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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 2

Babylon Arises

"AND the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel." Here, in the tenth chapter, tenth verse, of the first book of the Bible, is the very first mention of Babylon, yes, also, the first mention in the Bible of a kingdom. (Genesis 10:10. NW) Babylon is the same as Babel, for when certain Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, made the first written translation of their sacred Hebrew Scriptures into a foreign language (Greek) more than two thousand years ago, they translated the Hebrew name Babel as Babylon (BABYΛΩN). The translator who produced the Latin Vulgate version also used the word Babylon. "His empire began with Babylon," is how the modern English translation by the Roman Catholic Monsignor Ronald A. Knox reads. "His empire at first was Babylon," is how the Bible translation by the Protestant Dr. James Moffatt reads. Thus Babylon takes its place as the seat of the first kingdom on earth after the Flood, the capital city of the first empire by man. Was this in the interest of all mankind or not? Mankind's great Creator gives answer in his Book the Bible.

Whose kingdom, though, was it that had its seat of government in Babel or Babylon? Who founded this city? How or why was it founded, and how did it get its name? To these questions no ancient book of human history gives us the true answers but the Bible. This Book both introduces the city to us and then foretells its certain fall as a world influence. The king who first

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reigned in the original Babylon was a great-grandson of Noah, the builder of the great ark in which he and seven other human souls survived the flood that swept the whole earth four thousand three hundred years ago. The name of this great-grandson of Noah was Nimrod.

Concerning this famous man of ancient days the American Standard Version Bible presents the record in these words: "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, namely, of Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of ... Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Put, and Canaan. . . . And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before Jehovah: wherefore it is said, Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Jehovah. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city)." — Genesis 10:1-12. AS.

Even to this day hunters of note are nicknamed Nimrod by persons familiar with Bible history. There has been some discussion of the inward meaning of the saying: "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Jehovah." In what sense was Nimrod a hunter, and was this with Jehovah's recognition and approval or in defiance of Jehovah? What is the significance of the words "before Jehovah"?

The Roman Catholic Monsignor Ronald A. Knox gives it a favorable meaning in his translation of The Old Testament, which reads: "Chus was also the father of Nemrod, who was the first great warrior; bold, too, by God's grace,* at the hunt, whence the proverb arose, By God's grace, a huntsman bold as Nemrod. His empire began with Babylon," etc.


* In a footnote on this, Mgr. Knox says: " 'By God's grace'; literally 'in the presence of God', a phrase whose exact meaning is doubtful."
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In speaking of this difference of understanding, The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 19 (eleventh edition), page 703, says under Nimrod: "The 'mighty hunter before Yahweh' has been variously explained as 'a divinely great hunter' (Spurrell); 'a hunter in defiance of Yahweh' (Holzinger); 'a hunter with the help of Yahweh' or 'of some deity whose name has been replaced by Yahweh' (Gunkel, Genesis, page 82)." The name Yahweh is just another way to pronounce the letters in the name of the One whom the American Standard Version Bible calls Jehovah.

The Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 9, edition of 1909, page 309, says that Nimrod, in the writings of the Jewish rabbis, "is the prototype of a rebellious people, his name being interpreted as 'he who made all the people rebellious against God.' "

In his work entitled "The Book of Beginnings," the author, Alexander Marlowe, renders Genesis 10:8-10 as follows: "And Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty tyrant in the land. He was a terrible subjugator, defiant before the face of Jehovah: wherefore it is said, even as Nimrod, the giant hunter, presumptuous in the place of Jehovah. And the original seats of his empire were Babylon, and Erec, and Acad and Kalneh in the land of Shinar."*

In the expression "before Jehovah" the word before Is the translation of the Hebrew preposition liphnei' (Hebrew word). Regarding this important preposition the religious Cyclopedia by M'Clintock and Strong, Volume 7, edition of 1894, page 109, says:

The preposition Hebrew word has often, as [Lexicographer] Gesenius admits, a hostile sense — in front of, for the purpose of opposing (Numbers 16:2: 1 Chronicles 14:8: 2 Chronicles 14:10); and the Septuagint gives it such a sense in the verse under consideration — εναντιον Κυριου  "against the Lord." The [Jewish] Targums and [historian] Josephus give the preposition this hostile mean-


