ON THIS PAGE
What Was The Sin of The Builders of The Tower of Babel?
Roots of Apostasy... The Tower of Babel/Babylon
A Tale of Two Kingdoms
What Were They Building on The Plains of Shinar?
The Babylonian Kings, Their Ziggurats/Temples
Nebuchadnezzar II and The Etemenanki and The Esagila
The Babylonian King, Nabonidus
The 'Gods' Marduk and Sin
Ishtar/Inanna /Astarte/Ashtoreth/Asherah Lifeless Statues, Or....?
Summary and Conclusion
Introduction: What Was The Sin of The Builders of The Tower of Babel?
Although the story related in Genesis 11:1-9 clearly shows that the tower being constructed was displeasing to the Lord, there is absolutely nothing in the account that mentions what specific sin the builders were guilty of nor what exactly the significance of the tower of Babel had. This lack of clarity has led to a number of different hypotheses, none of which hold water.
1) A few think that the intention of the builders was to "storm" the gates of heaven for which they had to be punished.
2) Others believe that they were guilty of arrogance and presumption, inasmuch as they thought they could reach the heavens with their tower (perhaps become gods themselves)... this only rivaled by their conceit in wanting to make a name for themselves (11:4).
3) One other popular theory is that the men of Shinar were seeking, in some way, to unify the world... without God at it's center.
4) However, I believe that the most common and most widely accepted theory propagated by scholars and churches everywhere, is that the builders were guilty of direct disobedience and rebellion. This, based on the fact that almost immediately after Noah and his family came off the ark and offered sacrifice to the Lord, He told them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (9:1). However the people who had "settled" on the plains of Shinar (11:2) were not particularly interested in obeying this supposed command and did not want to be "scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth" (11:4). And, of course, this defiance incurred the wrath of God.
While the above theories may make good Sunday sermons on obedience etc. I am afraid that they neither fit the Biblical facts, nor simple common sense.
For example, it is very unlikely that these people literally wanted the tower to reach heaven, which they had to know was an impossibility. Half an ounce of common sense would have told them that they could not reach even the first heaven, which the Jews considered the area above us where clouds float (God was said to be much higher... in "the heaven of the heavens" or "the highest heaven" ). See The Word "Heaven" in The Bible on THIS Page
Therefore, the words.. "a tower whose top will reach into heaven" is, more than likely, hyperbole for their intention to build a very high tower. or an even more ominous reason which we will come to in a short while. What is certain is that saying "They wanted to climb into heaven and dethrone God and enthrone themselves instead."  is a classic case of reading far more into the text than it actually says.
Additionally, while the builder's expressed wish to make a name for themselves may have been somewhat prideful, one can hardly be seen as a sin big enough to cause God to come down to earth to 'see what they were up to'. Nor was it a problem large enough to warrant what the Lord's subsequent actions, and certainly does not it fit the Lord's comment on the situation (More about this in a bit).
Last, but far from least, is the idea that building a city and settling down was a willful act of disobedience to God's command to fill the earth. The problem is that it takes an absolute stretch to interpret God saying "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1) with Him issuing a command to immediately travel all over the earth, produce offspring, and colonize every part of it.
A Blessing Not a Command
In any case these words were a repetition of what God said to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, and those two certainly showed no inclination to leave the garden. Common sense should tell us that if the encounter with the serpent had not happened, Adam and Eve's descendants would eventually have spilled out into the rest of the world. No one was on any particular time table.
Similarly, regardless of how big the city was that they built on the plains of Shinar, some stragglers would eventually have moved elsewhere, and they would have been on their way to 'filling the earth'. Few people are nomads... they settle down, they grow things, they eat their crops and drink their wine. In other words, they enjoy their lives. In time as their families begin to get larger, the younger people settle in other places and the pattern is repeated all over again.
Besides which, if you want to take Genesis 9:1 as a command, then the "Be fruitful and multiply" part was too. But I hardly think that was to be taken as a command to produce as many children as possible in as short a time period as possible. Much to the contrary, if we actually read the text, it becomes clear that this was part of a blessing... the bestowal of a divine gift.
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1 NASB)
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. "The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. (Genesis 9:1-3 NASB)
How we managed to turn a blessing into a command is way beyond me.
Ignoring The Significance of The Lord's Words
Sadly, in all our efforts to find an explanation we, by glossing over what the Lord Himself said, have only succeeded in dumbing down the incident. What we can be sure of is that there was a whole lot more to the story than we have been told - nothing like the Lord telling the couple not to pluck the daffodils, and them doing it anyway.
Although we have no idea of what would have happened if the first couple had eaten from the Tree of Life, compare what the Lord's words when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit with what He said about the builders of the Tower of Babel...
Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (Genesis 3:22 NASB)
The Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another's speech." (Genesis 11:6-7 NASB)
Although the Bible has not told us the significance of what the builders proposed to do, it is obvious that had the plans been allowed to proceed, there would have been some disastrous consequences. This bears a marked similarity to the Adam and Eve situation. The Lord's words indicated the seriousness of human actions in both cases, but does not explain very much further.
