The Tower of Babel

Genesis 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.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

The Tower at Babel

According to the Bible, the families of the sons of Noah represent all of the racial groups upon the earth. Chapter 10 of Genesis lists a total of 70 individual founders of nations or racial groups, and divides them into three primary classifications: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It is interesting to note that Ethnologists generally agree that mankind divides into three basic groups. Here is how the Bible divides them geographically:

Shem's Descendants. Central Nations

Shemites included Jews, Assyrians, Syrians, Elamites, in north Euphrates Valley and its borders.

Ham's Descendants. South Nations

Hamites went Southward. The names given seem to be South and Central Arabia, Egypt (Heb. Mitzraim or Lands of Ham), East Mediterranean, and East Africa. There was at one point a great migration to Egypt, but Canaan (son of Ham) settled in the land later called Israel.

Japheth's Descendants. North Nations

Japhethites went Northward, and settled in the areas around the Black and Caspian Seas. They became the great Caucasian races of Europe and Asia.

An interesting event happened in Genesis 11. Proud and rebellious men desired to build a city and make a name for themselves under the leadership of Nimrod, so they built a tower, in the land of Shinar (Babel), that would reach to heaven. This was the first organized system of idolatry recorded after the flood. They also disobeyed God's command to be fruitful and fill the earth. God condemned their arrogant ways by coming down and confusing their languages (probably racial distinctions also) which forced them to scatter throughout the whole earth. Before this they all spoke one language.

So what does all this tell us? There are many things but two facts should be mentioned.

First, man is given over to sin and rebellion, as Jeremiah' the prophet said:

Jer 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Secondly, it tells us that God loves man unconditionally and, though He will not tolerate disobedience, He will fulfill His promises to redeem humanity and go to whatever measure to keep anyone from thwarting His purposes.