Authority Commensurate With Responsibility 5

Teachings of Alister John Lowe Th.D., Ph.D.

Issue 44   April, 1995

Authority Commensurate With Responsibility   5


Genesis 11:1-9 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, 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 builded. 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, an 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 there the Lord did confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

The central thought of the English word confusion, is to mix or disorder things so that they can not be distinguished.

This is precisely what transpires at the tower of Babel.


The word Babel, is the Hebrew word for Babylon. It includes Babylonia and the Babylonian Empire. It is used 232 times and is derived from the primitive root, balal, which as a variety of applications. It means to overflow (specifically with oil); by implication, to mix; also (denominatively), to fodder. It is translated in the King James Version of the Bible as anoint; confound; x fade; mingle; mix (self); give provender; temper.

This is the word that is translated in both verses 7 and 9 as confounded.

God came down and anointed the universal language. He knew full well that in a multitude of voices there lacketh not confusion. The third voice now disintegrated into a host of voices.

See God's attitude toward mixture.

Leviticus 19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

Exodus 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

It was this element among the people, this third voice, that turned the heart of the people back towards Egypt that began complaining and finally shut the people of God out of the promised land.

Numbers 11:4-6 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Ruth 2:8,9a Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them:

Ezra 10:1-5 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: and yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware.

This vow transpires after the heart-rending confessional prayer of Ezra. Here is the heart of that prayer in realation to the marriage of foreign wives.

Ezra 9:10-12 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments. Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to the other with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or wealth forever: that ye may be strong, and the eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.

Ten words are used throughout the Bible that are translated into the King James Version as confusion. Eight are in the Old Testament Hebrew: two are in the New Testament Greek.

1. Tebel Mixture: ie, unnatural bestiality. KJV: confusion. It is used twice.

2. Bosheth Shame (the feeling and the condition, as well as its cause). By implication (specifically) an idol. KJV: ashamed; confusion; +greatly; (put to) shame (-ful thing). It is used 29 times.

3. Qalown Disgrace; (by implication) the pudenda. KJV: confusion; dishonour; ignominy; reproach; shame. It is used 18 times.

4. Chaphe A primitive root, perhaps through the idea of detection; to blush; figuratively, to be ashamed; disappointed; causatively, to shame; reproach. KJV: be ashamed; be confounded; be brought to confusion, (unto shame); come (be put to) shame; bring reproach. It is used 21 times.

5. Kelimmah Disgrace. KJV: confusion; dishonour; reproach; shame. It is used 30 times.

6. Kalam A primitive root: properly, to wound, but only figuratively; to taunt or insult. KJV: be (make) ashamed; blush; be confounded; be put to confusion; hurt; reproach; (do, put to) shame. It is used 40 times.

7. Buwsh A primitive root; properly, to pale, ie, by implicaton, to be ashamed; also (by implication) to be disappointed or delayed. KJV: (be, make, bring to, cause, put to, with a) shame (d). Be (put to) confounded (-fusion); become dry; delay; be long. It is used 114 times.

8. Tohuw From and unsed root meaning to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), ie., desert. Figuratively, a worthless thing; adverbially, in vain. KJV: confusion; empty place; without form; nothing; (thing of) nought; vain; vanity; waste; wilderness. It is used 24 times.

9. Sugchusis Commixture, ie., (figuratively) riotous disturbance. KJV: confusion. It is used only once.

10. Akatastasia Instability; disorder. KJV: commotion; confusion; tumult. It is used 5 times.

A total of 278 times in the Old Testament, 6 in the New, giving a combined total in the Bible of 284 times.