Smithsonian Channel Spotlights Stone Tablet Believed to Confirm Biblical Tower of Babel

The first episode of the new season of the Smithsonian Channel’s “Secrets” series spotlights a stone tablet discovered in Babylon more than 100 years ago that is believed to confirm the existence of the biblical Tower of Babel as outlined in the Book of Genesis.

“Ancient texts have allowed experts to imagine what the building might have looked like,” a promotional video for the episode outlines, pointing to the Scriptures. “But now, astounding new evidence has emerged. Inscribed on the surface of a privately owned tablet, is an image that sensationally reveals what the Tower of Babel looked like.”

Although the tablet, which dates to approximately 600 B.C., was unearthed a century ago, it was just recently that the piece was brought to ancient text expert Dr. Andrew George of the University of London, who noted that the stone bears an image seemingly depicting the biblical tower.

During the broadcast, George explains the drawings and inscriptions on the tablet, which include a stepped tower and a figure of a human carrying a staff. The stone also bears ancient writing, which when translated, reads, “The ziggurat temple tower of the city of Babylon.”

“This tablet provides the first-ever image of the real Tower of Babel. It confirms the building was a Mesopotamian stepped tower and illustrates the seven tiers of the ancient megastructure,” the Smithsonian excitedly states. “Significantly, it also clearly identifies the man behind it: Mesopotamia’s most famous ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar II.”

Additional inscription on the stone also provides information as to the extent of the tower.

“It reads, ‘From the upper sea,’ which is the Mediterranean, ‘to the lower sea,’ and that’s the Persian Gulf,” George outlines in the episode. “The far-flung lands and teeming people of the habitations are mobilized in order to construct this building—the ziggurat of Babylon.”

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“Incredibly, this ancient account is identical to the biblical story of how the Tower of Babel was constructed,” the Smithsonian Channel acknowledges. “For scholars, the tablet offers further proof that the Tower of Babel wasn’t just a work of fiction. It was an actual building from antiquity.”

Hodge

Bodie Hodge, a researcher with Answers in Genesis and the author of “Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors,” told Christian News Network that he does believe the ancient piece serves as confirmation of the biblical tower. However, he noted that even though the stele indeed bears the image of Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar II and does likely date to 600 B.C, the Smithsonian has wrongfully attributed Nebuchadnezzar to being the mastermind behind the structure.

“They do have the correct image here. This is an image of Nebuchadnezzar II, [and] we gather that from the text,” Hodge explained. “The difference is that they actually try to equate Nebuchadnezzar as the builder … and that’s where the error gets introduced. The Tower of Babel [was built] actually well before Nebuchadnezzar. It would have been built about 900 years before.”

He said that he believes the tablet is a depiction of the Tower of Babel as it was observed—still standing—during Nebuchadnezzar’s lifetime.

“I think [the stele] is talking about the Tower of Babel here and this is just Nebuchadnezzar presenting it, talking about it,” Hodge outlined. “It’s possible that Nebuchadnezzar did repairs to the tower.”

“Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the Babylonian empire, stationed out of Babylon, which is where the Tower of Babel was built. So, of course he’s going to have access to it, see it, [and] maybe even try to do some repairs to it even in his day,” he added.

Hodge noted that Christians should be aware that the Smithsonian is a secular, humanistic institution and that all claims should be compared to Scripture.

“It’s a fascinating piece. It is a powerful confirmation of what we read in the Scriptures,” he said, “but the key is to make sure that we understand what we’re really looking at.”

In Genesis 11, the Bible records that men who had settled in Shinar conspired to build a great brick and mortar tower to unify humanity and make a name for themselves “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built,” the Scriptures outline. “And the Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language. And this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.'”

“So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, and they left off to build the city. 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,” Genesis explains.


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  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Yes, praise the Lord! Archaeology confirms the Holy Bible is true every time!! Our planet has the life-giving Textbook from the Creator God who sent Saviour Jesus for us!

