Genesis 11:4
New International Version
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."

New Living Translation
Then they said, "Come, let's build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world."

English Standard Version
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Berean Study Bible
“Come,” they said, “let us build for ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

New American Standard Bible
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."

King James Bible
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Christian Standard Bible
And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth."

Good News Translation
They said, "Now let's build a city with a tower that reaches the sky, so that we can make a name for ourselves and not be scattered all over the earth."

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

International Standard Version
Then they said, "Come on! Let's build ourselves a city and a tower, with its summit in the heavens, and let's make a name for ourselves so we won't be scattered over the surface of the whole earth."

NET Bible
Then they said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth."

New Heart English Bible
They said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then they said, "Let's build a city for ourselves and a tower with its top in the sky. Let's make a name for ourselves so that we won't become scattered all over the face of the earth."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And they said: 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'

New American Standard 1977
And 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; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

King James 2000 Bible
And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

American King James Version
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth.

American Standard Version
And they said, Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven: and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.

Darby Bible Translation
And they said, Come on, let us build ourselves a city and a tower, the top of which [may reach] to the heavens; and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

English Revised Version
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Webster's Bible Translation
And they said, come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we should be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

World English Bible
They said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let's make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth."

Young's Literal Translation
And they say, 'Give help, let us build for ourselves a city and tower, and its head in the heavens, and make for ourselves a name, lest we be scattered over the face of all the earth.'
Study Bible HEB ▾ 
The Tower of Babel
3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” So they used brick instead of stone, and tar instead of mortar. 4“Come,” they said, “let us build for ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 5Then the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men were building.…
Cross References
Genesis 6:4
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and afterward as well, when the sons of God had relations with the daughters of men. And they bore them children who became the mighty men of old, men of renown.

Genesis 11:8
So the LORD scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city.

Deuteronomy 1:28
Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying: 'The people are larger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the heavens. We even saw the descendants of the Anakim there.'"

Deuteronomy 4:27
Then the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you.

Deuteronomy 9:1
Hear, O Israel. Today you are about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities fortified to the heavens.

2 Samuel 8:13
And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

Psalm 107:26
They mounted up to the heavens, they sunk to the depths; their courage melted in their anguish.

Jeremiah 51:53
Even if Babylon should ascend to the heavens and fortify her lofty stronghold, the destroyers I send will come against her, declares the LORD.

Treasury of Scripture

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth.

whose.

Deuteronomy 1:28 Where shall we go up? our brothers have discouraged our heart, saying, …

Deuteronomy 9:1 Hear, O Israel: You are to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to …

Daniel 4:11,22 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached to …

and let.

2 Samuel 8:13 And David got him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians …

Psalm 49:11-13 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, …

Proverbs 10:7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have …

John 5:44 How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek …

lest.

Genesis 11:8,9 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the …

Psalm 92:9 For, see, your enemies, O LORD, for, see, your enemies shall perish; …

Luke 1:51 He has showed strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in …







Lexicon
“Come,”
הָ֣בָה ׀ (hā·ḇāh)
Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3051: To give, to put, imperatively, come

they said,
וַיֹּאמְר֞וּ (way·yō·mə·rū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 559: To utter, say

“let us build
נִבְנֶה־ (niḇ·neh-)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect Cohortative if contextual - first person common plural
Strong's Hebrew 1129: To build

for ourselves
לָּ֣נוּ (lā·nū)
Preposition | first person common plural
Strong's Hebrew

a city
עִ֗יר (‘îr)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5892: Excitement

with a tower
וּמִגְדָּל֙ (ū·miḡ·dāl)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4026: A tower, a rostrum, a, bed of flowers

that reaches
וְרֹאשׁ֣וֹ (wə·rō·šōw)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7218: The head

to the heavens,
בַשָּׁמַ֔יִם (ḇaš·šā·ma·yim)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 8064: Heaven, sky

that we may make
וְנַֽעֲשֶׂה־ (wə·na·‘ă·śeh-)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive imperfect Cohortative if contextual - first person common plural
Strong's Hebrew 6213: To do, make

a name for ourselves
שֵׁ֑ם (šêm)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8034: A name

and not
פֶּן־ (pen-)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 6435: Removal, lest

be scattered
נָפ֖וּץ (nā·p̄ūṣ)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - first person common plural
Strong's Hebrew 6327: To be dispersed or scattered

over
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 5921: Above, over, upon, against

the face
פְּנֵ֥י (pə·nê)
Noun - common plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 6440: The face

of the whole
כָל־ (ḵāl)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 3605: The whole, all, any, every

earth.”
הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (hā·’ā·reṣ)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 776: Earth, land
(4) A tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.--The Hebrew is far less hyperbolical: namely, whose head (or top) is in the heavens, or skies, like the walls of the Canaanite cities (Deuteronomy 1:28). The object of the builders was twofold: first, they wished to have some central beacon which might guide them in their return from their wanderings; and secondly, they had a distinctly ambitious object, for by remaining as one nation they would be able to reduce to obedience all the tribes now perpetually wandering away from them, and so would "make them a name." We may, indeed, dismiss the silly stories of Josephus about their defiance of God and Nimrod's impiety, and the purpose of escaping a second deluge, for all which there is not the least vestige of authority in the sacred record; but we undoubtedly find a political purpose of preventing that dispersion of mankind which God had commanded (Genesis 1:28), and of using the consequent aggregation of population for the attaining to empire. There was probably some one able and ambitious mind at the bottom of this purpose, and doubtless it had very many advantages: for it is what is now called centralisation, by which the individual sacrifices his rights to the nation, the provinces to the capital, and small nations are bound together in one empire, that the force of the whole body may be brought to bear more rapidly and effectually in carrying out the will of the nation or of the ruler, as the case may be. Nimrod's efforts at a later date were successful (Genesis 10:10-12); and when we remember the blood-stained course of some of his cities, we may well doubt whether, with all its present advantages, this centralisation really promotes human happiness.

