|Read Psalm 2.|
|For your opening, thank God for all the
technological advances that God has given us and pray that we use them wisely
without turning to them as our gods.|
|Tell about an experience you had in a
|What is the biggest misunderstanding
you have had with someone because of a mis-hearing?|
|What pieces of technology have become
necessary for you?|
For Your Information:
|The plain of Shinar mentioned in 11:2
probably refers to the basin of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Babylon. Find Babylon
on a map. Also find Ur and Haran which are mentioned in 11:31-32.|
|Note the rough chiastic structure of
|Vv. 1-2: One language in one place|
|Vv. 3-4: People say: "Come, ____
|Vv. 5-6: God observes|
|Vv. 7-8: God says: "Come, ____
|V 9: Language confused, people
|We are probably to notice that the
people use "bricks" instead of stone and "bitumen" instead of mortar.
(Bitumen: The Hebrew word apparently refers to a gooey, slimy tar or asphalt. It was the
stuff used to waterproof the basket which held the baby Moses in Exodus 2:3.)|
|11.3, 4, 7 - Note the repeated refrain,
"Come, let us..." It parallels the statement in 1.26! 11.4 - "Tower"
probably refers to a ziggurat. (picture below) A famous ziggurat in antiquity was the one
at Etemenanki which perhaps is behind the story here.|
|11:8-9 - "Babel" is the
Akkadian word Bab-ilani for "gate of God." There is a word play with the
Hebrew words for "Babylon" and balal ("to confuse" in v.9). The
English word "babble" comes from this story.|
|11.10-26 - The descendants of Shem (son
of Noah) which parallels the record in 10.21-30.|
|11.27-30 - The descendants of Terah:
Fill in the family tree recorded in 11:27-30 using the table
- 11:3 - What do the people use for building instead of stone? What do they use in place
of mortar? Are these details significant?
- 11:4 - What do the people want to build? Why?
- 11:6 - Why is the Lord concerned about the peoples' plan?
- 11:7-8 - What did the Lord decide to do? What was the result?
- 11:29 - Why does the Bible bother with all the genealogies of people such as Milcah who
don't appear to be important in the story? Look ahead to Genesis 22:23 and 24:14-15 to
find out where she is mentioned again.
- 11:30 - What do we find out about Sarai this very first time that she is introduced? Why
is this so emphatically noted?
- Why didn't the people want to be scattered (11:4)? Why did the Lord evidently want the
people to be scattered (11:8)? Does God's command to Noah in 9:1 have any bearing on the
- Compare 11:6 with Genesis 3:22-24. What is similar/different about these two situations
and God's response to them?
- Read the Pentecost story in Acts 2. What parallels or contrasts can you find between
this story and the Tower of Babel story?
- What is the picture of God you get from the Tower of Babel story? Without checking on
whether the name LORD (J source) or God (P source) is used, can you tell if this incident
is from the J source where God is shown as personal and personally involved with humans or
from the P source where God is shown as transcendent and majestic. (For the P source,
think of Genesis 1; for the J, think of Genesis 2.)
- What does the story of the Tower of Babel teach us about human ambition? Is it wrong to
strive for greatness or "to make a name for ourselves"? (11:4)
- Have you ever made plans which were "scattered"? What happened? What did you
- One way to think about this story is as a parable about technology. The people invent
bricks and building, and we see where it gets them! How does technology impact your life
today? Is it good or bad?
- Can churches develop a "Tower of Babel" syndrome? How is our unity in Christ
different than the unity the people of Babel wanted?
- How does the story about the Tower of Babel apply to the present day when people can
easily translate from one language to another and when we have an institution like the
- Note that we are at a critical point in the Biblical story. Up through the Babel story,
we have been dealing with a sort of pre-history where it is difficult to establish dates
and where God is dealing with the whole world. With Abram we move into the realm of
history about 2000 years before Jesus was born. An important question in getting the big
picture here is: What has God been doing with people in general up to this point and how
will it be the same/different now that God is working with Abram and his family?
- What relationship do the following passages have with the Tower of Babel story?
Other Internet Resources:
For another description and picture of the tower of Babel, check out http://website.lineone.net/~ssleightholm/dict/glossary/babel.htm
|Read Philippians 2:1-11.|
|Confess your sins to God, especially
the ways in which your pride has distracted you from serving God.|
|What is one thing you will do to let
others know about God?|