The Confusion of Languages at the Tower of Babel
After the flood, the leaders of the earth, that spoke one language, united and declared, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
But the Lord seeing that their work will strengthen their rebellion against Him and hurt the His children in the earth said, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth“ (Genesis 11: 7-9).
There were different tribal groups, each of which was to have its own language. This was the origin of the world’s great languages and dialects, which now add up to about 3,000. Those who were not able to understand the language of one another set up small groups and scattered far and wide in most parts of the world.
God did not want again to destroy humanity for their evil. For their wickedness had not as yet reached the levels to which it had gone before the Flood. So, He planned to check it before it should again reach that level. So, in mercy, He confused their tongues. By this action, He forced them to separate and spread upon the earth. And he prevented their future united action. Thus, the division of languages, became an obstacle to human evil plans to uniting politically and economically.
There is an archeological proof to the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel in the early Mesopotamian literature. This reference is found in the Sumerian epic entitled “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.” Here is the Kramer translation:
“Once upon a time there was no snake, there was no scorpion, There was no hyena, there was no lion,
There was no wild dog, no wolf, There was no fear, no terror, Man had no rival. In those days, the lands of Subur (and) Hamazi, Harmony-tongued Sumer, the great land of the decrees of princeship,
Uri, the land having all that is appropriate, The land Martu, resting in security, The whole universe, the people in unison To Enlil in one tongue [spoke] … (Then) Enki, the lord of abundance (whose) commands are trustworthy,
The lord of wisdom, who understands the land, the leader of the gods, Endowed with wisdom, the lord of Eridu changed the speech in their mouths, [brought] contention into it, into the speech of man that (until then) had been one.”
As you can see, from the above passage, there is reference to what happened at the tower of Babel, and how languages were changed, which in turn led people to spread across the earth to populate it, as God instructed.
In His service,