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The Name that Scatters – Genesis 11:1-11:9

The Tower and City, the people’s attempt at establishing themselves, in fear of being scattered, became the symbol of their scattered confusion.  The irony is that in establishing a name, the people brought about what they feared the most, the LORD was forced to scatter them.  One language and one people became many scattered and confused people.  The name they sought to establish themselves became the symbol of their scattering.

The Art will be visible once we have at least five pieces to show.

Genesis 11:1-9

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

 

The Theme Explained

Before continuing, read the passage above and slowly let the images soak in.  Each image is someone’s personal expression of the theme.  Discover how the images reveal the theme from the passage.


The Tower of Babel is the classic attempt of Man to reach the heavens.  The text itself, though suggesting that the heavens were the goal, does not suggest that the people’s goal was to sit alongside God.  Rather, they were driven by fear.  The fear of scattering.

The connection between establishing their name, through the structures of the city and tower, would have established their name and prevented them from scattering.  Possibly, the city and tower represent strength of arms and so the scattering would not come at the hands of foes.  The irony in this is that when they began, they were gathered, peacefully and successfully dwelling in Shinar.  It is because of the city and tower that resulted in the LORD causing them to be scattered.

The repeated emphasis of the one land, one language and one speech, foreshadows the conclusion that they are scattered and confused.  No longer will they be one people and language upon one land.  While they sought to establish their own name, the location was named Babel, for the confusion that resulted from their attempt at establishing themselves.

The intentional commands of the people and of God move the people in completely opposite directions.  While the people forced action that tried to solidify what they already had, God’s words propelled the people away from what they had.  Also, they no longer had the ability that they had in the past, the ability to unite and collaborate.

The Tower and City, the people’s attempt at establishing themselves, in fear of being scattered, became the symbol of their scattered confusion.  The irony is that in establishing a name, the people brought about what they feared the most, the LORD was forced to scatter them.  One language and one people became many scattered and confused people.  The name they sought to establish themselves became the symbol of their scattering.

 

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