Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:1-9
RBS to cut 3,500 jobs in investment bank shake-up
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has said it will cut a further 3,500 jobs, with most of them to happen this year. The cuts are part of a reorganisation and shrinkage of its investment bank. The losses, which will be split between its UK and international offices, come on top of 2,000 cuts announced earlier. BBC news 12 January 2012
Today we see individuals and groups striving to outdo one another in the height and grandeur of their buildings. People and nations invest time, wealth, and political and technological expertise endeavouring to ensure security and a name. Associated is a fear of loss of identity through being ‘scattered’.
God’s evaluation is that such attitudes and actions are disastrous for the future of his world. The inhabitants’ focus is ‘us’ and ‘what we can do’, ‘our security, reputation and identity’. How different will be God’s subsequent action, as the genealogy (vs 10–32) leads on to Abraham’s family and a fresh beginning. God calls Abraham to leave familiar surroundings and his security, to go to some unknown place where ‘I will make your name great’. That is the path to security and a name, and blessing for ‘all peoples on earth’ (12:1–4). SU WordLive comment on Genesis 11 by GJ Wenham