Who is Nimrod? (Genesis 10:8-9)
By Frank L. HoffmanScripture Reference:
- Genesis 10:8-9
Perhaps the best way to answer the question “Who is Nimrod”? is also to address the question “What is a nimrod?” (yes, with a small ‘n’).
In Genesis 10:8-9, we are told who the Biblical Nimrod was:
8. Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth.
9. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
If we look previously in the Bible, we will also learn that Nimrod is the grandson of Ham and the great-grandson of Noah.
For years we have heard hunters refer to themselves as Nimrods, and from the above Bible verses we can see why, but at the same time we chuckle for we realize that they really don’t know what they are actually calling themselves.
While the dictionary confirms that Nimrod or nimrod can be used to describe a mighty hunter, a word study reveals that nimrod also has come to refer to people who are tyrants, who are stupid, who are idiots, or who are jerks.
None of this takes away from the fact that hunters can also be very cunning in their approach to killing, and as we shall see, leading other human beings astray. This could also be because the Hebrew word “to rebel” is so similar to the name, Nimrod.
But in order to get a better understanding of who Nimrod was, let’s take a look at what Rashi, an 11th century Jewish commentator says about him.
In reference to “a mighty one” (verse 8), Rashi writes: “To cause the whole world to rebel against the Holy One (Blessed be He) with the counsel of the generations of the division of mankind.” See Chapter 11, which we will do shortly.
In reference to verse 9, Rashi writes: “He [Nimrod] captures the minds of men with his mouth, and leads them to rebel against the Omnipresent. He intends to provoke Him in His presence. Concerning every person who acts wickedly with insolence, who knows his Master and yet intends to rebel against Him, it is said, ‘This man is like Nimrod a mighty hunter’.”
The reference to Chapter 11 refers to the fact that the Jewish sages consider Nimrod to be the one who enticed the people to build the tower of Babel, which led to the divisions of the human race.
Unlike sacrifices, which were part of the concessions God allowed to help bring the people back to Him by limiting their wanton killing and by creating extreme remorse in the sinner for causing an innocent animal to die, hunting was considered to be for pleasure and not part of the concession.
In order to take the life of another living being, a person must harden their heart and not have empathy for that being; and to do so for pleasure is to be a sociopath, which explains why the Jewish sages considered hunters to be wicked.
Therefore our conclusion is: don’t be a Nimrod!