The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11         Review Activities for this Lesson

Our lesson begins with the time when everyone on earth spoke the same language. But something happened to change all of that. Today we have many different kinds of languages. Can you name some of them? Some cities even have television stations which speak only Spanish. That’s because they have so many people there who speak Spanish. When you are older, you may want to study different languages. Let’s find out where they all came from.

Noah lived 350 years after the flood. He was 950 years old when he died. Noah’s sons Shem, Ham and Japheth had children of their own. Their families were the beginning of all families in the world today. As more and more people were born into the families of Shem, Ham and Japheth, the number of people on earth increased.

If you had been a father or mother in those times, what would you have told your children about God? Yes, you probably would have told them about the great flood. Whenever there was a rainbow, you would have reminded them of God’s promise that the world would never again be covered by water.

We know that many parents did hand down a knowledge of the great flood to their children. We have stories from countries in Noah’s part of the world which show this.

This should have helped people in later years know God. They should have realized Someone who could bring such a great flood was a God of power. They should have feared Him and have wanted to give Him honor. But something happened that shows how easily people forget God and His way for them.

Up until that time everyone spoke the same language. They seemed to stay together in a group. The Bible tells us they came to a plain called Shinar and decided to build a city.

They said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Since they knew how to make brick and use slime for mortar, they thought nothing could stop them.

The Bible does not tell us a lot about this city and tower, but we know the people wanted it for the wrong reason - - they were trying to be important in their own sight instead of trusting God for what is best. The Bible says that God did not like what was happening. He decided to do something that would stop their building.

God said, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

The Bible says that God scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth. The City and tower that were supposed to reach up to heaven were never finished. After all, how could people work together when they were speaking different language? They surely could not help each other if they couldn’t understand what they were saying. They named the city Babel, because there was such a confusion of speech there.

This should be a lesson to us about deciding what we will do without God’s help. He is always ready to help us in things that He plans for us to do. But when we strike out on our own, we will have to depend on ourselves alone. We need to plan things to fit into God’s purpose for us. Then we can always trust in Him to help.


1. We learned that temptation can come through our pride - - thinking we are important. How did Babel show this? How about today?
2. Teachers may use in “Value Clarification” skits to say there is no definite right and wrong. Contrast this with the Bible.
3. Can man be blessed long without God? Why not?

Text by Betty Belue Haynes, originally published in Bible Talk Times. Used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce for use, but not for publication.