Torah Portion Gen.Noach 11:1 to 11:9
The Tower Of Babel
Gen 11:1-9 Gen 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. Gen 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. Gen 11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. Gen 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Gen 11:5 And Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. Gen 11:6 And Yahweh said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Gen 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. Gen 11:8 So Yahweh scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Gen 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because Yahweh did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did Yahweh scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
A Chiastic Structure.
- A chiastic structure is a pattern organized as follows-a story is divided into two halves and the themes of the first half of the story are repeated in the second half of the story in reverse order. Furthermore, both halves of the story point to the central axis, the most important element in the narrative.
- A) Genesis 11:1-Unity of language and purpose of humanity .
- B) Genesis 11:2-Migration of humanity to one geographical location
- C) Genesis 11:3-The plan to build a city and tower
- D) Genesis 11:4a-Construction of the city and a tower
- E) Genesis 11:4b-Purpose for building the city and tower (Central Axis)
- D1) Genesis 11:5-6-The Holy One examines the City and Tower
- C1) Genesis 11:7-Yahweh's descent to foil the plans for the city and tower
- B1) Genesis 11:8-Dispersion of humanity throughout the earth
- A1) Genesis 11:9-Confusion of humanity with multiple languages.
How does A compare to A1
- IN A the world has one language and is unified in purpose. In A-I the world has multiple languages and is disorganized.
How does B compare to B1.
- In B the people of the world gathered to one geographical location in B-1 Yahweh dispersed the people of the world into many locations.
How does C compare to C1?
- In C the people consort with each other to plan how to build the city and tower In C-1 Yahweh consorts (let us) how to prevent the construction of the city and tower.
How does D compare to D1?
- In D they begin construction of the city and tower to reach heaven. In D-1 Yahweh descends (from heaven) to see the construction of the city and of the tower.
What is the central axis?
- A plan for mankind to make a name for themselves and prevent dispersion.
Let's see if we can determine any other themes in these nine verses.
- Yes Gen 11:1 and 11:9 both use the words "The whole earth".
- It is a story about how mankind wants to make a name for themselves.
- It is a story about how mankind wants to remain located in one particular area.
Making a Name For Ourselves.
Thus far there have been four main stories with the same theme.
- Adam and Chava in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden).
- Cain and Abel. (Was it 1st degree murder?)
- The generation of the flood. (The arc taken up and the rest destroyed)(Yahshua will take us up and the rest will be destroyed)
- The Tower of Babel.
- Each one of these stories pertains to the theme of sin and judgment.
How is each story thematically related concerning the judgment meted out in response to the sin?
- Each judgment involved some type of scattering or banishing or exile.
- Adam and Chava were banished/exiled from Gan Eden.
- Cain was figuratively banished (see the wording in Genesis 4:13!) from the face of the earth because it no longer produced a harvest for him.
- The generation of the flood was literally banished from the face of the earth when they were taken away by the flood.
- The generation of the Tower of Babel was banished/scattered/exiled from Shinar.
Secondly, the Torah uses the genealogical lists as a "running Table of Contents" to divide the book into related sections.-- Have you noticed the phrase, "these are the generations of"? Note the following usages in the first eleven chapters alone.
- Genesis 2:4-These are the generations of the heavens and the earth.
- Genesis 5:1-These are the generations of Adam.
- Genesis 10:32-These are the families of Noah's descendants according to their generations.
Why Yahweh did not want man to "make a name for himself."
- In summary, we can see why the motivation to "make a name for ourselves" was so evil. Through thematic analysis, we see that "making a name for ourselves" is all about creating a man-centered society that rejects the idea of glorifying the Name of Yahweh. Instead, this society wanted nothing to do with Yahweh, the true source of Life .