Nimrod meaning | Nimrod etymology

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Nimrod in Biblical Hebrew
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The name Nimrod in the Bible

Nimrod was a descendant of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:8). He was a mighty king, and the first active character after the flood-cycle.

"The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city."—Genesis 10:10-12

The prophet Micah sings about the coming of the Ruler in Israel who is to come from Bethlehem Ephrathah, and whose goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2). Ruled by Him, we the people will shepherd Assyria with the sword and the land of Nimrod at its entrances (Micah 5:6).

Etymology of the name Nimrod

The name Nimrod probably has to do with מרד (marad) meaning to be rebellious or revolt:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

The letter נ (nun), with which our name starts may be due to a grammatical construction that turns a verb passive (he rebelled), reflective (he turned himself against), or resultative (to be rebellious).

Nimrod meaning

For a meaning of the name Nimrod, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Rebel. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Strong for no immediately clear reason. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests a relation to the Babylonian god Marduk, or the star-god Namra-uddu. Some scholars propose that Nimrod is the same figure as the mighty Greek hunter Orion.

Tradition has Nimrod pegged as a not so positive guy but that might be not implied by the text. His epithet "mighty hunter before YHWH" (Genesis 10:9) seems to indicate that the Lord was quite taken with Nimrod's hunting skills. And what was he hunting for? His name suggests that he was rebellious, but he created a string of cities, which obviously requires cooperation; the opposite of rebellion. The first city Nimrod created was Babel or Babylon, which became the very center of learning in which the exiled Judahites perfected the texts that we know as the Old Testament.

It stands to reason that Nimrod (probably not even a single person but rather a personified human endeavor) strove to rebel against primitivity and embrace culture and sophistication. Today some speak of science as "the pursuit of knowledge," which may be precisely what "mighty hunter before YHWH" means. The name Nimrod may literally mean Rebel but by implication it means Cultivation or even Enlightenment.

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