Asscending a rebuilt ziggurat stairway (what
the ancients thought was a gateway to the
heavens or to the gods)
Staircase Parallel (Chiasm) Structure of Gen 11:1-9
A: All the earth had one language (v. 1)
B: there (v. 2)
C: One to another (v. 3a)
D: Come, let us make bricks (v. 3b)
E: Let us make for ourselves (v. 4a)
F: City and tower (v. 4b)
God came down (v. 5a)
F: City and tower (v. 5b)
E: Man has built (v. 5c)
D: Come, let us confuse (v. 7a)
C: One to another, the language (v. 7b)
B: From there (v. 8)
A: Confused the language of the whole earth (v. 9)
City and tower
see what man built
Come, let us confuse
One to another
Many languages on earth
God came down
One language on earth
One to another
Come, let us build up
Let us make for us
City and tower
Note the
structure on its
side and its
similarity to
ancient steppedpyramid temples
(houses built to
meet the gods
and/or reach
heavens like
Babel in other
ancient pagan
God overturns
man’s plans in
Genesis 11:1-9
One language on earth (v. 1-2)
One to another (v. 3a)
Come, let us build up (3b)
Let us make for us (v. 4a)
City and tower (v. 4b)
God came down (v. 5a)
City and tower (v. 5b)
see what man built (v. 5c)
Come, let us confuse (v. 7a)
One to another (v. 7b)
Many languages on earth (v. 9)
Ancient clay tablets instructing future
kings of Babylon to rebuild Babel.
Some believe Hammurabi rebuilt it around
the time of Jacob in Genesis (see Bodie
Hodge, The Tower of Babel, p. 62)
Reconstruction of tower in Babylon by
Nebuchadnezzar (“house … of heaven and earth”)
Associated with the temple of Marduk, Esagila (“the
building whose top is in heaven”)
Saddam Hussein hoped to rebuild the tower
(note the Babel symbol on Iraqi currency)
Ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia
Great Ziggurat at UR
Zigurrat remains in Ur from time of
Abraham, ca. 2000 BC (modern Iraq,
upper destroyed levels re-drawn above)
Ziggurat-style “step pyramid” remains in Saqqara Egypt from
before the time of Abraham (built not long after Babel)
Later Mayan “house of gods” (temple)
Similar structure with stairway to worship
U.S. government building in Laguna Niguel,
CA, Chet Holifield Federal Building
(also called “the Ziggurat Building”)
“The Ziggurat” West Sacramento, from river,
headquarters of CA Department of General Services
The European
Parliament building
in France was
modeled after an
unfinished Tower of
Babel from
Bruegel’s famous
painting (on the
left), as one writer
said, ‘in the
symbolic hope of
ending the curse of
linguistic limitation’
European Union poster (on right) modeled
after classic painting of Babel (on left)
Closer view of
European Union
poster (note the
crane in the
background and
reference to
Genesis 11 in
the lower right:
“many tongues,
one voice,” their
hope to reunite
like Genesis 11,
to resume what
God stopped?)