Perhaps the Greatest Rebel of All
The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. 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.” 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). (Genesis 10:7-12)
Right in the middle of the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 a character appears, one who at first glance appears to have hopeful qualities of leadership and influence.
He is described as a “mighty one on the earth.” The Hebrew word gibbowr can be translated mighty, strong, or valiant. By implication it can be also mean warrior or tyrant. According to extra biblical sources and Jewish scholars and historians, the latter meaning should be applied to Nimrod.
Who was this man? First off, he was the grandson of Ham and great-grandson of Noah. His name comes from the Hebrew verb marad, meaning “rebel.” According to Biblical archeologist Dr. David P. Livingston, it is possible that his name wasn’t really Nimrod … but it was a title given him because of his rebellion against God, the Creator. Dr. Livingston mentions a man written about in other cultures that describes such an individual (the Babylonians, Sumerians, Hittites, Assyrians). His name, Livingston asserts, was actually Gilgamesh. See http://christiananswers.net/dictionary/nimrod.html for the full explanation.
The “Gilgamesh Epic” tells that story, and in it describes this man Gilgamesh as ruthless, vile, arrogant, and depraved. The Jewish historian Josephus describes Nimrod in very similar ways, stating that he led a rebellion against Yahweh and oversaw a tyrannical government. He even went so far as to say that he would avenge himself on God for having destroyed the world with a flood.
The Bible describes this man as a “mighty hunter before the LORD.” Biblical scholars Keil and Delitzsch write in their commentary that this refers to Nimrod being a mighty hunter of men by means of stratagem and force (Keil and Delitzsch 1975: 165).
Nimrod is almost always identified with the construction of the tower of Babel—a structure built for the purpose of worshiping the heavenly bodies and in rebellion against God Himself. As such, he is the father of all false religions, the originator of what the Revelation calls MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Revelation 17:5). This false religious system will ultimately come under the final judgment of God during the Great Tribulation, but has for thousands of years kept much of the human race in bondage and deception. Nimrod was apparently the instigator of this dark and evil system.
The story of Nimrod provides both a reminder and a warning. The reminder is that there is falsehood and deception (which comes from man’s rebellion); and there is truth which comes from God Himself, and is fully revealed in the Bible and finalized in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).
The warning is that one day, God will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, and hold the world accountable for having rejected His great salvation (Acts 17:30-31; Hebrews 2:1-4; Psalms 2:1-11).
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalms 2:12)
For Further Review
1. Why was Nimrod’s life evil? To those who maintain that evil does not exist or that truth is relative, how would you answer this question?
2. Read Paul’s famous sermon to the Athenian philosophers on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34). According to God’s Word, what sins will men and women be held accountable for in the sight of God?
3. What does Psalms 2:12 ask the rebel to do? How does this reflect the heart of God, especially in the light of 2 Peter 3:9)?