For the first time in 100 years, new archaeological evidence has surfaced that may correspond with the biblical account of the Tower of Babel.
The evidence, an ancient carved stone tablet, bears the image of a large tower and the figure of a Babylonian king identified by scholars as Nebuchadnezzar II.
This remarkable tablet is featured in the first episode of the “Secrets” documentary series produced by the Smithsonian Channel, and scholars are already excited that it holds enough proof for the Tower of Babel to be a very real structure in ancient history.
Ancient Babylonian writing is engraved into the stone tablet along with the images of the tower and its king. It identifies the structure in the English translation as “The Tower of Temple of Babylon,” and it provides a summary of the tower’s construction.
The summary says, “From the Upper Sea, which is the Mediterranean, to the Lower Sea, which is the Persian Gulf, the far-flung lands and the teeming people of the habitations, I mobilized in order to construct this building.”
The writing’s point of view appears to be that of King Nebuchadnezzar II, who overlooks the structure in a proud stance with his royal staff. The tower’s massive architecture stands seven levels high, and is built in the step-pyramid style of the Babylonian ziggurat.
Dr. Andrew George, Babylonian professor and ancient text expert at the University of London, assisted in translating the tablet during the episode. He believes that the tablet’s narrative of the construction workers from distant cultures is key to identifying this tower with the Tower of Babel.
“The myth about the multitude of tongues comes from the context described in the stele about the multitude of peoples enlisted in the construction of the tower,” Dr. George surmised to Breaking Israel News during an interview. “There were many languages spoken on the construction site. From that it may be that the Bible got the idea of the confusion of tongues.”
Builder of Babel Identified?
Based on the tablet’s inscription of its construction and the king’s portrait, the Smithsonian attributes the tower’s construction to Nebuchadnezzar II, one of Babylon’s most famous kings, during the program. But Bodie Hodge, a Christian Answers in Genesis researcher and the author of “Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors,” doesn’t see it that way.
“They do have the correct image here. This is an image of Nebuchadnezzar II, [and] we gather that from the text,” Hodge reports to Christian News Network. “The difference is that they actually try to equate Nebuchadnezzar as the builder … and that’s where the error gets introduced. The Tower of Babel [was built] actually well before Nebuchadnezzar. It would have been built about 900 years before.”
This historical placement would indeed rule out Nebuchadnezzar II as the builder of Babel, since Nebuchadnezzar II was responsible for the Fall of Jerusalem, which happened many centuries later.
“I think [the stele] is talking about the Tower of Babel here, and this is just Nebuchadnezzar presenting it, talking about it,” Hodge further explains. “It’s possible that Nebuchadnezzar did repairs to the tower. Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the Babylonian empire, stationed out of Babylon, which is where the Tower of Babel was built. So, of course he’s going to have access to it, see it, [and] maybe even try to do some repairs to it even in his day.”
Scripture Comes to Life
A third idea still exists revolving the tower, one that has circulated for years among pastors before the tablet’s discovery. The theory can be extracted from the Scriptures themselves in Genesis 11:1-9, and focuses on one detail that often gets overlooked – the original Tower of Babel never finished construction.
More interesting still is the separate account of Nebuchadnezzar II’s restoration of Etemenanki, a ziggurat, build on top of the rubble from a more ancient tower. Documented in the “Mc Clintock and Strong cycopedia” published in 1894, The King describes restoring the tower with several details that match those in the Genesis story. Did Nebuchadnezzar simply build a new ‘Tower’ on top of Babel’s ruins? The possibility could very well exist.
Though the true builder behind the Tower of Babel is still under debate, scholars definitely agree that the current findings are extraordinary.
“As an Assyriologist, I don’t deal in the Bible, and I am not a religious person, but in this case, I can say there is an actual building which does seem to be the inspiration for the Biblical narrative,” Dr. Andrew George admits.
~ 1776 Christian