Deconstructing the Tower of Babel | When God Confused Everyone
Kristi Burke, 21 July 2023
3:21 from the east
Hebrew has miqqedem, usually translated from the east, Greek has apo anatolôn, genitive plural, means from the east, Latin has de oriente, means from the east.
Old translations to vernaculars also have from the east, like Douay Rheims and King James for English.
The idea of "eastward" comes from a kind of fridge logic, about placing the Genesis 11 Babel in Southern Irak, in South-East Mesopotamia. The place where we have a small city carbon dated to 1800 - 2000, which later became big under Hammurapi and Nebuchandnezzar. Wait a minute, to get there from "Ararat"you don't go from east to west, but mainly from north to south and slightly from west to east? Well, what if it really is "from the east" and this is not necessarily a different political-religious entity or meta-entity, but still a different geographic location from the city of Hammurapi and Nebuchadnezzar? May have its perks for credibility, actually.
3:34 Latin and Douay Rheims have Sennaar - SEN-na(h)-ar.
3:48 "want everyone to be peaceful and work together"
Well, what if God prefers peaceful over working together?
Can some peoples' collaboration get into the way of other peoples' peace?
Is WORK the most peaceful state of man? Especially team work? Especially internationally scrutinised team work?
The date of Genesis 11:1, everyone had a single language by default - there was one language on the Ark, and the descendants were not very big fans of conlanging. So, eventually, God did some conlanging for them ... the one language was not God's plan for making cooperation a huge thing.
4:50 I think you and your hubby among the Riqueños ... imagine getting there after overworking at a pressure heavy worksite?
That's what God did for some of the people by conlanging + the miracle of sudden language replacement. Others at least got away from the worksite.
5:17 "a tower that reaches to heaven"
A tower, the top of which reaches into heaven.
At Cape Canaveral, the capsule or module or whatever you call it, that eventually reached the Moon, was just the top of a threestep rocket, that stood like a tower before take-off.
I'm not the least saying Nimrod could have pulled it off technologically. But that doesn't mean he didn't think he could.
So, the international (anachronistic word, better say "global") collaboration was for a wild goose chase which would have led nowhere or to major disaster, depending on his choice for rocket fuel. As I think Uranium was used in wars before the Flood, and that Nimrod knew about it, just like later authors of the Mahabharata, I think he would have chosen a very disastrous rocket fuel, if he could have laid hold on it.
Sometimes, opting out of collaboration is a prudential and moral duty.
5:56 Before you think "they seem to be doing OK" - how about taking a look at what we can do with rocketry and skyscrapers?
Not much of a colonisation of heaven, is it? But at least, building rockets and skyscrapers is a specialised task for a very small portion of the earth.
Imagine everyone on earth drafted into such a hairbrained project!
Would you want to live in a 1000 storey skyscraper? What if the main elevator (there would be subsidiary ones to take one within the next fifty storeys from main storeys) got stuck?
Would you want to live on the moon or on an exo-planet, because Nimrod gets hysteric "another flood is coming!" - or would you prefer living on earth?
What if you certainly had the option to live on earth yourself, but were forced to work for those trying to colonise God's heaven?
6:11 There are two deviations from peace.
Government warring against recalcitrants.
Now, let's take a place which I think was Nimrod's Babel. Skulls not attached to the necks have been found at Göbekli Tepe. Bodies without heads exposed to vultures have been depicted on ceramics found in Çatalhöyük, not very far from there. Like 700 km West. C. 50 days walk. Note, I would say Çatalhöyük is one of the earliest settlements directly after Nimrod's Babel.
Say Babel ended in 2556 BC, when Peleg was born, carbon dated as 8600 BC, as per Göbekli Tepe. Çatalhöyük is carbon dated to 7100 to 5700 BC. In my tables, one premiss of which is of course 2556 BC = "8600 BC", these carbon dates read like a little before 2399 BC to just about 2243 BC. So, Çatalhöyük starts c. 150 years after Babel is over, probably when Nimrod is still alive. Why? He's Ham's grandson, same generation as Sale.
Shelah 137 – 597 (after the Flood) - he survived c. 200 years after Babel, after Peleg was born.
So, Nimrod may have done so too. Or, he may have been very absent from Çatalhöyük, but they liked his system.
6:57 While it doesn't say that here, take a look at Jewish tradition, like Josephus.
Antiquities, book I, chapter 4.
CHAPTER 4. Concerning The Tower Of Babylon, And The Confusion Of Tongues.
1. Now the sons of Noah were three,—Shem, Japhet, 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 loath 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 seditions 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 a numerous youth, 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. Nay, they added to this their disobedience to the Divine will, the suspicion that they were therefore ordered to send out separate colonies, that, being divided asunder, they might the more easily be Oppressed.
2. 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!
3. 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 any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with 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 tumult among them, by producing in them divers 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. The Sibyl also makes mention of this tower, and of the confusion of the language, when she says thus: "When all men were of one language, some of them built a high tower, as if they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent storms of wind and overthrew the tower, and gave every one his peculiar language; and for this reason it was that the city was called Babylon." But as to the plan of Shinar, in the country of Babylonia, Hestiaeus mentions it, when he says thus: "Such of the priests as were saved, took the sacred vessels of Jupiter Enyalius, and came to Shinar of Babylonia."