* Quoted from the 1938 edition, by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. U.S.A.
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ing. The context also inclines us to it. That the mighty hunting was not confined to the chase is apparent from its close connection with the building of eight cities. . . . What Nimrod did in the chase as a hunter was the earlier token of what he achieved as a conqueror. For hunting and heroism were of old specially and naturally associated, . . . The Assyrian monuments also picture many feats in hunting, and the word is often employed to denote campaigning. . . . The meaning then will be, that Nimrod was the first after the flood to found a kingdom, to unite the fragments of scattered patriarchal rule, and consolidate them under himself as sole head and master; and all this in defiance of Jehovah, for it was the violent intrusion of Hamitic power into a Shemitic territory.

Nimrod descended from Ham, not from Shem. — Genesis 10:6-8.

In harmony with this discernment of matters the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, edition of 1961, translates Genesis 10:8-10 as follows: "And Cush became father to Nimrod. He made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: 'Just like Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.' And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."

HOW "IN OPPOSITION"

It is important that now, at the beginning, we spend some time in finding out what kind of man this first king of Babylon (Babel) was. Then we can prove to ourselves on what foundation Babylon the Great of today rests. What is it that leads us to conclude from the Holy Bible that Nimrod was "in opposition to Jehovah" in becoming a "mighty one in the earth" and in displaying himself a "mighty hunter" whose name would become part of a proverb?

The Bible does not condemn hunting of wild animals and birds when the hunting is done for the sake of

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food and clothing or for protection. But when the hunting is engaged in for the sake of sport and in the love of mere killing wantonly, then the Bible condemns such hunting. Why? Because the life with which the Creator endowed creatures is tied up with the matter. It was first after the great Flood that the Creator made it lawful for us to eat the flesh of animals, birds and fish. That, of course, meant taking the life of these creatures. But in order that we might not be held responsible for their lives, the Creator and Life-giver made a certain restriction at the same time that he made it lawful for us to eat flesh of animals. He did so immediately after Noah and his three sons and the four wives had come out of the flood-proof ark and had engaged in a sacrifice of clean animals to Jehovah. As calculated today, this was in the year 2369 B.C.E. In Genesis 9:1-6 we read of it in these words:

"And God went on to bless Noah and his sons and to say to them: 'Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth. And a fear of you and a terror of you will continue upon every living creature of the earth and upon every flying creature of the heavens, upon everything that goes moving on the ground, and upon all the fishes of the sea. Into your hand they are now given. Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you. Only flesh with its soul — its blood — you must not eat And, besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of each one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man's blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God's image he made man.'" — New World Translation.

VIOLATING THE MANDATE ON BLOOD

In those words God the Creator stated that the blood is necessary to the creature's life, so much so that the

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creature's life is represented by the blood. For that reason if anyone shed the blood of a creature needlessly so that it died, he would be held to account for its life before the great Life-giver, God.

God is the One who gives life to creatures. Since the life of creatures therefore belongs to him, neither Noah nor any of his family had the right to take the life of a creature unnecessarily. As the creature's blood is vital to its existence and as its blood stands for its life in the Creator's sight, neither Noah nor any of his descendants had the right to eat or drink the creature's blood when eating its flesh. Eating blood meant the eater's taking to himself also the creature's soul or life, which belongs to God the Life-giver. That is why God said to Noah and his sons: "Only flesh with its soul — its blood — you must not eat." Just as God held life to be sacred because it belonged to him and he had given the creature the right to enjoy it, so he held blood to be sacred.

Well, then, when a creature was killed to be eaten, what was to be done with its blood, if it was contrary to God's law to eat or feed on blood? The blood was to be drained from the creature's body after it had been killed for food, and was to be poured out on the ground. God plainly commanded such handling of blood when he told his prophet Moses to write down this law for huntsmen of any nation, Israelite or non-Israelite: "As for any man of the sons of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in your midst who in hunting catches a wild beast or a fowl that may be eaten, he must in that case pour its blood out and cover it with dust. For the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood by the soul in it. Consequently I said to the sons of Israel: 'You must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh, because the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.' " (Leviticus 17:13.14) In the year 1512 B.C. the prophet Moses wrote down that divine mandate concerning blood; and this fact

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proved that 857 years after the Flood God's mandate to Noah and his sons concerning the sacredness of blood was still binding on men. Since we are all descendants of Noah, it is binding on us today.

