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Phoenicia: biblical place, ‘Land of Palms’

Phoenicia and it’s Historical – Biblical Significance

Where is Phoenicia?

Phoenicia, from the Greek word phoinix, “a palm”, the land of palm-trees, was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan. With its heartland along the coastal regions of modern day Lebanon, coastal Syria, and northern Israel. Date-palm abundantly grew in the region opposite Cyprus, from Gabala (city of Gebal) to Aradus and Marathus. And so the name Phoenicia was first applied to these areas that later expanded to further South as date-palm was also found growing there. It was from 1200 BC  (where is can be found on the Biblical Timeline with world history)that Phoenician cities emerged as sovereign bodies with apparent identity – Aradus, Byblos, Berytus, Sidon, Sarepta and Tyre, were situated along the coastal strip between sea and mountains of Lebanon. Moreover, there were two great cities of Phoenicia: Tyre, the center of the purple dye industry and Sidon, the center of the glass industry.

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The commercial network of Phoenicia

Biblical References to Phoenicia

* Acts 11:19; 15:3; 21:2 – the land being generally designated as the “coast” * Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24, 31, Luke 6:17 – “borders of Tyre and Sidon” *Genesis 10:19; 49:13; Josh 11:8; 1 Kings 17:9 – the land belonging to the Canaanites or to Sidon

What was the role of Phoenicians in the Bible?

Alphabet (Psalm 119). Perhaps the most significant contribution of the Phoenicians was a syllabic writing, developed in about 1000 BC at Byblos. From this city’s name come the Greek word “biblia” (books) and the English word Bible. Hebrew alphabet known as “Ketav Ivri or Paleo-Hebrew” was nearly identical to the Phoenician alphabet. Biblical Hebrew contains 22 letters (all of which are consonants), as noted in Psalm 119. This form of writing was spread by the Phoenicians in their travels and influenced the Aramaic and Greek alphabets. (from

Phoenician trade connected with the Israelites (2 Samuel 5:11, 1 Kings 5:9, 1 Kings 17-18). From the time that David had conquered Edom, an opening for trade was afforded to the Israelites. Solomon continued this trade with its king, obtained timber from its territory and employed its sailors and workmen.


(Ezekiel 27:3 – 4). Trade routes from all Asia converged on the Phoenician coast, entry point to the sea, where Phoenicians were the greatest merchants of the entire Mediterranean world. Preparations for Building the Temple (1 Kings 5:6) and Temple’s Furnishings (1 Kings 7:21-23). King Hiram rendered important service to Solomon in connection with the planning and building of the temple. Massive Masonry (1 Kings 5:17 – 18). Huge carved stones, forming the sanctuary wall’s foundation, with Phoenician fragments of pottery. And Phoenician marks painted on the massive blocks found by the Royal Engineers suggest that the stones were prepared in the quarry by the cunning workmen of Hiram, the king of Tyre. (Eastons Bible Dictionary: Phenicia).

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Noah’s Flood: biblical event

Genesis 6:1-7 tells us why God decided to destroy all creation with the flood. The Bible reads “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:6 KJV). Man’s “wickedness” was not profoundly explained in the Bible. However, we can generalize that sin was rampant during those days. One of man’s wickedness described was the unholy union of sons of God and daughters of men. It is believed that the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” are referring to the descendants of Seth and Cain respectively. We can also assume that man had forgotten to burn offerings unto the Lord since burnt offerings were done during the time of Adam and after the flood. Nevertheless, God repented creating man on the earth.


However, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8 KJV). God warned Noah about the destruction coming and commanded Noah to build an ark giving specific details (Genesis 6:14-16 KJV):

Material :
Gopher wood
Size :
Length – 300 cubits
Width – 50 cubits
Height – 30 cubits
Design :
One window
One door
Three stories
Separate rooms

Noah made the ark just like God described it. God then commanded Noah to gather one pair of every kind of creature and keep them alive. Also, he was to gather seven pairs of clean beasts.

Genesis 7 describes how the flood took place. It was in the six-hundredth years of Noah’s life when the flood finally came. Seven days prior, God commanded Noah to get inside the ark together with his wife, sons, sons’ wives, and all the creatures God commanded Noah to gather. On the seventeenth day of the second month of the six-hundredth year of Noah’s life (2348 BC on the Bible Timeline Chart), the rain poured and the windows of heaven were opened (Genesis 7:11 KJV). The rain continued pouring over the earth for forty days and forty nights. And this killed all creatures, not on the ark.

