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Who is Nimrod and did he lead men to build the tower (of Babel) in Shinar?

We are first introduced to Nimrod who came from Ham, Noah’s son (who fathered four sons: Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan; Nimrod is the 6 th son of Cush)

Gen. 10:7-8 “Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD."

Mighty (Gibbor) is used 3 times, it is a characteristic, not a race, (because of the word gibbor some consider Nimrod a Nephilim, some claim that Nimrod might have been one of the giants of Genesis 6).

Mighty means he was known for his hunting animals, which was well respected in this time period. Some say he was a hunter of the souls of men. Nimrods name in the Hebrew means “to rebel,” מָרַד Heb, marad. According to rabbinic tradition, Nimrod demonstrated power over the wild animals by hunting and capturing them, and as a despot leader he did the same for men; both were his victims.

Gen. 10:9-12 “ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).”

The time element is important on this to know if he was in Babylon when the Lord came and confounded the languages and then went to Assyria. Micah 5:6 calls Assyria “the land of Nimrod” and the ‘Book of Chronicles 1:10 “ he began to be a mighty one on the earth.” Meaning he became famous, well known as one who gathered and ruled over men, establishing kingdoms.

Could Nimrod’s revolt against God have included the Tower of Babel being built? The Scripture does not say anything of Nimrod being involved, what it does record “ they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." (Gn. 11:3-4)

Gen. 11:5 “But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

There is nothing attributed to him being directly involved, which would not be the case if he was. However he certainly could have set the stage by his influence. It is not decidedly evident if he was one of the builders. Josephus states, “It was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God.”

Septuagint (LXX) implies Nimrod was born many years after the Tower of Babel event.

What we know is that the Tower of Babel was built for astrology, looking to the heavens for knowledge. Archaeology finds Ur-Nammu, King of Ur from (2044 to 2007 B.C .)  was said to received orders to build a great ziggurat (temple tower) as an act of worship to the moon god Nannat. This new false religion of idolatry made Babylon the Great the Mother of Harlots; the origin of all false religion. In fact many see him as a type of the antichrist to come.

Thousands of cuneiform tablets, a royal palace, a temple of Ishtar, and a Ziggurat have been found and there are excavations continually revealing more of this time period. This is the cradle of ancient pagan civilization where imperial power first appeared in human history under Nimrod and the Hamitic people.

There is much legend attributed to him and many kings and tyrants names are said to be him found in the myths. Historians have tried to identify him with Sargon the Great, Marduk, a god of Babylon. Mesopotamia preserve the name Nimrod. Ninurta, the Babylonian god of war, “the god of the hunt”; later, Orion, a Greek mythical hunter; Ninmaradda, “lord of Marad,” a town SW of Kish (W. F. Albright, in O. T. Commentary,p. 138). As Gilgamesh, who was also a great hunter in Sumarian literature, the demi-god king of Uruk. Tukulti-Ninurta I, an Assyrian king who captured Babylon. All these are still speculative.

Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306–373) and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan contest the narratives that Nimrod as the builder of the ‘Tower of Babel.’

The Jerusalem Targum:

“He was powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he was a hunter of the sons of men, as he said to them, “Depart from the judgment of the Lord and hear the judgment of Nimrod.” Therefore, it is said, as Nimrod the strong one, strong in hunting, and wickedness before the Lord.”

Josephus writes: “He also gradually changed the government into tyranny,—seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power.(Chpt.4)

Even Jewish legends contain him  “was said by the angel Gabriel, because it was said that when Nimrod the wicked threw Abraham our father into the fiery furnace, the angel Gabriel said to the Lord: "Permit me to go and make the furnace cold, that it may do no harm to Abraham" (Babylonian Talmud)

Much is shrouded in the past and we cannot come to conclusions from silence but from what we have written.


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