As a great-grandson of Noah, Nimrod was bound to keep that divine mandate governing blood. But did he? His notoriousness as a "mighty hunter" indicates that he did not, but that he pursued hunting as a great sport, for the excitement of it, killing animals thoughtlessly as to their God-given right to life, wantonly, and not to protect people against wild beasts. As to whether he ate their flesh with their blood, in disregard of the divine mandate concerning blood, we cannot be certain, although we may be inclined to think so. But Nimrod's course bespeaks that he had a disregard for blood and its preciousness in the eyes of Jehovah. This is specially true if his hunting did not confine itself to wild beasts and birds but included human creatures.

This suggestion is not just our own thought. Concerning Nimrod "as a mighty hunter before the Lord" The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10, page 741, says: "This last may be taken in the strict sense — hunter of wild beasts, for such we know the Babylonian princes to have been; or in the sense of warrior, the original word gibbor having the meaning 'hero.'" With this latter suggestion The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 20, edition of 1929, page 350, agrees, saying: "He is styled a 'mighty hunter before the Lord,' a somewhat vague expression, but evidently referring to battle and conquest as well as to the chase." This agrees with M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia, as quoted above (page 13, paragraph 5). Aggressive campaigning on( Nimrod's part is indicated by the Bible record in Genesis 10:11, 12, which says: "Out of that land [of Shinar] he went forth into Assyria and set himself to building Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: this is the great city." In harmony with this Bible statement history tells us that

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Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was developed from Babylon.

Nimrod was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, and children were born to Ham first after the great Flood. Hence his grandson Nimrod's expedition into the territory of Assyria, which belonged to Asshur son of Shem, must have occurred a hundred years or more after the Flood. By that time the population of the earth must have grown greatly, in obedience to God's command to Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth: "Be fruitful and become many, make the earth swarm with you and become many in it." (Genesis 9:1. 7) So there were people for Nimrod to set himself up over as king in the city of Babylon (Babel) in the land of Shinar.

It was after Nimrod established his kingdom at this city that he made his expedition into Assyria to build Nineveh and other cities. In doing so he was evidently invading the territory of Asshur the son of Shem, for Assyria takes its name from Asshur. (Genesis 10:21. 22) How natural it would be for the mighty hunter of wild animals to turn to hunting men, not to take them alive, but to kill them, shedding their blood! Nimrod's pushing into Assyria was aggression. In all probability it was attended by bloodshed, the killing of those whom he and his_army dispossessed. For this bloodshed Nimrod's capital city became responsible. As a seat of empire it was built up with blood. (Habakkuk 2:12) What a pattern this was setting for its counterpart, Babylon the Great, to follow! — Revelation 17:5. 6.

God's mandate to Nimrod's great-grandfather Noah put a sacred value not only upon the blood of animals that were killed and eaten but more so upon the blood of man who was made in God's image. Like the blood of animals and birds, the blood of man also stood for his life. One man could not shed the blood or take the life of another man without having to render an account to the Life-giver, God. That was the law that

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God set up with Noah and all his descendants after he forbade the eating of blood, saying: "Besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of each one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man's blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God's image he made man." — Genesis 9:5,6.

If God required the life of a man from every animal, "every living creature," that killed a man, then he would likewise require the life of a man from the hand of his brother man who killed him or shed the life of his soul, his lifeblood. Why? Because that was murder. God did not wait until he gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai in 1513 B.C. to condemn murder and demand a penalty for it. (Exodus 20:13) God condemned murder right after the Flood, when God gave mankind a new and righteous start in life on this earth. Mankind, now being authorized to kill animals for food but without feeding also on their blood, was not to pass from killing of animals to killing of brother man, in God's image. But Nimrod did this very thing, first hunting animals and then, with pleasure in killing creatures, hunting his brother man.

