Genesis 11:5

Genesis 11:5

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower
Not locally or visibly, being immense, omnipresent, and invisible; nor in order to see and take notice of what he otherwise could not see from heaven, for he is omniscient; but this is spoken after the manner of men, and is to be understood of some effects and displays of his power, which were manifest, and showed him to be present: the Targum is,

``and the Lord was revealed to take vengeance on them on account of the business of the city and tower the children of men built.''

This shows the patience and longsuffering of God, that he did not immediately proceed against them, and his wisdom and justice in taking cognizance of the affair, and inquiring into it; examining the truth and reality of things before he passed judgment and took measures to hinder them in the execution of their design; all which must be understood agreeably to the divine Majesty, and as accommodated to the capacities of men, and as an instruction to them in judging matters they have a concern in:

which the children of men builded;
or were building, for they had not finished their building, at least not the city, as appears from ( Genesis 11:8 ) . These were either the whole body of the people, under the general appellation of "the children of men": or else a part of them, distinguished by this character from the "sons of God", who were truly religious; by which it seems that Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, and others, were not concerned in this affair, who though they might come with the rest unto Shinar, yet when they understood their design, refused to join with them in it; so that it was only the carnal and irreligious part of them, who very probably were by far the majority, and therefore there was no overruling their debates, and stopping them in their works, that were the builders; and these might be the posterity of Ham in general, with others of Shem and Japheth mixed with them. Josephus F7 makes Nimrod to be the head of them, which is not likely, as before observed.


F7 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 4. sect. 2, 3.