Certainly, whatever it was these men had begun to do, it presented a real problem because, as the Lord said, it signified that anything the builders then purposed to do would become possible for them. Any, and all, of the popular ideas about what prompted the Lord to scatter the people and confuse their tongues, such as simple disobedience, the idea that they could, in some way, reach heaven etc. etc. would not have enabled the architects of the Tower of Babel to 'do anything they purposed to do'.
Somehow or the other, man has gotten it firmly stuck in his head that God has told us everything there is to know about everything, and since every incident in the Scriptures doesn't come wrapped up in a neat package complete with explanatory notes and commentaries, we tend to interpret the more inexplicable ones by our often very limited knowledge.
It simply doesn't always work like this.
The Bible tells us that the Father has told us all we need to know to walk a sometimes very treacherous path towards the coming kingdom.... "the sacred writings" are able to give us the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).. However, He hasn't ever told us, or ever implied, that we know everything, or even very much about the spiritual world.
Roots of Apostasy... The Tower of Babel/Babylon
There are over 290 occurrences of the word "Babylon" and two occurrences of the word "Babel" in the Old Testament, which would probably lead the average reader to assume that two different places were intended. However, if you refer to a Hebrew lexicon, you will find that both Babel and Babylon were 'translated' from exactly the same Hebrew word - bâbel.
In other words, according to the Hebrew Bible, Babel and Babylon are the same place.
The Hebrew bâbel is only rendered ‘Babel’ twice... once in reference to the beginning of Nimrod's kingdom then, in the very next chapter, referring to the well known story of the tower of Babel.
Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel (Heb. bâbel) and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah (Genesis 10:8-11 NASB)
Therefore its name was called Babel (Heb. bâbel), because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:9 NASB)
And here is one example of the same word rendered "Babylon".
At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Heb. bâbel) went up to Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. (2 Kings 24:10 NASB)
Why this one Hebrew word was rendered differently in different passages is one of the many mysteries that surround the translation of some Biblical words. For example, three different proper names have all be translated "hell" (See Footnote I).
The web site Answers in Genesis claims this is a "linguistic coincidence" (i.e. "the same letters BBL are used to write both Babel and Babylon in Hebrew")  which, I am afraid, I do not believe for a moment. Man has already decided that Babel and Babylon are two entirely different places thus the fact that the Hebrew uses one name for both has to be explained away. As a matter of fact, there is clear Scriptural evidence that Babel and Babylon were the same place.
The Land of Shinar
Remember that Genesis 10:32 - 11:4 tells us that some of the sons of Noah "journeyed east" and "found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there" where they built the tower of Babel.
The prophet Daniel recorded that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took carried the Temple vessels to "the land of Shinar, to the house of his god". The author of Chronicles narrows the location down stating that Nebuchadnezzar took some of the articles of the house of the Lord and put them in his temple at Babylon". Here are the two relevant passages.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god. (Daniel 1:1-2 NASB)
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him and bound him with bronze chains to take him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also brought some of the articles of the house of the Lord to Babylon and put them in his temple at Babylon. (2 Chronicles 36:5-7 NASB)
That the Jerusalem Temple vessels were stored on the premises in the capital itself is evident from the fact that when Belshazzar held a great feast, he allowed his guests to drink from them. See Daniel 5:1-2.
Note: Daniel refers to Nebuchadnezzar as Belshazzar's father. However, in ancient days, the terms father and son did not have the same strict application they do today. In the Bible, although the word "son" is often used in terms of offspring, or biological children, it is also used in a wide variety of other contexts, including a person's descendants or even their dynasty (See Jesus - ‘Son of God’).
Belshazzar's biological father was Nabodonius who eventually succeeded the very short lived reigns of Nebuchadnezzar's biological descendants as king of Babylon. However, Nabodonius apparently spent very little time in the city which is why his son, Belshazzar acted as co-regent. This accounts for the fact that after he deciphered the meaning of the writing on the wall, Daniel was made "third ruler in the kingdom". (Daniel 5:29).
Additionally, "the land of Shinar" is also mentioned in Isaiah 11.11 and Zechariah 5.11. In both cases, "Shinar" was rendered the country or the land of Babylon in the Septuagint.
Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 11:11 NASB)
And it shall be in that day, the Lord shall again shew his hand, to be zealous for the remnant that is left of the people, which shall be left by the Assyrians, and from Egypt, and from the country of Babylon, and from Ethiopia, and from the Elamites, and from the rising of the sun, and out of Arabia. (Isaiah 11:11 Septuagint)
Then he said to me, "To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal." (Zechariah 5:11 NASB)
And he said to me, To build it a house in the land of Babylon, and to prepare ; and they shall set it there on its own base. (Zechariah 5:11 Septuagint)
It should be readily apparent by now that Babylon was in the land of Shinar.
A Tale of Two Kingdoms
Genesis 14 begins with the account of four confederate kings who war against the five kings of Canaan including Bera king of Sodom, and Birsha king of Gomorrah (Vs. 1-3). "Amraphel king of Shinar" was listed first. He, along with his partners in crime made off with all Sodom and Gomorrah's goods, including their food supply (14:11). They also took captives, including Abraham's nephew Lot, along with all his possessions (14:12).
