Nimrod, king of Shinar, was, according to the Book of Genesis and Books of Chronicles, the son of Cush and great-grandson of Noah. He is depicted as a man of power, and a mighty hunter. Extra-biblical traditions associating him with the Tower of Babel led to his reputation as a king who was rebellious against God.
The first mention of Nimrod is in the Table of Nations. Most are just mentioned by name; but Nimrod has a added description added… as though those first readers would know who he was. He is described as the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, and great-grandson of Noah; and as “a mighty one on the earth” and “a mighty hunter before (in the face of?) God“. This is repeated in 1Chron. 1:10, and the “Land of Nimrod” used as a synonym for Assyria or Mesopotamia, is mentioned in Mic. 5:6.
Genesis says the “beginning of his kingdom” was the towns of “Babel, Uruk, Akkad and Calneh in the land of Shinar” (Mesopotamia) — understood variously to imply that he either founded these cities, ruled over them, or both.
In Hebrew and Christian tradition, Nimrod is considered the leader of those who built the Tower of Babel in the land of Shinar, though the Bible never actually states this. Nimrod’s kingdom included the cities of Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, all in Shinar. So, it was likely – under his direction – that the building of Babel and its tower began; this is also the view found in the history of Josephus, the Talmud, and later midrash.
“Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through His means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach. And that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers.
Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than anyone could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, He did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but He caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion…”
There are lots of mythologies about Nimrod… some are really cool to read. He must have been some kind of man; a mighty one on this earth and a mighty hunter. Yet, today, some are called a “nimrod” as a synonym for ‘idiot’ or ‘buffoon’.
One might be considered a “mighty man on earth”; but, if one stands in opposition to God… he is truly a nimrod!
You can read of Nimrod in Genesis 10:8,9; and of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.