Genesis Chapter 11 includes a few short verses about the Tower of Babel:

1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another: 'Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.' And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said: 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'

5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said: 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. 7 Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.'

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore was 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.

Is the Tower of Babel and its destruction mentioned or discussed in any other Jewish texts?

  • 4
    Are you looking for discussions of the tower in other parts of the Old Testament (Tanach), in Talmudic literature, or in later rabbinic literature? It is certainly discussed at length in the biblical commentaries. And are you looking just to find out if and where it is discussed, or looking for a summary of well-known sources?
    – jake
    Commented May 30, 2011 at 23:26
  • @jake: I'm looking for wherever it's discussed beyond the short passage in the Old Testament. Preferably from sources written around the same time frame. Ideally, the answer would include links to the sources where I could read more about this story/event. Commented May 31, 2011 at 3:29
  • 4
    See the note at the top of this WP article. I'd prefer (and I think I speak for many/most here) if around here, you'd use a term, such as "Tanach," "Hebrew Bible," or given the local context, just "Bible," rather than the loaded term "Old Testament."
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 5:48
  • @Isaac: I apologize, I was ignorant of the appropriate terminology. Commented May 31, 2011 at 15:55
  • No problem; thanks for your understanding. I already updated the question; I was responding now to your comment, which you might as well leave as-is, along with the ensuing discussion.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


This article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel is pretty extensive, and mentions several other sources; none in the Biblical canon, but some such as the Book of Jubilees and Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews are certainly related enough to be considered of Jewish context.

There are some other non-jewish references mentioned as well, of similar myths, that may eventually be talking about the same story.

  • 1
    Welcome to Judaism.SE and thanks for your informative answer! It looks like the asker is looking for older sources than those (Although that detail doesn't appear in the question, it is indicated in the comments.), but they by most accounts qualify as legitimate Jewish sources nonetheless.
    – WAF
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 12:40

The Tower of Babel is not discussed in any other Biblical texts, and any discussion and commentary in Jewish sources would have been written centuries after the original story. However, there are Sumerian (Mesopotamian) sources from that approximate era that describe a great temple in Babylon, and it has been suggested that the story is referring to an actual tower that existed in Babylon at that time, namely the great ziggurat temple of "Esagila."

The Jewish Encyclopedia article contains a summary of the ancient Jewish opinions on this text, and talks about the actual tower which this story might be describing.

(See also Wikipedia and the Anchor Bible series, Genesis.)

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