Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Story 1 The Curse of Babel

Adapted from Hebrew scripture, Genesis 11:1-9.

Tell the group this story comes from Hebrew scripture. In this bible story, God is a character that has a particular relationship with humans. Invite the children to be observant about that relationship as they hear the story.

Long ago, all the peoples of the Earth shared one language. They all spoke the same way and understood one another's words without a problem. This was true until one time, when a group of people journeying westward came to a place called Shinar , where they chose to settle down and build themselves a city. First they formed their bricks and burned them so they would be hard stones for building. Then they gathered wet clay to use for mortar.

The people planned a city with a tower that would reach into the heavens. They wanted their tower to be so grand that it would demonstrate how much human beings could accomplish, and so tall it would always call them home, even if, in future times, they scattered from Shinar far and wide across the Earth.

God came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. God was impressed, but concerned. "Behold," God said. "The people is one, and they have all one language. Look what they have built together! Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined they can do."

God gathered some helping spirits and said, "Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." Without a common language, the people's work on the tower came to a halt. They separated into groups and scattered away from Shinar , taking all their different languages with them.