Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nimrod: A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord - Genesis 10:8-12 Bible Commentary

Think of all the famous cities which fill this planet. There are the Londons and Romes of this world, known for the wealth and influence they've had throughout history. The founders of such cities tend to become mythical figures. They go down in history as legends, fearless people never took "no" for an answer.

In some cases, the founders of such cities were even deified. For instance, Romulus, the founder of Rome, was later recognized as a god by the Romans.

It's tempting to think that founding an ancient city like Rome is about as good as it gets. There is, however, something better. What if a single person founded not only one Rome-like city, but two?

Such a person exists. His name is Nimrod.
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.” 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. (Genesis 10:8-12)
Nimrod founded two of the greatest cities in all of history: Babel and Nineveh. If Romulus received such reverence for founding one city, what sort of praise must Nimrod have received?

Nimrod's Character

There is an old proverb about Nimrod that goes like this: Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord. We know of this proverb through the writings of Moses (Genesis 10:9). It seems from this proverb that the ancient pagans must have looked upon Nimrod with admiration, perhaps even fear. The phrase mighty hunter seems to indicate that Nimrod was skilled in slaying beasts (perhaps dinosaurs, which, in all likelihood, existed in his time).

Nimrod was not only skilled in hunting beasts, but also people. Moses writes of Nimrod that "he was the first on earth to be a mighty man" (Genesis 10:8). From this it can be gathered that Nimrod was the first person in the post-flood world to subdue people, forming nations and governments. Doubtless, Nimrod, in his days, must have perfectly fit the image of a maniacal dictator.

From the beginning of his days, Nimrod strove against the Almighty. So great was his hatred of God that he is known for founding the city which was home to the Tower of Babel!

Nimrod's Cities: Nineveh and Babylon

Nineveh was one of the most prominent cities in the ancient world. It was the capital of the Assyrian empire. Though the city was known for its wickedness and brutality, it also experienced revival for a short time under the preaching of Jonah.

The city of Nineveh, which was built shortly after the flood, came to a sudden end in 612 BC when the Babylonians literally wiped it off the map. The ironic twist is that though power changed hands from one empire to another, Nimrod was the founder of both empires!

When Nineveh fell, the ancient city of Babel (also called Babylon) became the dominant power in the region. The kingdom of Babylon's most famous leader was King Nebuchadnezzar, of whom we learn of in the book of Daniel.

Babylon's power did not last forever. It was soon taken over by Medeo-Persia, which was taken over by Alexander the Great, which was eventually taken over by Rome. Down throughout history, control over the Middle East has changed hands many times. A time is soon coming, however, when the city of Babylon will once again be the center of the world's attention.

The book of Revelation explains that Babylon will once again become the key city on the world stage. It will become a place that fully represents man in all of his drunken, unrestrained, fallen perversion. Indeed, Revelation goes so far as to call the city the "mother of prostitutes" (Revelation 17:5). Nimrod's influence over current history may not be apparent, but a day is soon coming when his influence will again be felt.

Don't Follow Nimrod's Example

Nineveh and Babylon in Nimrod's days would have seemed like villages in comparison to what they eventually became. Let this serve as an example of the long-lasting nature of your actions. You might sometimes be tempted to think that what you do only affects the here and now. But be assured by Nimrod's example that the villages you build on earth could one day turn into bustling cities.

Make sure, then, that the villages you build in this life are God-fearing. What a shame it would be if the structures you built in this lifetime became a stumbling block to future generations! Let us always watch over our behavior with diligence so that it might be said of us that we were mighty in hunting down and slaying sin. Let it be said of us that we battled on the Lord's side.

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  1. Rome never conquered Babylon, the tried though, but Babylon resisted

    1. Trajan temporarily did in 117, though it didn't last long.

    2. Or at least, he occupied the general region.

  2. AnonymousJune 12, 2016

    "Babylon will once again become the key city on the world stage..."
    But it's referring to the new Babylon. There isn't time for the old one to come into power once again. But the new symbolic "Mystery Babylon" is already here. The old Babylon was not and would not have been a "mystery", but the new one is. And the new one is just like the old one...a pagan center of various gods and religions. Is this somewhere in the Middle East? No...it's America.

    1. Looking back on this post, I think I should have been more careful in how I phrased that particular portion of the post. I think you are right that Rev is not necessarily referring to the literal city and location of ancient Babylon. Rev does seem to be speaking symbolically of the evil world order when it speaks of Babylon. Where I would disagree with you is in interpreting it as a reference to America. There is much evil in many places in the world, not just in America.