As I was exiting a grocery store’s parking lot with my wife at the end of an exhausting day, I particularly noticed the car in front us had abruptly stopped. Politely, they were allowing space for a car to enter traffic. I mentioned to my wife what a nice, courteous gesture that was: “You don’t see that very often!”
At that point, noticing the welcoming offer of entering the busy road, it was either being rejected or the other driver was confused. It reminded me of a TV commercial I often laughed at of “You go, no, you go!”
But on this trying day, my reaction was less humorous, saying “What a Nimrod that guy is!” for not entering the traffic. With that regretted outburst, I sheepishly asked my wife where that expression comes from and the meaning behind it. We left the question with puzzled looks on both our faces for a later time discussion.
And the Study Begins in Genesis 10:8-11; 11:1-9
The Etymology of Words
In some English-speaking countries, Nimrod is used to denote a hunter or warrior, because the Biblical Nimrod is described as “a mighty hunter”.
In American English, however, the term has acquired a derogatory meaning of “idiot”; “stupid”.
The Looney Tunes synonym.
In 1932, Looney Tunes accidentally portrayed and transformed the word Nimrod into a synonym for an idiot but nobody got the joke that sarcastically compared Elmer Fudd (the “hunter”) to the Biblical figure Nimrod (“a mighty hunter”).
The Religion of Nimrod
You can notice in the above verses that Nimrod’s very name means “rebel” or “we will rebel!”
Notice also the words in verse 9 “before the LORD”. This phrase literally means “against God!”
Nimrod rebelled against the Lord and disregarded the past of the family.
Nimrod would have nothing to do with the faith of his ancestors. Instead of learning from their experiences, he rebelled against their practices.
Family History of Nimrod
His grandfather Ham and great-grandfather Noah along with the others who survived the great flood left a great heritage for him to emulate. Out of all mankind, they were the only ones who believed God. They had found grace in the sight of Almighty God!
After the floods receded from the earth, the first thing his great-grandfather Noah did when he came from the ark was to build an altar, offer a sacrifice to the Lord, something that pleased the Lord.
His actions became the subject of a saying back in those days that Nimrod became a “mighty tyrant in the face of Jehovah.”
He was a “hunter” in the sense that he was relentless in searching out and persuading men to obey his will.
He was powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he was a hunter of the sons of men, and he said to them “Depart from the judgment of the Lord, and adhere to the judgment of Nimrod!” Therefore is it said: “This Nimrod the strong one, strong in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord.” [See Footnote [i].]
When I was rebellious as a child, my mom would say…Mel, you’re stubborn as a mule or when I tell you something it goes in one ear and out the other. But imagine if you can in Nimrod’s day…they might have said to a rebellious child…“You’re rebellious as Nimrod the mighty hunter who turned against God!”
I can see a bit of the “prodigal” in Nimrod.
He wanted to take care of himself.
He reminds me of the song of Frank Sinatra…“I did it my way”
Nimrod DISOBEYED God’s Principles.
God commanded Noah and his family when they stepped from the ark that they had a responsibility.
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”
This didn’t just mean that God wanted the earth repopulated, but I believe also that He wanted to replenish the earth with people of faith.
Nimrod was content in making a name for himself.
He cared nothing for the kind of faith that his family before him had. And as far as replenishing the earth… I find no records in the scripture of Nimrod ever having any children of his own.
Nimrod’s Rulership (Genesis 10:10-11)
 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad, and Kalneh, in Shinar.
 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah–which is a great city.
Nimrod made quite a name for himself upon the earth.
He was a selfish person whose desire was to prove that he didn’t have to depend upon God as had his family! He would make it on his own!
The idea of “mighty hunter” shows his great skill and also his ambition.
He was a great sportsman but his greatest sport may have been that of hunting men. If you have ever seen the movie series, “The Hunger Games”, where we may have a picture of his participation in the games. Nimrod was no doubt a conqueror of men.
He established a kingdom (verse 10) rather than replenishing the earth.
Nimrod is determined to rule over his own domain, to make it as large as possible.
And what a kingdom it was!
Nimrod was the founder of the place called Babylon and surrounding areas which is modern-day Iraq. All the cities mentioned in the above verses became major worship centers of many pagan deities including the “moon god”…”Allah”.
In Verse 11, we see a person whose main ambition, objective, and purpose in life is to be above others, to have more than others, and never satisfied.
Those who will make pleasure, power, and prestige their goal is never content no matter how much control they gain.
Nimrod isn’t content with what he established (verse 10) but goes forth now to Assyria (verse 11) and beyond building cities in Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen. They all became worship centers for pagan deities.
