Nimrod was an ancient ruler of the Mesopotamian area known as Shinar. His empire flourished in the centuries following the Flood, described in Genesis 6.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Nimrod was the son of Cush and the grandson of famed shipbuilder, Noah.
Nimrod in the Bible
His name appears four times in the Hebrew Bible.
“Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” – Genesis 10:8,9
“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth.” – 1 Chronicles 1:10
“And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.” – Micah 5:6
Who Was Nimrod?
The first mention of Nimrod occurs in the Book of Genesis 10:8-12:
Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man.a 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, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
The Bible indicates that Nimrod was a man of great power and refers to him specifically as “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” When translated literally from the original language, this phrase more accurately reads: “a mighty hunter in defiance of the the Lord.”
Nimrod was born into a patriarchal form of government. Under this ancient patriarchal system, women were subject to the authority of men, and men themselves followed the dictates and counsel of their family’s respective patriarchal (male) figure. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and other key figures lived under a patriarchal system (and often as nomads).
Nimrod rebelled against the patriarchal form of government. He preferred a monarchical system — with him as king.
Nimrod soon acted upon his ambitions and declared himself king over his own people.
This action was tantamount to modern day treason. In Nimrod’s mind, he had “freed” himself from the shackles of an irrational belief in an invisible God. His desire for power was thwarted by the rigid patriarchal system, in which only the aged could exert ultimate authority over the community. There was no immediate room for him within the top rungs of the ancient power structure.
From his actions, it is obvious that Nimrod was rebellious, blood-thirsty, and power-hungry.
Nimrod’s Appeal: His Ability to Kill
In ancient times, wild beasts were a constant threat to nomadic peoples. (The ancients would often build walls around their villages to protect from both invaders and hungry wild animals.) As a highly skilled hunter and warrior, Nimrod was viewed as a protector by his own people. Perhaps this view of Nimrod by his people transformed into a blind allegiance of the man. While Nimrod inspired the faith and trust of his fellow men, he failed to attribute his strength and skill to his Creator. Instead, he took full credit for his gifts in open defiance of the God of Adam, Enoch, and Noah.
The Spirit of Babylon
Nimrod’s rebellion against God’s use of patriarchal government is at the very root of what the Bible refers to as “the spirit of Babylon”.
The spirit of Babylon is resident within every human endeavor that seeks to operate without God’s oversight and blessing. For 6,000 years, mankind’s attempt at self-rule has been utterly dismal. Man cannot rule himself outside of the authority of God. Today, despite claims of great human progress and our advanced technological capabilities, our true nature lurks under the surface. As we launch rockets into space and build massive skyscrapers, one out of two children around the world live in abject poverty. Over one in four children do not have permanent shelter.
Is this what humanity calls “achievement?”
It is a lie that humanity can progress without first collectively acknowledging God’s authority. What we call “progress,” God calls “open rebellion.”
And while God is not impressed with modern human achievement, the foundations for the existing earthly power structures have long been laid. And those who currently inhabit them likely have no plans to relinquish them — let alone dismantle them.
Nimrod and Lucifer
Nimrod’s actions nearly mirror those of the fallen angel, Lucifer, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible.
Nimrod is born into a patriarchal system which he disdained.
Lucifer was a created angelic being and placed into a Monarchical system which he could not tolerate.
Nimrod’s rebellion against God’s patriarchal institution led men, women, and children away from their leaders which were their fathers and ancestors.
Lucifer’s rebellion led angelic beings, and later human beings, to openly defy their Heavenly Father.
Can you think of any others? If so, provide them in the comments below.
More Facts About Nimrod
- According to Josephus, Nimrod was “a bold man, and of great strength in hand.” His construction of a tall tower was insurance against another major Flood, in case God “should have a mind to drown the world again.”
- The Jerusalem Targum (a Hebrew translation into the Aramaic language, which was used in Christ’s day), states, “He [Nimrod] was powerful in hunting and wickedness before the LORD, for he was a hunter of the sons of men, and he said unto them, ‘Depart from the judgment of the Lord, and adhere to the judgment of Nimrod!’ therefore it is said: ‘As Nimrod [is] the strong one, strong in hunting, and in wickedness before the Lord.’”
- Some biblical scholars believe that the name of Nimrod as found in the Book of Genesis is a reference to an ancient Mesopotamian people, not to an individual.
- While his name never appears in Genesis 11, it is believed that Nimrod commissioned the building of the Tower of Babel.
- According to some sources, Nimrod’s wife, Semiramis, claimed that he had been resurrected as the Sun god. Several mysteries surround the exact historical identity of Semiramis. For a lengthier discussion on Nimrod’s wife, see our article Who is Semiramis?