My first memory of the term “Nimrod” is referring to my older brother as a “Nimrod” after having seen and heard it used by Bugs Bunny, one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters. Perhaps you have used that word/name used similarly. At this present time, though it has fallen our of popular use, our lexicon and the word’s usage indicates it is a type of insult.
From Genesis 10:6-8, we learn that Nimrod is the son of Cush. Ham, son of Noah, is the father of Cush. So Nimrod is one of Noah’s great grandsons. In vs. 8, we learn that Nimrod was “a mighty warrior on the earth”. He established his first kingdoms of Babylon, Uruk , Akkad, and Kalneh, in Shinar. From this we can subtly glean that Nimrod was a very charismatic and mighty man who people, easily or not, followed.
Chapter 10 of Genesis covers a lot of ground, but we quickly learn that there was a standout reason to discuss the heritage and lineage of Noah. Nimrod, grandson of Noah, became a mighty leader. He is referred to as a hunter, but the implication is he isn’t hunting for food. Rather he is hunting men, collecting them, making them his own. In chapter 11, after the deep lineage of Noah is discussed, we almost immediately and rather abruptly turn to the very familiar story of the Tower of Babel.
The Tower of Babel
3They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9That is why it was called Babelc —because there the Lordconfused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
SPOILER ALERT: Rather than slow walk you through this story and unpack it bit by bit, I am going to quickly give you the highlights and sum up the entire meaning of the story.
Nimrod wants his collection of people (the collective) to become like bricks. Cheaply made, easily exchangeable, and completely replaceable. He wants to build a giant city and a tower so large it reaches the heavens and he wants his people, his slaves, to unite behind one common purpose “the greater good”.
This is troubling for God. It isn’t the model He had in mind. He doesn’t like bricks. He likes stone. Why? each stone is made by God, individually, special, and unique, not at all interchangeable. With this He can create a beautiful mosaic of stone that He can shape and mold to fit His purpose. Nimrod wants to change God’s people into boring, not special, irrelevant, uninspiring bricks and he wants them to be bound together by materialism so much so that they are so busy fitting in and being part of the collective, they lose who they are as individuals and never notice their servitude.
As a small side point, it is humorous to consider that Nimrod wants to build a tower to the heavens, not so that we can ascend to God, but so God can descend to man. God has a brilliant sense of humor and irony, so He accepts the invitation and visits His people via this tower Nimrod has built. He doesn’t approve and destroys the tower. Talk about your irony.
The story has a very happy ending, though. God scattered his people (imagine scattering stones on the ground) and turned them from bricks back into stones. He freed them from the slavery of sameness and gave them back their individuality.
If this story doesn’t have meaning to us today, it is only because we refuse to see things for how they are. I see Donald Trump as a modern-day Nimrod. He is a hunter of men. He is very charismatic. He is very forceful and authoritarian and many people find these traits admirable and they trust and follow him for it. He is clearly a socialist, communist, collectivist, just as Nimrod was.
Like it or not, the story of the Tower of Babel is the story of man’s first attempt at socialism. God doesn’t approve of socialism, communis, collectivism. It isn’t in His plans for us to be interchangeable or replaceable. We are to be individuals, perfectly made and perfectly individual and unique. Trump, I believe, follows this very model. If it were otherwise, we would hear him talk about our founding documents more fervently. We would hear his love for individual liberty and the constitutional Republic we have. Our organic founding documents guarantee we will never strive to be a socialist collective. Rather, we will always be a group of individuals who value individual liberty and the rule of law above all else. So long was we know not to follow leaders like Trump or Nimrod who would take us there, we will always be free.