Genesis 11:1-32 – Tower of Babel and Call of Avram
Genesis 11:1-32 – Tower of Babel and Call of Avram
Genesis 11 The tower of Babel was a Zuggarat that was used for the worship of the stars, which was a perversion of the signs that God placed in the heavens for the children of God as a testimony of God and his creation. The stars, planets, the sun and the moon were all created to serve man (Genesis 1:14; Psalm 19:1, 2). Astrology, whose roots were in Babylon taught that the stars impacted the destiny of human life, as opposed to God, and therefore they were worshipped and studied.
This system and worship served the purposes of Satan in a number of ways. Not only did it direct worship and focus away from a loving Creator, but it also served to unify man under one government. A unifying of government and religion, which is the scenario for the last days as outlined in the book of Revelation. Babylon was the source of all the world’s substitute relgious ways that direct man away from the one true God and the one way he has designated for man to approach Him.
This is borne out in (Revelation 17:5) “This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” This idea of ritualism, idolatry, and worldly philosophy pervasive in Churchianity have their roots in Babylon. In Genesis 9:1 God commanded the sons of Noah to be fruitful and fill the earth.
To help make this possible God ordained human governments we see this implied in the command of (Genesis 9:6) “”Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” God saw different populations divided into workable clans that would eventually become nations. These clans and later nations would be rewarded or punished based on their faithfulness to God and His ways. Israel was the God’s first born among the nations (Exodus 4:22) and would be an example for all future nations as we shall see as we continue our studies in Genesis.
Genesis 11:1-3 – Immediately after the Flood, “the whole earth” was speaking only one language. This description reflects the unity of the human family which descended from Noah’s sons. It also anticipates the expanding sin of the human race (Genesis 11:6).
Mankind migrated eastward after the flood to Mesopotamia and began to build a city there. Perhaps they thought they could get back to the garden by naming the two major rivers the Tigris and Euphrates after two of the four streams mentioned in Eden in Genesis 2. What was the language has been the source of much debate, but in all likelihood it was Hebrew Chaldee/Aramaic. This is likely because the name of people and places have meanings only in those languages.
Language is an amazing gift, God has described Himself as “The Word”, and Jesus is the “Living Word”. The reason man was given the ability to communicate was primarily for fellowship with God, and secondarily to speak with man. It was man’s actions to subvert the very reason for this gift that God’s judgment upon Babel came.
As we studied in Gen 10 Nimrod was the leader of the people and began to organize people in the production of bricks and mortar for the construction of a building. In a river valley good stones are not readily available. The tar was from the abundant fossile fuels in the area.
Genesis 11:4 – The intention of the city and the tower was to achieve greatness (a “name”), and to strengthen their resolve to remain together, rather than to spread throughout the world as God had commanded. This strategy has not gone out of style, virtually every nation seeks to make a name of itsel. Archaeologists have unearthed these step-towers, known as ziggurats, which (unlike the Egyptian pyramids) were used as temples.
These builders were not concerned about God’s plans they had their own “so that we may make a name for ourselves” They determined not to allow God’s will to be accomplished “and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” The tower was not only for political/propaganda purposes but it also served as a religious rallying point as well Marx was correct when he said “Religion is the opiate of the masses”.
Religion like opium is addictive and has the ability to distract from life’s real purposes. Satan is the author of religion. Man sees religion as pleasing to God, but in fact mocks God and His will for our lives. It is man reaching up to God rather than man acknowledging his weakness and frailty and need for God to reach down to him.
As many of us learned a few weeks ago from (1 Samuel 15:22), “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” What was true for Israel is true for the church today. Cain thought his offering was suitable but it was not what God required.
Genesis 11:5-6 – The Lord is generally slow in reacting to the imaginings and ungodly plans of man. But in this case the Lord felt immediate action was needed. This is the second time that we find God leaving heaven and coming “down” to earth. The first is when He walked in the garden, one might construe that He came down when Enoch walked with the Lord in Genesis 5:22.
The appearance of God in the flesh is a “theophany”. When this occurs it is a pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus. The action was taken in all likelihood because if left unchecked it would eliminate quickly God’s testimony on the earth. The Lord saw the problem as the unity of their language. It is this kind of un-goldly unity that will mark the first 3 ½ years of peace during the reign of the Anti-Christ.
Genesis 11:7 – So God determined to confuse their languages or tongues; the miraculous undoing of this occurred in Acts 2 as a sign that God was providing the way back to Himself. The Wycliffe Bible translators have undertaken the immense task of putting the Word of God in as many languages as they can. There are thousands of different languages on the face of the earth, all of which were founded here thousands of years ago.
Genesis 11:8 – When the languages of mankind were confused, man was forced to stop building and then to scatter over the surface of the earth as God commanded them. In all likelihood family members understood each other but otherwise everyone else was babbling.
