Genesis 11:5
New International Version
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.

New Living Translation
But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building.

English Standard Version
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.

Berean Study Bible
Then the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men were building.

New American Standard Bible
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

King James Bible
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Christian Standard Bible
Then the LORD came down to look over the city and the tower that the humans were building.

Contemporary English Version
But when the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower,

Good News Translation
Then the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which they had built,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then the LORD came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building.

International Standard Version
However, the LORD descended to look over the city and the tower that the humans were building.

NET Bible
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the people had started building.

New Heart English Bible
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the descendants of Adam were building.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

New American Standard 1977
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of the man built.

King James 2000 Bible
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

American King James Version
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

American Standard Version
And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men built.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.

Darby Bible Translation
And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men built.

English Revised Version
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men were building.

World English Bible
Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

Young's Literal Translation
And Jehovah cometh down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men have builded;
Study Bible
The Tower of Babel
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. 6And the LORD said, “If they have begun to do this as one people speaking the same language, then nothing they devise will be beyond them.…
Cross References
Genesis 18:21
I will go down to see if their actions fully justify the outcry that has reached Me. If not, I will find out."

Exodus 3:8
I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey--the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

Exodus 19:11
and be prepared by the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

Exodus 19:18
Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke, because the LORD had descended on it in fire. And smoke rose like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.

Treasury of Scripture

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

Genesis 18:21
I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Exodus 19:11
And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

Psalm 11:4
The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.







Lexicon
Then the LORD
יְהוָ֔ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

came down
וַיֵּ֣רֶד (way·yê·reḏ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3381: To come or go down, descend

to see
לִרְאֹ֥ת (lir·’ōṯ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 7200: To see

the city
הָעִ֖יר (hā·‘îr)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5892: Excitement

and the tower
הַמִּגְדָּ֑ל (ham·miḡ·dāl)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4026: A tower, a rostrum, a, bed of flowers

that
אֲשֶׁ֥ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

the sons
בְּנֵ֥י (bə·nê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 1121: A son

of men
הָאָדָֽם׃ (hā·’ā·ḏām)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 120: Ruddy, a human being

were building.
בָּנ֖וּ (bā·nū)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's Hebrew 1129: To build
(5-7) The Lord came down.--The narrative is given in that simple anthropological manner usual in the Book of Genesis, which so clearly sets before us God's loving care of man, and here and in Genesis 18:21 the equity of Divine justice. For Jehovah is described as a mighty king, who, hearing in His upper and heavenly dwelling of man's ambitious purpose, determines to go and inspect the work in person, that having seen, he may deal with the offenders justly. He views, therefore, "the city and the tower;" for the city was as important a portion of their purpose as the tower, or even more so. The tower, which, no doubt, was to be the citadel and protection of the city, was for the latter's sake to give the people a sense of strength and security. Having, then, inspected the tower and the city nestling round it, the Deity affirms that this centralisation is injurious to man's best interests, and must be counteracted by an opposite principle, namely, the tendency of mankind to make constant changes in language, and thereby to break up into different communities, kept permanently apart by the use of different tongues. At present "it is one people, and there is one lip to all of them, and this is what they begin to do," &c. Already there are thoughts among them of universal empire, and if thus the spread of mankind be hindered, and its division into numerous nations, each contributing its share to the progress and welfare of the world, be stopped, man will remain a poor debased creature, and will fail utterly in accomplishing the purpose for which he was placed upon earth. "Go to," therefore, He says, in irony of their twice repeated phrase, "we will go down, and make their speech unintelligible to one another." Now, though there is no assertion of a miracle here, yet we may well believe that there was an extraordinary quickening of a natural law which existed from the first. This, however, is but a secondary question, and the main fact is the statement that the Divine means for counteracting man's ambitious and ever-recurring dream of universal sovereignty is the law of diversity of speech. In ancient times there was little to counteract this tendency, and each city and petty district had its own dialect, and looked with animosity upon its neighbours who differed from it in pronunciation, if not in vocabulary. In the present day there are counteracting influences; and great communities, by the use of the same Bible and the possession of the same classical literature, may long continue to speak the same language. In days also when communication is so easy, not only do men travel much, but newspapers and serials published at the centre are dispersed to the most distant portions of the world. In old time it was not so, and probably Isaiah would not have been easily understood thirty miles from Jerusalem, nor Demosthenes a few leagues; from Athens. Without books or literature, a little-band of families wandering about with their cattle, with no communication with other tribes, would quickly modify both the grammar and the pronunciation of their language; and when, after a year or two, they revisited the tower, they would feel like foreigners in the new city, and quickly depart with the determination never to return. And to this day diversity of language is a powerful factor in keeping nations apart, or in preventing portions of the same kingdom from agreeing heartily together. And thus at Babel the first attempt to bind the human family into one whole came to an ignominious end.

Verse 5. - And the Lord came down. Not in visible form, as in Exodus 19:20; Exodus 34:5 (Onkelos), but "effectu ostendens se propin quiorem quem absentem esse judicabant" (Poole), an anthropomorphism (cf. Genesis 18:21; Psalm 144:5). "It is measure for measure (par pari). Let us build up, say they, and scale the heavens. Let us go down, says God, and defeat their impious thought" (Rabbi Schelomo, quoted by T. Lewis). To see (with a view to judicial action) the city and the tower which the children of men - sons of Adam; neither the posterity of Cain, i.e. the Hamites exclusively, as the Sethites were called sons of God, Genesis 6:2 (Augustine), nor wicked men in general (Junius, Piscator), imitators of Adam, i.e. rebellantes Dee (Mode, Lyre), since then the Shemites would not have been participators in the undertaking (Drusius), which some think, to have been their work exclusively (Inglis); but the members of the human race, or at least their leaders - builded. 11:5-9 Here is an expression after the manner of men; The Lord came down to see the city. God is just and fair in all he does against sin and sinners, and condemns none unheard. Pious Eber is not found among this ungodly crew; for he and his are called the children of God; their souls joined not themselves to the assembly of these children of men. God suffered them to go on some way, that the works of their hands, from which they promised themselves lasting honour, might turn to their lasting reproach. God has wise and holy ends, in allowing the enemies of his glory to carry on their wicked projects a great way, and to prosper long. Observe the wisdom and mercy of God, in the methods taken for defeating this undertaking. And the mercy of God in not making the penalty equal to the offence; for he deals not with us according to our sins. The wisdom of God, in fixing upon a sure way to stop these proceedings. If they could not understand one another, they could not help one another; this would take them off from their building. God has various means, and effectual ones, to baffle and defeat the projects of proud men that set themselves against him, and particularly he divides them among themselves. Notwithstanding their union and obstinacy God was above them; for who ever hardened his heart against him, and prospered? Their language was confounded. We all suffer by it to this day: in all the pains and trouble used to learn the languages we have occasion for, we suffer for the rebellion of our ancestors at Babel. Nay, and those unhappy disputes, which are strifes of words, and arise from misunderstanding one another's words, for aught we know, are owing to this confusion of tongues. They left off to build the city. The confusion of their tongues not only unfitted them for helping one another, but they saw the hand of the Lord gone out against them. It is wisdom to leave off that which we see God fights against. God is able to blast and bring to nought all the devices and designs of Babel-builders: there is no wisdom nor counsel against the Lord. The builders departed according to their families, and the tongue they spake, to the countries and places allotted to them. The children of men never did, nor ever will, come all together again, till the great day, when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and all nations shall be gathered before him.
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