The flood lasted for one hundred and fifty days (Genesis 7:24 KJV). On the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the six-hundredth year of Noah’s existence, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continually subsided until the tenth month (Genesis 8:4-5 KJV).

On the six hundredth and first year of Noah’s existence, on the first day of the first month, the covering of the ark was removed and Noah saw that the face of the ground was dry (Genesis 8:13 KJV). On the twenty-seventh day of the second month of that same year, God spoke to Noah and commanded him, his wife, his sons, his sons’ wives and all other creatures to be fruitful so that the earth would be filled again (Genesis 8:14-19 KJV).

Noah then built an altar unto the Lord and took all the clean beasts and fowls and gave burnt offerings unto the Lord. God smelled the sweet savour and said in His heart that never again would he curse the earth for man’s sake. In Genesis 9:8-11 God said to Noah and his sons, “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you, and every living creature that is with you… neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” As a token of that covenant, a rainbow would be present after it rains to remind God of his everlasting covenant (Genesis 9:12-17 KJV).

Timeline on-line →

Related Articles

Did it rain on the earth before the Great Flood?
How long is a cubit?
Can God Forget? Or Why the rainbow “reminds” God
Was Noah’s Flood Universal or Local?

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Cainan: biblical figure, son of Enos

Cainan or Kenan (1Chronicle 1:2 KJV) is the eldest son of Enos. He was born when Enos was ninety years old (Genesis 5:9 KJV). Cainan came from the Hebrew word Kainan which means “their smith”.

Cainan, Father of Mahalaleel

Cainan was seventy when he begat Mahalaleel (Genesis 5:10 KJV). After Mahalaleel, Cainan begat other sons and daughters and lived for another eight hundred and forty years (Genesis5:13).

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Cainan “their smith”

Cainan was nine hundred and ten years old when he finally rested (Genesis 5:14 KJV). Cainan is found on the Biblical Timeline Chart beginning in 3769 BC to 2769 BC.

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What is the date of the Exodus?

Usshers chronology places the date of Exodus in April of 1491 BC.  His dates were published in the King James Authorized Bible as early as 1701 AD and are the ones used on the Bible History Timeline above.

Thiele, a modern Biblical chronologist,  calculates it to 1446 BC – a date often used by modern Evangelicals.

Josephus relates it to the expulsion of the Hyskos from Egypt circa 1552 BC

The Septuagint, on which the Catholic Bible is based, makes it 1512 BC

That gives a hundred year range of dates.  That’s not bad when you consider how hard it is to date ancient history.  For instance Egyptologists suggest a 2300 year range of dates (from 2450 BC to 5004 BC) when trying to date the first Egyptian King, Menes.

The original inspired Bible text does not include dates – these have been added by man- although it does include the number of years between events.  However, not all events are linked so that dates have to be calculated using historical events mentioned in the Bible that have secular dates associated with them.  How the dates of Bible events are calculated is another question.

Related article:
The Three Bible Timelines:  Why and How They Differ

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Christ’s Birth


The Old Testament books of the Bible contain many prophecies that speak of the coming Messiah or savior of the world. Originally the Old Testament books were written for the Hebrew or Jewish people. They claimed that a Messiah would be born who would ultimately come into the world and save the Jewish people from their enemies while establishing a new era of greatness for the Jewish people.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Judea was under the control of Rome and many people expected the Messiah to return to liberate them from their tyranny. There are some key Old Testament prophecies such Genesis and Isaiah. In Genesis, God says that the serpent will bruise the heel of a child and that the child would crush his head. The prophet Isaiah states “for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” These are primary examples of the many Old Testament prophecies that foreshadowed the coming of Christ.

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Importance of Genealogies

At the beginning of the New Testament Books Matthew and Luke, there is a series of genealogies that outline the family line of Jesus. The genealogy lists show that Jesus‘ parents Joseph and Mary were descendants of Abraham and Adam and that he had a legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. The list also shows that he has a spiritual and legal claim as well. Jesus was able to lay claim to the throne of David by the adoption of Joseph as a son.

