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Babel Tower of

Ba’bel, Tower of. The “tower of Babel” is only mentioned once in Scripture, Gen. 11:4, 5, and then as incomplete. It was built of bricks, and the “slime” used for mortar was probably bitumen. Such authorities as we possess represent the building as destroyed soon after its erection. When the Jews, however, were carried captive into Babylonia, they thought they recognized it in the famous temple of Belus, the modern Birs-Nimrûd. But the Birs-Nimrûd, though it cannot be the tower of Babel itself, may well be taken to show the probable shape and character of the edifice. This building appears to have been a sort of oblique pyramid built in seven receding stages, each successive one being nearer to the southwestern end, which constituted the back of the building. The first, second, and third stories were each 26 feet high, the remaining four being 15 feet high. On the seventh stage there was probably placed the ark or tabernacle, which seems to have been again 15 feet high, and must have nearly, if not entirely, covered the top of the seventh story. The entire original height, allowing three feet for the platform, would thus have been 156 feet, or, without the platform, 153 feet.