Updated: Sep 2
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Many people have speculated the mysteries of the Tower of Babel, such as why was it created, who was the mastermind behind it, and why did YHWH destroy it and scatter the people? The book of Genesis gives us the story but fails to answer some pressing questions. To get the full context of the story we must look to books that were removed from the canon, Jasher and Jubilees, both of which are mentioned in the canonized Bible. I’ll go more in-depth with these two books in a future post but for now, I would ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. If you feel they are non-inspirational then by all means stop reading, but if you're wanting to see a glimpse of what is written in them, then continue on.
“And all the earth had one language and one speech. And it came to be, as they set out from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shin‛ar, and they dwelt there. And they said to each other, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens, and make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over all the face of the earth.” Then יהוה came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And יהוה said, “Look, they are one people and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do! And now, they are not going to be withheld from doing whatever they plan to do. “Come, let Us go there and confuse their language, so that they do not understand one another’s speech.” And יהוה scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. That is why its name was called Babel, because there יהוה confused the language of all the earth, and from there יהוה scattered them over the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:1-9)
Picture it, everyone on earth speaking the same language and working together to build a single structure, what a sight that must have been! I’ve heard different theories for why they were building the tower, some say they tried to build a stargate to get into heaven. Others just say they built it out of pride and that is why YHWH destroyed the tower. If YHWH didn’t want them to build towers, then why does He allow us to have skyscrapers? Based on Biblical Cosmology, we can rule out stargates and just a hatred for tall structures and conclude that they indeed wanted to build-up to the firmament. Why though?
Just How High was the Tower?
Jasher has the answer but it is in Jubilees that we see the measurements for the tower.
“For they departed from the land of Ararat eastward to Shinar; for in his days they built the city and the tower, saying, 'Go to, let us ascend thereby into heaven.' And they began to build, and in the fourth week they made brick with fire, and the bricks served them for stone, and the clay with which they cemented them together was asphalt which comes out of the sea, and out of the fountains of water in the land of Shinar. And they built it: forty and three years [1645-1688 A.M.] were they building it; its breadth was 203 bricks, and the height (of a brick) was the third of one; its height amounted to 5433 cubits and 2 palms, and (the extent of one wall was) thirteen stades (and of the other thirty stades). And the Lord our God said unto us: Behold, they are one people, and (this) they begin to do, and now nothing will be withholden from them. Go to, let us go down and confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech, and they may be dispersed into cities and nations, and one purpose will no longer abide with them till the day of judgment.' And the Lord descended, and we descended with him to see the city and the tower which the children of men had built. And he confounded their language, and they no longer understood one another's speech, and they ceased then to build the city and the tower. For this reason the whole land of Shinar is called Babel, because the Lord did there confound all the language of the children of men, and from thence they were dispersed into their cities, each according to his language and his nation. And the Lord sent a mighty wind against the tower and overthrew it upon the earth, and behold it was between Asshur and Babylon in the land of Shinar, and they called its name 'Overthrow'.” (Jubilees (10:19-26)
A.M. basically means from creation, in fact, the Jews still use that year system. The height of the tower was 5433 cubits which measure out to 1.5 miles high. To put that into perspective the tallest building in the world is Burj Khalifa, topping off at 2,717 feet high or half a mile high. I’m not very good with math so I couldn’t figure out the measurements for the base of the tower, but we know its base is made up of 203 bricks and that the height of the bricks is 1/3 its length. Either way, I know its base must have covered a lot of land. We also see that the people were working on this tower for 43 years before YHWH destroyed the structure and scattered the people. In this little snippet of Jubilees, we see that the earth will not be united for a singular cause till the end of days, new world order and one-world government seem to fit the bill.
Why They Built the Tower
Now that we know the tower was massive but still don’t know who was the overseer of the project or why they decided to build it in the first place? To learn that we turn to the book of Jasher.
