One of the first cities to be built after the Flood. Here God “confused the language of all the earth.” (Ge 11:9) The name is derived from the verb ba·lalʹ, meaning “confuse.” Local citizens, thinking of their city as God’s seat of government, claimed that the name was compounded from Bab (Gate) and ilu (God), signifying “Gate of God.”
The beginning of the kingdom of wicked Nimrod, the “mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah,” was here at Babel, “in the land of Shinar,” on the alluvial plain built up by silt from the flooding Euphrates and Tigris rivers. (Ge 10:9, 10) Stones were not available for construction, so the builders made use of the great deposits of clay. “Let us make bricks and bake them with a burning process,” they said. Because of an absence of lime, the mortar consisted of bitumen.—Ge 11:3.
Babel’s God-defying program centered around construction of a religious tower “with its top in the heavens.” It was not built for the worship and praise of Jehovah, but was dedicated to false man-made religion, with a motive of making a “celebrated name” for the builders.—Ge 11:4.
The approximate time of such building may be drawn from the following information: Peleg lived from 2269 to 2030 B.C.E. His name meant “Division,” for “in his days the earth [that is, “earth’s population”] was divided”; Jehovah “scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth.” (Ge 10:25; 11:9) A text of Sharkalisharri, king of Agade (Accad) in patriarchal times, mentions his restoring a temple-tower at Babylon, implying that such a structure existed prior to his reign.