Genesis Chapter 11:
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2 And it came to passe as they journeyed from the East, that they found a plaine in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.
3 And they sayd one to another; Goe to, let us make bricke, and burn them thorowly. And they had bricke for stone, and slime had they for morter.
4 And they said; Goe to, let us build a city and a tower, who`s top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5 And the Lorde came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 And the Lorde said; Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language: and this they begin to doe; and now nothing shall be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7 Goe to, let us goe down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another`s speech.
8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence, upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord there did confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them all abroad upon the face of the earth.
~~ King James Bible, 1611 ~~
Babel – Middle English, from Hebrew BAbhel, from Arkadian bAb-ilu …….Gate Of God.
This is a rather important little section of the Book of Genesis, if only for the realization that it is probably at least 1400 hundred years older than the time when the Book of Genesis was finally compiled into it`s present form. In other words, it has been parachuted into the middle of a work with which it doesn`t share much in the way of dogma or style, but merely by subject matter.
There are as many interpretations of Babel as there are grains of sand in the world`s deserts, and we can debate until the crack of doom how many angels can sit on a pin head, but the text from these nine verses show that God decided, for one reason or another, that He didn`t fancy the idea of His people speaking the same language. If you look upon the existence of God as a cold stone fact; like so much in the Old Testament, He doesn`t appear to come out of things with a clean bill of health.
It can be argued that by condemning humanity to linguistic diversity, God sowed the seeds for all of the conflict, misunderstanding and strife which has beset humanity ever since. If He did this simply from a moment of pique, at what He saw as an over weening humanity which seemed to be starting to call it`s own shots without recourse to the Big Man upstairs, well……….Whatever. Babel, like so much in the Bible can be seen as not only a metaphor which the simple man in the street could understand and learn from, but also sends out a mixed, and very confused message. As with all matters of Faith, you pays your money and takes your choice. Even God will have to ultimately stand or fall on that simple fact.