NIMROD (Heb. נִמְרוֹד, נִמְרֹד), son of *Cush and grandson of *Ham son of *Noah (Gen. 10:8–12; I Chron. 1:10). He is described in the Table of Nations as "a mighty hunter by the grace of the Lord" (Gen. 10:9) whose exploits as a hero of the chase became proverbial. He was also "the first man of might on earth" (Gen. 10:8), i.e., the first to found a great empire after the *flood. He is said to have ruled over the famous capitals of southern Mesopotamia, Babylon, Uruk (Erech), and Akkad as well as, apparently, over the great cities of Calah and Nineveh in the land of Assyria. The term "land of Nimrod" appears as a synonymous variant of Assyria in Micah 5:5. The etymology of the name is uncertain as is also the identification of Nimrod with an historical personality. E.A. Speiser connects him with Tukulti-Ninurta 1 (13th century B.C.E.), who was the first Mesopotamian ruler effectively to have combined Babylon and Assyria under a single authority. However, the association of Nimrod with Cush son of Ham presents a difficulty if Cush refers to the area south of Egypt. Another possibility is to connect it with the Kassites who conquered Babylon in the second millennium (cf. Gen. 2:13), in which case a confusion of genealogical traditions is to be presumed. The extraordinary notice about Nimrod in the Table of Nations indicates the existence of a well-known and widespread narrative about him. U. Cassuto has postulated that the five verses in Genesis 10 derive from an ancient epic devoted to his heroic exploits.
A. Falkenstein, in: ZA, 45 (1939), 36; E. Dhorme, Les Religions de Babylonie et d'Assyrie (1945), 102, 128–31; E.A. Speiser, in: Eretz Israel, 5 (1958), 32–36; U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis (1964), 200 ff.; D.O. Edzard, in: H.W. Haussig (ed.), Woerterbuch der Mythologie, 1 (1965), 114–5; E. Lipinski, in: RB, 73 (1966), 77, 93. IN THE AGGADAH: Ginzberg, Legends, 1 (1909), 175–9, and index. IN ISLAM: Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, 1 (1357 A.H.), 142, 201; Thaʿlabī, Qiṣaṣ (1356 A.H.), 80–81; J.W. Hirschberg (ed.), Der Diwan des as-Samauʾal ibn Adijā… (1931), 33, 63–64. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: EIS2, 7 (1993), 952–3 (includes bibliography).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.