Stagnant they most certainly were. As Shem watched the building's foundation laid and the tower start to take form and grow higher and higher, he noticed other things happening to their community. The gardens were being neglected. Plants were withering and fruit was dying on the vine. The herds were wandering off or dying out from lack of food or care. As the tribe became more and more obsessed with their monument of humanity's power and strength, their livelihood began to perish. What's more, families were suffering. The men began to be home less and less. They were tired at the end of a hard, long day of labor, and they were looking for some sort of comfort and pleasure...which led to the tents of prostitutes around the building site. The men were perfectly happy to find their pleasure there rather than head home to their wives. Children were being put to work at the building site, doing dangerous work in dangerous places. Small children could get down into hard places that adults could not go, and there had already been several deaths. The women were being pressed into service to provide food and other needs, but as the crops and animals died out, this became harder and harder to do, and the women began to give up and just join in the building of the tower. A feverish, obsessive need to builder higher, build stronger, be greater had overtaken the people. As the tower went higher, the spiritual and emotional life of the people fell apart.
At the center of it all was Nimrod, the warrior king, with his grandfather behind him pulling the strings. Nimrod was a mighty hunter, and Ham was a smart, worldly man. Nimrod began to hunt down food and find ways to provide for the people - but if it was his food, he surmised, the people would need to do what he wanted in order to obtain it. When you control the food supply, you control the people, and very easily Ham's family slipped into the role of masters over the rest of mankind, who became their slaves. Obsessed with building the tower, they had not even realized the extent to which they had fallen into Nimrod's power. Ham's family controlled the majority of the tribe, and Shem and Japheth found their voices shouted down more and more. The members of their immediate families that remained loyal to them started to fear for their lives and the lives of their children. Every brick laid on that tower was destroying mankind. Shem knew something drastic was going to have to happen if they were going to avoid another judgment. God had promised He would never flood the world again, but that did not mean there would never be another set of consequences for actions. That's what Ham was betting on - God had already destroyed the world once, He wouldn't do it again. Shem feared this was far from the truth. In desperation, Shem cried out to God to save them in their wicked ways and deliver them from their own foolishness.And then one day, the deliverance came.