Genesis 11:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 11:5, NIV: "But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building."

Genesis 11:5, ESV: "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built."

Genesis 11:5, KJV: "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded."

Genesis 11:5, NASB: "Now the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the men had built."

Genesis 11:5, NLT: "But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building."

Genesis 11:5, CSB: "Then the LORD came down to look over the city and the tower that the humans were building."

What does Genesis 11:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The united peoples of earth make a plan to exalt themselves, by building a tower in their city that would reach to the heavens. Instead of asking God for help, they set out to make themselves powerful enough to get what they wanted. Many scholars see this as a deliberate attempt to guard against another flood, by making a structure specifically intended to protect mankind from God's judgment.

This verse is probably intended to be taken in a dry, almost sarcastic tone. The text reveals that God chooses to "come down" to even see their tower. Of course, God did not need to travel any distance in any direction to see or know what was happening on the earth. Instead, the language is meant to emphasize what a silly idea it was that people could build a tower that would reach to the heavens, or prevent God from enacting His will.

In a more direct sense, this verse shows God "playing along," much as He did when Adam hid from Him in the garden of Eden and God called out (Genesis 3:8–10).