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Nimrod And The Tower Of Babel

Earth From Space

"From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations." (Genesis 10:5 NASB)

In Chapter 10 of Genesis, we have the result of what happened in Genesis 11:1-9, that is, God’s confounding of man’s language at the Tower of Babel. Here we have the origin of every single nation that would inhabit the face of the Earth. Every civilization that would arise in the post-Flood world can trace its beginnings to one of these 70 descendants of the sons of Noah in one way or another.

In the middle of Chapter 11, the Bible will again narrow its focus as it did between Chapters 1 and 2 . This time, the focus will move away from mankind in general to the nation of Israel specifically. Yet before it does, we are given a farewell look at the Gentile nations, the Goyim, and are shown that God is truly the God of all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike (Romans 3:29). When we arrive at the New Testament, in the Book of Acts, all the nations of the world will come into sharp focus again as all men, out of every tongue and nation, are drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. God leaves off His direct dealings with the nations of the world here in Genesis 10 until the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and turns His attention toward His chosen people through whom the Son of God will come to the Earth. Yet God never really lifts His hand entirely from these nations, nor does He turn His eye away from them. The Spirit of God carefully records the names of these nations in the text of Genesis 10 because they matter to Him. We may not care about or even fully understand the distinction between an Arvadite, Zemarite, Hamathite, or any of the other “ites” listed, but God does.

Nimrod The “Mighty Hunter”

Not much detail is given about any of the specific individuals listed in Chapter 10 aside from which “branch” of the sons of Noah they descended from and then who descended from them. But in verses 8-10 we encounter a man by the name of Nimrod whom the Bible tells us was a “mighty hunter before the Lord.” The idea of the language here seems to be that Nimrod “set his face” against the Lord. He stood in opposition against God. And the “prey” upon which he hunted was not deer and wild game, but the souls of men. Nimrod is a shadow, a spiritual predecessor of the Antichrist of Revelation. Like the Antichrist, Nimrod sought to build for himself a kingdom, a government over which he himself would preside and rule over all the people of the Earth. His kingdom was founded upon the efforts of man and inspired by the common bond of defiance against God. It was Nimrod who laid the groundwork for the Babylonian Empire, an empire that would symbolize, throughout Scripture, man’s arrogant attempts to institute his own religious and political system in defiance of God Almighty.

What Happened At Babel

"Tower Of Babel" (Pieter Bruegel the Elder)

"And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4)

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

It is abundantly clear from this statement where the focus of these people who set about building the Tower was: themselves. Noah’s focus was on God and he built an altar to honor Him. The people at the Plain of Shinar here in Genesis 11 were focused on themselves and set about to build a monument to honor themselves.  God had told man to scatter and fill the Earth (Genesis 9:1), these people said, “No, we will not be scattered.” Here we have the two seeds of rebellion against God: focus on self and defiance of His commands.

In verses 3 and 4 we have the the phrase repeated, “Go to, let us…” It is a phenomenon of human nature that man will do things in a group that he would never do alone, and that is exactly what we see happening here. People will entice and provoke others to do the most wicked things under the illusion of safety that a mob mentality provides. These people, under Nimrod, had built a capitol city that would be the seat of their empire against God. Within that city, they were attempting to set a rallying point at which place they could gather together. They thought that this Tower would “reach the heavens”, that it would match the Throne of God in its splendor and magnificence, and that it would serve to establish their names upon the Earth for posterity.

But what did this “great” Tower really amount to? When God laid out the blueprint for the construction of His Tabernacle and the furnishings contained therein, He called for the use of gold, silver, and precious stones. When John beheld what the New Jerusalem will look like, the Jerusalem built by God, he saw walls of precious stone, gates of pearl, and a city adorned with gold so pure it looked like clear glass. When man attempted to build a tower that would reach the heavens and preserve his name forever, he used bricks of mud and slime for mortar.

Divided Language

Man said, “Go to, let us…” and God responded in verse 7 with His own “Go to, let Us…”

What the people did at Babel deserved the righteous judgment of God and He could have simply wiped them from the face of the Earth. But God chose instead to divide man by confounding his language. This division would compel them to obey His command to disperse and fill the Earth, even thought they had resisted it before. There is no doubt that mankind is very capable of accomplishing great things and the greatest of these things are accomplished when man is united in his purpose. Common culture and language serve as very powerful forces that bind men in their efforts. All the nations of the world would still share the common purpose of defying God, but their ability to unite together in their efforts would now be restricted by the language barrier.

On the Day of Pentecost, in Acts Chapter 2, God would lift the barrier of language for the purpose of uniting mankind in his ability to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone would be able to hear the Gospel preached in his own tongue and would be able to respond accordingly. When we enter the next life and dwell directly in God’s presence, man will again share a common language. We will also share a common purpose. But that purpose will be to honor God and to seek glory for the name of Jesus Christ, not glory for our own.