Although we can never be completely sure exactly where Sodom and Gomorrah were, they may have been located near the southern end of the Dead Sea. Credence for this view is found in the fact that the Bible tells us that these cites were destroyed by fire and brimstone, an alternate name for sulfur. The area around the southern end of the Dead Sea is well known for sulfur deposits and sulfur springs. Also, the Greeks called the Dead Sea "Lake Asphaltites", due to the naturally surfacing asphalt.
All of which means that Sodom and Gomorrah were very probably part of the land God had promised to Abraham, which was attacked by the king of Shinar. And, if this is true, what followed the attack is not only of great significance but makes tremendous sense.
When Abraham was informed of the raid, he and his trained men went in pursuit (14:14), defeated the kings of Shinar, and brought back all the people and possessions they had stolen (14:16).
But what is most significant is that, on his return, Abraham was first met by Melchizedek, king of Salem (later Jerusalem), a priest of God Most High, who brought out bread and wine and blessed Abraham and God, who had delivered Abraham's enemies into his hand. (14:20-21). Abraham then gave a tenth of all the recovered goods to Melchizedek. Without going into details (a topic in itself) Psalms 110:4, and the author of Hebrews, connects Melchizedek with Christ.
In other words, as early as Genesis 14, we are given a glimpse of the seeds of two kingdoms... the first represented by Babylon/Babel/kings of Shinar, and the other by Jerusalem.
What Was The 'Tower of Babel'?
The first question that springs to mind is what exactly Noah's descendants were building on the plains of Shinar.
Considering that this particular form of temple was common to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, there is more than a distinct possibility that the tower spoken of in Genesis 11 was a ziggurat, a word that may be derived from the Akkadian zaqru, which means tall or massive.
These structures were pyramid like, built in several tiers on a square or rectangular platform. Each tier was smaller than the one below, which gave the structure a unique shape, i.e. stepped pyramids. They were built on an immense scale and could be as much as 150 ft tall, with one or more staircases leading to the summit with, very possibly, a temple located at the very top of the structure.
To people that lived in small, single story homes, in 'cities' that could not have been much bigger than some modern villages, these ziggurats must have appeared to be truly immense. What remains of the zigurrat is in a picture a little further down.. The picture on the left is an artistic depiction on ancient-origins.net of what the zigurrat might have looked like. The size of the staircase in front can be assessed by the many pictures of US troops descending it - four abreast (https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/ancient-near-east1/sumerian/a/ziggurat-of-ur).
Note: Because only about three stories remain of the best preserved ziggurat (in Iran), there is no archaeological evidence for the temple at the top. However, in Book I of his Histories (P. 181), the Greek historian Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BC, mentioned the temple at the summit. Whether this is true or not, there is little question that the ziggurats were dedicated to various gods. One has to wonder if they were built to stretch far above the ground to be closer to whichever god they were dedicated to.
That the ziggurat symbolized a link or staircase between heaven and earth is quite clear from ancient cuneiform descriptions. "Mesopotamian ziggurats were typically given names demonstrating that they were intended to serve as "staircases" or "binding" locations between earth and heaven. So we see that a narrative about a tower whose top reached into the heavens fits the times quite well."  For example,
The ziggurat of Sippar was called the "Temple of the Stairway to Pure Heaven"
The ziggurat at Nippur was known as 'Eduranki', which means 'House binding Heaven and Earth'.
The ziggurat of Larsa was called the "Temple Linking Heaven and Earth"
The ziggurat Dilbat, located southeast of Babylon was also the "Temple of the Foundation Platform of Heaven and Earth"
The ziggurat in Babylon was called Etemenanki, or "temple of the foundation of heaven and earth". (Details below)
Genesis 28:12 tells us that Jacob dreamed of "a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it". What is interesting is when he woke, Jacob said this place "is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven", a comment that appeared to reflect the perception of the time and place.
Even more tellingly, the ancient ziggurats were not solitary structures, but seemed to always have some kind of religious complex attached to them, which could consist of a courtyard, temples, altars, storage rooms, living quarters etc. This fits in with the Genesis account that tells us they were building both a tower and a "city".
Baked Bricks and Tar (Bitumen)
Finally, Genesis 11:3 tells us that the builders said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar".
Since sun-dried bricks did not last nearly as long, important buildings such as ziggurats were often constructed of baked bricks set in bitumen mortar as was the stair case of one of the earliest known the ziggurat built by Ur-Nammu.
One objection raised against the idea that the tower of Babel was a ziggurat is that migdăl, the Hebrew word translated 'tower', was a watchtower and often used in a military context. See for example, Judges 8:9-17, 9:51, 2 Kings 9:17, 2 Kings 17:9, Ezekiel 26:9 etc.
Quite simply, the Israelites did not have a specific term for 'ziggurat' because these constructions were not part of the Hebrew culture when the Bible was written. In any case, the word migdăl is derived from gâdal, which means to grow, be great or magnify, which is quite an accurate description of the enormous ziggurats.
The Babylonian Kings and Their Ziggurats/Temples
Babylon was founded by Noah's great-grandson Nimrod, and reached its zenith under Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC. The Babylonians worshipped a pantheon of deities (many of whom were associated with celestial bodies) and built impressive temples devoted to them.
