The Tower of Babel was erected on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River near Shinar in Babylon. It was shaped like a ziggurat, a stepped pyramid familiar throughout Babylon. God has recognized the project as a rebellion against him and divided the single language of the tower builders into multiple languages. Then people spread out and became different tribes with different dominant ethnic features.
The metaphorical side of the Tower of Babel’ story shows how human intentions and projects, looking somewhat positive at first sight can be destructive. Several details of the story underline the contrast between humans’ opinion of own leading role and God’s point of view on the real humankind’s position. People decided to build a monument to themselves instead of doing it to God. They used a brick (a human-made material) instead of more durable God-made stones. Then God intervened in human affairs and confused their plans, preventing them from completing the project.
The Tower symbolizes an unexpected catastrophe, the end of the previous order, and a new beginning. The latter is made not by free choice but by an unforeseen event. It is a crash of stability, turmoil, and upheaval. On the other hand, such dramatic change can derive insights and a new level of understanding. The Tower is a symbol of an unexpected catastrophe and dramatic changes in a stream of life. It also represents a new beginning that is coming inevitably and not always for good.
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