***New American Standard Bible (NASB)Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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8 responses

  1. Hi Loren
    Very interesting post and a lot of knowledge here for sure Thanks for sharing,and hopefully we will bow down and repent before God and not repeat the same things our ancestors did.Have a good night Loren.
    Love you

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  2. Hi, this is a great post. Man is so bent on his ways that even despite what God does, he will continue on his own evil path. The flood was not enough. They start to build a tower. But God had declared that He would not wipe out the face of the earth again so He confounds their language. Thousands of years later, man has not changed. Just goes to show the nature of man.

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  3. I cannot see how you can imply that Nimrod was against the Lord- you claim that ” The idea of the language here seems to be that Nimrod “set his face” against the Lord: where exactly does it say that? Furthermore you then claim that ” Nimrod is a shadow, a spiritual predecessor of the Antichrist of Revelation. How did you deduce that? Is it just your own personal interpretation? What is your reasoning to support your claim?
    Nimrod is simply mentioned as one of the many sons of Cush with the description of being a mighty hunter; the operative word is “before ” the Lord and not “against ” the Lord as you imply.
    It bothers me that people twist the word and give their own interpretations by adding/subtracting from the written texts to simply suit their needs.

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  4. To be honest, I never would have imagined anyone would have stood up to defend Nimrod when I wrote this! I felt that most people understood that he was a villain.

    I surmised my statement that “the idea of the language here seems to be that Nimrod set his face against the Lord” by studying the original language. Hebrew prepositions are not always as confined in meaning as English prepositions and can be interpreted in more than one way. Thus the Hebrew term used here which is interpreted as “before” can also mean “front, head, face, toward, turn, etc.” The most obvious meaning of the text in the original would imply that Nimrod was either turned “toward” God or “away” from Him. Why do I choose to believe that he was turned away from God?

    “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shiner.” (Genesis 10:10 NASB)

    I’m not sure how familiar you are with these places, but they are not good places filled with God-serving individuals! Nimrod founded Babylon and, as we read from other passages in the Bible, Babylon is not a good place. Revelation 17:5 says,

    “and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

    Babylon is a bad place. Nimrod founded Babylon. Nimrod was not a good person.

    The Scripture calls Nimrod a “mighty one” and a “mighty hunter.” Why does it say that? Are we being told that he was really skillful and shooting arrows at deer? Is that something we need to know about him? He is a “mighty one”, should we therefore conclude that the Bible is trying to say he was a hero for founding Babylon? No. To better understand the Bible we should use all available resources, including comparing other portions of Scripture and examining the texts in the original languages. Doing so led me to the conclusions I wrote in this article.

    Additionally, there is a great deal of commentary support from scholars and theologians who view this passage as I do. This is hardly my own “personal” deduction pulled from thin air and twisted to suit my own needs. You’ve leveled some pretty harsh accusations here that do little more than betray your own ignorance of the Word of God and the practices involved in Biblical interpretation. You may not agree with my viewpoint, and that’s fine. But to make the accusations you have made demonstrate your lack of familiarity with the passage and some of its historic interpretations.

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  5. My problem is that the bible does not go into great detail as to what Nimrod supposedly said or claimed, neither does it give any historical facts about him. Yet so many scholars seem to interpret that Nimrod ordered the building of the Tower of Babel with the express purpose of going to war against God- again, this is not recorded in the bible. I just cannot accept that people would add to the text- the bible is its own interpreter and we have no right to just assume what we suppose or wish to be true. Everyone has a right to their own opinion- but that is just it-a personal opinion. The problem is when we expound that personal opinion as fact. None of us where there when this happened, so how can we then imply the opinions of those “learned scholars” to be fact. Fact is based on evidence, not on assumption. There are so many opinions from said learned scholars that is taken as truth today. The very ” practice involved in biblical interpretation”(as you put it) is actually the root cause of all the confusion today. We hold as truth that which said learned scholars claim, not realizing that it is all but their own fanciful interpretation and not the absolute truth. So, I do not agree with your viewpoint, but that does not make us enemies( not as far as I am concerned)so I do not feel the need to question your integrity. I merely seek the truth and understanding. The bible has endured for centuries; who are we to try an colour it today?

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  6. So, according to your logic, we are unable to say anything meaningful about the Bible that is not specifically spelled out in black and white. No commentaries should be written, no sermons preached. Just the text of Scripture alone, right?

    “The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:34-35)

    The Ethiopian eunuch was reading Isaiah 53 which does not mention Jesus Christ specifically. Was Philip guilty of “adding to the Word” by teaching that it referred to Him? Was he “twisting Scripture” for his own purpose?

    Or what about the writer to the Hebrews? He wrote,

    “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Hebrews 10:1)

    Should we ask him how he deduced that and on what grounds he concluded that? Because the Old Testament never says that. Or what about the Apostle Paul when he says,

    “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)

    I assume that you would disagree with his conclusion since the Book of Numbers never tells us specifically that the events recorded therein are given for instruction of those who would read of it later? Or do you believe anything in the Bible at all since, as you said, “None of us were there when this happened?”

