To help us understand the depths of the sin of the people in Babel against Almighty God, let us come to terms on what a tower back in the days of Babel. Think of temples, mounds and ziggurats. A tower was part of a temple complex. So was a ziggurat, which was a stepped platform holding a temple back in Mesopotamia. The first known ziggurats date as far back as 3000 BC in Sumer up to around 600 BC.
A temple complex had religious origins and was basically a manmade mountain for gods to dwell on. During antiquity, the people believed that the gods dwelt on the mountains because they were nearer to the heavens. While desiring to dwell near the mountains to be near the gods, it was uncommon for people to try to ascend these mountains, for fear of the gods. Of course, some mountains were holier than others.
The difficultly arose when clans dwelt in basins or flatlands. They believed they were far from the gods. In order to fix the problem, architects developed temples for gods to dwell in and mounds for temples to sit on. Eventually, the mounds were formed with steps so people could climb to the temple.
This was necessary, because once they could reach the temple easily, they could perform their rituals in and around the temple, which included orgies and child sacrifice. These practices were deplorable to God, as well as their polytheism. The fact that the Tower of Babel was set to reach to the “gods” for their religious rituals was both offensive and debased.
Humanity is Deceived
Humanity had strayed so far from God since the Fall, they didn’t even recognize their creator, nor did they have a relationship with Him. The world had even been destroyed with a Flood. Still, humanity was once again trying to maintain an existence that was relative, living as laws unto themselves, living as if they were unaccountable to their Creator, or as if they were uncreated.
Reading through Genesis 11, we come to a part in verse 4, “Then they said, Come, let us build a city for ourselves with a tower whose top shall reach unto heaven; so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Through this verse, we understand that Noah’s descendants didn’t want to migrate anymore. That wanted to ban together. But it wasn’t for the sake of doing good. They wanted to form a rebellious alliance against the God who brought the Flood, to be rid of Him forever!
Nimrod the Rebel
In Genesis 10 we see the name Nimrod appear, which means “rebel”. We are told he raised a nation. In Sumer, he was known as Gilgamesh. There are many ancient writings bearing his epic. Gilgamesh set up a tyranny and did everything in his power to make people believe he was from the gods and to convince people for forsake God. Some scholars say he was of large stature, possibly a giant, which made his claims credible and his tyranny possible.
Gilgamesh is responsible for the first “God is dead” movement. His idea for the ziggurat, as mentioned by Josephus the Jewish historian, “…He would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers!” (Ant. I: iv: 2). We know him as Nimrod in the Bible because the author would do him no honor by calling him by his name. Instead, the author called him Nimrod, or “rebel”. Being a mighty hunter, he traveled to and fro. Going to the mountain where YHWH dwelt, the Gilgamesh Epic establishes that Gilgamesh approached the mountain, hunted Him down and beheaded Him. Deceiving the people who the God they feared, the creator of the flood, was dead, Nimrod convinced the people to worship and follow him as god.
Watch this space for part 3…
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…