From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

He is generally supposed to have been the immediate son of Cush, and the youngest, or sixth, from the Scriptural phrase, "Cush begat Nimrod," after the mention of his five sons,  Genesis 10:8 . But the phrase is used with considerable latitude, like "father" and "son," in Scripture. "And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar: out of that land he went forth to invade Assyria; and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resin, between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city,"  Genesis 10:8-12 . Though the main body of the Cushites was miraculously dispersed and sent by Providence to their destinations along the sea coasts of Asia and Africa, yet Nimrod remained behind, and founded an empire in Babylonia, according to Berosus, by usurping the property of the Arphaxadites in the land of Shinar; where "the beginning of his kingdom was Babel," or Babylon, and other towns: and, not satisfied with this, he next invaded Assur, or Assyria, east of the Tigris, where he built Nineveh, and several other towns. The marginal reading of our English Bible, "He went out into Assyria," or to invade Assyria, is here adopted in preference to that in the text: "And out of that land went forth Ashur, and builded Nineveh," &c. The meaning of the word Nineveh may lead us to his original name, Nin, signifying "a son," the most celebrated of the sons of Cush. That of Nimrod, or "Rebel," was probably a parody, or nickname, given him by the oppressed Shemites, of which we have several instances in Scripture. Thus nahash, the brazen "serpent" in the wilderness, was called by Hezekiah, in contempt, nehushtan, "a piece of brass," when he broke it in pieces, because it was perverted into an object of idolatrous worship by the Jews,  2 Kings 18:4 . Nimrod, that arch rebel, who first subverted the patriarchal government, introduced also the Zabian idolatry, or worship of the heavenly host; and, after his death, was deified by his subjects, and supposed to be translated into the constellations of Orion, attended by his hounds, Sirius and Canicula, and still pursuing his favourite game, the great bear; supposed also to be translated into ursa major, near the north pole; as admirably described by Homer,—

Αρκτον θ ', ην και αμαζαν επικλησιν καλεουσιν , Η τ ' αυτου στρεφεται , και τ ' ‘Ωρεωνα δοκευει . Iliad v. 485.

"And the bear, surnamed also the wain, by the Egyptians, who is turning herself about there, and watching Orion." Homer also introduces the shade of Orion, as hunting in the Elysian fields,—

Τον δε μετ ', ‘Ωριωνα πελωριον εισενοησα Θηρας ομου ειλευντα , κατ ' ασφοδελον λειμωνα Τους αυτος κατεπεφνεν εν οιοπολοισιν ορεσσι Χερσιν εχων ροπαλον παγχαλκεον , αιεν ααγες . Odyss. v. 571.

"Next, I observed the mighty Orion

Chasing wild beasts through an asphodel mead, Which himself had slain on the solitary mountains: Holding in his hands a solid brazen mace, ever unbroken."

The Grecian name of this "mighty hunter" may furnish a satisfactory clue to the name given him by the impious adulation of the Babylonians and Assyrians. ‘Ωριων nearly resembles ‘Ουριαν , the oblique case of ‘Ουριας , which is the Septuagint rendering of Uriah, a proper name in Scripture,  2 Samuel 11:6-21 . But Uriah, signifying "the light of the Lord," was an appropriate appellation of that most brilliant constellation. He was also called Baal, Beel, Bel, or Belus, signifying "lord," or "master," by the Phenicians, Assyrians, and Greeks; and Bala Rama, by the Hindus.

At a village called Bala-deva, or Baldeo in the vulgar dialect, thirteen miles east by south from Muttra, in Hindustan, there is a very ancient statue of Bala Rama, in which he is represented with a ploughshare in his left hand, and a thick cudgel in his right, and his shoulders covered with the skin of a tiger. Captain Wilford supposes that the ploughshare was designed to hook his enemies: but may it not more naturally denote the constellation of the great bear, which strikingly represents the figure of a plough in its seven bright stars; and was probably so denominated by the earliest astronomers, before the introduction of the Zabian idolatry, as a celestial symbol of agriculture? The thick cudgel corresponds to the brazen mace of Homer. And it is highly probable that the Assyrian Nimrod, or Hindu Bala, was also the prototype of the Grecian Hercules, with his club and lion's skin.