Moving on to Chapter 11 we see furthered domination.
Genesis 11:3-4 (NIV)
“Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
The person who would be a dictator can only be a dictator if the people below him are willing to follow.
Nimrod had quite a following!
Nimrod had been given quite a legacy to follow, but he rebelled against the idea and have no part in it.
His family had found grace in the eyes of the LORD, but he preferred trying to make it on his own merits. His ambition…” to make a name for himself.”
GRACE glorifies the LORD while religion glorifies man!
Notice the drastic contrast between Noah and Nimrod.
Noah, Nimrod’s great-grandfather, built an ark so that his family might be saved!
Nimrod built a tower so that he could make a name!
We can see these two attitudes even today and at work in our society. Some are concerned about the family structure, and the salvation of their family…children. While others only concerns are about making a name.
Nimrod’s Religion was secular.
- Genesis 11:3 – And they said one to another…let us make brick.
- Genesis 11:4 – And they said…let us build us a city.
- Genesis 11:4 – and let us make a name.
God comes down to mankind that we might be lifted up to Him.
Nimrod and his religion say…let’s build our own way and let’s just do it on our own! Sounds a bit like a commercial advertisement in today’s secular society. “Just Do It!”
Nimrod’s religion was sinful.
We don’t often think of “religion” as being sinful. There’s a common saying…”It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something!”
That’s one of the most foolish concepts in the world. It’s also what is one of the most destructive.
What we believe is important because it influences our behavior and most important it decides where we’ll spend eternity!
Nimrod’s religion was sinful because it was an utter rebellion against God!
His religion was sympathetic.
Nimrod’s religion was the beginning of the Universal Church movement. It’s a religion that prevails in our society today.
It’s a religion that says, let’s put aside our beliefs and all come together.
It’s the religion that will embrace any type of belief and any form of behavior.
The most politically correct term of our day is “tolerance”.
It’s a word used and spoken in our kindergarten classes, from America’s pulpits, from the sidewalks and from the governmental buildings in Washington, D.C.
I want you to understand where I’m coming from in my writing. We should be loving people and care that our attitude doesn’t come across as being hateful, and bigoted.
I GET IT!
And yet, at the same time we need to take a stand on what’s right and against what’s wrong. we can and should be sympathetic toward the predicament of sinners, to those of other beliefs, but to embrace their beliefs and behavior is to put a blessing on the very thing that may lead to their destruction…both here and in eternity!
Nimrod’s religion is the harlot mentioned in Revelation 17.
The True Church is one that’s a bride without a spot and without a blemish.
The World’s Church is one that is a harlot–prostitute. One that is filled with blasphemy, abominations, and filthiness!
Revelation 17:5 (AMP) – “And on her forehead, there was inscribed a name of mystery [with a secret symbolic meaning]: Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes (idolatresses) and of filth and atrocities and abominations of the earth.”
NOTICE verse 6:
Revelation 17:6 (NIV) – “I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.”
Two dangerous attitudes in the churches:
“Don’t offend anyone!”
“Don’t get involved!”
THE RUIN OF NIMROD (Genesis 11:5-8)
The LORD Saw!
 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.
The LORD sees and knows everything, but when the scripture speaks…the Lord coming down to see for Himself, it denotes the seriousness of the matter!
There’s something we need to clearly understand. God knows what’s going on both on earth and each of our hearts. He knows whether our religion is sincere or whether it’s a substitute.
The LORD spoke!
 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
He spoke out against their desire for a one world religion.
“Indeed the people are one, and they have one language”
He spoke out against their enterprise.
“This they began to do”
He spoke out against their evil.
“…nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined doing”
COMPARE this to Genesis 6:5 (NIV)
The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every indication of the thoughts of the human heart was deeply troubled.
The LORD scattered! (verse 8-9 – AMP)
The phrase used in the Amplified Bible reads “scattered them abroad” is translated “to dash onto pieces”. The Lord dealt with them by confounding their languages where they could no longer communicate by dispersing them.
The LORD shattered! (verse 8-9)
“…they gave up building”
The religion of man is doomed. God shall one day scatter, and shatter the ‘New Order’.
For further reading on the topic, you might compare how God deals with the Great Harlot Babylon (Rome) in Revelation Chapter 18.
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES
Footnote [I] : The Jerusalem Targum.
Video: 4-Way Stop: You Go, No You Go – Youtube.
Entymology of Words: The term “Nimrod” in American slang: “What is the meaning of the slang term “Nimrod”? by Quora.
Images: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: Primarily the New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP).