Karl Wiener

The Tower of Babel

The Bible tells of a people who spoke a common language. This people wanted to build a city and a tower with the top reaching up to the sky. So the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower that the people were building. Now he feared that nothing would be out of reach for them, which they should plan to do. This means that the people could get cocky and would stop at nothing, whatever should come to their mind. To prevent this, God confused their language and scattered it all over the earth. The joint work on the tower ended because the confusion of languages made it impossible for the people involved in building the tower to communicate.

This is said to have happened thousands of years ago. In the period that followed, people rarely met each other for a long time, because the world was large and there were only a few who roamed through it. But the Bible also commanded people to be fruitful and to multiply themselves. They made ample use of this and were happy. However, many of them had misunderstood the commandment and instead of increasing their family they increased their property at the expense of others. That led to resentment and envy. As a result, they banded together in groups and moved out to take possession of other people's belongings. They didn't shy away from killing each other. Each time at the end of such raids, humanity had become poorer than before. Only few people reaped the benefits of these conflicts.

Again and again there were voices warning of the consequences of such actions. But people are forgetful. Whenever enough time had passed after the end of such hostilities and only few people remembered the dire events, they believed that another quarrel might lead to the goal of their desires. Due to the Babylonian confusion of the language, they could not come to an understanding about what was wrong with their actions.

If the Lord would descend once more to see what the language confusion has caused, he would notice that very often even people of the same native language cannot smile at one another because they do not understand each other.

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