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From Gate Of God To Confusion

In most English translations of the Bible, the first mention of "Babel" (from which came the name Babylon) in the Holy Scriptures occurs in Genesis 10:10, before the tower of Babel was constructed:

"10:6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.

10:7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.

10:8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth [see also When Nimrod Ruled The World]. 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." (Genesis 10:6-10 KJV)

Is this a contradiction in the next chapter then? Did "Babel" exist before the LORD called it "Babel"?

"11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:8-9 KJV)

From "Gate Of God" To "Confusion"

Although it's often rendered as "babel," the actual word in Genesis 10:10 was the related-Semitic word pronounced bawb-iloo, which meant gate of God. Even the English rendering of "babel" reflects that meaning with the "el" (see El) in "babel" - which, in its root form, also means gate of the LORD. It's that reason that the LORD's presence, or access, is stated in Nimrod's "babel":

The Holy Scriptures

"10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.

10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." (Genesis 10:9-10 KJV)

But note carefully what happened when the humans began building a tower at the "gate of God" - the very reason that they chose that location to build it was to attempt to enter through the gate of God that was perceived as being there.

"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.

11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded." (Genesis 11:4-5 KJV)

It was then that the LORD renamed it as "babel" (as it's rendered in English), which in Hebrew is pronounced baw-bale. It means confusion - there is no actual "el" in it. The reason that it is often written that way is because translators have confused (amazingly, since the word that they confused means confusion!) for the earlier word which did have "el" in it.

"11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 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.

11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 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.

11:5 And the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 11:6 And the LORD 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. 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:1-9 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did the LORD identify Himself by the same Name to Abraham and Moses?
See Did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Know 'The LORD'?


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