Nimrod is said to have been "a mighty hunter before the Lord;" which the Jerusalem paraphrast interprets of a sinful hunting after the sons of men to turn them off from the true religion. But it may as well be taken in a more literal sense, for hunting of wild beasts; inasmuch as the circumstance of his being a mighty hunter is mentioned with great propriety to introduce the account of his setting up his kingdom; the exercise of hunting being looked upon in ancient times as a means of acquiring the rudiments of war; for which reason the principal heroes of Heathen antiquity, as Theseus, Nestor, &c, were, as Xenophon tells us, bred up to hunting. Beside, it may be supposed, that by this practice Nimrod drew together a great company of robust young men to attend him in his sport, and by that means increased his power. And by destroying the wild beasts, which, in the comparatively defenceless state of society in those early ages, were no doubt very dangerous enemies, he might, perhaps, render himself farther popular; thereby engaging numbers to join with him, and to promote his chief design of subduing men, and making himself master of many nations.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

Cush's son or descendant, Ham's grandson ( Genesis 10:8). "Nimrod began to be a mighty one in the earth," i.e. he was the first of Noah's descendants who became renowned for bold and daring deeds, the Septuagint "giant" (compare  Genesis 6:4;  Genesis 6:13;  Isaiah 13:3). "He was a mighty hunter before Jehovah," so that it passed into a proverb or the refrain of ballads in describing hunters and warriors, "even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before Jehovah." Not a mere Hebrew superlative, but as in  Genesis 27:7 "bless thee before Jehovah," i.e. as in His presence,  Psalms 56:13 "walk before God." Septuagint translated "against Jehovah"; so in  Numbers 16:2 Lipneey , "before," means opposition. The Hebrew name Nimrod means "let us rebel," given by his contemporaries to Nimrod as one who ever had in his mouth such words to stir up his band to rebellion. Nimrod subverted the existing patriarchal order of society by setting up a chieftainship based on personal valor and maintained by aggression. The chase is an image of war and a training for it.

The increase of ferocious beasts after the flood and Nimrod's success in destroying them soon gathered a band to him. From being a hunter of beasts he became a hunter of men. "In defiance of Jehovah," as virtually" before Jehovah" ( Proverbs 15:11) means, Nimrod, a Hamite intruded into Shem's portion, violently set up an empire of conquest, beginning with Babel, ever after the symbol of the world power in its hostility to God. From that land he went forth to Asshur and builded Nineveh. The later Babylonians spoke Semitic, but the oldest inscriptions are Turanian or Cushite. Tradition points to Babylon's Cushite origin by making Belus son of Poseidon (the sea) and Libya (Ethiopia): Diodorus Siculus i. 28. Oannes the fish god, Babylon's civilizer, rose out of the Red Sea (Syncellus, Chronog. 28). "Cush" appears in the Babylonian names Cissia, Cuthah, Chuzistan (Susiana). Babylon's earliest alphabet in oldest inscriptions resembles that of Egypt and Ethiopia; common words occur, as Mirikh, the Meroe of Ethiopia, the Mars of Babylon.

Though Arabic is Semitic, the Mahras' language in southern Arabia is non-Semitic, and is the modern representative of the ancient Himyaric whose empire dates as far back as 1750 B.C. The Mahras is akin to the Abyssinian Galla language, representing the Cushite or Ethiopic of old; and the primitive Babylonian Sir H. Rawlinson from inscriptions decides to resemble both. The writing too is pictorial, as in the earliest ages of Egypt. The Egyptian and Ethiopic Hyk (in Hyk-Sos , the "shepherd kings"), a "king," in Babylonian and Susianian is Khak . "Tyrhak" is common to the royal lists of Susiana and Ethiopia, as "Nimrod" is to those of Babylon and Egypt. Ra is the Cushite supreme god of Babylon as Ra is the sun god in Egypt. (See Babel .) Nimrod was the Bel, Belus, or Baal, i.e. lord of Babel, its founder. Worshipped (As The Monuments Testify) as Bilu Nipra or Bel Nimrod, i.e, the god of the chase; the Talmudical Nopher, now Niffer. Josephus (Ant. 1:4) and the tortures represent him as building, in defiance of Jehovah, the Babel tower.

