Nimrod

Nimrod, according to the Books of Genesis and Chronicles, is the son of Cush and great-grandson of Noah who became the king in Shinar (Genesis 10.8, I Chronicles 1.10). He is depicted in the Bible as a man of power in the earth, and a mighty hunter (Genesis 10.9; Mica 5.6).

10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city. (Genesis 10.10-12)

Nimrod's name means rebellion or even impiety. He is mentioned just before the tower of Babel story (Genesis 11.1-6) so he is often considered the leader of the people who built it in direct rebellion to God. From Rashi, a medieval French Rabbi, via chabad.org we see the Jewish interpretation of Genesis 10.9 'He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord."':

a mighty hunter: He ensnared people's minds with his speech and misled them to rebel against the Omnipresent. — [from Gen. Rabbah 37:2]


before the Lord: He intended to provoke Him to His face. — [from Sifra Bechukkothai 2:2]


therefore it is said: About any man who is brazenly wicked, who recognizes his Master and intends to rebel [לִמְרֹד] against Him, it is said,"This one is like Nimrod [נִמְרֹד], a mighty hunter."

Before the flood people had forgotten God and after the flood it did not take long for that to happen again. Here we are going to explore some other extra-biblical stories featuring Nimrod. In many Nimrod considers himself to be a god and puts himself in the place of God. This is, after all, the primary evidence of the rebellion against God.

There is no record in the Bible of a meeting between Nimrod and Abraham but, as we have seen, Nimrod personifies the post-flood rebellion so stories that contrast the faithful Abraham with the rebellious Nimrod abound. If this is the stuff of folklore then it also impacted Islamic tradition.