Who was Nimrod according to the Bible?

According to the Bible (Genesis 10:8–12; 1 Chronicles 1:10), Nimrod was the son of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah. He was a king of Assyria (Micah 5:6), a “mighty one on the earth” and a “hunter” (Genesis 10:8, 9). He probably was from the line of giants that existed before the flood (Genesis 6:4). The Israelites encountered them at the conquest of Canaan (Numbers 13:28, 33). And they were challenged by some of their giants like Goliath (2 Samuel 21:15–22).

Nimrod’s fame

Nimrod’s great works made him renowned among his time and future generations (Genesis 10:9). Babylonian myths about Gilgamesh, in reliefs, cylinder seals, and in literary documents, may point to Nimrod. For Gilgamesh was usually depicted as fighting wild beasts with his hands. Nimrod was from the line of Ham. This may be the reason why the Babylonians (descendants of Shem) attributed his works to their hunters instead and deleted his name.

Nimrod is the first person recorded in the Bible as the leader of a kingdom. Aside from ruling over Babylon, he also built and reigned over other cities like of Uruk, Akkad, and Calneh, in just Shinar alone. “Later, he extended his domain into Assyria, by erecting the cities of “Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen” (Genesis 10: 10-12). Nimrod appears in the record of nations as the originator of colonialism. Under him, civilization changed from the patriarchal system to the monarchical.

His defiance to God

Nimrod was the ruler of the inhabitants of the earth at the time of the construction of the Tower and city of Babel which became Babylon. The Tower of Babel was a symbol of rejection to God and defiance to His rule (Genesis 11:6). This was but the first step into a one world order. God did not wish again to destroy man for evil had not as yet reached the limits to which it had gone before the Flood. And He decided to stop it before it rises again. So, the Lord confused the language of humans (Genesis 11:7). By this action, He forced them to separate. Thus, Nimrod’s power was brought to a halt and the inhabitants of earth had another evidence to the power of the Creator.

Josephus wrote that Nimrod “said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach. And that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 4). Josephus added that, Nimrod “persuaded [his subjects] not to ascribe [their strength] to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness” (op. cit.).

Ancient literature

It is interesting to note that Accad (Akkad) that was destroyed in the period 2200–2154 BCE, had tales about Nimrod. Likewise, Erech (Uruk), that deteriorated around 2,000 BCE through battles between Isin, Larsa and Elam, also confirmed the stories of Nimrod. In addition, other Jewish traditions, indicated that there was a conflict between Nimrod and Abraham.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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