NIMROD (nĭm'rŏd, Heb. nimrōdh). In the “Table of the Nations” (
NIMROD nĭm rŏd (נִמְרֹ֑ד, נִמְרֹ֑וד, LXX Νεβρωδ). The son of Cush, an early warrior and hunter who founded a kingdom in Babylonia later extended to Assyria (
The name Nimrod is of uncertain etymology and there have been many attempts at explanation from both Sem. and non-Sem. sources. It has been suggested that it may be a play on mrd, “to rebel,” but this remains a hypothesis. An Akkad. personal name Namratu(m) is known. As “son of Cush” (
Nimrod is described as the first to be a gibbôr or skilled warrior (
This included the great cities of Babel (Babylon), Erech (Warka), Accad (Agade) and “all of them” (Calneh; KJV) in the land of Shinar. This covers the ancient kingdom of Akkad in northern Babylonia. From that land he went out to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir (possibly a description of Nineveh), Calah and Resen (Ras al-’Ayin?) between Nineveh and Calah, i.e. inner Assyria, called “the land of Nimrod” by Micah (
These include the following hypotheses: a) The view that Nimrod reflects the sagas of the gods sees him as the Akkad. god of war and hunting, Ninurta (a form Nimurta is not found) under his title lugal. marada, “king of Marad, or great strength.” He could possibly be Marduk (Sumer, amar. ud [u]), the hero god of battle, but he seems to play little part in the pantheon until the 14th cent. b.c. E. A. Speiser sees in Nimrod the prototype of Ninus, the classical founder of Nineveh. b) As a Cushite (Nubian/Ethiopian) he has been identified with the Egyp. king Amenophis III who ruled 1411-1375 (von Rad). This would imply a transference of ideas since this ruler never reached the River Tigris. c.) The view that Nimrod was Gilgamesh rests solely on the fact that the epic heroking of Erech (c. 2700 b.c.) marched northward and was a well-known hunter. In its favor is the quoted proverb “like Nimrod a might hunter before the Lord” (
E. A. Speiser, “In search of Nimrod,” Eretz Israel 5 (1958), 32-36.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Nimrod has not been identified with any mythical hero or historic king of the inscriptions. Some have sought identification with Gilgamesh, the flood hero of Babylonia (Skinner, Driver, Delitzsch); others with a later Kassite king (Haupt, Hilprecht), which is quite unlikely; but the most admissible correspondence is with Marduk, chief god of Babylon, probably its historic founder, just as Asshur, the god of Assyria, appears in verse 11 as the founder of the Assyrian empire (Wellhausen, Price, Sayce). Lack of identification, however, does not necessarily indicate mythical origin of the name.
See Astronomy, sec. II, 11; BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA, RELIGION OF, IV, 7; MERODACH; ORION.