The Tower of Babel and Noah's Flood
      Turning just a few pages into the Bible, we read about the first cities known to man after the global flood of Noah’s day.
       One of Noah’s descendants was a man by the name of Nimrod whose kingdom included the cities of Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. And out of the land went forth Asshur and he built  Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen in the land of Assyria.
      These first cities lay in a land modern historians call ancient Mesopotamia which means “the land between two rivers.” Those rivers being the Tigris and the Euphrates. This land would later be the staging ground for two of the worlds most feared Empires, that of Assyria and Babylon. That same land which we call present day Iraq.
       I remember during my college days taking a class in Western Civilization and the very first cultures mentioned in the history book we were assigned was that of the ancient Akkadians and Sumerians who lived in Mesopotamia. And it should come as no surprise because the city state of Akkad as well as the cities of Sumer were mentioned in Genesis 10:10-12 long ago.      
      One of the most amazing finds uncovered in Akkad was that of a seal which possibly shows that the Akkadians knew of the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. George Smith of the British Museum, who lived during the middle 1800's, wrote: “One striking and important specimen of early type in the British Museum has two figures sitting one on each side of a tree, holding out their hands to the fruit, while at the back of one (the woman) is stretched a serpent. We know well that in these early sculptures none of these figures were chance devices, but all represented events or supposed events, and figures ... , thus it is evident that a form of the story of the Fall, similar to that of Genesis, was known from early times in Babylonia.”  
Temptation Seal
Temptation Seal
British Museum BM89326
      The first city mentioned in the Bible as being among the cities of Nimrod is Babel. And in fact the city’s name as well as the Tower of Babel account is recorded outside of the Bible.
       Fragments of an Assyrian tablet were discovered at Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard during the middle of the 19th century that closely parallel the Biblical account. The artifacts now reside in the British Museum (registration number K.3657) and reads as follows: “his heart was evil against the father of all the gods . . . Babylon was brought into subjection, small and great alike. He confounded their speech . . . their strong palace (tower) all the days they built; to their strong place in the night He completely made an end . . . In His anger His word was poured out . . . to scatter aboard He set his face, He gave this command, and their counsel was confused. . .He saw them and the earth. . . of stopping not . . . Bitterly they wept at Babi(l).”
Tower of Babel Artifact
Babel Artifact
British Museum K.3657
      Sumer’s oldest and most important capital city was Uruk (Biblical Erech). Present day Iraq possibly derived it's name from this ancient city. Uruk is recorded on the Sumerian king list which also mentions the Elamites. This verifies the existence of the Elamites who descended from Elam, the son of Shem, the son of Noah as listed in Genesis 10:22.
       The capital of Sumer was later moved from Erech to UR. The same city Abraham later left to go to the land of Canaan. The Bible calls this city Ur of the Chaldeans in Genesis 11:31. An Inscription from Argistis near Van verifies this title which states, “This is the spoil of the cities I obtained for the people of the Khaldis (Chaldeans) in one year.”
      One fascinating archeological find at Ur is that of a temple tower which the Akkadians called a ziggurat. This tower found at UR was later rebuilt by king Nabonidus of Babylon who reigned between 555-539 B.C.
      On inscriptions found at this ziggurat, Nabonidus states that he had rebuilt the structure which he learned was originally built during the time of two kings which lived 1,500 years earlier then himself. This same inscription also bears the name of another Biblical Babylonian prince named Belshazzar who would live to see God’s handwriting on the walls of Babylon as recorded in Daniel chapter 5.
UR Ziggurat
Ziggurat at UR
      The ziggurat which resembled a four sided stepped pyramid was probably similar to that the Biblical tower built at Babel (Babylon). Other towers in Mesopotamia such as the one at Ur have been found at Calah (Nimrud), Assur, Sippar (Akkad), Uruk, Kish (Cush), Borsippa, Aqarquf, Khorsabad and Eridu, a city near Ur .
       Inscriptions from various Babylonian kings also record the reconstruction of temple towers that reached to the sky similar to the tower of Babel account.       Hammurabi who ruled around 2,000 B.C. states: “He restored the temple Emeteursag ... and built the temple tower . . .whose top is sky high.”
      Much later in history Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon wrote: “I raised the summit of the Tower of stages at Etemenanki so that its top rivalled the heavens.”
      Another insciption from Nebuchadnezzar reads: "Eteminanki, The Ziggurat at Babylon, I made and completed. With burnt bricks and shining jewels. I raised its head.  Now at the time of Eteminanki, Ziggurat of Borsa (Borsippa), which a former king had made and erected to forty two cubits, but whose top he did not raise, since ancient days had fallen into ruins.  . . .  It's location I changed not and its base I altered not.  . . . its ruins I made to arise."
      We also know from Babylonian inscriptions that these towers reached heights of up to 300 feet.
Birs Nimrud Ziggurat
Ruins of the Tower at Borsippa known as Birs Nimrud. Borsippa means confusion. This tower as well as the tower of  Eteminanki in Babylon are the two most likely canidates for the tower of Babel.
      Archaeology in this region has also uncovered one of the earliest accounts of the flood. It is listed on an artifact known as the Sumerian Kings list dating back to around 2,200 B.C. The inscription reads: “The flood swept over (the earth) . After the flood had swept over (the earth) (and) when the kingship was lowered (again) from heaven, kingship was (first) at Kish (Cush).”
       What is interesting about this statement is not only that the flood is the mentioned, but also Cush who was the son of Ham the son of Noah. The Bible in Genesis 10:8 states that Nimrod descended from Cush. The city of Kish (Cush) was located in the area very close to Babylon.  
      Another artifact known as the Eridu flood account found at Nippur (Biblical Calneh) states: “A flood came over the cities to destroy the seed of all mankind . . . all the windstorms, exceedingly powerful attacked as one, At the same time, the flood swept over the culture centers. For seven days and seven nights, the flood had swept over the land. The huge boat had been tossed about by the windstorms on the great waters.
      Another fascinating artifact from one of the cities of Asshur mentioned in Genesis 10:11, Nineveh, gives an account of the flood somewhat similar to the Bible’s account, showing they also had a knowledge of the great flood of Noah’s day:  
       “ a ship, seek thou life . . . aboard the ship take thou the seed of all living things . . . All my family and kin I made go aboard the ship. The beasts of the field, the wild creatures of the field . . . I made go aboard . . .”Board thou ship and batten up thy entrance!” That stated time had arrived: He who orders unease at night, showers down a rain of blight. I watched the appearance of the weather. The weather was awesome to behold. I boarded the ship and battened up the entrance. With the first glow of dawn, a black cloud rose up from the horizon. . . . Consternation over Adad reaches the heavens, Who turned to darkness all that had been light . . . For one day the south storm gathered speed as it blew, overtaking the [people] like a battle. No one can see his fellow . . . Six days and six nights blows the flood winds, as the south-storm sweeps over the land . . . On the seventh day the flood subsided in battle . . . the flood ceased. I looked at the weather; stillness had set in. And all of mankind had returned to clay. . . . On mount Nisir the ship came to a halt. . . . When the seventh day arrived I set forth a dove. The dove went back and forth, but came back; since no resting place for it was visible. The I sent forth a swallow. The swallow went forth, but came back; since no resting place for it was visible. Then I sent forth and set free a raven. The raven went forth and, seeing the waters diminished, he eats, circles, caws and turns not around. Then I let out (all) to the four winds and offered a sacrifice. I poured out a libation on the top of the mountains.”
Epic of Gilgamesh
Tablet number 11 of the Gilgamesh Epic dated to the 7th century B.C. found at Nineveh gives an account of a flood with some similarities to that of the Bible.  
      Another of Nimrod’s cities was Calneh which according to the Talmud is associated with the site of Nippur.
      According Genesis 11:1-9 Nimrod’s cities which included the region of Babel, Erech, Akkad and Calneh was known as the land of Shinar
       The name Shinar is found in the Egyptian records from Pharaoh Amenhotep II who wrote: “Now when the prince of the land of Naharin, the Prince of Hatti, and the prince of Shinar heard of my great victory, . . . they sought to me to spare their lives.”.
      To the Northwest of Shinar lies the cities founded by Asshur who was a descendant of Noah’s son Shem. His first city was named after himself, Assur. And just like the ruins from Akkad and Sumer, a ziggurat has aslo been uncovered at Assur.  
      Another one of his cities mentioned in Genesis 10:11 is Calah. The existence of this city has been found on a Royal Inscription from Assurnasirpal II, an early king of Assyria, who states “I took over again the city of Calah”      
      The Biblical city of Resen mentioned in Genesis 10:12 is believed to be the city known as Larsia, for in Hebrew Resen means “fortified place”. The historian Xenophon recorded that Larissa was a great fortress located between the cities of Nineveh and Calneh.