Cain, the first child of Adam and Eve outside the garden of Eden, was the first to murder his brother man, Abel, before the Flood. Nimrod, as far as the Bible record shows, was the first after the Flood to murder his brother man, either before or after he invaded Assyria. Nimrod did not look upon himself as being his "brother's guardian." (Genesis 4:1-9) So for good reason, when telling later about the aggressions of the Assyrian World Power, Micah 5:5,6 calls the "land of Assyria" the "land of Nimrod."

How did God the Life-giver finally require the life-blood of all the creatures, animal and human, that Nimrod killed in violation of God's mandate concerning the sanctity of blood and murder? The Bible does

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not state. One of Nimrod's brothers, Raamah by name, is mentioned as having sons; however, the Bible lists no children as born to Nimrod, in spite of his becoming a "mighty one in the earth." The Bible, as it were, cuts him off, taking no note of any children that he might have had. (Genesis 10:7-12) Mythologies that trace back to Nimrod as the first king of Babylon indicate that he met a violent death at the hand of executioners.*

So, then, in view of his Bible record as an empire builder, can we conscientiously say that Nimrod was a bold huntsman "by God's grace" or with the help of God? Or do the Bible's rules of judgment indicate that Nimrod was a "mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah"? Our further study of Nimrod and his royal city Babylon (Babel) will make the right answer to the question still plainer.

DEFIANCE OF GOD'S UNIVERSAL SOVEREIGNTY

There is much meaning in the simple statement about Nimrod: "And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel." (Genesis 10:10) This is the very first mention of a kingdom in the Holy Bible. The Flood-survivor Noah, the great-grandfather of Nimrod, was still living at this time. Genesis 9:28. 29 tells us: "And Noah continued to live three hundred and fifty years after the deluge. So all the days of Noah amounted to nine hundred and fifty years and he died."

In all his three hundred and fifty years after the Flood Noah did not make himself king over all the human family, although he was now the family head of the whole human family. It is certain he did not anoint or appoint Nimrod to be king over any part of the human family. There was no reason for this. According to Genesis 6:9, "Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with the true God." Therefore Noah


* See the book entitled "The Two Babylons Or The Papal Worship Proved To Be The Worship of Nimrod And His Wife," by the clergyman Alexander Hislop, with all its references to Nimrod in the Index, page 328, edition of 1926. Published by Partridge, London, England.
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looked to the true God as his Ruler or King. For him to set up a kingdom over his growing family after the Flood would have meant for Noah to be ambitious, greedy for power, and to rebel against the sovereignty of God the Creator and thus quit walking with God. This is what Noah refused to do; and he would not approve of any of his sons' or grandsons' doing so. Noah was not a kingmaker.

In this respect Nimrod was unlike his greatgrandfather Noah. He wanted to be somebody, making a name for himself as a hero. He was the first one after the Flood that made a start in doing this, and in this way he set a bad example. In proof of this it is written: "And Cush himself became father to Nimrod. He it was that made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth." (1 Chronicles 1:10) Nimrod used his mighty position selfishly. He used it as a steppingstone to making himself king over his brother man; and the seat of his government he set up in Babylon (Babel). This was a defiance of God in heaven. It was a rebellion against the universal sovereignty of God, and this rebellion was enlarged when Nimrod extended his royal power over Assyria. By some scholars it is understood that his name Nimrod is drawn from the Hebrew verb marád, as found in Genesis 14:4. In this case the name would be actually the first person, plural number, of the verb marád, in the jussive mood, and would mean "We will rebel!" or, "Let us rebel!"

This idea is borne out in the Jewish interpretative translations of the Bible called Targums. For example, the Jerusalem Targum explains: "He was powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he was a hunter of the sons of men, and he said to them. 'Depart from the judgment of the Lord, and adhere to the judgment of Nimrod!' Therefore it is said: 'As Nimrod is the strong one, strong in hunting, and in wickedness before the Lord.' " The Targum of Jonathan tells us: "From the foundation of the world none was ever

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found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting, and in rebellions against the Lord." The Chaldee paraphrase of 1 Chronicles 1:10. the verse quoted in the preceding paragraph, reads: "Cush begat Nimrod, who began to prevail in wickedness, for he shed innocent blood, and rebelled against Jehovah."