If so (Which His Rebellious Character Makes Likely) he abandoned Babel for a time after the miraculous confusion of tongues, and went and founded Nineveh. Eastern tradition pictures hint a heaven-storming giant chained by God, among the constellations, as Orion, Hebrew Κeciyl , "fool" or "wicked." Sargon in an inscription says: "350 kings of Assyria hunted the people of Bilu-Nipru"; probably meaning the Babylon of Nimrod, Nipru "hunter", another form of Nebrod which is the Septuagint form of Nimrod. His going to Assyria ( Genesis 10:10-11-12) accords with Micah's designating Assyria "the hind of Nimrod" ( Micah 5:6). Also his name appears in the palace mound of Nimrud. The fourfold group of cities which Nimrod founded in Babylonia answer to the fourfold group in Assyria. So Κiprit Αrba , "king of the four races," is an early title of the first monarchs of Babylon; Chedorlaomer appears at the head of four peoples; "king of the four regions" occurs in Nineveh inscriptions too; after Sargon's days four cities had the pre-eminence (Rawlinson, 1:435, 438,4 47).

The early seat of empire was in the southern part of Babylonia, where Niffer represents either Babel or Calneh, Warka Erech, Mugheir Ur, Senkereh Ellasar. The founder (about 2200 B.C.) or embellisher of those towns is called Kinzi Akkad, containing the name Accad of  Genesis 10:1. Tradition mentions a Belus king of Nineveh, earlier than Ninus; Shamas Iva (1860 B.C.), son of Ismi Dagon king of Babylon, founded a temple at Kileh Shergat (Asshur); so that the Scripture account of Babylon originating the Assyrian cities long before the Assyrian empire of the 13th century B.C. is confirmed. (Layard, Nineveh 2:231). Sir H. Rawlinson conjectures that Nimrod denotes not an individual but the "settlers," and that Rehoboth, Calah, etc., are but sites of buildings afterward erected; but the proverb concerning Nimrod and the history imply an individual; the Birs (temple) Nimrud, the Sukr (Dam Across The Tigris) el Nimrud, and the mound Nimrud, all attest the universal recognition of him as the founder of the empire.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

NIMROD Genesis 10:8-12 ,   1 Chronicles 1:10 ,   Micah 5:6 ). A legendary personage, described in   Genesis 10:8 ff. as the first of the ‘heroes,’ ‘a mighty hunter before the Lord,’ the ruler of four ancient Babylonian cities, and the founder of the Assyrian Empire. In the statement that he was begotten by Cush, we have probably a reference to the Kash or Kasshu who conquered Babylonia about the 17th cent. b.c., and set up a dynasty which lasted 600 years: the rise of Assyria is said to date from the decline of Babylonia under the later Kassite kings. The nearest Babylonian parallel to the figure of Nimrod as yet discovered is Gilgamesh , the tyrant of Erech, whose adventures are recorded in the famous series of tablets to which the Deluge-story belongs, and who is supposed to be the hero so often represented on seals and palace-reliefs in victorious combat with a lion. It was at one time hoped that the actual name Nimrod might be recovered from the ideogram commonly read as iz. du. bar; and though this expectation has been dispelled by the discovery of the true pronunciation Gitgamesh , there is enough general resemblance to warrant the belief that the original of the Biblical Nimrod belongs to Babylonian lore. The combination of warlike prowess with a passion for the chase is illustrated by the numerous hunting scenes sculptured on the monuments; and it may well be imagined that to the Hebrew mind Nimrod became an ideal personation of the proud monarchs who ruled the mighty empires on the Euphrates and the Tigris.