Verse 4. - And they said. Being impelled by their success in making bricks for their dwellings (Lange), though the resolution to be mentioned may have been the cause of their brick-making (Bush). Go to, let us build us a city. Cf. Genesis 4:17, which represents Cain as the first city builder. And a tower. Not as a distinct erection, but as forming a part, as it were the Acre-polls, of the city (Bochart). Whose top may reach unto heaven. Literally, and his head in the heavens, a hyperbolical expression for a tower of great height, as in Deuteronomy 1:28; Deuteronomy 9:1 (cf. Homer, 'Odys,' 5:239, ἐλάτη τ η΅ν οὐρανομήκης). This tower is commonly identified with the temple of Belus, which Herodotus describes (1. 181) as being quadrangular (two stadia each way), and having gates of brass, with a solid tower in the middle, consisting of eight sections, each a stadium in height, placed one above another, ascended by a spiral staircase, and having in the top section a spacious temple with a golden table and a well-furnished bed. Partially destroyed by Xerxes ( B.C. 490), it was attempted unsuccessfully to be rebuilt by Alexander the Great; but the remaining portion of the edifice was known to be in existence five centuries later, and was sufficiently imposing to be recognized as the temple of Belus (Pliny, 6:30). The site of this ancient tower is supposed by George Smith to be covered by the ruin "Babil," a square mound about 200 yards each way, in the north of the city; and that of the tower of Babel to be occupied by the ruin Birs-Nimrod (situated six miles south-west of Hillah, which is about forty miles west of Bagdad), a tower consisting of seven stages, said by inscriptions on cylinders extracted from the ruin to have been "the Temple of the Seven Planets, which had been partially built by a former king of Babylon, and, having fallen into decay, was restored and completed by Nebuchadnezzar" ('Assyrian Discoveries,' 12. p. 59; 'Chaldaean Genesis,' p. 163; cf. Layard's 'Nineveh and Babylon,' chap. 22. p. 496). It is, however, prima facie, unlikely that either Babil or Birs-Nimrod is the exact site of Babel. The original building was never finished, and may not have attained any great dimensions. Perhaps the most that can be said is that these existing mounds enable us to picture what sort of erection the tower of Babel was to be. And let us make a name, שֵׁם; neither an idol temple, ֵשם being = God, which it never is without the article, הַשֵׁם - cf. Leviticus 24:11 (Jewish writers); nor a monument, as in 2 Samuel 8:13 (Clericus); nor a metropolis, reading אֵם instead of שֵׁם, as in 2 Samuel 20:19 (Clericus); nor a tower that might serve as a sign to guide the wandering nomads and guard them against getting lost when spread abroad with their flocks, as in 2 Samuel 8:13; Isaiah 55:13 (Perizonius, Dathe, Ilgen); but a name, a reputation, as in 2 Samuel 8:13; Isaiah 63:12, 14; Jeremiah 32:20; Daniel 9:15 (Luther, Calvin, Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange, Murphy, Wordsworth, Kalisch). This was the first impelling motive to the erection of the city and tower. The offspring of ambition, it was designed to spread abroad their fame usque ad ultimos terrarum fines (Calvin). According to Philo, each man wrote his name upon a brick before he built it in. The second was to establish a rallying point that might serve to maintain their unity. Lest we be scattered abroad. Lest - antequam, πρὸ, before that, as if anticipating that the continuous increase of population would necessitate their dispersion (LXX., Vulgute), or as if determined to distinguish themselves before surrendering to the Divine command to spread themselves abroad (Luther); but the more exact rendering of פֵן is μή, ne, lest, introducing an apodosis expressive of something to be avoided by a preceding action (cf. Gesenius, ' Hebrews Gram.,' § 152, and Furst, 'Lex.,' sub voce. What the builders dreaded was not the recurrence of a flood (Josephus, Lyra), but the execution of the Divine purpose intimated in Genesis 9:1, and perhaps recalled to their remembrance by Noah (Usher), or by Sham (Wordsworth), or by Eber (Candlish); and what the builders aimed at was resistance to the Divine will. Upon the face of the whole earth. Over the entire surface of the globe, and not simply over the land of Shiner (Inglis), or over the immediate region in which they dwelt (Clericus,. Dathe, et alii, ut supra). 11:1-4 How soon men forget the most tremendous judgments, and go back to their former crimes! Though the desolations of the deluge were before their eyes, though they sprang from the stock of righteous Noah, yet even during his life-time, wickedness increases exceedingly. Nothing but the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit can remove the sinful lusts of the human will, and the depravity of the human heart. God's purpose was, that mankind should form many nations, and people all lands. In contempt of the Divine will, and against the counsel of Noah, the bulk of mankind united to build a city and a tower to prevent their separating. Idolatry was begun, and Babel became one of its chief seats. They made one another more daring and resolute. Let us learn to provoke one another to love and to good works, as sinners stir up and encourage one another to wicked works.
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