Let me underline:
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!
7:23 Quite a lot of individuals want to make a name for their indivisual selves.
We read "let US make a name for OURSELVES" - so it was a collectivist project, actually stifling individual pursuit of glory, except for a few who were leading the common project.
7:53 Again your translation is wrong. It says "if" ... Here is Douay Rheims.
Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.
There is no "if" it is plain, non-conditional, future. It is at least speaking of their intentions.
So, saying the tower was completed at Cape Canaveral (or accomplished), doesn't mean a refutation of the story, doesn't mean God failed. It actually means God kept His promise or His prophecy was realised.
So, if God was thwarting their intentions, why not continue to do so?
Well, rocketry in the XXth C. was so much less tyrannical, and so much less dangerous to mankind, than the rocket project would have been under Nimrod. God wanted to momentarily thwart them, not to make success permanently impossible (since then, people have made lots of devices to bridge language barriers, so Wernher von Braun could help the Murricans).
8:00 "us" = Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Only the Almighty (the three Persons are each almighty, but not three almighties, but one almighty) can do the miracle of sudden language substitution.
So each of the persons adressed needs to be a Divine Person, not just an angel, or even less a man.
8:45 Your theory would make Genesis one of the very earlist books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
While a Fundie, attributing it to Moses, agrees, the scholarship on your side doesn't, they usually say Genesis was largely inspired by Mesopotamian myths. During the Babylonian captivity.
Here is an alternative theory. To Adam, to Heber, to Abraham and Lot, God was fairly upfront about the Trinity.
To Moses and Aaron, God told them basically, that was one of the things they had to keep secret up to when Jesus would come, and only indirectly hint at. Hence the absence of this kind of direct Trinitarian reference in later books, which I actually (as a Fundie, believing Genesis was by Moses using older material) do consider later.
9:24 I checked, the first references to God being almighty are actually from Genesis. Here are the first hits from an internal search machine on Douay Rheims site:
And after he began to be ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to him: and said unto him: I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be perfect.
And God almighty bless thee, and make thee to increase, and multiply thee: that thou mayst be a multitude of people.
And said to him: I am God Almighty, increase thou and be multiplied. Nations and peoples of nations shall be from thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins. [Genesis 35:11]
And may my almighty God make him favourable to you; and send back with you your brother, whom he keepeth, and this Benjamin: and as for me I shall be desolate without children.
And when Joseph was come in to him, he said: God Almighty appeared to me at Luza, which is in the land of Chanaan: and he blessed me,
The God of thy father shall be thy helper, and the Almighty shall bless thee with the blessings of heaven above, with the blessings of the deep that lieth beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
9:41 No, it's neither obvious nor evident that "these concepts evolve over time"
What is obvious is, if God is utterly simple, then getting to know God has its complexities, and so, if God wants to give His people (pre-Babel mankind, Hebrews / Jews / Catholic Church) a thorough knowledge of Himself, this means showing different aspects at different times.
10:33 Jesus is making the "proxy omnipotence" of the Church kind of match the "proxy omnipotence" of fallen mankind.
10:39 A person trying to kill everyone in a gruesome and graphic way who is trying to shirk from a hairbrained project is hardly being a disciple of Jesus.
So, Jesus knew His disciples could not ultimately abuse the power He was giving them.
He knew mankind had more than once collectively abused powers inherent in our nature, and was going to do so again.
10:49 God being ultimately in control doesn't equate to God "controlling" people out of their individual wills.
God refusing an immediate success doesn't control the ones failing to simply give up. Confer what I said about Çatalhöyük, starting out 150 years after Babel ended.
But whether it is collectively or individually, God controls the timing and the rate of success and failure.
Take a look at these two passages:
I know, O Lord, that the way of a man is not his: neither is it in a man to walk, and to direct his steps.
[Jeremias (Jeremiah) 10:23]
The heart of man disposeth his way: but the Lord must direct his steps.
So, man has the freedom to decide where he wants to go, but God has the control of whether he actually gets there. General fact.
11:08 After Babel, God singled out one people to incorporate His own plan.
What happened was not God forcing everyone to do as He would like them to chose, what happened was splitting up those rebelling against Him, so they had less opportunities to wipe out the people of successful shirkers. Yes, Hebrews shirled the Tower work site.
Here is what St. Augustine of Hippo says, City of God, Book XVI, chapter 11, citing only part:
And thus, although it is not expressly stated, that when the wicked were building Babylon there was a godly seed remaining, this indistinctness is intended to stimulate research rather than to elude it. For when we see that originally there was one common language, and that Heber is mentioned before all Shem's sons, though he belonged to the fifth generation from him, and that the language which the patriarchs and prophets used, not only in their conversation, but in the authoritative language of Scripture, is called Hebrew, when we are asked where that primitive and common language was preserved after the confusion of tongues, certainly, as there can be no doubt that those among whom it was preserved were exempt from the punishment it embodied, what other suggestion can we make, than that it survived in the family of him whose name it took, and that this is no small proof of the righteousness of this family, that the punishment with which the other families were visited did not fall upon it?
