And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
 

11:4 a tower. A second council, no doubt soon after the first, reached the firm decision to stay permanently in the Babel metroplex, erecting a strong capital city with a great central tower symbolizing its unity and centralizing its culture. This tower became the prototype of all the great ziggurats (stepped towers) and pyramids of the world.

11:4 unto heaven. The words “may reach” are not in the original. The tower was undoubtedly promoted as a great religious monument, dedicated “unto heaven.” Its top would be used for worship and sacrifice, and the rank and file probably felt at first that its beauty and grandeur would honor God. Almost certainly the walls and ceiling of the shrine at the top were emblazoned with the painted representations of “man, and...birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:23), which depicted the universal signs of the zodiac. This remarkable system was probably originally formulated by the antediluvian patriarchs to depict the primeval prophecies of the coming Seed of the Woman and God’s ultimate victory over Satan in a permanent record in the stars themselves (see note on Genesis 1:14). Under Nimrod’s subtle corruption of God’s truth, however, this “gospel in the stars” was soon distorted into astrology, and evolutionary pantheism, then into spiritism and polytheism, as people gradually ceased worshipping the true God of heaven and turned to “the host of heaven,” the fallen angels.

11:4 scattered abroad. The intent of the leaders of this rebellion was flagrant rejection of God’s command.


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