O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Question for the readers here on DID,
While studying Genesis historically I have put off delving deeper into the Tower of Babel story. However now I'm beginning to see patterns that resonate with other consistent factors we see in Genesis which is prophecy. The more I study the more it is becoming apparent to me that Genesis is an indictment against temple Judaism just as Christianity concludes. I believe the pattern may be represented and drawn from the Jews experience with their first Temple and their being scattered and exiled to Babylon.
We see in The Adamic Garden story the loss of paradise and pure wisdom abandoned to feeble works illustrated by Paul in Romans 5-8. This relegates the people of God to an abandonment of wisdom and to a period of darkness. Then we pick up the murderous older brother Cain who kills the faithful shepherding prophet Abel which represents the Jews who killed the prophets seeking a return to the purity of Godly Wisdom (see Matt 23). Then we see the flood that is going to occur which will put an end to defilement by offering an ark of safety for the remnant faithful (See 2 Peter). Then we see a people (sons of Adam) who want to build a city and a Tower that reaches to Heaven lifting men up to Gods level but is constructed by human hands. God however wants no part of a tower/temple built with human hands as we have come to understand. This was understood even in the days of the writing of the OT and especially the OT because it was projecting toward righting a wrong that had taken place amongst the Jews and the manner they worshiped God. The Garden scene is their recognition of Wisdom of God abandoned or usurped bringing their condemnation of "death through sin".
We see in second temple literature the usage of the term "tower" to describe the temple as in the Book of Enoch.
Enoch 89:73 … And they began again to build as before, and they reared up that tower, and it was named the high tower; and they began again to place a table before the tower, but all the bread on it was polluted and not pure.
Second Temple scholars have identified also the understanding of the temple as an attempt to "span the distance to God's abode in the Heavens".
"Already in the Hebrew bible the temple is thought to span the vertical distance of the cosmos. Psalm 78:69 says God "built his sanctuary like the high heavens, in the earth, which he has founded forever". This is a brief statement of a widely assumed fact: that the temple as the cosmic mountain, covers the expanse between the upper and lower realms."
Excerpt from article "The cosmology of P and Theological Anthropology in the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira" By Crispin H. T. Fletcher-Louis, University of Nottingham.
So when we reflect upon Genesis 11 now with our acquired knowledge that we have accumulated over the years. It seems that Gen 11 fits the mold of a veiled discrediting of the Jews and their Temple approach which is a constant theme of 2nd Temple literature and flows right into the context and appropriation of first Century Christianity. Notice the sign post that stand out when we read Gen 11's account of the tower of Babel now. It was being built by the Jews ("sons of Adam") not humanity at large. It was designed in an attempt to protect it against another flood onslaught that was surely anticipated. The use of asphalt for mortar and fired bricks. It was built in conjunction with a city. Its top sits in the Heaven they supposed. They were afraid of being scattered and they were. These people were "one" which means they were exclusive in religion and mind. Finally it is called Babel. Does that ring a bell with the Babylon of Revelation?
Gen 11:1-9 And the whole land was of one religion and of one speech. And it happened, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they lived there. And they said to one another, Come, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and sits top in the heaven. And let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole land. And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Adam had built. And Jehovah said, Behold! The people is one and they all have one language. And this they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they cannot understand one another's speech. So Jehovah scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of all the land. And they quit building the city. Therefore the name of it is called Babel; because Jehovah confused the language of all the land there. And from there Jehovah scattered them abroad on the face of all the land.
Ok, I wanted to throw this out there and let's see where it goes.