Chaos must have reigned, workers unable to understand their foremen, the king unable to get his servants to do what he wanted them to do. Fighting and confuse forced families and tribes who could understand each other to congregate. In order to provide for each group they scattered to areas where they could provide for their needs and become a cohesive people group, eventually they became nations.
As a tribe would migrate they would occupy a geographical area where they would initially have to live at a subsistence level. They would likely live in caves until more permanent homes could be erected. As they became more entrenched they would discover metals probably progressing in a few years from cave dwellers to the “bronze” and “iron” ages.
The confusing of languages will one day be undone as was prophesied by (Zephaniah 3:9) “”For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” A foretaste of this occurred on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Genesis 11:9 In the Hebrew the word balal means “mingle” and from that we get the word confuse. Later those who remained in Babel rather than have their name associated with the action taken by God reinterpreted the name to mean Bab-el which means the “gate of God”. To a degree their is some truth to this, it is the gate of god but not God.
Babylon is described as the mother of all harlots, an allusion to spiritual adultery (Isaiah 1:21; Nahum 3:4). Nineveh had enticed many nations into her clutches through her military power, trade, and prosperity. The mention of witchcraft suggests the use of demonic means to ensnare nations. Hosea 2 & Ezekiel 16 speak of Israel’s spiritual adultery.
Genesis 11:10-17 – We continue in the unfolding drama of the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent. The seed went from Adam to Seth through Seth to Noah, from Noah now to Shem (Genesis 9:27).
Terah was in the 9th generation after the flood if the genealogical records have no gaps, and that would mean that Shem was alive until after Terah’s death. This would mean that Terah could have gotten his information from Shem. These verse give the genealogy from Arphaxad to Peleg, “in his time the earth was divided;” (Genesis 10:25). Peleg was born about 100 years after the flood which was probably the year of the dispersion at Babel.
Genesis 11:18-25 – From the time that the earth was divided we now see a marked drop in the life span of people. One reason for this was the deleterious effect that the ultraviolet rays had on the human body. Prior to the flood these rays were blocked by the approx. 300 mile canopy that circled the earth.
A second likely cause for the length of days to be shortened is the emotional and physical trauma that the dispersion placed upon mankind. On one day their world and security was turned upside down. They were now forced to scatter and work together in common language groups. These small tribes found it more difficult to thrive, and war was still another obstacle and trauma shortening the length of man’s days. Still another factor was the necessity of closer inbreeding.
Genesis 11:26-32 – Terah was the father of three sons; Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Nahor and Haran are names of cities in Mesopotamia from whom those names may have come (Genesis 24:10; 28:10). Nahor was named for his grandfather (Genesis 11:24). Haran died leaving behind his son Lot who became attached to his uncle Abram. Haran also had a daughter named Milcah who was raised by Nahor. When she became old enough her uncle Nahor took her for a wife.
Sarah the wife of Abram was a daughter of Terah as was Abram, but they had different mothers so she was a half-sister. These kind of marriages were later forbidden under the Law. Sarah was barren and so Abram, unlike his brothers had no children in Ur or later when he lived in Haran.
The child of promise was to be born in the promised land. This is a significant passage of Scripture because it chronicles the call and life of Abraham. This is also a transitional passage of Scripture because it launches the movement of God from dealing with the human race as a whole to dealing with one man Abraham and his seed (the Messiah) and the descendants of Israel.
The world had once again become corrupt involved in idolatry, even Terah, the father of Abram, had become an idol worshiper (Joshua 24:2). From all that we can tell from Scripture, no one was following the true and living God. Once again, if the godly line was to be saved if the promised seed was to be sent into the world God Himself would have to intervene and move on the scene of world history.
Haran was the father of Lot the nephew of Abram who moved with Abram into the land of Canaan. Lot believed in God. Scripture clearly says that Lot was counted “just” or “righteous” by God (2 Peter 2:7-8). Nahor worshipped and followed idols (Genesis 31:53) in fact the whole family of Nahor worshipped idols (Genesis 31:19, 32).
Nahor married his niece, the daughter of his brother, Haran. She bore Rebecca, who was to become the wife of Isaac. In Genesis 11:30 we are told that Sarah was barren and yet Abram demonstrated great faith, by believing God’s promise that God would give him a son, and through that son the promised seed would come who would bless all the nations of the earth.
Stephen tells us in Acts 7:2-3 that God appeared to Abram while he was still in Ur, before he left for Haran. In , Genesis 11:31,Terah is said to have taken his family to Canaan, the promised land. Abram travelled about 600 miles to Haran and for some unknown reason, remained there. While there, Terah died. We see in Genesis 12, that after Terah’s death, while still in Haran, God appeared to Abram a second time.