J. Skinner.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

Son or descendant of Cush, the son of Ham. He was 'mighty upon the earth,' and 'a mighty hunter,' using force and craft to bring man as well as beasts under his sway. The words 'before the Lord' probably signify imperial energy and usurped authority in independence of Jehovah. "The beginning of his kingdom was Babel" with other towns in the land of Shinar. And "out of that land went forth Asshur," or 'he went out to Assyria,' and built Nineveh and other cities. So that Nimrod and his descendants were those who founded both Babylon and Nineveh. Babylonia was also called the land of Nimrod, which shows that the descendants of Ham settled in the East as well as in Egypt in the South. Those in the East afterwards gave place in a great measure to the descendants of Shem.  Genesis 10:8-11;  1 Chronicles 1:10;  Micah 5:6 .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

Rebellion, impiety, a son of Cush and grandson of Ham, proverbial from the earliest times as a mighty hunter,  Genesis 10:8-10   1 Chronicles 1:10 . He seems to have feared neither God nor man; to gather around him a host of adventurers, and extended his conquests into the land of Shinar, where he founded or fortified Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh. According to one interpretation of  Genesis 10:11 , he also founded Nineveh and the Assyrian empire; though this is usually understood to have been done by Asshur, when expelled by Nimrod from the land of Shinar,  Micah 5:6 . Nimrod is supposed to have begun the tower of Babel; and his name is still preserved by a vast ruinous mound, on the site of ancient Babylon. See Babel .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Nim'rod. (Rebellion; or The Valiant). A son of Cush and grandson of Ham. The events of his life are recorded in  Genesis 10:8; ff., from which we learn

(1) that he was a Cushite;

(2) that he established an empire in Shinar, (the classical Babylonia), the chief towns being Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh; and

(3) that he extended this empire northward, along the course of the Tigris over Assyria, where he founded a second group of capitals, Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Nimrod ( Nĭm'Rŏd ), Rebellion; or The Valiant, A son of Gush and grandson of Ham.  Genesis 10:8 ff. He established an empire in Shinar, the classical Babylonia, the chief towns being Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh: and extended this empire northward along the course of the Tigris over Assyria, where he founded a second group of capitals, Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

The son of Cush. ( Genesis 10:8-9) The character given of this man is that of a mighty hunter before the Lord.

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 Genesis 10:8-10 1 Chronicles 1:10 1 Chronicles 5:6

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Genesis 10:8-10 Micah 5:6

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Nim´rod, a son of Cush, the eldest son of Ham . Five sons of Cush are enumerated in in the more usual manner of this chapter: but a change of phrase introduces Nimrod. This difference may indicate that while, in relation to the other five, the names have a national and geographical reference, this appellation is exclusively personal. It denotes intensively the extremely impious rebel. Hence we conceive that it was not his original proper name, but was affixed to him afterwards, perhaps even after his death, as a characteristic appellative.

No other persons connected with this work must be considered as answerable for the opinion which the writer of this article thinks to rest upon probable grounds, that the earlier part of the book of Genesis consists of several independent and complete compositions, of the highest antiquity and authority, marked by some differences of style, and having clear indications of commencement in each instance. If this supposition be admitted, a reason presents itself for the citation of a proverbial phrase in . The single instance of minute circumstantiality, in so brief a relation, seems to imply that the writer lived near the age of Nimrod, while his history was still a matter of traditional notoriety, and the comparison of any hero with him was a familiar form of speech. It is also supposed that those, not fragments, but complete, though short and separate compositions (of which eight or more are hypothetically enumerated in J. Pye Smith's Scripture and Geology, p. 202), were, under Divine authority, prefixed by Moses to his own history. Their series has a continuity generally, but not rigorously exact. If we place ourselves in such a point of time, suppose the age succeeding Nimrod, which might be the third century after the Deluge, we may see how naturally the origination of a common phrase would rise in the writer's mind; and that a motive of usefulness would be suggested with it. But both these ideas involve that of nearness to the time; a period in which the country traditions were yet fresh, and an elucidation of them would be acceptable and consonant to general feeling. The following is a close translation of the passage in which mention is made of Nimrod:—'And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a hero in the earth [or in the land]: he was a hero at the chase in the presence of Jehovah; on which account the saying is, Like Nimrod, the hero of the chase, in the presence of Jehovah. And the chief [city] of his dominion was Babel; and [he founded] Ezek and Akkad, and Kalneh, in the land of Shinar.'

