Nimrod: Hunter and Tyrant

Centuries ago, someone in my workplace was coaxing the assistant manager to insult the crew.

"Tell them what they are."

"A bunch of nimrods!"

"Uh, what's a nimrod?"

Apparently you are, Poindexter.

Nimrod painting by David Scott, 1832, modified at PhotoFunia

Nimrod, capitalized, was a "mighty hunter before the Lord" (Gen. 10:9), We will deal with serious matters soon. First how the name became an insult instead of a complement to a hunter has a murky history.

Some say that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck described Elmer Fudd, the mighty wabbit hunter, with "What a nimrod!" It was apparently sarcastic, and more modern phrasing might render it, "A nimrod. Not." The cartoons seemed to increase the popularity of nimrod denoting a stupid person, and many people have no idea of the original meaning.

Ironically, there is evidence that this was not his real name, but rather, a dysphemism (using a disparaging word rather than the real name, like my earlier use of "Poindexter"). Reasoning from biblical and secular historical accounts, a good case can be made to establish his identity.

I've had my fun with word history, now let's discuss the man himself.

Although the Genesis Flood was not exactly ancient history for them, people were already choosing to rebel against God. Nimrod established himself as a hunter. Was this simply someone skilled at bringing home the deer or brontosaurus meat? There are indications that he hunted men to subjugate them into his kingdom, and later, his empire. Biblical wording implies that he was in defiance of the Lord, and the International Standard Version translates it that way. Some commentaries also support this view.

Nimrod was a rebel and a tyrant, and he was involved in building the Tower of Babel in Shinar (later a part of Babylonia). Babel was a large city and essentially the headquarters of Baal worship. He was likely very full of pride and hatred of God (at least he didn't pretend God didn't exist), and rebelled.

Within a few generations after the Flood, tyrants began to appear on earth—first in the person of Nimrod, the grandson of Ham. Some commentators suggest that the name ‘Nimrod’ comes from the Hebrew root for the word ‘revolt’ or ‘rebellion’. Even if not, as we will consider, his name signifies rebellion.

For old time's sake, read the rest. Just click on "Nimrod — The first post-Flood tyrant and empire builder".