In the Genesis account of the building of the tower of Babel and God’s intervention that brought its construction to a halt, we see that an inability to communicate and the confusion and frustration that came from it caused the people to separate. These summary statements are given in Genesis 11:8-9: “So from there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name is called Babylon, for there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” The Hebrew name for Babylon, (the English word Babel represents the same Hebrew word), means “confusion.” The term comes from a root word that means “to mix.” It is interesting that in the Old Testament, Babylon became symbolic of defiance and rebellion against the one true God, and it remained so in the New Testament (see Jer. 51:6-9; Rev. 14:8; 17:1-5).
In the area of ancient Babylon, ruins of towers called ziggurats have been discovered, and at least some of these were built to honor various pagan gods. While the Bible does not say the tower in Genesis 11:1-9 was being constructed to honor a deity, it has been speculated that a tower built to honor the Babylonian god Marduk may have been the one described. The text of the Genesis account points to efforts to exalt humanity rather than any deity, but it is clear that worship of man usurps God from His proper place, just as does worship of any false god. God will not share His position of supremacy with anyone!