The timing of the tower of Babel is very heavily guess work, and there is no good
reason for putting it in the exact position we have placed it on the time line. However
there are a few assumptions we can make:
1) The Tower of Babel was probably within the life span of Salah (1693 to 2126 AM)
It is believed that Nimrod was responsible for the Tower of Babel. Genesis 10:10
states that Babel amongst other cities was the start of Nimrod’s kingdom. Nimrod
was the son of Cush (Genesis 10:8), and Cush was the son Ham (Genesis 10:6). Ham
was the son of Noah (Genesis 5:32), and therefore Nimrod was three generations from
Noah. Our time line however does not go through the line of Ham, but the line of
Shem, and therefore the best assumption we can make is to assume it happened during
the life span of the person in our time line that is three generations from Noah.
The first generation from Noah through the line of Shem, is obviously Shem. The second
generation is Arphaxad (Genesis 11:10), and the third generation is Salah, and therefore
the assumption can be made that it happened during the life span of of Salah, which
is anywhere between 1693 to 2126 AM. However, Nimrod could have been born earlier
or later than Salah, or could have died earlier or later than Salah, so these dates
can ever only be approximate.
2) The Tower of Babel likely happened after the earth was more populated that it
was at the end of the flood
There were only 8 people that exited the ark, and the story of the Tower of Babel
indicates that God mixed up the languages and then those living on the Earth spread
themselves out all over over the face of the earth. It doesn’t make sense that it
happened when the earths population was only 8 people, as to spread 8 people over
the earth would mean that the four families all went and lived by themselves which
would be a pretty lonely existence.
Of course we know for sure that the Tower of Babel was not built when there was only
8 people living on the earth, as all our other points knock that option out. However
the point is that the story makes more sense when the earth was somewhat populated,
and therefore the longer the period between the tower of Babel and the flood, the
more sense the story makes, and therefore it doesn’t make sense to place the story
as occurring too close to the flood.
3) The Tower of Babel occurred before Abraham and probably before Abraham’s grandfather
was born or in the period between the birth of Abraham’s Grandfather and the birth
It can also be assumed that Genesis told the story of the Tower of Babel in a Chronological
order, and therefore it must be noted that the story of Abraham starts at the end
of Genesis 11 or the start of Genesis 12, while the story of the tower of Babel is
told in Genesis 11. For this reason it is probable that the Tower of Babel happened
before Abraham left Ur, and or before Abraham was born, depending on whether one
considers the story of Abraham to start in Genesis 12 or at the end of Genesis 11.
Therefore I will go into detail as to where I believe the story of Abraham starts.
Notice that Genesis firsts tells of Creation, then the fall, then Cain and Abel,
and then tells us that Seth was born. There is then no more information on anything
that happened between Seth and Noah except the genealogy of Genesis 5. Therefore
the genealogy proceeds the story of Noah to fill in the gap between stories that
otherwise happened in Chronological order. So if we take out the genealogies of Genesis
10 and 11, and take the other stories in Chronological order we have the flood (Genesis
6 - 9), the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), and then the story of Abraham in Genesis
11:27. The genealogy preceding 11:27 simply gives the age of the person when their
son was born, and the age they were at the death, and as soon as 11:27 is reached
it goes into more detail about the birth and Marriage of Abraham (or Abram). The
genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11, both seem to stop with the Father of an
important person that appear in the stories that follow, and then give more details
about the birth of that important person, and therefore I would consider that the
genealogy of Genesis 5 ends in verse 27 and the story of Noah starts at verse 28.
On the same basis the genealogy of Chapter 11 ends in verse 25 and the story of Abraham
starts in verse 26, and therefore as the story of Abraham starts in Genesis 11:26
the Tower of Babel probably preceded the birth of Abraham.
4) The tower of Babel occurred before people divided themselves up and created the
The context of Genesis chapter 11 in regards to the Tower of Babel seems to indicate
that after the flood people were dwelling together until the Tower of Babel, and
then God caused them to move to various parts of the earth. So the idea of creating
the various cities probably came in after the Tower of Babel (although Genesis 10:10
may suggest otherwise unless the cities mentioned there were created after the Tower
of Babel). The cities that were built throughout these times were clearly named after
the person from which the people of that city descended. For example Moses fled to
Midian when he Escaped Egypt, and the Midianites were probably the descendants of
Midian Abraham’s son (Genes 25:2). The Canaanites were the descendants of Canaan,
who was Ham’s son (Genesis 10:6,19)
In Genesis 24:10 we find that the Servant of Abraham went to the city of Nahor to
find a wife for Isaac. This city would have either been the descendants of Abraham’s
brother (Genesis 11:26) or the descendants of Abraham’s grandfather (Genesis 11:24).
Whatever the case we know those dwelling in the city were related to Abraham because
Abraham asked his servant to go to his country and to his kindred to find a wife
The question then is whether the city contained descendants of Abraham’s grandfather
or Abraham’s brother. It seems more likely that it was the descendants of Abraham’s
Grandfather on the basis that Abraham called it his country (It wouldn’t have been
as much his country if it was his brothers descendants than if it were his grandfathers
descendants), and Abraham’s brother probably didn’t have enough sons to make a city,
so at that time it is more likely that the city contained descendants of Abraham’s
On this basis then we see that the descendants of Nahor congregated in a city, and
the idea of congregating into a city may not have happened until after the Tower
of Babel, and therefore the assumption is made that the Tower of Babel probably happened
before the birth of Nahor, which is the reason we put it in the spot we did on the
However, this is logic that may not necessarily be correct, and there is no reason
to have placed the event after the birth of Serug, other than trying to place the
event as far away from the flood as possible based on assumption number 2.
5) Genesis 10:25 appears to indicate that the Tower of Babel happened during the
life of Peleg
This is a point I discovered after writing the above. Genesis 10:25 states that Peleg
was given his name because in his time the earth was divided. While this may not
necessarily refer to the Tower of Babel, it probably does given that Genesis 11:1-2
seems to infer that men were dwelling together when the Tower of Babel happened.
Hence the Tower of Babel resulted in the earth being divided into its many languages,
and from there people spread out across the earth and dwelt with people they could
understand. Peleg lived between 1757 AM and 1996 AM, hence the tower of Babel happened
between this date.
In any case Point 1 narrows the probable timing down to between 1693 AM to 2126 AM.
While point 5 Narrows the probably timing down to between 1757 AM to 1996 AM. From
here the best guess would be a date that is as far away from the flood as possible
based on Point 2. Point 3 brings us to the same conclusion as point 5 anyway, so
point 4 being the only point remaining would appear to indicate the best guess is
before the birth of Nahor. However, the city of Nahor was probably built sometime
after Nahor’s birth anyway, so I do not claim that this guess is necessarily accurate.