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Reference: Nimrod


A legendary personage, described in Ge 10:8 ff. as the first of the 'heroes,' 'a mighty hunter before the Lord,' the ruler of four ancient Babylonian cities, and the founder of the Assyrian Empire. In the statement that he was begotten by Cush, we have probably a reference to the Kash or Kasshu who conquered Babylonia about the 17th cent. b.c., and set up a dynasty which lasted 600 years: the rise of Assyria is said to date from the decline of Babylonia under the later Kassite kings. The nearest Babylonian parallel to the figure of Nimrod as yet discovered is Gilgamesh, the tyrant of Erech, whose adventures are recorded in the famous series of tablets to which the Deluge-story belongs, and who is supposed to be the hero so often represented on seals and palace-reliefs in victorious combat with a lion. It was at one time hoped that the actual name Nimrod might be recovered from the ideogram commonly read as iz. du. bar; and though this expectation has been dispelled by the discovery of the true pronunciation Gitgamesh, there is enough general resemblance to warrant the belief that the original of the Biblical Nimrod belongs to Babylonian lore. The combination of warlike prowess with a passion for the chase is illustrated by the numerous hunting scenes sculptured on the monuments; and it may well be imagined that to the Hebrew mind Nimrod became an ideal personation of the proud monarchs who ruled the mighty empires on the Euphrates and the Tigris.

J. Skinner.

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