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tower of Babel

BA´BEL, TOWER OF. The building that the Babel builders intended to construct and that became the symbol of their God-defying disobedience and pride (Gen. 11:1–9). This structure is adequately illustrated by a characteristic Mesopotamian building called the ziggurat. The Assyro-Babylonian word zigguratu denotes a sacred temple tower and means a “pinnacle” or “mountaintop.” The Babylonian ziggurat was a gigantic artificial mound of sun-dried bricks. The oldest extant ziggurat is that at ancient Uruk, biblical Erech (Gen. 10:10), modern Warka. This ancient temple tower dates from the latter part of the fourth millennium B.C. Nothing in the biblical narrative indicates that the so-called Tower of Babel was a temple tower or ziggurat. It is simply called a tower (migdāl). It seems clear that the Tower of Babel was the first structure of this sort ever attempted, and if later towers have any connection with the Tower of Babel, they are to be thought of as descendants of it.
Unger, M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. (1988). In The new Unger’s Bible dictionary (Rev. and updated ed.). Chicago: Moody Press.

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