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The tower of Babel

Genesis 11:7-8

7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

Full bible text

Genesis 11:4-9
4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.
6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 
7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 
9 That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

About this painting

After the flood God wanted man to increase in number and fill the earth (Gen 9:1) People resisted His will and built a city and tower in the plain of Sinear. “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen. 11:4) To prevent them from building, God punishes them with a confusion of tongues, which results in the abandoning of the construction and the spreading of man upon the face of the earth. The painting shows the incomprehension, distress and frustration that emerges when people no longer understand each other. Babel/Babylon remains throughout biblical history a symbol of human self-complacency, arrogance and opposition against God.

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