What made Nimrod "a mighty hunter before the LORD"?

I was doing a study on Genesis 10 and 11 looking into the difference’s of the two different accounts of the dispersing of the nations and I came upon this verse and wonder what it means when it says,

Gen. 10:8-9. "Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one of the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.”

So my question is, what made Nimrod a “mighty hunter before the LORD”? According to Britannica it says this about Nimrod.
There is some consensus among biblical scholars that the mention of Nimrod in Genesis is a reference not to an individual but to an ancient people in Mesopotamia. The description of Nimrod as a “mighty hunter before the Lord” is an intrusion in this context, but probably, like the historical notices, derived from some old Babylonian saga. However, no equivalent of the name has yet been found in the Babylonian or other cuneiform records. In character there is a certain resemblance between Nimrod and the Mesopotamian epic hero Gilgamesh.

I can agree with this view of the quote being a Mesopotamian/Babylonian saga. I was about to rebuttal the who idea that Nimrod could represent a people but then I thought how the people of Israel are often called the people of Jacob. So, maybe this Nimrod is a people who were mighty hunter’s in the ancient world that got remembered and passed on in the story of Genesis?


I wonder if an ecological reading of the text is possible? The people of Nimrod (the Sumerians?) were mighty hunters ‘in the face of’ the lord, possibly indicating rebellion. In other words, Nimrod was a nation of excessive hunters, who angered G-d in their actions. It’s only a speculation, but Judaism historically has linked Nimrod and Esau’s status as the only hunters in the Torah to a disapproval of hunting in general.

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Then I guess that would fit in right perfect with the full out rebellion of Babel told in Gen. 11 if that’s the case. Maybe it’s a build up to it; the Tower of Babel?

As I understand it, “before the Lord” is a Hebrew idiom that intensifies a description. So, a very mighty hunter. NLT actually translates the meaning of the idiom: "Since he was the greatest hunter in the world, his name became proverbial. People would say, “This man is like Nimrod, the greatest hunter in the world.”


I’m just curious how “Nimrod” became an insult in the English language, coming from such an apparently powerful individual.


Well, I never knew that. Thanks for sharing, @Christy! Everyday’s a school day!


Nimrod does sound like the name of a useful idiot. From what I got it got first used as an insult in a 1932 short of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck when Daffy calls Elmer Fud a “Nimrod” as an ironic pun on how Nimrod was a mighty hunter but Elmer Fud isn’t.


Ah, that makes sense. I thought there was a Looney Tunes connection, but I didn’t realize it was actually used in the context of hunting. :smiley: Thanks!

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I tend to think that Nimrod, like the rest of the ancestors in Genesis 10 was probably a particular person, who became the progenitor of a nation (the Sumerians?). Given the traditions linking Nimrod to the Babel event, and given the historical links between Babel and the Uruk/Jemdet Nasr period, I think Nimrod was probably an early king of Uruk, maybe Enmerkar (a similar ‘hunter’ known for his building).

As for the name ‘Nimrod’, I feel as though it was most likely not his real name, but a Hebrew moniker meaning ‘rebellion’.