Genesis 11:1-9 The Nations And Idolatry.
The nations of the earth grew, but they still maintained a common language. As they grew they took great pride in their own achievements. They went from the original mandate of covenantal stewardship to God through the creation mandate, to seeking to build a city with a tower to extend to heaven. In rejecting the LORD they did not become irreligious, rather they created their own religion which would magnify themselves. The tower would be an idol to their religion of humanism, and by making it with baked bricks and mortar, they imagined it to stand the test of time (vv. 1-4). However, speaking anthropomorphically, Moses says that the LORD came down to see what they were doing and said, “let us go down and confuse their language” (vv. 5-7). They thought that they could rise to heaven, but the LORD came down to scatter and divide them through the mixture of languages, which prevented them from building their idol and the city associated with it (v. 8). “An ironic etymology derived from the Hebrew word meaning “confuse.” To the Babylonians, Babel meant ‘gate of god.’” (NGSB p. 27). It is also interesting to note that the LORD said “let us,” echoing the deliberative activity of the Trinity as we find it at creation (1:26).