Sign up ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In the middle of an otherwise repetitive genealogy in Genesis 10, one man is especially singled out:

Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord." The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city. (Genesis 10:8-12 NIV)

The text makes rather a big deal about him - he's the founder of seemingly Bablyon and Assyria (at least Ninevah), both of which obviously play a major role later in Israel's history. Is there any other record of this "mighty warrior" who founded these cities?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

Nimrod has been identified as Enmerkar. Keeping in mind that the Hebrew script was originally without vowels, the names are very similar. -kar is a suffix meaning 'hunter', so that Enmerkar can be understood as 'Nimrod the hunter'. Enmerkar also built Uruk, making the identification very likely.

share|improve this answer

David Livingston says Nimrod ("rebel") was just a nasty name for Gilgamesh.

He has a fascinating article here:

First, what does the name Nimrod mean? It comes from the Hebrew verb marad, meaning "rebel." Adding an "n" before the "m" it becomes an infinitive construct, "Nimrod." (see Kautzsch 1910: 137 2b; also BDB 1962: 597). The meaning then is "The Rebel." Thus "Nimrod" may not be the character's name at all. It is more likely a derisive term of a type, a representative, of a system that is epitomized in rebellion against the Creator, the one true God. Rebellion began soon after the Flood as civilizations were restored. At that time this person became very prominent.

In Genesis 10:8-11 we learn that "Nimrod" established a kingdom. Therefore, one would expect to find also, in the literature of the ancient Near East, a person who was a type, or example, for other people to follow. And there was. It is a well-known tale, common in Sumerian literature, of a man who fits the description. In addition to the Sumerians, the Babylonians wrote about this person; the Assyrians likewise; and the Hittites. Even in Palestine, tablets have been found with this man's name on them. He was obviously the most popular hero in the Ancient Near East.

The person we are referring to, found in extra-Biblical literature, was Gilgamesh. The first clay tablets naming him were found among the ruins of the temple library of the god Nabu (Biblical Nebo) and the palace library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.