“And king Nimrod reigned securely, and all the earth was under his control, and all the earth was of one tongue and words of union. And all the princes of Nimrod and his great men took counsel together; Phut, Mitzraim, Cush and Canaan with their families, and they said to each other, Come let us build ourselves a city and in it a strong tower, and its top reaching heaven, and we will make ourselves famed, so that we may reign upon the whole world, in order that the evil of our enemies may cease from us, that we may reign mightily over them, and that we may not become scattered over the earth on account of their wars. And they all went before the king, and they told the king these words, and the king agreed with them in this affair, and he did so. And all the families assembled consisting of about six hundred thousand men, and they went to seek an extensive piece of ground to build the city and the tower, and they sought in the whole earth and they found none like one valley at the east of the land of Shinar, about two days' walk, and they journeyed there and they dwelt there. And they began to make bricks and burn fires to build the city and the tower that they had imagined to complete. And the building of the tower was unto them a transgression and a sin, and they began to build it, and whilst they were building against the Lord God of heaven, they imagined in their hearts to war against him and to ascend into heaven. And all these people and all the families divided themselves in three parts; the first said We will ascend into heaven and fight against him; the second said, We will ascend to heaven and place our own gods there and serve them; and the third part said, We will ascend to heaven and smite him with bows and spears; and God knew all their works and all their evil thoughts, and he saw the city and the tower which they were building. And when they were building they built themselves a great city and a very high and strong tower; and on account of its height the mortar and bricks did not reach the builders in their ascent to it, until those who went up had completed a full year, and after that, they reached to the builders and gave them the mortar and the bricks; thus was it done daily. And behold these ascended and others descended the whole day; and if a brick should fall from their hands and get broken, they would all weep over it, and if a man fell and died, none of them would look at him. And the Lord knew their thoughts, and it came to pass when they were building they cast the arrows toward the heavens, and all the arrows fell upon them filled with blood, and when they saw them they said to each other, Surely we have slain all those that are in heaven. For this was from the Lord in order to cause them to err, and in order; to destroy them from off the face of the ground. And they built the tower and the city, and they did this thing daily until many days and years were elapsed. And God said to the seventy angels who stood foremost before him, to those who were near to him, saying, Come let us descend and confuse their tongues, that one man shall not understand the language of his neighbor, and they did so unto them. And from that day following, they forgot each man his neighbor's tongue, and they could not understand to speak in one tongue, and when the builder took from the hands of his neighbor lime or stone which he did not order, the builder would cast it away and throw it upon his neighbor, that he would die. And they did so many days, and they killed many of them in this manner. And the Lord smote the three divisions that were there, and he punished them according to their works and designs; those who said, We will ascend to heaven and serve our gods, became like apes and elephants; and those who said, We will smite the heaven with arrows, the Lord killed them, one man through the hand of his neighbor; and the third division of those who said, We will ascend to heaven and fight against him, the Lord scattered them throughout the earth. And those who were left amongst them, when they knew and understood the evil which was coming upon them, they forsook the building, and they also became scattered upon the face of the whole earth. And they ceased building the city and the tower; therefore he called that place Babel, for there the Lord confounded the Language of the whole earth; behold it was at the east of the land of Shinar. And as to the tower which the sons of men built, the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up one third part thereof, and a fire also descended from heaven and burned another third, and the other third is left to this day, and it is of that part which was aloft, and its circumference is three days' walk. And many of the sons of men died in that tower, a people without number.” (Jasher 9: 20-39)
The Overseer of the Tower
The man behind the tower is Nimrod, you may remember that name from here.
“And Kush brought forth Nimroḏ, he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before יהוה, therefore it is said, “Like Nimroḏ the mighty hunter before יהוה.” And the beginning of his reign was Babel, and Ereḵ, and Akkaḏ, and Kalnĕh, in the land of Shin‛ar.” (Genesis 10:8-10)
The shocking reality of what the people had intended to is startling and foolish, the audacity to believe they could kill YHWH and instill their own gods in heaven to worship. It wasn’t even a small number of people who had imagined such evil, it was 600,000! I thought it was a bit comical that YHWH turned their arrows red when they fell back down through the clouds, fooling the wicked into believing they had actually done something. For those unaware, the Tower of Babel takes place after the flood, which was brought on by the great wickedness on the earth. It seems we never learn our lesson, even now the wicked and lawless try to squeeze YHWH out of the picture with evolution and space. I look forward to the day Yeshua returns to wage war against the evildoers, it will be a glorious day indeed!
I hope this brought new understanding to the Tower of Babel and the significance it plays. Test all things, even this teaching, and I pray the Rauch Hakodesh leads you into all truth.
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