  • Rick

    It would have been impossible for the wide differences in human languages to have evolved. It is clear, there were many nomadic people as well as collaboration among people groups.
    Conclusion: the Bible remains true to form and historically accurate. What is important to remember; God confused their tongues because of the idolatry and pride of man. Remember who the giver of life is and who alone deserves the praise!

    • TheLastHonestLawyer

      Simply stating “it would have been impossible” does not make it so. Linguists have a very good idea of how languages evolved over time, and how migration and trade affected languages.

      • Sisyphus

        Just using the word “evolution” or “evolved” can get people’s knickers in a knot. Seems there is a failure to recognize culture and society evolve as well as biology.

      • Amos Moses

        “Linguists have a very good idea of how languages evolved over time, and how migration and trade affected languages.”

        sure …. but the does not prove the biblical narrative incorrect …… and there are languages that have absolutely no relation to any other language for which there is an accounting …… language isolates ……..

        • TheLastHonestLawyer

          Isolated languages tend to form in groups that are isolated from outside influences for long periods of time.

          • Amos Moses

            and it goes along way to confirming the biblical narrative …… not disproving it ……………..

          • TheLastHonestLawyer

            Not in the least, as those languages are rare. The vast majority of the languages of the world have known linguistic histories. Language evolve, influence each other, and diverge. French and German are so different because France was occupied by the Romans, who left their language to the Franks, while the Franks in what would become Germany didn’t have that influence.

            Here, read this sentence. It’s in English:

            HWÆT, WE GAR-DEna in geardagum, þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon!

            That’s the opening lines of Beowulf, considered the first epic poem written in English. The manuscript dates from the 10th or 11th century. Here’s what it looks like in Modern English:

            LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
            of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
            we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!

            Same language after over a thousand years of changes. Which we can easily track.

            But hey, if you want to say that God destroyed a seven story building and mixed up all the languages of the world for getting to close to Heaven, while allowing humans to reach the Moon (a quarter million miles from the surface of the Earth) without a peep, go for it.

          • Amos Moses

            hence it goes toward proving the biblical narrative …………… and your false narrative of scripture detracts from your assertions … not scriptures …………

          • Terik123

            It seems simply that isolated languages lead to confusion and distrust.

      • John

        Too many assumptions needed to prove the evolution of languages.

        • Chris

          Ha, ha, ha. No. Try the studies which show the evolution of Latin into the romance languages.

    • Colin Rafferty

      So you think that even though Asian and American populations split 13,000 years ago, and weren’t significantly reunited until 500 years ago, their languages shouldn’t have drifted?

    • Bob Jones

      Yes Praise His Name!!!

  • TheLastHonestLawyer

    Folks, every city in Mesopotamia had a ziggurat. They were a combination of palace and temple. Most have long since been destroyed by wars or time.

    • Amos Moses

      ok ….. and ………. so what ………

      • TheLastHonestLawyer

        It means this engraving is not proof of the Babel story.

        • Amos Moses

          while i agree with that ….. it does not disprove it either ……….

          • Sisyphus

            Serious question, just a bit South of modern Baghdad? How is the specific location evidence of proof?… admittedly, you are much more well read in all things Biblical.

          • Amos Moses

            proof the tower existed ……. proof it exists no longer ….. proof that what God said about it occured ….. that being ……..

            11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
            11:9 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.

            nothing has been built on that site since, the site of the tower ….. and the name of the place is still Babel ….. in Arabic Babil ……. and it is the root of the word babble or to speak incoherently ….. to this day ……..

            Babil Governorate – Wikipedia
            Babil Governorate or Babylon Province is a governorate in central Iraq. It has an area of 5,119 square kilometres (1,976 sq mi), with an estimated population of …

          • Sisyphus

            Interesting, thank-you.

          • Amos Moses

            NP ……..

          • TheLastHonestLawyer

            The existence of ancient Babylon proves nothing more than Babylon existed. Does the existence of places named in the Epic of Gilgamesh prove that the the gods mentioned in that tale are real?

