FTER the great flood, the family of Noah and those who came after him grew in number until, as the years went on, the earth began to be full of people once more. But there was one great difference between the people who had lived before the flood and those who lived after it. Before the flood, all the people stayed close together, so that very many lived in one land and no one lived in other lands. So far as we know, all the people on the earth before the great flood, lived in the lands where the two great rivers flowed, called the Tigris and Euphrates. This part of the world was very full of people; but few or none crossed the mountains on the east, or the desert on the west; and the great world beyond was without people living in it. After the flood, families began to move from one place to another, seeking for themselves new homes. Some went one way, and some another.
This moving about was a part of God's plan to have the whole earth used for the home of men, and not merely a small part of it. Then, too, a family who wished to serve God, and do right, could go away to another land if the people around them became evil; and in a place by themselves they could bring up their children in the right way.
From Mount Ararat, where the ark rested, many of the people moved southward into a country between two great rivers, the rivers Tigris and Euphrates: and there they built houses for themselves. They undertook to build a great city, which should rule all the peoples around them. They found that the soil in that country could be made into bricks, and that the bricks could be heated and made hard; so that it was easy to build houses to live in, and walls around their city to make it strong against enemies.
And the people said to each other, "Let us build a great tower, that shall stand on the earth and shall reach up to the sky; so that we may be kept together, and not scattered abroad on the earth."
So they began to build their great tower out of bricks, which they piled up, one story above another. But God did not wish all the people on the earth to live close together, just as they had lived before the great flood. God knew that if they all kept together, those that were wicked would lead away from God those that were good, and all the world would become evil again, as it had been before the flood.
This was the way that God kept people from staying in one place. While they were building this great city and tower which they intended to rule the world, God caused their speech to change. At that time, all men were speaking one language, so that everybody could understand what every other person said.
God caused men to change their language, perhaps not all at once, but by degrees, little by little. After a time, the people that belonged to one family found that they could not understand what the people of another family were saying, just as now Germans do not understand English, and French people cannot talk to Italians, until they have learned their different languages.
As people began to grow apart in their speech they moved away into other places, where the families speaking one language could understand each other. So the men who were building the city and the great tower could no longer understand each other's speech; they left the building without finishing it, and many of them went away into other lands. So the building stayed forever unfinished.
The people were scattered from the Tower of Babel
And the city was named Babel, a word which means "confusion." It was afterward known as Babylon, and for a long time was one of the greatest cities of that part of the world, even after many of its people had left it to live elsewhere.
Part of the people who left Babylon went up to the north, and built a city called Nineveh, which became the ruling city of a great land called Assyria, whose people were called Assyrians.
Another company went away to the west, and settled by the great river Nile, and founded the land of Egypt, with its strange temples and pyramids, its Sphynx, and its monuments.
Another company wandered northwest until they came to the shore of the great sea which we call the Mediterranean Sea. There they founded the cities of Sidon and Tyre, where the people were sailors, sailing to countries far away, and bringing home many things from other lands to sell to the people of Babylon, and Assyria, and Egypt, and other countries.
So after the flood, the earth again become covered with people living in many lands and speaking many languages.