After the global flood, Noah left the Ark. The very first thing that God said to Noah in Genesis 9 was,
- 1 "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."
- 7 "As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."
They were working together and they decided to build a structure that would reach to the heavens. They did this so that they would not be scattered over the earth. Their idea was in direct opposition of what God wanted. But there is even more to this story.
If we read deeper into this passage we know that this plain of Shinar is the Mesopotamia fertile crescent region. This is the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. The main city between these rivers is what is known today as Babylon. Hence the Bible calls it Babel, which means "confused".
If we notice how the scripture here is laid out, this story lies between one story about Shem, a son of Noah, and his decedents in chapter 10 and another story about Shem in chapter 12. Why is it in between?
Shem can be translated as "Name". Jewish people sometimes call God, HaShem, or "the Name". So, why is this surrounding this story at Babel? If we go back to Genesis 10:8-10 we see a man with the name of Nimrod. It says Nimrod's kingdom was in Babel. Nimrod can be translated as "rebellious". It can be assumed that he is the one who was starting this tower to reach the heavens since it was his kingdom. What was his rebellion? Notice what they said when they were building the Tower, "Come, let us build a city for ourselves, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves". In other words, the name of God is not what they were worshiping. They were going to worship their own name. Nimrod is the first shadow of the anti-Christ, someone who tries to raise his name above God's.
They were one language and were doing this, so God in order so save humanity from itself divided them. Only the name of God should be worshiped. When mankind thinks their name is higher or just as important as God we can see that all they have is confusion.