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Word American Tract Society - Definition
BABEL Confusion, the name of a lofty tower, begun to be built by the descendants of Noah among who Nimrod was a leader, about one hundred and twenty years after the flood; so called because God there confounded the language of those who were employed in the undertaking, Ge 10:10 11:9. Their object in building the city and tower, was to concentrate the population and the dominion at that spot; and as this was contrary to the divine purpose of replenishing the earth with inhabitants, and betrayed an ungodly and perhaps idolatrous disposition, God frustrated their designs by miraculously giving to different portions of the people different languages, or different modes of pronunciation and divergent dialects of the original language of man, thus causing them to disperse over the globe. Compare Ac 2:1-11. The tower was apparently left incomplete, but the foundation of the city was probably laid, and a portion no doubt of the builders continued to dwell there. The place became afterwards the celebrated city of Babylon. It has been supposed that the tower of Babel was afterwards finished, and called the tower of Belus, within the city of Babylon. Herodotus visited this tower, and describes it as a square pyramid, measuring half a mile in circumference at the base; from this rose eight towers one above another gradually decreasing in the summit, which was reached by a broad road winding up around the outside. This tower was used for astronomical purposes, but was chiefly devoted to the worship of Bel, whose temple contained immense treasures, including several statues of massive gold, one of which was forty feet in height. Here were deposited the sacred golden vessels brought from Jerusalem. 2Ch 36:7 Jer 51:44. Its ruins are supposed to be the present Birs Nimroud, six miles south-west of Hilleh, the modern Babylon: an immense mound of coarse sun-dried bricks, laid with bitumen. It is a ruinous heap, shattered by violence, furrowed by storms, and strewn with fragments of brick, pottery, etc., fused and vitrified by some intense heat. It is 190 feet high, and on the top rises an irregular tower 90 feet in circumference and 35 feet high, built of the fine brick-with which the whole mound appears to have been faced. The tower is rent asunder and mutilated at the top, and scathed as if by lightning-a monument, some have thought, of the just wrath of God. See NEBUCHADNEZZAR.