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Sunday, June 5, 2022

Tower of Babel

 Thinking about the way we humans use words to confuse each other, to mislead and bully others, sell unwanted goods, make lies into truths and truths into lies, “sculpture” words (also called “word-smithing”)  and create so much confusion even when speaking in our own languages, I decided to re-read the Tower of Babel in Genesis, Chapter 11.   Here it is as written in one version of the Bible (New International Version).   

The Tower of Babel

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.  As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.  The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth”.

The way we humans behave, it appears that the Lord did a pretty good job! Look how proficient we have become in misusing this special gift.

Scholars tell us that the word Babel means “confused” in old Hebrew language. (Is that the origin of our word “babbling”?) Babel may also be to indicate Babylon where the tower was supposedly built.

 

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