"You only have I known among all the families of the earth."
The early chapters of the Bible present two major stories of judgment: the Deluge and the Tower of Babel. The first, the story of the dramatic "liquidation" of the vast majority of the human race, has no parallel in recorded history, although pessimists speculate that man may try to outdo the biblical flood by launching a general thermonuclear war, or that the AIDS virus could get completely out of control and write Finis to human history. The events portrayed in the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) were far less destructive than the flood, and they too have no recent historical parallel.
At Babel no one died. The background, as Genesis describes it, was humanity's pride or hubris as men sought to create a perfect environment, insulated from the threat of divine judgment. God's judgment in this case was mild, but effective: The confusion of tongues rendered cooperation among the builders impossible, and they dispersed to the far corners of the earth, leaving their proud tower unfinished.
The lessons that we can draw from this story are two: first, that it is very dangerous for man to boast to himself of his own capacity and to treat his projects as though they were achievements; second, that confusion of communications can ruin otherwise sound projects...