God had cursed a former Jewish king named Jeconiah and told him that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of Israel again but he also told King David that his royal line would forever rule on the throne of Israel. God remedied this problem through Christ. Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph which would mean that he would gain his legal right to the throne by being adopted and when he was adopted he could then legally claim to be king.

Romans states that for by one man sin has entered into the world but all are made righteous through Christ. The genealogies also point out how Christ birth has ushered in a new era of salvation that would break the power of sin. The hereditary lists also point out that Jesus was the expected Messiah.


The Virgin Birth An angel appears to a virgin woman named Mary who was engaged to married to a man named Joseph. The angel tells Mary that she was going to have a son that was to be born from the Holy Spirit. Her son would be the chosen Messiah of the world. Mary has a hard time accepting this message and she eventually finds out that cousin Elizabeth has a son named John who was also born under supernatural circumstances. After her visit with Elizabeth, she is convinced about what the angel is saying and returns home. Joseph was going to cancel his engagement to her, but an angel appeared to him and told him to follow through the wedding. Joseph listened to the angel and Christ became his legal son.

The Magi Journeying

Herod and the Magi

King Herod was in charge of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth. He had close ties to Rome and as long as he paid tribute to the empire they allowed him to govern as he pleased. Rome had also sent a governor to Judea at the time to ensure that the people would constantly be reminded of their presence.

During the reign of King Herod, there were Magi who came from the east after seeing the Star of David appear in the sky over Jerusalem. These men were ancient astronomers who knew of the ancient Jewish prophecies of the coming Messiah. After seeing the star, they gathered gifts and traveled to Jerusalem.

When they arrived they visited King Herod before finding Jesus. They told Herod that the Messiah would be born and that he was going to be a king. Herod pretended to like their good news, but he really wanted to know where the child was located so he could kill it. The Wise Men said that they would return, but they were warned by an angel not to go back to the palace of Herod. After they found Christ in Bethlehem they presented Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus with the gifts.


The Slaughtering of the Innocents

Herod was outraged that the Wise Men had left the country without telling him where the child was located. So he decided to kill all of the male children that were 2 years old and younger. Many historians claim that there was not any historical record to validate this act, but no one can prove with clarity that this act did not happen. Joseph was warned by an angel to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt and hide out there until King Herod had passed away.

After the king had died, Joseph and his family returned how to Jerusalem. These facts about Jesus’ birth are very fascinating and the early days of Christ’s life is an epic tale full of drama and adventure. Jesus’ impact on the world is so significant because each generation that is born into the world has to decide if he is the savior of all people or just a madman who made some pretty far-fetched claims during his lifetime.

Biblical References:

  • Genesis 3:15 God foretells the prophecy about Christ and how he is going to defeat the serpent (the Devil).
  • Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah prophesies about the birth of Jesus and his ministry in the world.
  • Matthew 1: 1 – 16 The genealogy of Christ from Mary’s side of the family.
  • Luke 3: 23 – 38 The genealogy of Christ from Joseph’s side of the family.
  • Luke 1: 39 – 45 Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and her supernatural birth of Jesus is confirmed.
  • Matthew 1: 18 – 25 The Virgin Birth
  • Matthew 2: 1 – 12 The Magi and Jesus Christ
  • Matthew 2: 13 – 23 Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt after being warned by an angel to go there in order to avoid the slaughter of children enacted by King Herod.
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Jews Struggle For Liberty 167 to 130 BC

Starting in the 7th century B.C. the Jewish people had been placed under various foreign powers. Their subservient state would last for nearly 500 years up until the time of the Maccabee Revolt. This revolt started around 167 B.C. when a Greek Seleucid king named Antiochus III decided to disregard the Jews way of life and try to Hellenize its culture and religion.

It appears on the Bible Timeline during the second century BC. Antiochus IV was a Seleucid ruler who gained the throne in 175 BC. Shortly after he became the new king of the Seleucid Empire, he began to pass a series of anti-Jewish laws through a Jewish high priest and the governor named Jason, who bribed the king to gain this position.

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Antiochos III coin

Jason had a brother named Onias III who was going to remain the high priest of Judah. Jewish people believe that the high priest was selected directly from God and not from any Earthly powers. So when Jason became the high priest, this naturally caused the people of Judah to become outraged with the Seleucid Dynasty.