Interpreters, with scarcely an exception, from the Septuagint and the Targums down to our own times, understand the whole case thus: that Nimrod was a man of vast bodily strength, and eminent for courage and skill in the arts of hunting down and capturing or killing the dangerous animals, which probably were both very numerous and frequently of enormous size; that, by these recommendations, he made himself the favorite of bold and enterprising young men, who readily joined his hunting expeditions; that hence he took encouragement to break the patriarchal union of venerable and peaceful subordination, to set himself up as a military chieftain, assailing and subduing men, training his adherents into formidable troops, by their aid subduing the inhabitants of Shinar and its neighboring districts; and that, for consolidating and retaining his power, now become a despotism, he employed his subjects in building forts, which became towns and cities, that which was afterwards called Babel being the principal. Combining this with the contents of Genesis 11, we infer that Nimrod either was an original party in the daring impiety of building the tower, or subsequently joined himself to those who had begun it. The former fact is positively affirmed by Josephus; but it is not probable that he could have any other evidence than that of the general interpretation of his countrymen. The late Mr. Rich, not thirty years ago, in the extensive plain where lie buried the ruins of Babylon, discovered the very remarkable mound with remains of buildings on its summit (of which see the figure in the article Babel), which even now bears the name of Birs Nimrod; and this may well be regarded as some confirmation of the common opinion.

As a great part of the ancient mythology and idolatry arose from the histories of chiefs and sages, decorated with allegorical fables, it is by no means improbable that the life and actions of Nimrod gave occasion to stories of this kind. Hence, some have supposed him to have been signified by the Indian Bacchus, deriving that name from Bar-Chus, 'son of Cush;' and, it is probable, by the Persian giant Gibber (answering to the Hebrew Gibbor, 'mighty man,' 'hero,' in ); and by the Greek Orion, whose fame as a 'mighty hunter' is celebrated by Homer, in the Odyssey, xi. 571-4. The Persian and the Grecian fables are both represented by the well-known and magnificent constellation.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

nim´rod ( נמרד , nimrōdh  ; Νεβρώδ , Nebrṓd ): A descendant of Ham, mentioned in "the generations of the sons of Noah" (  Genesis 10; compare  1 Chronicles 1:10 ) as a son of Cush. He established his kingdom "in the land of Shinar," including the cities "Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh" ( Genesis 10:10 ), of which only Babel, or Babylon, and Erech, or Uruk, have been identified with certainty. "The land of Shinar" is the old name for Southern Babylonia, afterward called Chaldea ( 'erec kasdı̄m ), and was probably more extensive in territory than the Šumer of the inscriptions in the ancient royal title, "King of Shumer and Accad," since Accad is included here in Shinar. Nimrod, like other great kings of Mesopotamian lands, was a mighty hunter, possibly the mightiest and the prototype of them all, since to his name had attached itself the proverb: "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Yahweh " ( Genesis 10:9 ). In the primitive days of Mesopotamia, as also in Palestine, wild animals were so numerous that they became a menace to life and property ( Exodus 23:29;  Leviticus 26:22 ); therefore the king as benefactor and protector of his people hunted these wild beasts. The early conquest of the cities of Babylonia, or their federation into one great kingdom, is here ascribed to Nimrod. Whether the founding and colonization of Assyria ( Genesis 10:11 ) are to be ascribed to Nimrod will be determined by the exegesis of the text. English Versions of the Bible reads: "Out of that land he (i.e. Nimrod) went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh," etc., this translation assigning the rise of Assyria to Nimrod, and apparently being sustained by  Micah 5:5 ,  Micah 5:6 (compare J. M. P. Smith, "Micah," ICC , in the place cited.); but American Revised Version, margin renders: "Out of that land went forth Asshur , and builded Nineveh," which translation is more accurate exegetically and not in conflict with  Micah 5:6 , if in the latter "land of Nimrod" be understood, not as parallel with, but as supplemental to, Assyria, and therefore as Babylon (compare commentaries of Cheyne, Pusey, S. Clark, in the place cited.).

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  Micah 5:11 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 , II., 11.; Babylonia And Assyria , Religion Of , IV., 7.; Merodach; Orion .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Nimrod'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [14]

An early king of Assyria or Babylonia, characterised in Scripture (Gen. x. 9) as "a mighty hunter before the Lord"; a name now applied to a distinguished hunter.