The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, in his work entitled "Antiquities of the Jews," in Book 1, chapter 4, paragraphs 2, 3, says: "Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God: he was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means that they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage that procured their happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other method of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his own power. . . . Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being at any degree negligent about the work." — Translation by Wm. Whiston.

If the name Nimrod is thus taken from the verb meaning to rebel, then this name must have been given to this man after he had started out on his rebellious course: it was not the name given to him at birth.* But regardless of the exact meaning of his name, Nimrod displayed rebellion against Jehovah God in starting world politics and setting up himself as king. Babylon, his capital, thus was a kingdom in rebellion against God the Universal Sovereign. So from her very start she was no part of the universal organization of Jeho-


* Dr. Alexander Hislop derives the name from two Hebrew words, which would make the name Nimrod mean "Subduer of the Leopard," a name that would hardly be given to him at his birth. This name would call attention to Nimrod's hunting prowess.  —  See The Two Babylons, 1926 edition, page 44, footnote.
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vah God, and Babylon never became a part of it later on. She was never a kingdom of God. She never departed from her opposition to God.

Seventy-five years before her fall in 539 B.C., God's prophet Jeremiah said: "Against Jehovah . . . she has sinned. . . . For it is against Jehovah that she has acted presumptuously." And, addressing Babylon, Jeremiah said: "It was against Jehovah that you excited yourself." Then he added: Look! I am against you, O Presumptuousness,' is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, 'for your day must come, the time that I must give you attention. And Presumptuousness will certainly stumble and fall, and it will have no one to cause it to rise up.' " — Jeremiah 50: 14, 29, 24, 31, 32.

THE FOUNDING OF BABYLON

Nimrod, the first king reported among mankind, was not "king by the grace of God." We can see this from the purpose for which his capital city was built and from the attitude that God took toward it. One of the eight human survivors of the Flood, namely, Shem, wrote about it in his history and said: "These were the families of the sons of Noah according to their family descents, by their nations, and from these the nations were spread about in the earth after the deluge. Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words. And it came about that in their journeying eastward they eventually discovered a valley plain in the land of Shinar, and they took up dwelling there. And they began to say, each one to the other: 'Come on! Let us make bricks and bake them with a burning process.' So brick served as stone for them, but bitumen served as mortar for them. They now said: 'Come on! Let us build ourselves a city and also a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, for fear we

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may be scattered over all the surface of the earth.' " — Genesis 10:32 to 11:4.

The plain here mentioned lay between two famous rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris (Hiddekel), both of which once had their common source in the original home of mankind, the garden of Eden, the Paradise of Pleasure. (Genesis 2:10-14) After the Flood the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers at first emptied into the Persian Gulf by separate channels. At that time the Gulf extended up as far as the ancient city of Ur of the Chaldeans, the home of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham; and it was a seaport. Since that time these rivers have filled up the head of the Persian Gulf for nearly a hundred miles. Below where the Euphrates and the Tigris join today the stream is called Shat el Arab and is deep enough to float

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warships. About fifty miles northwest of Babylon the Euphrates and the Tigris approach to within twenty-five miles of each other. Below that area the two rivers have deposited what is called the Plain of Shinar or of Chaldea, which plain is more definitely spoken of as Babylonia. This plain is about two hundred and fifty miles long and is a hundred miles across at its widest place.

Later, because of its location between the Euphrates and the Tigris the land was called Mesopotamia, which name means "the land between the rivers." It was into this plain that Nimrod and others with him came during the second century after the Flood.

These pioneers found the land of Shinar very productive. They decided to stay there. The building of a city was suggested to them. With what was it to be built? There was no stone in the neighborhood to be quarried, but there was plenty of mud or clay. Besides that, there were pits of bitumen. Conveniently they decided to make bricks by molding them into shape and drying and hardening them "with a burning process." Early Babylonian brick was apparently kiln-dried rather than sun-dried. To hold the bricks together when built up into the" walls of a structure they used slimy bitumen, fountains of which existed in that neighborhood.* This served as mortar for the builders. But why build a city?

