Let’s go back briefly and read Genesis 8:16-17, “Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” Noah and his family were on the ark for about one year. (Compare Genesis 7:11-13 with 8:14-16).  When Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives exited the ark, they were the only people left alive on the earth.  Naturally, they spoke the same language.  Genesis 10 shows us the continuing generations of Noah, with Genesis 11 informing us that they all still spoke the same language.

Now let’s read Genesis 11:1-4, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”  How gracious was the Lord to continue to keep one language for all people at this time.  No matter where they travelled, they were able to communicate with those they met.  Yet, these men devised an evil plan to make a name for themselves.  They ignored the Lord’s commandment that they “replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1) and were unwilling to separate.  Pride and rebellion filled these people as they sought to establish themselves greatly on the earth.  In their ignorance and revolt, they tried to reach heaven by their own devices.  Indeed, man has continually sought to reach heaven without God.  These wanted to reach heaven by their own invention and effort. 

In Genesis 11:5-7, we see the Lord move to squash this act of rebellion.  He confounded their language so they could not understand each other and continue with this idea to build a tower to heaven.  We then read, “So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” (Verse 8).  The people abused this wonderful gift of having the same language, so the Lord put into their hearts and mouths different languages. 

Genesis 11:9 tells us, “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”  The word ‘Babel’ means confusion, for the Lord confused their languages.

What was their original language?  We really do not know.  Some speculate that their original language was Hebrew for this is the language of the Old Testament.  However, we cannot insist upon this, for the scriptures simply do not tell us.

The Lord caused division because of the people’s sin.  In the church today, the Lord desires unity among us.  We read in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  Although we speak different languages today, we can still “speak the same thing” by submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He leads us into truth through reading God’s Word.  He will teach us truth so that we can be in unity and have the “same mind” and the “same judgment.”  We read in Ephesians 4:1-4, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE BODY, and ONE SPIRIT, even as ye are called in ONE HOPE of your calling.”  (CC)  (535.2)