This kingdom would prove itself a mortal enemy of not only the nation of Israel, but of God Himself. Although the physical city of Babylon no longer exists, the tentacles of its spiritual heritage morphed as it spread far and wide digging its claws into the world of men.
The other kingdom began with a single man who, very possibly, lived where ziggurats were erected to false gods. He was called out of this land to journey some distance away to Canaan, to sow the seeds of God's kingdom, which will eventually destroy the first.
Etemenanki: The ruins of Babylon, the most famous city in ancient Mesopotamia, lie in modern-day Iraq some 60 miles southwest of Baghdad. It was the site of the very impressive seven storey ziggurat, constructed by Nebuchadnezzar as part of the sacred complex in Babylon. The ziggurat was called Etemenanki, or "temple of the foundation of heaven and earth".
The Ésagila, a Sumerian name signifying 'a temple whose top is lofty', was the most important temple complex in ancient Babylon, dedicated to the god Marduk, the patron deity of that city. 
As said by UNESCO World Heritage Centre (Emphasis Added)
The Sacred Complex of Babylon, comprising the Esagila temple dedicated to the God of Marduk and the ziggurat Etemenanki (the legendary Tower of Babylon), constituted the spiritual and political hearth of Babylon, capital of the Old Kingdom of Babylonia. Both of these Mesopotamian architectural components formed one unit, so that the low temple Esagila, is neither in its construction nor in its content to be separated from Etemenanki. Their cultic connection was established by the procession street Aj-ibur-shapu running between them, which allowed equal access to both sanctuaries. 
See THIS site for maps and photographs
However, the ziggurat Etemenanki, was built on the foundations of much older ones ...
"... tower archaeologists discovered a core consisting of the ruins of previous ziggurats, which had been levelled and enlarged several times, before Nebuchadnezzar added a casing of burnt brick 15m thick. 
Some sources say that the kings Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar called this immense ziggurat... ziqqurat Bâbîli, "the Tower of Babylon" .
The Enűma Eliš... the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words), was recovered in fragmentary form by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 from the ruined ancient Library of Ashurbanipal (king of Assyria) in Nineveh. Its primary purpose seemed to be the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods. Note, however, that Marduk tells "the gods his fathers" that he will build himself a luxurious house that he will call "Babylon". [Emphasis Added]
Marduk opened his mouth to speak
And addressed the gods his fathers,
"Above the Apsű, the emerald (?) abode,
Opposite Ešarra, which I built for you,
Beneath the celestial parts, whose floor I made firm,
I will build a house to be my luxurious abode.
Within it I will establish its shrine,
I will found my chamber and establish my kingship.
When you come up from the Apsű to make a decision
This will be your resting place before the assembly.
When you descend from heaven to make a decision
This will be your resting place before the assembly.
I shall call its name 'Babylon', "The Homes of the Great Gods"
While we cannot be dogmatic about it, all indications are that Nebuchadnezzar built his seven storey ziggurat on the foundations of the original Tower of Babel. According to livius.org, a website on ancient history written and maintained by the Dutch historian Jona Lendering...
"According to the Babylonian creation epic Enűma ęliš, the god Marduk defended the other gods against the diabolical monster Tiamat. After he had killed it, he brought order to the cosmos, built the Esagila, which was the center of the new world, and created mankind. The Etemenanki was next to the Esagila, and this means that the temple tower was erected at the center of the world, as the axis of the universe. Here, a straight line connected earth and heaven. This aspect of Babylonian cosmology is echoed in the Biblical story, where the builders say "let us build a tower whose top may reach unto heaven". 
The Babylonian King, Nabonidus
Nabonidus was the Assyrian-born last king of Babylon, who ruled from 555-539 B.C. However, he was away from the city for long periods of time and had appointed his son Belshazzar co-regent. In fact, Nabonidus was not in the city when it fell to the Medes and the Persians. See Daniel chapter 5 for the story of the feast given by Belshazzar and the disembodied hand writing something on the wall.
Like his predecessors, Nabonidus took an interest in Babylon's past, excavating ancient buildings etc. He also built a ziggurat on the foundations of a much older one about two hundred miles south of Babylon. In 1854, J.E. Taylor, who was then the British Consul at Basrah, found four ancient inscribed clay cylinders, one at each corner of Nabonidus' ziggurat, which said in part... (Emphasis Added) I am Nabonidus, king of Babylon, patron of Esagila and Ezida, devotee of the great gods. E-lugal-galga-sisa, the ziggurat of E-gish-nu-gal in Ur, which Ur-Nammu, a former king, built but did not finish it (and) his son Shulgi finished its building. On the inscriptions of Ur-Nammu and his son Shulgi I read that Ur-Nammu built that ziggurat but did not finish it (and) his son Shulgi finished its building.
Now that ziggurat had become old, and I undertook the construction of that ziggurat on the foundations which Ur-Nammu and his son Shulgi built following the original plan with bitumen and baked brick. I rebuilt it for Sin, the Lord of the gods of heaven and underworld, the god of gods, who lives in the great heavens, the Lord of E-gish-nu-gal in Ur, my Lord. 