            Here’s another one for you. Tim Powers wrote a series of three novels, Last Call, Expiration Date, and Earthquake Weather. They postulated that magic is a real force to those who understand it. The first book concerned the mystical King of the West, who had stolen his position and needed a new source of bodies to control. He got them through a horrific form of poker. Until the rightful heir, a man with an unhealing wound and in love with his adopted sister, defeats him.

            The second book works on the idea that the really ragged street people you see are ghosts who have accumulated enough trash to be solid. The plot follows a group who ingest ghosts to gain longer lives, and a young boy possessed by Thomas Edison.

            Finally, the last book ties the first two together. The King is dead, and must be brought back.

            They’re great books. And they take places in our world. Powers’ research is so dedicated that I can take you on a tour of locations mentioned in Earthquake Weather, down to a specific fireplace grate in the Winchester Mystery House and the sea cave in San Francisco where the climax takes place. You can retrace the steps of every character in every books and find exactly what is described.

            Does this mean that there is an undying King of the West, married to his sister and overseeing the cycles of nature living somewhere on the California coast? Is poker actually a magical ritual? Is that crazy homeless guy ranting on the corner a ghost?

            Of course not. It’s just well-written fiction.

            So the mere existence of Babylon doesn’t mean the story of the tower is factual.

          • Amos Moses

            “The existence of ancient Babylon proves nothing more than Babylon existed. ”

            so it is not a “myth” ….. it is not a “legend” …… it is not “a fairy tale” …… it is not “fictional” …….. it was written of in scripture and it is accurate …… BTW ….. the CITY of Babylon ….. and the TOWER of Babylon …… two different things and they have two different locations …. the rest of your straw man argument is being ignored …….

          • TheLastHonestLawyer

            Will you please learn some basic English composition? Your posts are hard to read.

            No, there is no evidence to support the idea that Babylonians built a tower so high that a vengeful God smashed it and suddenly made everyone speak different languages.

          • Amos Moses

            objections as to form noted ….. i do not care ………..

          • Amos Moses

            “the idea that Babylonians built a tower so high that a vengeful God smashed it”

            you are right …. there is no evidence He is “vengeful” ……… and He did not smash it and scripture does not say that ….. so your assertions and complete lack of knowledge as to scripture ……. makes your argumentation false ……….. it is better to be silent and let men think you are uneducated than to open your mouth to speak and remove all doubt ……….

          • John

            Language changes over time. Go back in history a few hundred years and they would just what we say/write today to be confusing and not understandable. Then go back hundred before that and again.

            English is changing daily so stop buggin people. What they teach in school for English is slowly becoming out dated. And now the slang of texting & twitter – sometimes it is very hard to tell what someone is saying without looking up stuff.

    • Terik123

      Correct. Which tower would be the actual one….maybe tower really means something else like manknd thinking they can climb up to God and be equal?

      • TheLastHonestLawyer

        It’s a Just So story to explain why people speak different languages. That’s it.

  • Trilemma

    So, the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages happened during the Babylonian captivity? Why is there no mention of this in the Book of Daniel?

    • Amos Moses

      first, i do not trust anything biblical from the TV on the bible …… such as the things presented by the History Channel or others ……. i think they are referring to the figure on the tablet ….. not the actual responsible person who built the Tower which would be Nimrod …. the tablet may have been made during or around the time of Daniel ….. but i agree that the article does not make this clear …… and having not seen the show yet ……. not sure the show will be any clearer ………. but good points ……..

      • Trilemma

        I see the ambiguity now. When I read it, I took it to mean that the tablet said King Nebuchadnezzar II was responsible for building the tower pictured. The so called tower also looks like a step pyramid. Something rather common in ancient world.

  • Sisyphus

    “Believed to Confirm”: Believed by whom? Belief does not equal knowledge. Perhaps a graduate student is attempting to get something published.

    • Sharon_at_home

      No actually he is an expert on ancient text – not a student.

      • Sisyphus

        Are there other experts that consider his work a confirmation?

  • Chris Bailey

    While I believe what’s written in the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar is said to have built the Hanging Gardens — one of the seven wonders of the world. This was not the Tower of Babel which was thousands of years prior to Nebuchadnezzar.

