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Babel was one of three important towns founded by the great warrior-hunter, Nimrod, in the land of Shinar. The other two towns were Erech and Accad. Shinar was the ancient name for the land of Babylon, or Babylonia. Babel was the ancient name for the city of Babylon, which later became the nation’s capital (Genesis 10:8-10).

The early settlers around Babel found that by combining their abilities and manpower they could achieve progress; but with their progress came an attitude of arrogant self-sufficiency. They considered themselves socially and technically more advanced than their neighbours, and as a symbol of their achievements they erected a towering structure in the town. The structure may have been a fortress, though more likely it was a temple built on a series of stepped platforms, similar to the Sumerian ziggurats. Whatever it was, God saw it as a symbol of the people’s pride in trying to show themselves independent of him. Since they had used their united abilities to defy God, the divine response was to smash their ungodly unity decisively (Genesis 11:1-9). See also BABYLON.

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Babel'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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