the religion that started with Nimrod – the Mother and Son religion. Trace this religion throughout history and tell how it is seen in today’s world. Make a prediction on how it will be seen in the future. What are the dangers in this religion? How can Christians combat it? NOTE: the website at the beginning of Thursday’s section is a good place to start. Cite any references used.
    2. Is there scientific evidence of a single mother tongue? Check out some websites and see what you find. Here’s a good start: http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi989.htm. Record your findings and write a 5-paragraph persuasive essay on the subject.
    3. Creative writing: Write a diary entry of a young person that lived through the events of the Tower of Babel. Talk about what the person experienced, how they felt and what the effects were on that person’s life.  Include references to the religion of Babel and what was wrong with what they were doing. Show that you understand the importance of the story by how you write this person’s experiences.