The story of the Tower of Babel is explained in chapter 11 of Genesis in just a few verses. This is a summary of the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel. You can read more in-depth Bible verses from the Scripture below and use the articles and videos to understand the meaning behind this teachable event in the Bible.
The descendants of Noah were living in the area of Mesopotamia in Babylon. They settled in a land named Shinar. The population was growing and they all spoke one language. The people decided to build a tall, proud symbol of how great they had made their nation. The Babylonians wanted a tower that would "reach to the heavens" so that they could be like God and that they would not need Him. They began to construct a great ziggurat.
God did not like the pride and arrogance in the hearts of the people. God caused the people to suddenly speak different languages so they could not communicate and work together to build the tower. This caused the people to scatter across the land. The tower was named The Tower of Babel because the word Babel means confusion. This story is a powerful reminder of how important it is to obey God's Word and not think that we can build a successful but godless life on our own!
The following are excerpts from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
Location of the Tower of Babel:
There has been much difference of opinion as to the geographical position of the Tower of Babel. Most writers upon the subject, following the tradition handed down by the Jews and Arabs, have identified it with the great Temple of Nebo in the city of Borsippa, now called the Birs-Nimroud (explained as a corruption of Birj Nimroud, "Tower of Nimrod"). This building, however, notwithstanding its importance, was to all appearance never regarded by the Babylonians as the Tower of Babel, for the very good reason that it was not situated in Babylon, but in Borsippa, which, though called, in later times, "the second Babylon," was naturally not the original city of that name. The erection regarded by the Babylonians as the great Tower of their ancient city was E-temen-ana-ki, "the Temple of the foundation of heaven and earth," called by Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar ziqqurat Babili, "the Tower of Babylon"--the world-renowned temple dedicated to Merodach and his consort Zer- panitum, Babylon's chief deities.
The Builders of the Tower:
The Bible record does not state who the people were who journeyed in the East and built the city and the Tower. The indefinite "they" might be taken to mean whatever people were there at the time the record was written, and probably presupposes that the reader would certainly know. As the Tower of Babel bears, in the native inscriptions, a Sumero-Akkadian name, it may be supposed that the builders referred to belonged to that race.
The Meaning of "Babel":
The place where they built the Tower was called Babylon, on account of the confusion of languages. Here we have again the statement as in Ge that the meaning of Babel is "confusion." This, as is well known, is based upon the purely Hebrew etymological law, which makes balal, "to confuse," or "mingle," assume a reduplicate form; but as far as the cuneiform inscriptions, which are now very numerous, give us information, Babel, from baldlu, "to mingle" (the root in question), was an impossibility. But on the Babylonian side, that the rendering of the name as Bab-ili (-ilani), "gate of god" ("of the gods") was a folk-etymology, is undoubted, notwithstanding that the Sumero-Akkadian form Ka-dingira, with the same meaning, is far from rare. It is noteworthy, however, that one of the forms used by Nebuchadrezzar is Babilam, with the mimmation or "emming," which is a characteristic of the Babylonian language; moreover, a place-name Babalam also occurs, which may be a still earlier, and perhaps the original, form. Notwithstanding that one would like to see in Babalam, "the place of bringing together," and in Babilam, "the bringer together," the termination -am would seem to be an insurmountable difficulty.
The Ultimate Destruction of the Tower:
That the building of the city would have been stopped when the confusion of tongues took place is natural--the departure of the greater part of the inhabitants made this inevitable. When the population increased again, the building of the city was continued, with the result that Babylon ultimately became the greatest city of then known world. The Tower, notwithstanding what had been said as to its destruction, remained, and when, as happened from time to time, its condition became ruinous, some energetic Babylonian king would restore it. Alexander and Philip of Macedon began clearing away the rubbish to rebuild the great temple of Bclus (Bel-Merodach) connected with it and there is hardly any doubt that the Tower would have been restored likewise, but the untimely death of the former, and the deficient mental caliber of the latter for the ruling of a great empire, put an end to the work. The Tower therefore remained unrepaired--"The tower was exceedingly tall. The third part of it sank down into the ground, a second third was burned down, and the remaining third was standing until the time of the destruction of Babylon" (Rabbi Yehanan, Sanhedhrin, 109, 1)