The Identity of Nimrod

Archaeological excavations in ancient Mesopotamia reveal striking parallels between the Bible’s King Nimrod and the ancient Semitic ruler Sargon the Great, thus confirming the biblical king’s historicity.

The Old Testament mentions Nimrod four times, calling him “a mighty one on the earth” (Gen. 10:8; 1 Chr. 1:10); “a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Gen. 10:9); and the founder of the Assyrian Empire (Mic. 5:6). But who was he?

The ancient Jewish writers Philo of Alexandria and Flavius Josephus suggested Nimrod was a giant who opposed God1 and the tyrant behind the construction of the Tower of Babel (respectively).2 Genesis 10:10–12 includes within Nimrod’s kingdom the Sumerian cities of Babel and Uruk (Erech); the city of Akkad (Accad) in “the land of Shinar” (southern Mesopotamia/Babylonia); and the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Resen, and Calah. Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of some of these cities, which have helped them identify Nimrod.

Nimrod built his extensive empire from south to north, indicating a third-millennium BC setting (3000–2000 BC). Therefore, he must have ruled in this region during this period. Egyptologist Douglas Petrovich argues that Sargon the Great, who built the first cities of Sumer and Akkad, best fits the historical data for five reasons:

First, both Nimrod and Sargon came from the same region. Nimrod’s origin in Cush matches Sargon’s origin in Sumerian Kish. Both peoples and territories were named after Cush (Kish), Noah’s grandson. The Sumerian King List names Kish as the first city on which “kingship was [again] lowered from heaven” after the flood and says it became the leading city of Sumer, facts later confirmed by archaeological excavations.

Second, both Nimrod and Sargon made Akkad a prominent city. Although scholars don’t know the exact location of Akkad, ancient texts place it in Babylon and Kish and suggest it became prominent once Sargon made it his capital and restored Kish. From Akkad, Sargon conquered Mari, Ebla, and Assyria.

The archaeological record fits with the biblical record of Nimrod’s location in Sumer and his conquests of Uruk—the center of power in Mesopotamia—and Akkad, from which he extended his rule north (Gen. 10:10–11).

Third, both Nimrod and Sargon initiated building projects in Assyria. The Bible reveals Nimrod built the principal cities of Assyria (vv. 11–12). Archaeological discoveries in Nippur (an ancient city in Mesopotamia) credit the same feat to Sargon.

Archaeologists have discovered inscriptions of Sargon’s rule on monuments of native governors in the Assyrian cities of Ashur and Nineveh. They also found the remains of a statue dating to the reign of Manishtushu, Sargon’s second son and successor. Since history records Manishtushu as a less powerful figure, his attaining such stature strongly implies his father had seized power in Ashur. Additional excavations also support the fact of Sargon’s mastery in Assyria.

Fourth, both Nimrod and Sargon created a lasting influence on Assyria. The Bible indicates Nimrod’s exploits indelibly impacted the Israelites, since the prophet Micah equated the “land of Assyria” with “the land of Nimrod” (Mic. 5:6). In like manner, Sargon left an abiding influence on Assyrian culture by introducing the Eponym dating system, used throughout the history of Assyria.

Fifth, both Nimrod and Sargon were legendary for their military exploits. Genesis 10:9 calls Nimrod a “mighty hunter before the LORD,” indicating God observed—not approved of—his military exploits. “Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the LORD.’” His reputation may have extended to successive generations (v. 9). Palace reliefs discovered in ancient Nineveh display the hunting exploits and military conquests of Assyrian kings.

Ancient steles reveal Sargon also was renowned for his military conquests, such as those recorded in his Stele of Ishtar, his Victory Stele, and the Manishtushu Obelisk. These steles, which embody only a small part of the mass of archaeological evidence concerning Akkadian military brutality, sufficiently show Sargon’s reputation in this regard.

Overall, archaeological excavations in ancient Mesopotamia provide historical evidence for Nimrod’s identity as Sargon, once again confirming the Bible rests on a solid, historical foundation.

ENDNOTES
  1. Philo of Alexandria Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesim (QG) 2.82.
  2. Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 1.113–114.