      The city Rehoboth Ir is associated today with the Assyrian city of Khorsabad.
      And of course last but not least, the great city of Nineveh which later became the capital of the Assyrian empire.
      For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22    
       "when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
       There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
      “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles; when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 1Peter 3:20-4:3
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Photo Links to Artifacts Mentioned in this Article
Etemenanki Tower
Tower of Babel Account Tower of Babel Stele
Reconstruction of Etemenanki, ziggurat at Babylon
Met Museum  ME86.11.284
Reconstructed Ziggurat
Schøyen Collection MS2063
Tower of Babel Account
Reconstructed Ziggurat
Schøyen Collection MS2063
Akkad Ziggurat Calah Tower
Birs Nimrud Tower at Erech
Calah (Nimrud)
Erech (Uruk)
Akkad (Sippar)
Borsippa Ziggurat
Borsippa means confusion. Possible Tower of Babel site
Kish Ziggurat
Ziggurat at Aqarquff
Assur Ziggurat
Ziggurat at UR
Tower of Calneh
Cush (Kish)
Calneh (Nippur) Ziggurat
Sumerian Kings Lidt
Epic of Gilgamesh
Eridu flood account
Calah Inscription
Adam and Eve Seal
Sumerian Kings List
Flood Account
Ashmolean Museum AN1923.444  
Eridu Flood Account
University of Penn Museum B10673
Gilgamesh Epic Flood Account
British Museum K.3375
Temptation Seal
Calah Inscription of  Assurnasirpal MS711
The Bible in the British Museum, Interpreting the Evidence
Author: T.C Mitchell ISBN #0-8091-4292-9
pg.24 Temptation Seal, pg 25 Ziggurat at UR British Museum  BM89326
pg 89 Cylinder Of Nabonidus from Ur  mentioning “Belshazzar and the rebuilt tower at Ur”
Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament
Author James Pritchard (ISBN #0-691-03503-2)
pg. 243 & 247 Egyptian accounts mentioning the land of Shinar. ANET 247 from Amenhotep II states: ". . .  The prince of Shanhar (Shinar) heard of the great victroy I had made."
pg.265 The Sumerian king list mentioning that a flood swept over the earth and that in Kish (Cush) the first kingdom was restored. Also mentions the Elamites. Ashmolean Museum AN1923.444  Weld Blundell Prism. Dates to around 2100 B.C.
pg.44 Sumerian account found at Nippur concerning a flood that destroyed mankind. Eridu flood account - University of Penn Museum B10673 Dates to around 2150 B.C.
Pg 270 A temple tower built by Hammurabi, "whose top is sky high"
Pg.-271 A temple tower built by Hammurabi's,son also mentions a temple tower. "the Temple tower, the mighty abode."
Pg. 93-95 Gilgamesh Epic with account similar to that of the Bible’s
British Museum K.3375 Dates to around 1150 B.C.
Pg. 274 Mention of the city of Ashur on inscription dating back to Shamshi-Adad I, 1726-1694 B.C.
Pg. 165 Mention of the city of Ninevah in Hammurabi code dating who ruled between 1728-1686 B.C.
Pg.605 Mention of the cities of Ashur, Nineveh and Calah together by Esarhaddon king of Assyria 680-669 B.C. Illustration on plate 68 of Rawlinson, H. C. (Ed.), The Cuneiform Inscripttions of Western Asia; Vol. IV: (1891)
Old Babylonian Period (2003-1595 B.C.) by Douglass Frayne
Hammurabi artifact BM90939 in British Museum
pg.353 "Hammurabi  . . . king of Babylon, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, who renovated the sanctuaries . . .  he built for her the Ezikalama, her beloved temple."
pg.376 Samsuiluna states: "To build the wall of Sippar (Akkad), the ancient city, to restore Ebabbar, to raise high as the heaven the top of the Ziggurat." British Museum artifact BM102404, BM115039 Akkadian. BM49197 Akkadian, BM50830 Sumerian
pg.344 "Hammurabi  . . . king of Babylon . . . king of the land of Sumer and Akkad . ..  renovated for him (the god Zababa) the Emeteursag (House - befitting a champion) in Kis, which Su-mu-la-il , his forefather had built which had become delapitaded.
pg.355 "Hammurabi . .. For the god Marduk  . . . he built Ezida . . . his shining sactuary in Borsippa "
The Ancient Near East - Volume 2 A new Anthology of Texts and Pictures. James Pritchard ISBN 0-691-00209-6
Pg.100 Mention of Calah by Ashurnasirpal II.