In other words, the cylinder identifies the site as Ur built during the reign of Ur-Nammu, and describes how Nabonidus reconstructed the ziggurat devoting it to the god Sin. This is noteworthy simply because Marduk had been the chief god of Babylon for several centuries.
As a Side-Note, Belshazzar was long considered to be a figment of Daniel's imagination. However, the clay cylinder found in Ur also records Nabonidus asking the gods to bless his son, Belshazzar.
The 'Gods' Marduk and Sin
Marduk, patron god of the city of Babylon and head of the Mesopotamian pantheon, was one of the most important gods of the time. He was frequently associated with, the 'snake-dragon,' seen on glazed brick reliefs in Babylon. This creature had the scaly body of a dragon and a head like that of a snake, complete with a forked tongue. Its hind feet resembled the claws of a bird, and its front feet looked like
According to the Encyclopćdia Britannica, Marduk later came to be known as Bel, a name derived from the Semitic word baal, or lord. "Bel had all the attributes of Marduk, and his status and cult were much the same"  There are a few references to Babylon's Marduk and Bel in the Old Testament. For example,
The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, through Jeremiah the prophet: "Declare and proclaim among the nations. Proclaim it and lift up a standard. Do not conceal it but say, 'Babylon has been captured, Bel has been put to shame, Marduk has been shattered; Her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.' (Jeremiah 50:1-2 NASB)
I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will make what he has swallowed come out of his mouth; And the nations will no longer stream to him. Even the wall of Babylon has fallen down! (Jeremiah 51:44 NASB)
In order to figure out who "Sin" was, we have to go back to the ancient Sumerians who worshipped a Moon-god, called Nanna in Sumerian, and Su'en or Sin in Akkadian.
Judging by the sheer number of artifacts connected to this Moon-god he, very clearly, was one of the most important deities in the Mesopotamian pantheon. As a matter of fact, the symbol of the crescent moon can be found everywhere in the ancient world - on seal impressions, steles, pottery, amulets, clay tablets, cylinders, weights, jewelry, wall murals, etc. The New World Encyclopedia says ...
Sin's status was very formidable, not only in terms of the temples dedicated to him, but also in terms of astrology, which became a prominent feature of later Mesopotamian religion and even legal matters. For an entire millennium - from 1900 to 900 B.C.E. Sîn's name is invoked as a witness to international treaties and covenants made by the Babylonian kings. His attribute of wisdom was particularly expressed in the science of astrology, in which the observation of the moon's phases was an important factor. 
One needs to pay attention to the fact that while Nanna was associated with the new or full moon, Sin's was affiliated with the crescent moon. As the New World Encyclopedia goes on to say...
"The moon played a key role in Mesopotamian religious culture. As it moved through its phases, people learned to keep their calendars based on the lunar month. Nanna (or Suen/Sîn) was sometimes pictured as riding his crescent moon-boat as it made its monthly journey through the skies. Some sources indicate that the moon god was called by different names according to various phases of the moon. Sin was especially associated with the crescent moon, while the older Sumerian name Nanna was connected either to the full or the new moon. 
In fact, the Stele of Ur-Nammu (left) shows the king praying to, or making an offering to Sin represented by a large crescent moon at the top of the stele.
All of which brings us to Abraham, whom God brought out of the land of Ur, to Canaan.
Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. (Genesis 11:31 NASB)
While we cannot know for sure whether the Ur mentioned in the Bible, is the same city once ruled by Ur-Nammu, it seems extremely likely that it was. Abraham traveled northwest from Ur to Haran, then after his father died, he set out southwest to Canaan (See Map). However, his brother Nahor did not accompany Abraham, but stayed behind in Haran.
So why did Abraham travel so far out of his way?
Very simply, he was skirting the Arabian Desert, going around its northern border. It might have been impossible, or at least far more difficult, for him to have taken the shortest route from Ur to Canaan, across miles of sand. In fact, they probably traveled along, or close to, the banks of the Euphrates for much of the way which was the sensible thing to do.
Some believe that Abraham did not come from Ur at all, but from "the city of Nahor". This based on the fact that Abraham sent his servant to "his country" to find Isaac a wife and, a few verses later we are told that the servant went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor...
but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac." (Genesis 24:4 NASB)
Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master's in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. (Genesis 24:10 NASB)
This actually proves nothing, since 1) there is no evidence for a city called Nahor and 2) the Bible could very well mean that Abraham sent his servant to the city in which his brother, Nahor, lived.. ie. Haran.
To Summarize, Man was building a kingdom dedicated to his gods, and Abraham was called out of that hotbed of apostasy to sow the seeds of God's kingdom on earth. As we know, both Babylon and Assyria became mortal enemies of Israel. And, interestingly, Nimrod not only founded Assyria but also built Babylon in the land of Shinar.
Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, (Genesis 10:8-11 NASB)
But there is more...
Christian writers have sometimes seen a connection between Sin and the Muslim god Allah. The pre-Islamic Arabs in Mecca worshipped the moon and the sun, with the former being the chief deity. This makes it entirely possible, probable even, that they named this deity ilah, which is the generic word for god in Arabic, and that Islam adopted Nanna's crescent as its symbol.
