Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth…
I. THE BUILDERS.
1. Numerous. For one hundred years the posterity of Noah had continued to increase.
2. Of one speech. Hence present variety of language corroborative of the dispersion; otherwise there must have been many sources of the human race.
3. Disobedient. Had been expressly commanded to "replenish," i.e. refill, the earth. Instead of obeying God, they lived together. Thus, too, the population of the world was retarded. Men increase more rapidly in new countries.
4. United in rebellion.
II. THE BUILDING.
1. Purpose. Not to escape another flood, for not only had they the promise, but very few could in such a case escape that way. Probably it was to serve some idolatrous purpose, and be a landmark around which they could unite as one people and nation.
3. Character. Lofty. Eastern buildings not generally marked by loftiness. This, a grand and solitary exception.
III. THE INTERRUPTION.
1. The person. "God," whom they thought least of, and practically defied.
2. The mode. "Confound their language."
IV. THE CONSEQUENCES.
1. The building abandoned. If some speaking one tongue had continued, the jealousy of the rest would have hindered. But so strange an event would confound them as well as their speech.
2. They separated. Into how many tribes or nations we know not. The most eminent philologists (as Bunsen, etc.) find three original stocks, which some even call the Semitic, Japhetic, and Hamitic.
3. The earth was more widely peopled. Thus was the Divine will enforced. But had this been obeyed, without the need of resorting to this compulsory method, how much more easily had missionary efforts, and commercial enterprises, etc., now been carried out. Thus the world is this day suffering through the sin of these builders of old. LEARN:
I. The sin and folly of disobeying God.
II. The ease with which God can punish sin.
III. The far-reaching consequence of sin.
IV. No confusion of tongues in heaven. All sing the one new song.
(J. C. Gray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.