Schoyen Collection MS711- Assurnasirpal II states: "Calah I restored.   A temple of my Lady I established there."
Nabopolasar Cylinder from Sippar (Akkad) mentions that he ucovered the foundation of the Temple at Sippar named Ebbaber which no king before him had found in 3,200 years. That would date it to 3,800 B.C.
Nabonidus states: "Ebabber, together with Ekunankuga, its ziggurat, I built anew and completed its work."
British Museum website: Mentions that Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the ziggurat tower called Entemenanki
The Chaldean Account of Genesis, Author: George Smith, Publisher Scribner & Armstrong 1876, pg 160-162
Assyrian fragments mentioning the Tower of Babel account Internet text at
According to Dr. Paul Collins, Curator (Later Mesopotamia) Department of the Ancient Near East of The British Museum: “Smith's translation comes from a fragmentary cuneiform tablet discovered at Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard and now in the British Museum (registration number K.3657). In 1993 it was recognized that another fragment (Rm.114) belonged to the same tablet and the two pieces were joined. Alas, the second fragment is equally fragmentary and has not yet been fully translated or published.”
Oriental Museum’s photo collection of ziggurats found at Khorsabad Tepe Gawra, Nimrud (Calah = Kalhu), Assur, Aqarquf (one of the highest left standing) Sippar, Kish, Borsippa, Nippur, Uruk, UR (rebuilt by Nabonidus, location of Belshazzar inscription), and Eridu.
Royal Inscription of Assurnasirpal (MS711) states “Calah I restored”
Tower of Babel Stele, The Schøyen Collection - MS2063
Biblical Archaeology Review- Sept-Oct 2002 Translation
pg.33  Nebuchadnezzar II : "I made it the wonder of the people of the world, I raised its top to the heavens, made door for the gates, and I covered it with bitumen and bricks." (same materials used in Genesis 11:3 to build the Tower of Babel)
Building inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian empire: Part 1, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar.  (1905) By Stephen Langdon
pg.93 Nebuchadnezzar chapter XI    
British Museum Artifact Numbers K.1685 (BM91121), K.1686 (BM 91122), and K.1687 (BM91123), Nebuchadnezzar states
"Eteminanki, The Ziggurat at Babylon, I made and completed. With burnt bricks and shining jewels. I raised its head.  Now at the time Eteminanki, Ziggurat of Borsa (Borsippa), which a former king had made and erected to forty two cubits. but whose top he did not raise, since ancient days had fallen into ruins.  . . .  It's location I changed not and its base I altered not.  . . . its ruins I made to arise. "
pg.125 Nebuchadnezzar XV  
"The top of Eteminanki with burnt bricks and brilliant stones I raised."
pg.149   Nebuchadnezzar XVII   University of Penn 1785  Cylinder A:
"To raise the top of Eteminanki towards the heavens and to strengthen it I set my hand.
Cuneiform cylinder: inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II commemorating the reconstruction of Etemenanki, the ziggurat at Babylon  - Metropolitan Museum of Art  ME 86.11.284
Artwork: “Temptation Seal” Illustrated in “The Chaldean Account of Genesis containing the Description of the Creation ...”   (1876)  pg.91  Author George Smith of the Oriental Department of the British Museum, Publisher: Scribner, Armstrong & Company.
Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Bible History. Author Matthew George Easton. Publisher; Nelson and Sons (1894). Pg, 134 Illustration of the Chaldean account of the Tower of Babel, British Museum number K.3657
Artwork: “Tower of Babel Fragment - British Museum K3657" Illustrated in “The Seven Tablets of Creation - Luzac’s Semetic Text and Translation Series Vol. XIII”
(1902) Edited by L.W. King - Assistant in the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum.  Publisher: Luzac anc Company.
History of Art for Beginners and Students, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture with complete indexes and numerous illustrations by
Clara Erskine Clement,  1887
Figure 23. Birs Nimrud Illustration
Artwork: “Flood artifact - Epic of Gilgamesh” Illustrated in “”Virgil’s Aenid” (1944)
Author: John Dryden, Artist Carlotta Petrina, Publisher: Heritage Press.  Also photographed in ‘Book of History Volume 4 0" (The Near East Section) pg.1643,  publisher: Grolier Society
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Bible Evidence for The Flood in Bible Archeology