Who Was Nimrod? -- By: David P. Livingston

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 14:3 (Summer 2001)
Article: Who Was Nimrod?
Author: David P. Livingston


Who Was Nimrod?

David P. Livingston

Found at Khorsabad, this eighth century BC stone relief is identified as Gilgamesh. The best-known of ancient Mesopotamian heroes, Gilgamesh was king of Uruk in southern Mesopotamia, His story is known in the poetic Gilgamesh Epic, but there is no historical evidence for his exploits in the story. He is described as part god and part man, a great builder and warrior, and a wise man in the story. Not mentioned in the Bible, the author suggests Gilgamesh is to be identified with Biblical Nimrod (Gn 10:8–12).

“Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a might hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.” The centers of his kingdom were Babylon. Erech, Akkad and Calneh in Shinar. (Gn 10:8–10) Many consider this to be a positive, complimentary testimony about Nimrod. It is just the opposite! First, a little background study is necessary.

Cultural Connections in the Ancient Near East

Besides the stories of the Creation and Flood in the Bible there ought to be similar stories on clay tablets found in the cultures near and around the true believers. These tablets may have a reaction, or twisted version, in their accounts of the Creation and Flood. In the post-Flood geneaological records of Genesis 10 we note that the sons of Ham were: Cush, Mizraim. Put and Canaan. Mizraim became the Egyptians. No one is sure where Put went to live. And it is obvious who the Canaanites were. Cush lived in the “land of Shinar” which most scholars consider to be Sumer. There developed the first civilization after the Flood. The sons of Shem—the Semites—were also mixed, to some extent, with the Sumerians.

We suggest that Sumerian Kish, the first city established in Mesopotamia after the Flood, took its name from the man known in the Bible as Cush. The first kingdom established after the Flood was Kish, and the name “Kish” appears often on clay tablets. The early post-Flood Sumerian king lists (not found in the Bible) say that ‘‘kingship descended from heaven to Kish” after the Flood. (The Hebrew name “Cush,” much later, was moved to present-day Ethiopia as migrations look place from Mesopotamia to other places.)

The Sumerians, very early, developed a religio-politico state which was extremely binding on all who lived in it (except for the rulers, who were a law unto themselves). This system was to influence the Ancient Near East for over 3000 years. Other cultures which fol...

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