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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Babel, Tower of (bâ'bel). An incomplete building, named only once in the Bible. Genesis 11:4-5. It was in the plain of Shinar, and made of burnt bricks, with "slime" (probably bitumen) for mortar. Jewish tradition and early profane writers say that the tower was destroyed. The captive Jews at Babylon imagined they recognized it, however, in the famous temple of Belus, which some identify with the temple of Nebo at Borsippa, the modern Birs Nimrûd. Rawlinson thinks that Birs Nimrûd cannot be identical with either the temple of Belus or the tower of Babel, but concedes that it may be used to show the probable form of the Babel tower. The Birs Nimrûd is one of the most striking ruins on the plain, and is six miles southwest of Hillah, on the Euphrates. This immense mound is about 2300 feet in circumference and 235 to 250 feet high. It was built of burnt bricks, each brick being twelve inches square and four inches thick. Several of them bear an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar. The tower is represented as in the form of a pyramid, built in seven receding stories, each placed upon the southwestern side of the one below, and each of the first three being 26 feet high, each of the last four being 15 feet high. On the seventh story was a temple, containing, perhaps, a statue of the god Belus.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Babel'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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