Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh, Nimrod

Genesis 10:6-14 -- The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
One of the classes that I took this past semester was Old Testament. I went into the semester worrying about how I would understand the history of Israel, and more importantly, what God would reveal to me concerning Himself. The Bible is a self-revelation of God to His creation, and the Old Testament was a way for Him to be revealed to His people, the Israelites.

In this passage from Genesis, the name Nimrod is brought to our attention.  

History Rewind: Creation had been breathed into existence and called good, but everything following the fall has been nothing but chaos, disorder, destruction, wickedness and evil. Humanity has fallen, judgment has been ordered, the earth and everything on it (excluding Noah and his family) has been erased. After 40 days and 40 nights of rainfall, Noah, his wife, their three sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and their wives exit the ark.

From the Biblical story, we come to learn that Ham's line becomes cursed (after looking upon his father's nakedness). Shem is blessed, and his brother Japheth will be blessed as well.

So we come upon these verses in Genesis 10.

Ham had a son: Cush. And Cush fathered a son: Nimrod.

We are told that Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord, but his character wasn't that of righteousness in the sight of God.

Just as Adam and Eve had 3 sons, where Cain's heart was evil, Noah and his wife had 3 sons, where Ham's heart was also laced with evil. And through his line, the descendants that would rise up were found to be wicked in the sight of the Lord as well (such as the Philistines).

So back to Nimrod.

A mighty hunter.

But not the kind of hunter you would assume. He was a human hunter, as we find out in other Old Testament narratives. He sought power and destroyed any man that stepped into his path. God wanted humans to "be fruitful and multiply" and Nimrod wanted to contain his power to certain kingdoms, which was a direct violation of God's commands.

Nimrod was angry, but through that anger, he proved that he was also a fool. He sought revenge against God for the destruction of his forefathers and the curse placed on his grandfather's line. He ordered the building of the Tower of Babel, which was erected to either: (1) reach the heavens, (the Ancient Near Eastern people -- separate from the Israelites -- believed that the deities could be pleased) and understanding that Nimrod was not of God, then it can be understood that he most likely served other gods as well, or (2) be high enough off of the ground that, in the event another flood should come, they would be safe. In a way, the latter gives us this notion that Nimrod believed that he could personally thwart God's plans to accomplish his own.

It is in Bible passages such as this, that I am reminded that we have a choice to make. We can be found righteous in the sight of the Lord, or we can be found wicked. We can receive blessings or curses can rain down upon us. Our hearts must make a choice.

What is the state of your heart? Is it one like Nimrod's, revengeful, hateful, prideful and haughty? Or is that of Shem, or even later, David, who would find themselves in the presence of God Almighty?


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with love.