After Jason took over his duties as high priest and governor he had his brother Osias III murdered. Now that Jason was the high priest and governor, Antiochus III decided to use him in his quest to convert Judah into a Hellenized territory. He wanted to make the city of Jerusalem the capital of this newly formed Greek state.

He then began to initiate a series of changes that attacked the Jews way of life and their religion. Jason had Hellenized Solomon’s Temple so the people would now have to worship Greek gods, and they would have to adhere to Greek culture. There was a priest who worked at Solomon’s Temple during these events, and his named was Matthias. The Jewish priests were being replaced by Hellenistic Jewish priest and the new clergy was leading the people of Judah into idolatry.

They were trying to get the people to worship the Greek gods by offering sacrifices to them. One day a Greek official told Matthias to make a sacrifice to one of the Greek gods in the temple, but Matthias had enough of this desecration, and he killed him. Once this happened it set off a chain of events that would start a Jewish revolt. Matthias had 5 sons and they all helped their father to start a revolt against the King Antiochus III. Matthias had to flee to the wilderness (open desert) to avoid arrest and when he did he called upon the people to follow him.

The people responded, and he had a small army. The Jewish rebels realized that they couldn’t take on the Greek army in open battle so they decided to use a small force that would fight with guerilla tactics. The Maccabeus army defeated various Seleucid forces that included Assyrians, Parthian, and the Samarians. Judas Maccabeus had won a huge victory against the Seleucid army and forced them to retreat from Judah at the Battle of Emmaus. The Seleucid army tried once again to defeat Judah, but they were routed each time that they came back to the area.

The Jews finally forced the Seleucids to leave permanently Judah alone in 164 B.C. Now that Judah had gained its independence from foreign rulers they cleansed their temple of the idols, and they made Judas their leader. Originally the Maccabees were known as the Hasmoneans, and they earned the name Maccabees because of their style of fighting. They attacked their enemies with powerful battle tactics that beat their enemies with lightning fast maneuvers and powerful force.

The Maccabees also stopped helped a lot of the Jewish persecution that was happening at the time in foreign lands. Judas was a high leader in Judah until 160 B.C. when he died in battle against the Assyrians. By 130 B.C., the Jews had regained their independence, and they established the Hasmonean Dynasty that was the first group of Jewish kings to rule their own land since the exile had taken place. The Hasmonean rulers controlled Judea with Simon Maccabeus being the first king. These Jewish people held their independence for about 103 before they were brought under Roman power. The Jewish holiday known as Hannukah is celebrated by the people in memory of this event.

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Chaldaic Kingdom, New

Chaldaic refers to Chaldea or more specifically the Chaldean language. This language was used by the people who resided in southern Mesopotamia within Babylon and it was also known as a form of Aramaic. Many people who resided within the Middle Eastern region spoke this language. This dialect had a universal appeal that was similar to how English is used in modern times. Different kingdoms and tribes used it as a primary form of communication even though they might have adjusted parts of the language to fit their particular methods of speech and culture. The Babylon Kingdom that emerged with the rule of Nebopolasser was sometimes referred to as the New Chaldaic Kingdom by some scholars and historians. This is because Neboolasser was the first king of the New Babylon Dynasty which began in the 6th century B.C. which is where this appears on the Biblical Timeline.

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New Chaldaic

The Hebrews, Canaanites and the Phoenicians spoke Chaldaic and it was used in the Bible in the time of Daniel the prophet, Ezra the scribe and when Jesus was alive. Chaldaic is a Semitic language and it became the foundation of the Arabic and Hebrew dialects. The ancient Assyrians also spoke a version of this language that similar to Babylon’s and the Hebrews used it to write some of their text within the Talmud. Chaldaic was the official language of Babylon that was spoken by the Chaldean dynasty of Babylon rulers. This language was the official tongue of Babylon when they took Judah in captivity. The kingdom Babylon introduced the Chaldaic into the Mesopotamian and Middle Eastern regions once Babylon conquered many kingdoms and tribes that resided in these areas of the world. Chaldaic became the new official languages of these conquered regions and conquered peoples had to become familiar with this speech since the Babylonians governed their lives. Chaldaic had been in use for hundreds of years and it wasn’t until the time that the Persians conquered Babylon that it began to lose its preeminence. Shortly before the Kingdom of Judah fell the Assyrians had taunted the Judeans in Hebrew but the Judean officials who were present when this situation was taking place asked the Assyrian messengers to speak in their native language so the people wouldn’t hear what they had to say. This situation reinforces the fact that the Hebrew people were probably familiar with Chaldaic as much as they were with the Assyrian tongue. Before Chaldaic became a common language throughout the Middle East it was primarily used just by the Babylonians and probably by other tribes such as the Medes. The Chaldeans were also known as a race of sorcerers, astrologers and soothsayers. They had written many of their incantations, spells and prayers in Chaldaic. Since Babylon ruled the Middle East and the Mesopotamian region they used this language to influence people to worship their gods and to spread their power. Babylonian religious services were carried out in Chaldaic and the people also used this language for commerce.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