13 thoughts on “The Identity of Nimrod

    1. Nimrod is said to have built Accad, and Darvin is the oldest known ruler of the Akkadian Empire (centered at Accad.)

  1. I was taught by many bible experts that nimrod had no son. that is why it does not mention any heirs.

  2. Liked your article. Dr., you might enjoy the 3000pgs of details of identities of ALL the Genesis 10 patriarchs by Dr John D Pilkey. See Amazon under his name and my name ‘editor’. Ross S Marshall.
    Nimrod = Sargon = Rue = also = Ningirsu = Ninurta
    Manishtusu = Menes = Serug
    Naram-Sin = Narmer= Nahor

  3. True NimRod and Sargon are the same people. He was of African descent, a black Cushite king who civilized Mesopotamia. Jewish historians has tried to cover this up for years. The Hamites, so called cursed, black race are the true civilizers of the world. So NimRod was created to destroy that legacy, and set them self’s up as the chosen race. Therefore giving them self rights to land and resources. There for the story of cursed be Canaan a slave of slaves was give life. Why else would black be made weak, and NimRod made dumb???

  4. Abraham was a horite , and the horites were a priestly class , Moses was a horite also . They believed that horus was the son of god . The god introduced himself to moses as eyah ashur eyah, meaning Iam ashar Iam. Ashar was the chief god of the Assyrians. Abrahams father Terah was a servant of nimrod a general in nimrods army . Nimrod was the egyptian Osiris and horus the risen Osiris . Youll see horis with the wedjet eye , representing the kundalini shakti . It was the wedjet eye that confered legitimate kingship of the pharoh . All pharohs were horus the bull representing strong kingship the bull also represented the moon . ( archetype ) . The lunar or bull archetype along with the fire wedjet eye represents a high priest king . Youll see the serpent in egypt protruding from the pharohs crown .

    1. Guess you can make up anything you want on the internet Beth

      The Horites were an ancient people group who had some dealings with Abraham’s family and the Edomites. The little we know of the Horites comes completely from Scripture.

      The Horites are first mentioned in Genesis 14:6. They were defeated by the alliance of kings that also defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and took Lot and his family captive. The Horites are mentioned as living in Mt. Seir at that time.

      The Horites are next mentioned in Genesis 36 where Esau’s descendants are listed. Esau settled in the hill country of Seir, which was also the territory of the descendants of Seir the Horite. It would make sense that, if Seir was the leader of the clan, he would name the mountain area where he and his clan settled as Mt. Seir. The descendants of Seir are given in some detail in verses 20–30, and they are noted as Horite chieftains. Deuteronomy 2:12 tells us that Esau’s descendants displaced and destroyed the Horites. Deuteronomy 2:22 tells us that the Lord destroyed the Horites so that Esau’s descendants could inhabit their territory, also called Edom.

      Beyond this, there is no more information about the Horites. They are last mentioned in Deuteronomy 2, except for 1 Chronicles 1, which simply reiterates the information found in the Pentateuch.

      While Genesis does provide some detailed information about the descendants of Seir the Horite, we know very little about the larger group of Horites or even if there was a larger group. The etymology of the term Horite may have to do with those who dwell in a “cave” or “hole.” It is possible that the Horites were cave-dwellers or that Seir himself was a cave-dweller so that the name “Seir the Horite” simply means “Seir the cave dweller.” If this is true, then Seir may have been the first of the line, and, as his family/clan grew, the description eventually took the force of a proper noun—much the same way that last names developed in English usage during the Middle Ages.

      The fact that the Horites are mentioned in Scripture with no introduction or explanation would indicate that the original hearers/readers of Genesis were familiar with them and the location of Mt. Seir. There are many things in Scripture that we wonder about because we are separated by so many years. For the original audience, the accounts of the Horites would have been rather recent history and required no further explanation

      1. Seir is the Egyptian Osiris and horus is the risen Osiris . The father of Osiris is Geb which represents the planet Saturn . Osiris is the Sumerian Enki , Osiris is also Bachus , Dyonisis. Heres one for you the Egyptian Hathor is Asherah or Asheroth she is a tripple goddess and the mother of Horus . In her Sekemet form she is Kali . The Star of Kali is Saturn the same star equated with cronos . Your horus there is equated with the greek Apollo the persian mithra and hindu krishna. Tipareth in the kabbalah and Micheal the Archangel who the Jehova witnesses think is Jesus . What you fail to realise is that way back the king was worshiped as a god or a semi devine son of god .

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