The Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel in Bible Times

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Genesis 11:9 - Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.


The Tower of Babel for Little Kids

This map shows the land of Shinar where the Tower of Babel was and the directions the people of Noah's sons traveled in! After the flood, God told Noah and his family to go out and fill the entire Earth with people. Eventually, some of them disobeyed God and decided to stay in one place and build a tall tower to try and reach the skies. Because of their disobedience, God changed their languages to confuse them, making it impossible to continue building the tower.

After the languages were mixed up, the sons of Shem went east into Asia, the sons of Ham went south into Africa, and the sons of Japheth went north into Europe. They called the land where the tower was built, Babylon, and their leader was a great hunter named Nimrod.

The Bible doesn't say much more about Nimrod or the Tower of Babel, but we know it was always God's plan for the whole Earth to be repopulated and changing the languages led to the creation of many nations!.

The Tower of Babel for Big Kids

Ancient Assyrian Man with BeardThe Tower of Babel in Bible History. The Bible reveals that hundreds of years after the flood the descendants of Noah began to repopulate. They all spoke the same language. God had commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the whole earth, but instead they came from the East and gathered at the fertile Mesopotamian plain called the Land of Shinar. They decided to build a mighty city and a tower there at Shinar rebelling against the command of God. They imagined in their heart that their tower would reach to heaven. The Lord saw their city and their tower and he stopped them from building their city. The Bible says he confused their language so that they could not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them from that place. Genesis 11:9 says: "Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. From there, the LORD scattered them abroad on the surface of all the earth."

The Land of Shinar. The ancient Land of Shinar was the whole region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers later known as Babylonia in lower Mesopotamia. It was very fertile and was great for cultivating because of the annual flooding. It was a very fruitful region similar to the lush Nile River in Egypt.

The 3 Sons of Noah. According to the Bible, the families of the sons of Noah represent all of the racial groups upon the earth. Genesis 10 lists a total of 70 individual founders of nations or racial groups, and divides them into three primary classifications: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It is interesting to note that Ethnologists generally agree that mankind divides into three basic groups. Here is how the Bible divides them geographically:

Shem. (Asia - Central Nations) After the Tower of Babel Shem's descendants remained near Shinar and also journeyed eastward. The descendants of Shem (Shemites) included Jews, Assyrians, Syrians, Elamites, in north Euphrates Valley and its borders.

Ham. (
Africa - South Nations) After the Tower of Babel Ham's descendants (Hamites) journeyed southward. The names given seem to be South and Central Arabia, Egypt (Heb. Mitzraim or Lands of Ham), East Mediterranean, and East Africa. There was at one point a great migration to Egypt, but Canaan (son of Ham) settled in the land later called Israel.

Japheth. (
Europe - North Nations) After the Tower of Babel Japheth's descendants (Japhethites) journeyed northward, and settled in the areas around the Black and Caspian Seas. They became the great Caucasian races of Europe and Asia.

See this Chart of the Table of Nations for a detailed list.

Noah's Curse on Canaan. Noah's three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives repopulated the earth and became the three great races of mankind. Ham was Noah's second born son and shortly after the flood he sinned against  God by disrespecting his father, Noah (Genesis 9). Noah cursed Ham's son, Canaan, the reason is not clear but we know that the descendants of Canaan would lose their land to the Israelites. Then God spoke through Noah again and prophesied about his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and also that the Messiah would come through Shem's family, and Japheth's family would share in that salvation.

See this Map of the Table of Nations for a map and list of their descendants.

The Tower of Babel and Ancient Ziggurats. There is no way of knowing the exact details about the Tower of Babel, there has been much speculation. The Bible does not even mention that the tower's name was Babel, but the city itself was called Babel. One thing that is interesting is that most of the ancient ziggurats that were lined up along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were actually step pyramids with seven stages, each step smaller than the one below it with the base about 300 feet in each direction. At the top was not a temple but the holiest place, a meeting place, and actually they called it a mountaintop where they would meet with their gods. The ziggurats also had seven colors, one of the seven colors of the rainbow on each step. Why the seven colors? The only explanation could be that there was a memory of the rainbow when God had originally spoke to Noah at the mountaintop.

Nimrod the Mighty Hunter. There was one man named Nimrod mentioned in Genesis 10:9-11 who became the King over everyone, he was a fierce hunter and a powerful man. the Bible says he built his kingdom at Babel, and other cities in the land of Shinar. The details are not clear concerning Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, but one thing is certain is that he was the greatest ruler to come from the land of Shinar in the earliest of times. All of the kings of that region were also mighty hunters, and they have been many cities excavated revealing on their limestone reliefs various kings going on hunts to capture lions in hand-to-hand combat.

Babel. The Bible mentions that after God confused their language into many languages the city was then called Babel, which means confusion. In the ancient Akkadian language "Babel" meant "the gate of God." In the Old Testament the Land of Shinar and Babylon are mentioned as the same place.

The study of the Tower of Babel is very important in the study of the Bible, let's pray:

Dear Jesus, we thank you and praise you for your Word. You revealed throughout your the Bible that if we seek after you and trust in you that you will be with us and lead us and guide us. Help us Lord to trust in you because you know everything, and you have a great plan for us. We trust you Lord and we thank you. In Jesus name? Amen!


The Tower of Babel for Kids

Tower of Babel in Bible Times
Map of the Tower of Babel for Bible Study

Kid's Bible Maps
Bible History Online

The Geography of the Bible

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