    The Bible has indeed endured for centuries, but the practice of Hermeneutical interpretation has been conducted since the beginning. And we are not “coloring” the Word of God by expounding upon it. If you do not wish to concede that Nimrod was a villain because the exact words saying so do not appear in the text, then fine. It is not a doctrinally crucial issue. But it is not just this point that you are rejecting in what you have said, but the entire practice of Biblical interpretation. You said that you do not feel we are enemies, very well. But you certainly did call my integrity into question in your very first comment.

    You asked for Biblical support for my assertion about Nimrod. Consider the very next chapter:

    “They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)

    Who said this? The people of Babel. Do you truly suppose that the founder and leader of the city was not there among them?

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  7. Obviously you seem very distressed at my refusal to accept the practices of people adding their own agenda’s to biblical verses. I suspect the reason therefore is that you are not used to people questioning your “authority”. My sole question was for the source of your material wherein you claimed the following:

    quote” The idea of the language here seems to be that Nimrod “set his face” against the Lord. He stood in opposition against God. And the “prey” upon which he hunted was not deer and wild game, but the souls of men. Nimrod is a shadow, a spiritual predecessor of the Antichrist of Revelation” unquote.

    If you can kindly point out that specific text in the bible, then I would be satisfied. But it does not exist-so how did you deduce that? Or was it divinely inspired to some so called” learned scholar” that you are simply repeating it from?
    You are wrong to feel that I slighted your integrity and as such you now wish to cloud the issue by quoting other verses. I will answer those quotations of yours only if and when you can supply proof of your original statement,until then, your latest examples quoted above are out of context and not applicable.
    The bible is its own interpreter; there is no need for other books to explain the bible. So please refrain from using the works/interpretations of so called “learned scholars” We have no right to expound our personal interpretations of the bible as fact and then feel slighted when someone has the temerity to question us. This is the problem with society today.
    I have copied and pasted the following to highlight my stand point.

    Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it”(also Deuteronomy 12:32). The reason God is so adamant on this is because “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalms 119: 160).

    “Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” Proverbs 30:6.

    In our day there is the belief in “progressive revelation” that originates from outside the Word. What right does anyone have to teach what is not in Scripture as if it is Scripture? False teachers do not want to submit to its original intent, so they do not seek what Scripture actually (exegesis) means, instead, they conform it to what they want it to mean (isogesis). They will look to another source as their authority because they are not under God’s authority. This is why Paul admonishes us in 1 Corinthians 4:6: “not to think beyond what is written” (exceed or go past). Why? So pride will not have an opportunity to operate and puff us up. It is pride that makes one participate in false doctrine which makes him spiritually destructive to himself and others who listen to him.

    The reason God is so adamant on this is because “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalms 119: 160). Proverbs 30:5-6: “Every word of God is pure; he is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

    If we look at the context it saying “Every word of God.” God is stating for MAN not to add to his words. Adding does not only mean additional words, but can also mean changing them to mean what they do not. When you add new words as equal to Scripture you are really taking away from Scripture.

    In the book of Revelation which is prophecy completes the Bible, just as Genesis began the Bible, it states “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book” Revelation 22:18-19.

    Source:http://www.letusreason.org/Biblexp117.htm

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  8. To comment on the Scriptures has nothing to do with any of the verses you quoted about “adding to the Word.” Neither is teaching insights into the Bible. To add to Scripture is to put words into the text that God did not say. That is not what I have done.

    Your premise is that nobody has any right to teach or comment on the Scriptures, and the verses I showed you demonstrate that your premise is false. Otherwise a preacher would not do anything besides just stand in front of his congregation and read the Bible aloud. Those of us called into ministry are commissioned to expound on the Word of God for the edification of believers. Although there are certainly a few exceptions, most of us do not pretend to elevate our teachings to the authority of Scripture itself. What I said about Nimrod does have Scriptural support and I showed it to you. You have chosen to ignore it. You obviously have an agenda which I will not be able to dissuade you from, regardless of the “proof” I show you.

    I don’t feel slighted by your attacks, honestly I really don’t care what your opinion is of me. This website has had over half a million views with nearly 400 subscribers to date, many of whom have written to tell me that my teachings have benefitted them in their walk with Jesus Christ. The only reason I am even bothering to compose this final response to you is for their benefit; I assume that you will not actually read what I have written since you have obviously not really done so thus far in our dialog.

    It is for the above mentioned people that I write these articles and it the Lord Jesus Christ to Whom I answer. The Book of James tells us that those who teach the Word will be under a “stricter judgment” (James 3:1), so I never neglect all due diligence to ensure that my words are as free from error as possible. I have repeatedly invited all of my readers to check what I say against what the Bible teaches. I never expect people to take what I say at face value. In fact, one of my purposes is to inspire people to get into the Word of God themselves and see the wonderful things it contains.

    You seem to want to do little more than engage me in an argument and, frankly, I’m not really interested in arguing with you. I have no problem elucidating and offering support for what I write, but when a person ignores and disregards my responses, then the conversation must of necessity end. And that’s what we have here.

    By the way, I find it interesting that you are very adamant about me not referring to sources outside of the Bible and then you end your comment with a link to an organization’s website. The fact that you fail to see the irony in that is one of many reasons that I am choosing to terminate this conversation.

    Loren

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