Paying attention to the fact that the moon played a key role in Mesopotamian religious culture, so much so that the people of Mesopotamia learned to keep their calendars based on the lunar month. And Considering that ancient Mecca that lay just over 1000 miles southwest of ancient Babylon and was "an oasis on the old caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with South Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia"  it would hardly be surprising if the pre-Islamic worship of the sun and moon was derived from the religions of ancient Babylon.
And, considering that Muhammad elevated the moon god Ilah to the chief and only god... Al-Ilah (The God) or Allah, the Supreme Being to end division among his people in Mecca, it seems hard to believe that it is merely coincidence that, to this day, the crescent moon is a symbol of Islam and Muslims use a lunar calendar.
And how is all this relevant to our world?
If, as seems very likely, Islam's crescent symbol originated with the moon god "Sin" then we can conclude that the religions of ancient Babylon have very effectively spread all over this planet, and now claims millions of followers.
However, it doesn't stop there...
In Mesopotamian mythology, Nanna or Sin's best-known offspring were the sun god Shamash, and Ishtar (Inanna).. the goddess of love and war. In fact these three formed "an astral triad of divinities". 
The centralizing tendency in Mesopotamian religion led to this incorporation in the divine triad consisting of Sîn, Shamash, and Ishtar, respectively personifying the moon, the sun, and the planet Venus. In this trinity, the moon held the central position. However, it is likely that Ishtar came to play the more important cultural role as time went on, as she rose to the key position among the Mesopotamian goddesses, while younger deities like Marduk came to predominate on the male side of the pantheon. 
An ancient basalt stele which is presently housed in Sanliurfa Museum in Turkey may have been unearthed in Babylon. It portrays Nabonidus standing before symbols of the principal gods he served. About this stele, the British Museum says
"Comparison with other sculptures, on which he is named, suggest that it represents King Nabonidus. He wears the traditional dress of a Babylonian king, and holds a standard which was possibly carried during a religious ceremony. Above him are the divine symbols of the moon-god, Sin, (closest to him), the planet Venus of Ishtar and the winged disc of the sun-god Shamash"
Note: Although Marduk was the chief or national god of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate, constructed by Nebuchadnezzar II, was the main entrance into the city of Babylon. It was named after and dedicated to the Babylonian goddess represented by a lion. Note: The wall of the Ishtar gate were also decorated with a relief of Marduk's dragon.
Like her 'father', Inanna/Ishtar was also associated with heavenly bodies. In her case it was the planet Venus. It is also believed that her descent to, and ascent from, the underworld corresponds with the movements of Venus in the sky. The planet Venus appears to make a similar descent, setting in the West and then rising again in the East. .
In summary the Babylonian gods were all associated with the sun, moon, or various planets or stars. Is it any wonder that, in Romans 1:20-25, Paul spoke of fools who worship and serve the creation, rather than the creator?
Ishtar was also connected with the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and even Egypt. Nineveh is first mentioned about 1800 B.C.E. as a center of worship of the goddess Ishtar, to whom they apparently attributed the city's early importance. The goddess' statue was sent to Pharaoh Amenhotep III in Thebes, to shed her blessings on his marriage to Tadukhepa. 
In other words, the same goddess seemed to be worshipped under different names, depending on the region and/or culture. The tragedy is that Ishtar also came to play a major role among the Canaanites as Astarte, while the Israelites knew her as Ashtoreth. 
And, as we know from many such verses in the Old Testament, the worship of Sin's daughter Ishtar not only infiltrated Israel, but persisted through much its history. In spite of having everything a person could wish for, Solomon was led astray by his many wives... for which, the kingdom was taken away from Solomon's son (1 Kings 11:33-36).
For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. (1 Kings 11:4-5 NASB)
In verses that tell us that King Josiah destroyed the 'high places', Ashtoreth is called "the abomination of the Sidonians". Sidon, probably founded by Canaan's son Sidon (thus Noah's grandson) was located just north of the land of Canaan and had, at one point, been conquered by the Babylonians.
The high places which were before Jerusalem, which were on the right of the mount of destruction which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the sons of Ammon, the king defiled. (2 Kings 23:13 NASB)
In other words, Israel's harlotry was clearly influenced by the nations directly descended from Canaan. (Genesis 10:15-18 specifically names, among others, the Sidonites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites)
Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations and say, thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, "Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite". (Ezekiel 16:2-3 NASB)
The Philistines had a temple devoted to Asherah (1 Samuel 31:10), who is mentioned many times in the Scriptures, often in connection with Baal, the sun-god. For example
The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. (Judges 3:7 NASB)
Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. (Judges 10:6 NASB)
The similarity of the names... Asherah and Ashtoreth can hardly be a coincidence. Nor is it very likely to be a coincidence that Asherah is often mentioned in connection with Baal, the sun-god. Remember that Sin the Babylonian moon god had two children - Shamash the sun god and Ishtar (Inanna), the goddess of love and war. Which makes it very likely that Asherah/Ashtoreth is who Jeremiah was speaking of in the following verses.
