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Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.

The Hebrew Bible
Building the Tower of Babel represents an attempt by humanity to rebel against God’s sovereignty. In answer to man’s presumptuousness, God scattered the builders of the tower and generated the many different tongues spoken all over the earth. Nevertheless, this story assumes that humanity was at one time all united. This is in accord with the biblical view that all civilization had arisen in the Fertile crescent from which it had later been spread to the rest of the world.

11-1 Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words. 2 And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard.”—Brick served them as stone, and bitumen served them as mortar. 4 And they said. “Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world.” 5 The Lord came down to look at the city and tower that man had built, 6 and the Lord said, “If, as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing that they may propose to do will be out of their reach. 7 Let us, then, go down and confound their speech there, so that they shall not understand one another’s speech.” 8 Thus the Lord scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confounded the speech of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

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