God was interested in the purpose behind the building. He had given the mandate to Noah and his family to become fruitful with children and become many and fill the earth to the point of making it swarm with men


* Says The Encyclopaedia Britannica of the town of Hit, which was established about 100 miles above Babylon and where the fertile plain of Babylonia begins: "Hit, a town of Asiatic Turkey, in the vilayet of Bagdad, on the west bank of the Euphrates, . . . From time immemorial it has been the chief source of supply of bitumen for Babylonia, the prosperity of the town depending always upon its bitumen fountains. ... In the Bible (Ezra 8: 15) it is called Ahava; the original Babylonian name seems to have been Ihl, . . ."
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and women. (Genesis 9:1. 7) At that time the earth could easily have taken care of what is today called a "population explosion," for most of the earth was unpopulated and it was a wide country. It was not the time for people to hole themselves up in cities and develop a materialistic way of life and show indifference to God's mandate to mankind to fill the earth with righteous people from the three great family heads, Shem, Ham and Japheth.

However, those early bricklayers and masons had lost interest in God's mandate to man; they wanted the more settled life, with more ease and convenience. Their being all of one language and of one set of words made it very easy for them to build together. There is no Bible record that they formed a masonic lodge, but they had great building ambitions. They would make their city outstanding with a special piece of masonry, "a tower with its top in the heavens." This, though, was not for them to get nearer to God.

They began building on the banks of the Euphrates River. Their purpose was not to glorify God's name and to fulfill his mandate and spread the knowledge of his name to the ends of the earth. They said: "Let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, for fear we may be scattered over all the surface of the earth." (Genesis 11:4) They desired to herd together and have a local ruler over them. They knew that they had to give their city a name; and this name they would make famous. Then they would consider themselves to be honored in being known as citizens of this city.

As for that "tower with its top in the heavens," what was its real purpose? The city builders did not need to fear another deluge such as had occurred in the days of their still-living forefather Noah. After that Flood God caused the rainbow to appear and established an anti-deluge covenant with mankind, saying: "It shall occur that when I bring a cloud over the earth, then the

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rainbow will certainly appear in the cloud. And I shall certainly remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living soul among all flesh; and no more will the waters become a deluge to bring all flesh to ruin. And the rainbow must occur in the cloud, and I shall certainly see it to remember the covenant to time indefinite between God and every living soul among all flesh that is upon the earth." (Genesis 9:14-16) Not only did the tower builders not need to build a deluge refuge, but they could never build a tower as high as fifteen cubits above the top of the highest mountain, which was the high water level of the Flood.  — Genesis 7:19. 20.

The tower was not to be merely ornamental as a landmark for their city. It was to be a tower of religious worship, a ziggurat. It was to be, not a tapering circular tower with a spiral staircase or ramp running around on the outside to get to the top. According to historical descriptions of the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian towers and the tower foundations that have been uncovered by archaeological digging in the earth, this model tower of worship was on a square or rectangular basis. It was a pyramidal tower made up of a number of stories with room on the top floor for a temple. It would look like a series of terraces, and its broad means of ascent would wind around outside the structure. A broad stairway may have been built perpendicularly against the face of the front wall and directly up to the first or second story or perhaps even up to the top on the last story. Because of its great height the tower would dominate the city, and it would give the utmost prominence to the matter of religion. It would call attention to the chief god of the city. It would be a religious city.

Was this done to honor the true God in the heavens and to promote and preserve his worship? Was it therefore acceptable to him? The history of Shem, the

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son of Noah, supplies us the answers. After telling of the beginning of the building of the city and its religious tower, Shem goes on to say:

"And Jehovah proceeded to go down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men had built. After that Jehovah said: 'Look! They are one people and there is one language for them all, and this is what they start to do. Why, now there is nothing that they may have in mind to do that will be unattainable for them. Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language that they may not listen to one another's language.' Accordingly Jehovah scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called Babel, because there Jehovah had confused the language of all the earth, and Jehovah had scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth. This is the history of Shem." — Genesis 11:5-10.

Shem's history shows that Jehovah God made a close-up inspection of the construction work there on the banks of the Euphrates River. Not that Jehovah

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personally had to come down from his place in heaven to make the inspection and listen in on what the builders were saying as to the reasons for the building program; but that Jehovah turned his attention down to the city and its tower and found out what was planned by the builders. He had not authorized the building of a city to become the seat of an earthly ruler, nor did he take it as unimportant that they were building a temple tower for a false worship. This was rebellion against his universal sovereignty: this was an apostasy, a falling away from the worship of the God of Noah, the prophet of Jehovah; this was disobedience to the divine mandate for the filling of the earth with worshipers of Jehovah as God. This was a bad work, and in it they were united as one people. Their use of one language helped them to work together and encourage one another.