The Babylonians deported many groups of the people that they conquered back to Babylon. They also forced the upper-class sons and daughters of defeated nations to become educated in their language and customs. The prophet Daniel and his companions Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were trained to serve in the royal court of Babylon. Daniel and his companions had to learn Chaldaic in order to serve as officials within Nebuchadnezzar’s royal court. They also had to know this language so that they could communicate with other officials within the empire. Daniel and his companions were required to use this language when communicating with the masses especially since Daniel was a high ranking governor for many years.

When the Persians finally conquered Babylon they still continued to use the Chaldaic language as the official dialect of the empire. They mixed it with their own speech to create a unique form of Aramaic that was similar but different to Chaldaic. Eventually, this language went out use as the primary tongue spoken in the Middle East region of the world but certain tribal groups speak a modern version of this Semetic language to this day.

Biblical References:

Daniel 1 Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were taken from Judah and made to learn the Babylonian (Chaldaic) language and customs.
Genesis 10 and 11 Nimrod establishes the Assyrian and Babylonian empires.
*All throughout the rest of the Bible God uses Babylon and Assyria to carry out his plans and he proclaims judgments against them. Key books include Genesis, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Nahum, Jonah and Revelation.

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Lycurgian Constitution and Legislation

The Lycurgian constitution and legislation was considered to be the prime legacy of the Spartan leader, Lycurgus. He is placed on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History during the eighth century BC. His laws had defined the powerful militaristic political state we now envision Sparta to be during those times. What made Lycurgian rule unique to all other Greek states was its insistence on not keeping historical records and issuing any form of written law. Each case that needed resolution was handled on a case to case basis. Lycurgus and his somewhat democratic form of law were instrumental to Sparta’s rise to power.

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The Ruler

It is believed that Lycurgus lived and reigned sometime between 800 to 630 BC. What we know of Lycurgus today can largely be attributed to old historians like Plutarch and his peers considering that Lycurgus did away with any form of historical records. Plutarch is the main source for any semblance of historical study on Lycurgus. In a way, what Plutarch discusses is more of an anecdotal collection rather than a biography. Some believe that Lycurgus may not have actually existed and is symbolic for some ancient ruler who brought sweeping change to Sparta.

The Institution

Lycurgus started the change in the political and legislative landscape by distributing the king’s power unto an elder senate. At times, a general assembly of the people would be held wherein the public would decide the fate of a piece of legislation. However, the people could not make new laws but could only approve or reject what the Senate has made. This was one of the earliest forms of democracy. This is the basic backbone of the Lycurgian constitution and legislation. Of course, not every citizen, particularly those in the upper class, favored this new arrangement but Lycurgus, according to Plutarch, succeeded in quelling opposition to his rule.

Many of the approved pieces of legislation were somehow idiosyncratic even by today’s standards. One feature compelled citizens to eat in public mess halls, into small groups called “sysstia”. These groups was generally a mixture of citizens both rich and poor. When one member disliked what was being served, they could bring their own meal, provided that they also feed everyone else in the group. Under the constitution, all manner of trade using gold or silver was banned, and iron was the new currency. Any form of occupation deemed useless was also banned, which included prostitution. Adultery was also allowed if it was done in the pursuit of creating an ideal offspring. Having an ideal baby was such an important concept during the Lycurgian era that those infants deemed defective were reportedly cast out into a cliff. The examination of an infant, if he or she was fit to live, was done by the council.

