The Hunter of Men--Nimrod and the Tower of Babel
Genesis 11 brings us to the last of the first 2,000 year history of man. Nimrod comes on the scene. What about this man Nimrod? Notice in verse 2 that it says, “...they journeyed from the east" to the land of Shinar. Genesis 8:4 tells us that the ark rested in the mountains of Ararat. These mountains were several hundred miles east of Mesopotamia or what is referred to here as Shinar.
It is very easy to believe that Noah's sons would have talked to their families about the land from which they came. Perhaps at some point Ham's sons decided to visit the land. Ham's grandson Nimrod became a mighty hunter, a leader. Nimrod was a warrior and a tyrant. In a sense, he was a hunter of men. His desire was to rule and dominate.
The Hebrew language in verse one would imply that not only was there one language, but also one dialect. Years before, Cain was instructed by God to be "...a fugitive and a vagabond...in the earth" (Genesis 4:12). Now Cain's rebellious children were rebelling against the same God. Maybe if they would but stay together they would not face the same condemnation.
Maybe if they bound themselves together under the "tower" they could withstand the wrath of God. Isaiah, although written much later proclaims the principle involved, "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:19,20).
Again in Deuteronomy 28:1, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth", and verse 15, "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:".
Granted, these verses are written to Israel, but God's moral principles never change. What was true for Cain was true for those at the Tower of Babel, and it is also true for you and me. God always blesses obedience. God always curses disobedience. The tower was cursed from the very beginning.
In verse three we see man's efforts ("let us"). It was always about them. They turned from worship of the One True God and bowed at the feet of satan in astrology worship. In a very real way, this was another first in the book of beginnings--the beginning of devil worship. Everywhere you look in Scripture God condemns the worship of the planets, sun, moon, and stars.
Remember, too, that there are three heavens. They were attempting to build the tower. I do not think for a minute that these people were trying to reach the throne room of God, or even the starry heaven. It was meant to be a high tower that reached high up, possibly like a present day observatory. The stars could be studied closer. Their alignments could be noticed more accurately.
One ruin that has been found in Babylon is a building 153 feet high with a 400 foot base. It was constructed in seven layers of different colors, each representing a color of the then known planets. The lowest was black representing Saturn. Next, on top of the black was orange for Jupiter followed by a layer of red for Mars, etc.
Man can make his plans, but God still is in complete control of everything. When He decides to take action there is no escape. First God visits (verse 5). Then He confounds their language (verse 7). Next he scatters (verse 8). Notice too that the Trinity was involved in this work (verse 7).
"Babel", it was called. Originally, the name literally meant "the Gate of God". God met man there and destroyed their plan. Man no longer able to communicate with each other was scattered abroad. Their evil plans had come to naught. God changed the meaning of "Babel" to "confusion".
Confusion is still very evident in the world we live in today. We still try to build our high towers, to avoid or escape the only Truth we have. God sees all of this too. He is watching. He is waiting in His mercy. But He will still judge. What kind of a tower are you building? And what foundation are you building upon?