If this was the kind of start in an organized way that they made to quit worshiping Jehovah and doing his will, then to what lengths would they carry their organized efforts? They would ambitiously have one thing after another come to mind that would be attainable in a wrong way, in a wrong direction by unified, organized action. When we think of it today, we can appreciate how correctly Jehovah, man's Creator, spoke in his ability to foresee the future. We have only to read the news of today, concerning the cold war between the Eastern bloc of nations under Soviet Russia and the Western bloc under the United States of North America. The arms race between the two blocs has finally been carried up far higher than the temple tower there on the banks of the Euphrates, far higher than the top water level of the deluge of Noah's days, yes, far into the higher altitudes of outer space, by the explosion of a thermonuclear device 250 miles above the surface of the earth, likely tampering thereby with the balance of nature and affecting all the earth. That was on July 9, 1962.

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Without question, Jehovah hinted at this by his remark forty-two centuries ago. Today we should appreciate that that ancient organized start in a selfish, ambitious way at the original Babylon was of no small consequence. Away back there Jehovah well knew it.

For mankind's own good as well as for the carrying out of the divine mandate for filling the earth, in at least a token way, Jehovah took action. Just the very thing against which they were trying to build, Jehovah brought about, namely, the scattering of them. He did it in a miraculous manner, beyond the power of modern psychologists to explain. Through the first man, Adam, Jehovah had given them the power of speech, together with a language that intelligent men had by then cultivated for over seventeen centuries. Suddenly almighty Jehovah broke UP the unity of the city builders. He caused some change in their mental intelligence that blanked out the memory of their former one original language. So they began talking brand-new languages, one group this language and another group that language, with no one being gifted with ability to interpret one language into another. No longer understanding their fellow masons, they found it perplexing to try to work together. Gradually they left off building the city. They scattered, each one to his own language group. Their unity in rebellion against God broke down.

HOW IT WAS NAMED

The city now received a name that has become famous down to the present day, but not the name by which the first builders wanted to make a name for themselves, as its citizens. The patriarch Noah and his faithful son Shem called this city in the land of Shinar by the name of Babel, because this is what Jehovah, their God called it. The name bespeaks God's execution of judgment on the city, for the name is drawn from the verb balál, which means "to mingle, mix, confuse,

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confound." The name was shortened from Balbél to Babél and means "Confusion." In fact, the Greek Septuagint translation of Genesis 11:9 calls it Sýnkhysis (ΣΥΓΧΥΣΙΣ), which means "Confusion." But later, when talking about the city at that place, the Greek Septuagint Bible called it Babylon.

Of course, the people who stayed there at the in-completed city did not like this name, which called attention to Jehovah's judgment and his vindication of his universal sovereignty. Says the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus: "After this they were dispersed abroad on account of the difference of their languages, and went out by colonies everywhere; and each colony took possession of that land unto which God led them, so that the whole continent was filled with them, both the inland and maritime countries. . . . But Nimrod. the son of Chus, stayed and tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already observed."* So a local tradition grew up that claimed that the city's name was taken from the two words Bab, meaning "Gate" and El, meaning "God." to make it a holy name. In ancient cuneiform inscriptions it is correctly written Bâbilu (=Babi-ilu); In old Persian it is Bâbirus (Bâbairus), and in the Pali legend of India the name is Babêru. In old Accadian it is Ka-dingira and means "Gate of God."

In ancient times judicial court used to be held in the spacious city gate. From the oldest antiquity to the present day the word Bab (meaning "Gate") is the designation given in the Near East to a seat of government. Thus by its citizens Babylon was called God's seat of government, not meaning, of course, Jehovah's seat.


* Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chapter 5, paragraph 1; and chapter 6, paragraph 3, as translated from the Greek by Wm. Whiston in 1737.
† See page 352 of A New Commentary on Genesis, by F. Delitzch, edition of 1888.


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