After Lycurgus

Even after the reported disappearance of Lycurgus, believed to have sought out the Oracle of Delphi and never returned, Sparta continued following the constitutional structure he presented. It is believed that this very adherence to the form of governing was the reason for Sparta becoming a powerful militaristic state in the Greek region. Many surrounding states also favored Spartans to be dispute arbitrators given the structure they followed when it come to conflict resolution. The apparent success in this otherwise crude and primitive form of democracy had led many other states to consider adopting the principles of the Lycurgian constitution and legislation.

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Babel, Tower Of

Biblical Description: Following the Great Flood, a group of people of a particular speech and migrating from the east, arrived at the land of Shinar, where they decided to construct a capital with a tower “with its top reaching up the heavens”. According to the Amazing Biblical Timeline with World History, this occurred around 2200 BC

Other Structures Association. The Tower of Babel has frequently been connected with well-known structures, particularly the Etemenanki, a ziggurat devoted to Marduk by Nabopolassar (c. 610 BC). The Great Ziggurat of Babylon pedestal was square (not round), 91 meters (300 ft) in height, but destroyed by Alexander the Great before his bereavement in an effort to reconstruct it. A Sumerian tale with some comparable elements is preserved in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.

Biblical Etymology. “Tower of Babel” does not in fact show in the Bible; generally it only mentions, “the city and its tower” or just “the City.” According to the biblical etymology, the city obtained the name “Babel”, from the Hebrew remark “balal”, meaning to jumble.

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The name Babylon is from the inhabitant Akkadian Bab-ilim, which means “Gate of the god,” abridges the spiritual reason of the great shrine towers (the ziggurats) of earliest Sumer (Biblical Shinar).In Genesis Babel is believed to have created a division of Nimrod’s realm. It is not directly stated in the Bible that he prepared the tower to be built, but Nimrod is frequently connected with its structure in other resources. Hebrew description of the name of the city as well as the tower, Babel, is attributed in the book of Genesis to the verb balal, which means to perplex or puzzle in Hebrew. Ruins of the city of Babylon are near Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq.

‘Some scholars believe that the destruction of the Tower of Babel marks the time in history when God divided the earth into separate continents that were during the time of Peleg.’

Views to Consider:
Analogy. People used “man-made” materials, instead of more durable “God-made” materials in building the tower. The people were building a monument to themselves, to call attention to their own abilities and achievements, instead of giving glory to God.

Bible & Geology. Some scholars believe that the destruction of the Tower of Babel marks the time in history when God divided the earth into separate continents that were during the time of Peleg.

Implications. We may be tempted to think we no longer need to trust and obey God. We may believe our learning, sophistication and technology are all we need to be self-sufficient and guarantee our security. The lesson of the Tower of Babel is that such self-sufficiency is a delusion. History has shown that many nations and their leaders have fallen into the trap of arrogance and self-sufficiency. Like Babel, those nations have eventually ended up in ruins.

Genesis 11:6. God realizes that when people are unified in purpose they can accomplish impossible deeds, both noble and dishonorable. This is why unity in the body of Christ is so important.

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Was Noah’s Flood Universal or Local?

Other Flood Theories:

Aside from the Biblical account of the flood written by Moses in the book of Genesis, there are over two hundred and fifty stories or versions of the flood scattered all over the world. These flood versions are considered “myths” or “legends” about a great flood and how the world repopulated.

Even though there are details of the myths that has distinct differences, all have similar ideas and key points – the ultimate creator wants to cleanse the whole earth through a great flood; a family or a certain person is chosen to warn other people about the coming end and are commanded to build an ark; a pair of each creature was taken in the ark; every creature and everything not boarded in the ark died; that single family who boarded the ark was responsible of repopulating the whole world. All the flood legends point to one single truth that can be traced in the holy Bible.

Was the flood universal? Or did the flood happen in a small area where Noah and the rest of mankind resided? The Bible doesn’t explicitly say whether it was either universal or local.

If we look at the original Hebrew, we can translate it either as “the land was covered with water or, as in King James, “the earth was covered with water”. Here are the arguments from each side.

Yes the Flood Covered the Whole Planet Earth
1. The omnipotence of our Creator
– God promised never to send another flood like Noah’s Flood (Genesis 9:11, 15), but there have been many local floods, even regional floods, since Noah’s time.