Well, if the confusion was the punishment for collaborating in an evil project, the exemption was probably for the righteousness of shirking it.
Heber and Peleg both outlived Çatalhöyük, but Shelah didn't.
Now, very arguably, the ages at death in Shem's line follow a neat curve, younger and younger, so we need not presume he was martyred at Çatalhöyük for shirking or for helping people to shirk, but he could have been, chronologically.
11:47 Giving someone free will is certainly ethical on God's part.
Giving a freewilled agent success in all his doings, would not always be so.
Is someone happy that Schindler foiled some guys? Is someone happy that Hitler didn't get Admiral von Trapp to Bremerhaven, but he and his went to Italy and then US?
So, why so upset that some people (who certainly retained their free will) got foiled?
12:20 [correcting her resumé] work for a hairbrained project, in more and more tyranny against shirkers, and with the unity more and more enforced by dictatorship tactics ....
13:08 Your reading of the Bible is faulty - like your reading of Nimrod's project.
13:29 If God had separated close kin, yes, that would have been cruel.
If he separated cruel foremen from harrassed workers, pretty much less cruel.
13:52 There is a very big difference between trying to divide siblings from each other or husband and wife or parents and not yet grown children - and putting out a dysfunctional skyscraper neighbourhood into individual country houses.
Nowhere in the text and nowhere in the normal comments I have seen is it suggested that God split families. At that point. St. Lucy disagreeing with her father and getting beheaded is for later on.
14:31 Contraception may be "freedom" to a woman contracepting, it's not to the children she actually gets, especially not if abortion was involved. It's not freedom for a child to hear "I could have aborted you" ...
And the generation Z is so much less free than the generation of the babyboomers was, their age.
14:47 "did not actually happen"
In Göbekli Tepe (and Çatalhöyük, and Jericho) we find no writing at all.
In the Palaeolithic, we find the same 32 symbols over and over again all over the earth.
After Göbekli Tepe, we find diverse writing systems, Vinca is not Mohenjo Daro.
To have one writing system, like the Latin alphabet, between different people, the obvious solution is to have:
a) either the same language
b) or the other languages get their writing from one and the same one, directly or indirectly.
The most natural result of having different languages is, if you write, you have different writing systems.
Pose Göbekli Tepe for Babel, and pose that carbon dates are distortedly prolonged, but in the right direction, and you have pretty good evidence that people went from one to several languages, and this around a place and time which is pretty good as a match for Babel. Already mentioned miqqedem.
- Babel is two words of Bab and El aka gate of el aka gate of god aka gate of the ram (Ram's gate).
- @harveywabbit9541 Would you mind telling me what that has to do with it?
That there is a ram's gate in Nebuchadnezzar's city? That must be it?
Have you seen the stones in Göbekli Tepe? Pillar one has five snakes and a ram.
Haven't read anything on Gobekli Tepe in a few years. Sounds interesting. The Ram is associated with Jupiter in several areas. The biblical El gets this name from the twist ed ram horns and coriander seed. The Greek Zeus was depicted with ram horns. Moses (Aquarius) was depicted with cow horns as he personified the winter solstice in Aquarius (Age of Taurus)
- @harveywabbit9541 OK, that's kind of a different debate, was not up for a New Age interpretation ...
@harveywabbit9541 You may have a point if you mean the worship of Jove has precedents in Classic Babylon and in Göbekli Tepe.
15:47 Actually, I think some of these Non-Conformist "churches" are Neo-Nimrodian.
I've encountered Calvinists online who pretend it is generally speaking sinful and mistaken to chose your own spouse.
I've encountered in real life a sect ma (and me) left over them deciding over our heads to send us to Canada. To them, that may have seemed rebellious of ma.
However, let's recall that Nimrod doesn't mean "I shall rebel" but "we shall rebel" ...
Some people who read mainly a language where "you" can stand for both "thou" and "y'all" have a hard time seeing Jesus condemned collective narcissism in the Pharisees, and try to pretend He felt exactly the same about individual narcissism, which is how some of them stamp any individual projects.
16:02 As Catholics, we have very strict rules about when a pastor can and can't speak on God's behalf.
For instance, he cannot chose your life for you.
If you go to a Catholic priest and say "I want to marry, could you give me a good tip on where to get a Catholic husband" (not you, you are already married), he can't say "no, God told me He wants you to be a nun" ... if Catholic priests do decide to run someone's life a bit Non-Conformist pastor style, the best they can do is keep out of a persons way totally or limit the interaction to only Confession. You know, when you go to one, you are supposed to be repenting of sins, not asserting your projects. Hence, not a very good time for a layman to tell a priest what he wants to do with his life.
18:49 Not everyone is capable of looking that up
But the Catholic Church is collectively capable of retaining it.