Today, there are more than 6,500 languages. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1.2 billion people, making it the most popular language in the world. Imagine if only one language existed today…
Noah’s descendants multiplied, as discussed in Chapter 10. Once again, the people lose sight of God and wickedness increases. Instead of spreading throughout the earth, as God had commanded them in Genesis 9, the multiplied descendants rebelled and came together under King Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah, to build a city (Babylon/Shinar) “and a tower whose top is in the heavens.” This tower was built from bricks and asphalt (mortar), making it sturdy and waterproof. The tower of Babel was mentioned by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.
Fun Fact: The material was also used when Noah waterproofed the Ark (Genesis 6) and later when Moses’ mother waterproofs his basket (Exodus 2:3).
Why waterproof? Well remember the flood and God’s promise to never do it again? These people did not believe God would keep His promise, so they built a tall, waterproof building. Hmm. Man against God. There are many times when we think we know best. We don’t always need God, right? We’re pretty strong, smart, talented, advanced… we have it all! Well no. We have limits, weaknesses, pain – we can never do what God can do, or ever fully understand it. That’s why He’s God! He could destroy that tower with a flick of his mighty finger.
We also influence each other. A group of people get together, come up with an exciting idea (good or bad), and support each other to grow it and put it into action. God came down and saw the city (remember the Old Testament was a theocracy). It also mentions “Us” in verse 7, referring to the Trinity. He saw how the people, as a group, had encouraged each other to support these wicked works. Nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. But God is smart. He scattered them throughout the Earth and gave them different languages. Harder to communicate = harder to encourage the entire group to do wicked deeds. In these small populations, genetic characteristics become more defined for each area. It’s still hard for us to communicate today, even body languages differ.
After yet another incident of man losing sight of the Almighty, God placed someone to help make things better: Abram. You may know him as Abraham.