The Tower of Babel

(Genesis 11)

1 Throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. 2 Now as they moved eastwards they found a plain in the land of Shinar [the islands and seaboard of the Mediterranean] where they settled. 3 They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire.’ For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen. 4 ‘Come,’ they said, ‘let us build ourselves a town and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered about the whole earth.’

5 Now Yahweh came down to see the town and the tower that the sons of man had built. 6 ‘So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said Yahweh. ‘This is but the start of their undertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understand one another.’ 8 Yahweh scattered them thence over the whole face of the earth, and they stopped building the town. 9 It was named Babel therefore, because there Yahweh confused the language of the whole earth. It was from there that Yahweh scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

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