Dr. David Livingston asks question in title, “Who was Nimrod?“ Livingston makes interesting argument that name “Nimrod” represents a derogatory reference:
“First, what does the name Nimrod mean? It comes from the Hebrew verb marad, mean- ing ‘rebel.’ Adding an ‘n’ before the ‘m’ it becomes an infinitive construct, ‘Nimrod.’ … The meaning then is ‘The Rebel.’ Thus ‘Nimrod’ may not be the character’s name at all. It is more likely a derisive term of a type, a representative, of a system that is epitomized in rebellion against the Creator, the one true God. Rebellion began soon after the Flood as civilizations were restored. At that time this person became very prominent.”
Gilgamesh is Nimrod, according to Livingston’s argument that possesses merit below:
“…this eighth century BC stone relief [picture, left] is identified as Gilgamesh. The best-known of ancient Mesopotamian heroes, Gilgamesh was king of Uruk in southern Mesopotamia. His story is known in the poetic Gilgamesh Epic, but there is no historical evidence for his exploits in the story. He is described as part god and part man, a great builder and warrior, and a wise man in the story. Not mentioned in the Bible, the author suggests Gilgamesh is to be identified with Biblical Nimrod in Genesis 10:8-12.
Livingston adds an insight into the Tower of Babel:
“Often attributed to Nimrod, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) was not a Jack and the Beanstalk type of construction, where people were trying to build a structure to get into heaven. Instead, it is best understood as an ancient ziggurat (Assyrian ‘mountaintop’), as the one pictured here from ancient Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham’s hometown (Genesis 11:31). A ziggurat [picture, right] was a man-made structure with a temple at its top, built to worship the host of heaven.”
Nimrod is a derisive label put on a man who rebelled against god and used by those who follow god (YHVH). Nimrod’s followers referred similarly to YHVH as Humwawa, possibly, a derogatory name in the Gilgamesh Epic:
“Because of the parallels between Gilgamesh and Nimrod, many scholars agree that Gilgamesh is Nimrod. Continuing with Gilgamesh’s fable, he did win, he did vanquish Huwawa and took his head. Therefore he could come back to Uruk and other cities and tell the people ‘not to worry about YHVH anymore, he is dead. I killed him over in the Lebanon mountains. So just live however you like, I will be your king and take care of you.'”
Livingston doesn’t stop there to convince reader they’re the same person:
“There are still other parallels between the Bible and the Gilgamesh epic: …Gilgamesh did just as the ‘sons of god’ in Genesis 6 did. The ‘sons of god’ forcibly took men’s wives. The Epic says that is precisely what Gilgamesh did. The Bible calls Nimrod a tyrant, and Gilgamesh was a tyrant. There was a Flood in the Bible, there is a flood in the Epic. Cush is mentioned in the Bible, Kish in the Epic. Erech is mentioned in Scripture, Uruk was Gilgamesh’s city.”
It’s a fine argument but far from conclusive. The remote era makes judgment difficult if not impossible on whether Gilgamesh and Nimrod are one and the same. Livingston does succeed in making his comparison appealing! Was Nimrod’s Tower of Babel actually Gilgamesh’s Ziggarut?
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