As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to spite Me". "Do they spite Me?" declares the Lord. "Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?" Therefore thus says the Lord God, "Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched." (Jeremiah 7:16-20 NASB)
Entire families were involved in the idolatry... the children gathered wood, the fathers kindled the fires, and the women made cakes for the queen of heaven, as she was called. The Israelites went so far as to attribute their peace and prosperity to this goddess, and refused to stop burning sacrifices or pour out drink offerings to her. They told Jeremiah...
As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune. But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine." "And," said the women, "when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?" (Jeremiah 44:16-19 NASB)
All of which provoked God to great anger. He responded to this treachery by telling the people to go ahead and do as they wished, but to pay close attention to His words...
"Nevertheless hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, 'Behold, I have sworn by My great name,' says the Lord, 'never shall My name be invoked again by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, "As the Lord God lives." 'Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone. (Jeremiah 44:26-27 NASB)
The warnings were many and severe.
And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:19 NASB)
If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the Lord your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, by transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NASB)
They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground. (Jeremiah 8:2 NASB)
So I will stretch out My hand against Judah And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests. "And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, And those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom, (Zephaniah 1:4-5 NASB)
With good reason.
Lifeless Statues or....?
It is interesting to note that each deity has specific characteristics such as nature, gender and authority, which would probably not be the case if they were nothing but man made lifeless statues. It is more than likely that the physical statues, that provided a point of focus, were representations of very powerful forces.
In other words, Nanna, Marduk, Sin, Inanna, Astarte, Isis etc are simply names given specific spirits. Similarly, Apollo was a real personality; Osiris was a genuine underworld fiend; Hecate actually lived, and still does! The Hindu gods 'Shiva' and the eight-armed 'Kali' are far more than images conjured up in someone's imagination.
Did the goddess worship die out with the ancient religions? Far from it! In recent years there has been a tremendous revival of goddess worship, usually warmly embraced by the feminist movement.
For example, the Fellowship of Isis (FOI), dedicated specifically to the Egyptian goddess Isis, is an international spiritual organization devoted to promoting awareness of the Goddess. Olivia Robertson, one of the co-founders, has described Isis as "God in female form." 
Virtually anyone who is interested in the environmentally friendly 'green movement' has probably heard of Gaia. What they may not know is that Gaia was the primal Greek goddess personifying the Earth, the Greek version of the Earth Mother, and that they believe that 'she' needs to be protected from destructive human abuse. In other words, Gaia is the occult belief that the earth is alive, and has a spirit, and that "she" caused life to spring forth from the earth.
Rev. Stacy Boorn is "the pastor, priestess of ritual and visionary leader of herchurch, San Francisco" that has a strong goddess focus, complete with a goddess rosary. 
Criteria for membership in the Covenant of the Goddess is that their theology and ritual, etc., should be generally focused "around the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods, or the Goddess alone" 
Summary and Conclusion
It is entirely possible that the 'Tower of Babel' on the plains of Shina, was a ziggurat which always seemed to have some kind of religious complex attached around which the city was built. This fits in with the Genesis account that tells us they were building both a tower and a "city".
The Babylonian kings were well know for their ziggurats.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, built a very impressive seven storey ziggurat in Babylon called the Etemenanki or "temple of the foundation of heaven and earth". It was constructed on the foundations of a much older one which, considering it had the same name, could have been what we know as the 'Tower of Babel'. The Ésagila, the most important temple complex in ancient Babylon, lay just south of the ziggurat Etemenanki. It was said to have been completed by King Nebuchadnezzar II and was dedicated to the god Marduk, the patron god of the city of Babylon and one of the most important gods of the time.
Nabonidus, the Assyrian-born last king of Babylon built another ziggurat about two hundred miles south of Babylon, and devoted it to the god "Sin", who was represented by the crescent moon. Ancient clay cylinders found at the site identified the site as Ur, built during the reign of Ur-Nammu. While we cannot know for sure whether the Ur mentioned in the Bible is the same city once ruled by Ur-Nammu, it seems very likely that it was. The Moon-god Sin was one of the most important deities in the Mesopotamian pantheon - the symbol of the crescent moon found on seal impressions, steles, pottery, amulets, wall murals, etc
While physical Babylon no longer exists, the influence exerted by the gods it served, has spread far and wide.
The pre-Islamic Arabs in Mecca worshipped the moon and the sun, with the former being the chief deity. To end division among his people in Mecca, Muhammad elevated the moon god Ilah, which is the generic word for god in Arabic, to the chief and only god... Al-Ilah (The God) or Allah, the Supreme Being. In other words, it would hardly be surprising if the pre-Islamic worship of the sun and moon was derived from the religions of ancient Babylon, especially since Mecca lies just over 1,000 miles southwest of ancient Babylon and was on a well used trade route. One has to suspect that Islam's crescent may have originated with the moon god "Sin".
Remember that "Sin" was also called "Nanna" in Sumerian. His daughter was Inanna, better known today as Ishtar, who came to play a major role among the Canaanites as Astarte, while the Israelites knew her as Ashtoreth. Worship of the goddess has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity in recent years, particularly with the feminist movement.
"Babylon" is not a nation, but a spiritual kingdom, that reached back to Shinar and the tower of Babel, then physically and/or spiritually persisted in the physical kingdom of Babylon, and other nations as diverse as Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and Rome, all of whom wreaked havoc on Israel. This kingdom, the antitheses of Jerusalem, is alive and well, and still endeavors to carry away captives and win the battle.