  • james blue

    I’d have to say as far as “confirmation” goes the reality is it confirms biblical stories about as much as finding the Titanic confirms the story of Rose and Jack

    • John

      Right, but what it says is “the Smithsonian says there was a tower of Babel” – reread my comment. It does not prove there was such a tower only that the great and over rated Smithsonian says there was one

      Anything more and we are reading our own bias into the statement. We see this everyday – the media place a clip of what someone says then the talking head butchers the statement with their own bias and version – long gone is Joe Friday and “just the facts ma’am, just the facts”.

      • james blue

        ” reread my comment”

        Can’t say I read it to begin with

  • Paulette Anderson

    Another validation of our faith, as the Bible says walk in faith.

    • Amos Moses

      the ToB was not built by Nebuchadnezzar ………… it was built by Nimrod ………… not really sure what this proves ……. other reports and evidence put the actual ToB in Ur ……

  • John

    Based on the dating of the tablet/etc I doubt this is the tower of Babel, maybe a reproduction of what someone thought it looked like many years after it fell. As usual modern so called science makes a claim with no solid scientific proof (they have forgotten the scientific method and principles of old).

    But what is significant is that a Smithsonian affiliated organization say it is the Babel tower. Thus, the Smithsonian in effect says the Bible is correct in the existence of a tower.

    Go back a hundred years or so and the “experts” claimed there was no Herod in 30 CE, no King David, and much more. Since then they have found Herod’s sea side place (from what I saw it must have been something to behold) with his name buried at the front door. The real City of David has been found (another must visit place. More and more history found in the bible is verified every year – this is an example.

    One other very interesting find – a few years ago when digging in the City of David (towards the Temple Mount) deep up in a tunnel they found relics that show the palace of Melchizedek (the priest/king of scripture). The authorities stopped further excavation after a cave in and two workers were killed – so the proof has not been released nor the digging continued. Are authorities trying to hid something as seems to be the trend?

    • jerseydave

      Maybe, but the potential danger and the year to year nature of funding are probably two big probabilities. Still, fascinating stuff, and Bible-as-archaeology, or Bible-as-archaeological-hint-book stuff has had a pretty solid record of accuracy.

      • Chris

        “Bible-as-archaeology, or Bible-as-archaeological-hint-book stuff has had a pretty solid record of accuracy.”

        Actually quite the reverse. Please go to youtube and watch any lecture by Israel Finkelstein. He is an archaeologist who has excavated sites like Tell- Dan for years and found numerous discrepancies between the evidence and the bible.

    • Chris

      So should science respond to the evidence available or not? If it should then of course scientists will change their mind to accord with new evidence.

  • http://maxfurr.com HobbesianWorld

    The real fact is that Ziggurats were fairly common in the region, and in Babylon around 600 BCE, the babylonian Empire was expanding under Nebuchadnezzar II. It was, in fact, built and occupied by the Babylonians.

    But here’s the problem:

    Yahweh’s purpose in stopping that construction was, as stated in the Bible, that if they continued to have the same language, then “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do,”

    (Their purpose, according to Genesis, was to build a city and a very tall tower that might reach even to the heavens so that they might all, with this single purpose, stay together. Horrors! People working together without war)

    In any case, was stopping this togetherness by confounding their language not shortsighted of an omniscient god? Could It not see that humans would not only overcome the language barrier, but pretty much do whatever they “imagined to do,” including the construction of far taller towers and even fly to the moon–even to send a spacecraft beyond to solar system and into the stars?

    Folks, wake up. This story of the Tower of Babel belongs to the category of mythology. Why do people insist it is true without really thinking logically about it?

    • J J

      You were alive when they built the ziggurats.

      • http://maxfurr.com HobbesianWorld

        Actually, no. But I follow the science. You don’t. That’s fine. Stay ignorant.

  • Ray Black

    The Bible is Not a History Book, nor a Science Book, nor a Psychology Book. It is God’s WORD.