2. God destroyed all mankind because of their corrupt doings.
– People who did not live in the vicinity were also affected by the flood. They would have escaped God’s judgment on sin.

3. Mankind scattered all over the earth but can still be traced in one genealogy.

4. Global world-destroying flood is described in Genesis 6:13 & 17.
– Also Peter based his prophecy that the existing planet will ‘melt with fervent heat’ (II Peter 3:10) and an entire new heavens and new earth will be recreated (3:13).
– Waters rise to 15 cubits (8 meters) above the mountains (Genesis 7:20)

5. The Design of the Ark
Noah had up to 120 years’ warning (Genesis 6:3), long enough to walk to the other side of the mountains and avoid the flood yet he made an ark.
– The Ark was big enough to hold all kinds of land vertebrate animals that have ever existed. Ark could have been much smaller if only Mesopotamian animals were aboard.

6. The Gathering of Animals
– Animals were sent to the Ark to escape death. There would have been other animals to reproduce that kind if these particular ones had died.
– Birds could simply have flown across to nearby mountain range yet they were sent on board.

7. Today’s Science
– Vast fossil graveyards are found on every continent and large amounts of coal deposits that would require the rapid covering of vast quantities of vegetation.
– Oceanic fossils are found upon mountain tops around the world.

Although many accept Noah’s Flood as factual, there are also others who disclaim this and try to prove the Biblical account refers to a local flood. Listed are the common key points used to prove the Flood was local:

No The Flood Did NOT Cover the Whole Earth but DID Destroy All Mankind

1. The Design of the Ark
– the design of the ark having only one window will not support proper
ventilation of the ark
– the size of the ark can’t carry all the animals by pairs
– wood is not a strong material for arks, not unless it is supported by metal
– God commanded Noah to build an ark instead to just migrate away from flood
area. God gives obedient humans the privilege of participating in God’s plans. God had plans for Noah, for him and his sons to demonstrate their commitment

2. The Gathering of the Animals
– there are certain animals species that need special diets and need the correct
temperature to survive
– animals of every kind can’t be found in Noah’s area
– Some animals are indigenous only to the Mesopotamian area.
– Most birds (other than few migratory birds) have very localized territory. They
would have been killed in local flood, since they are not designed to fly long
distances and flying in heavy rain is not easy.
It would have taken hundreds of years longer to replace the fauna if
everything had been wiped out and had to migrate back in.

3. Today’s Science
– according to scientists, the rain of forty days would be impossible
– dryness of the earth is referring to the local land area and not the entire planet
earth (Genesis 8:14) else the entire earth became a desert after the flood.

4. Bible’s Other Creation Passages
– Psalm 104 is just one of several creation passages that indicate God prevented
seas from covering the entire earth.
– An integration of all flood and creation passages clearly indicates that the
Genesis flood was local in geographic extent.

5. English Translations
– Description of kol (“whole earth” or “all the earth”) erets (“all”) is modified by
the name of the land, indicating a local area from the context:
– Genesis 13: 9 (The “whole land” was only the land of Canaan)
– Genesis 41:57 (The people from the Americas did not go to Egypt)
– Exodus 34:10 (There would be no need to add “nor among any of the nations” if “all the earth” referred to the entire planet.)
– Judges 6:37 (“kol erets” could not refer to the entire earth, since it would not be possible for Gideon to check the entire earth)
– 2 Samuel 18:18 (No, battle did not take place over the entire earth.)
Term kol erets is nearly always used in the Old Testament to describe a local
area of land, instead of our entire planet.

6. Rise of Water Level
Hebrew word ma‛al, translated “higher” really means “upward.” Hence, the
flood was 15 cubits (20 feet) deep, in total, not 15 cubits above the mountains.
Hebrew word har really refers most often to hills rather than mountains.

7. God’s Promise
Genesis 9:11 & 15 reflects a promise not to exercise universal judgment by
means of a flood, “all flesh shall never again be cut off by water of the flood.”
The flood, although local in extent, was global in judgment, since all
humanity lived in the same locale.

Related Articles
Did it rain on the earth before the Great Flood?
How long is a cubit?
Can God Forget? Or Why the rainbow “reminds” God

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