And, until finally defeated, it will extend it's tentacles into the future when spiritual apostasy and pure unmitigated evil will peak under the regime of the beast.
The idea of Babylon representing a spiritual kingdom in a power struggle with Jerusalem, is also reflected in the fact that the...
Destruction of The Original Babylon Was a Type and Forerunner of a Global Judgment
The 13th chapter of Isaiah is an "oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw." (Vs. 1). The prophet speaks of the Lord mustering, from a far country, an army as instruments of His indignation, that will destroy the whole land (Vs. 4-5). However, the prophecy takes on a different tone in verses 9-13, which read
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold And mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the Lord of hosts In the day of His burning anger. (Isaiah 13:9-13 NASB)
There are those that believe that these verses "cannot be understood literally", but are a "metaphorical representation" of the calamities that were coming upon Babylon. While it is certainly true that some awful calamities were described using apocryphal language (Isaiah 34:4, Ezekiel 32:7-8), Isaiah's phrasing is much more in sync with Jesus' words in Matthew 24:29 and Revelation 6:12-14, both of which refer to the final days of this era.
But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29 NASB)
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:12-14 NASB)
Isaiah has the Lord saying "I will punish the world for its evil" (Vs. 11) and that He will "make mortal man scarcer than pure gold" (Vs. 12) all indicate a far more global judgment than that of a single kingdom. Besides which the very specific use of the phrase "the day of the Lord" in verse 9, indicates the end of days.
Additionally, the oracle of Isaiah, which foretold the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, was applied to the end of days by the apostle John in the book of Revelation.
Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs." And one said, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground." (Isaiah 21:9 NASB)
And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. (Revelation 18:2 NASB)
Note: While the "Day of the Lord" is a subject too lengthy to adequately discuss here, suffice to say that it indicates a time of reckoning for sinners, when His wrath will be poured out on them. "The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, (Isaiah 2:17 NASB). (See The Day of The Lord)
But let us return to the woman that John saw in Revelation chapter 17. Next... Seven Kings
Footnote I... Other "Mis-translations"
1) Why the proper names... Sheol, Hades and Gehenna were translated "hell". In any case "hell" does not mean fire and brimstone. It comes from an old English word which means to cover over... Hmmm! Sort of the same description of Sheol found in the Old Testament.
2) Why the pronoun "He" is used for the Holy Spirit, when the pronoun in the original Greek is neither gender nor number specific.
3) Why the NIV and several other popular translations render the Hebrew arrhabon as 'deposit' in several cases, when it actually means 'earnest'. Worse, in some cases, they not only translated arrhabon into the English 'deposit', but then went on to add the word guarantee. Unknowingly, countless people have relied on these translations, believing that Scripture actually speaks of a 'guarantee' when, in fact, it does no such thing. There is a world of difference between guarantee and earnest. This "mis-translation" can only be accounted for by a clear and biased Calvinistic bent.
The list is endless... One can only conclude that a pre-bias drove many of the so called translations. What we do know is that in the effort to put forward what they believe to be true, the translators have led people away from what the Scriptures actually say. Most people who cannot speak Hebrew or Greek are forced to rely on these inaccurate translations and will never know differently). [PLACE IN TEXT]
Tower of Babel End notes
 Keith Krell. senior pastor of Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane, WA. The Spread of the Nations" (Genesis 10:1-11:26)
 Anne Habermehl Where in the World Is the Tower of Babel? Answers in Genesis.
 Sargon of Akkad (Nimrod) as 'Divine’ .. Shulgi of Ur III . Part Two: Merging Akkad with Ur III.
 Esagila. Encyclopćdia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/192197/Esagila ]. It lay just south of the ziggurat Etemenanki and was apparently completed in its final form by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (604–562 BC).
 Babylon - Cultural Landscape and Achaeological City. Description. © UNESCO World Heritage Centre 1992-2014
http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1837/. Unfortunately this link is no longer active however, UNESCO has also been quoted on this page - http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat56/sub402/item1529.html
 Liste indicative avec des descriptions. http://goo.gl/NscF76
 Tower of Babel http://www.conservapedia.com/Tower_of_Babel
 Etemenanki (the "Tower of Babel"). http://www.livius.org/place/etemenanki/. All content copyright © 1995–2014 Livius.org. All rights reserved.
 The Ziggurat of Ur. Nabonidus Cylinder. http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/ziggurats/explore/cylinder.html
 Encyclopćdia Britannica Marduk Babylonian god. http://www.britannica.com/topic/Marduk
 New World Encyclopedia. Sin mythology. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Sin_(mythology)
 Encyclopćdia Britannica. Mecca. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/371782/Mecca/37835/History
 Shamash. Mesopotamian god. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/538274/Shamash
 New World Encyclopedia. Sin mythology. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Sin_(mythology)
 See separate pages on Ishtar and Inanna on Wikipedia. Also http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/inanaitar/
 Divine Feminine. http://126.96.36.199/~herchurc/divine-feminine/
 Covenant of the Goddess. General Criteria for Coven Membership. http://www.cog.org/how-to-join