No doubt, one of the most intriguing characters in the Old Testament is Nimrod, son of Cush, and grandson of Ham. His name often comes up as the archetype of the Antichrist. It turns out that when we dig into the story surrounding Nimrod, there is much more we can say about his importance than just speculating he is the figure who appears again in “the last days” as the Antichrist (“who was, is not, but will be again,” Revelation 17:8). The following post is drawn from REBOOTING THE BIBLE, PART 2, Chapter 4.
Read on to find out the truth about Nimrod, who ancient archeology says he was, and why the conventional account of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel need serious revision.
ENDORSEMENT: FIVE STARS. CHRIS STEINLE, AUTHOR.
The tradition is longstanding: English Bibles rely on the Masoretic Hebrew text, which Woodward demonstrates through extensive support has been tampered with in order to discount the authenticity of Jesus’ deity and Messiahship. The very thought that some passages in our English Bibles need correcting can be unnerving, if not bordering on blasphemy. Between the two editions of RTB the author gently introduces the reader to the facts, which as the cover of RTB2 holds out, not only strengthen the case for Christ, but also brings the Bible into alignment with the legitimate history and archaeology of the nations surrounding the Holy Land. Science has–up until now–gotten away with showing the inconsistencies between the Masoretic-based Bible and well-dated secular accounts of the beginning of this Age. Woodward, through ample maps, charts, and timelines, shows how a text of the Hebrew Bible, many hundreds of years earlier than the Masoretic text, does actually line up with the historical data of the scientific community–thereby adding credence to the veracity of the Bible. These RTB books belong in our seminaries and colleges to arm the next generation with truth and a good answer for their faith.
THE FIRST ARCHETYPE OF THE ANTICHRIST: NIMROD
NIMROD’S story, once we fit the pieces together, gives us a sequence of what happened in the post-diluvian world from roughly 3,100 B.C. to 2,700 B.C. However, it’s not the usual story because the conventional view has Nimrod instigating the revolt against Yahweh. We call this the Tower of Babel event. In the pages ahead, this author will set the record straight based upon considerable research for this book and its prequel.
My friend Peter Goodgame wrote an excellent book several years ago entitled, The Second Coming of the Antichrist, which lays out the case that Nimrod was the prototype for the Antichrist. But more than being the first example of an archetype, Goodgame contends that Nimrod will return to life – resurrected, that is, for a second opportunity to thwart the plan of Yahweh. Peter cites Isaiah 14, the traditional passage that speaks to the nature and earliest history of Satan:
All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, everyone in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. (Isaiah 14:18–21)
Goodgame asserts, “I believe that Isaiah’s prophecy against the King of Babylon must also be viewed as a Hebrew polemic against Assur, the god of the Assyrians who verged on conquering Israel. At the same time, however, it is also an important end-times prediction of the historical figure behind the Assyrian god, the original Asshur who died around 3100 BC, who will rise again at the beginning of the Day of the Lord.” Note the timing of when Asshur (aka Nimrod for Goodgame) died – 3100 B.C. in Peter’s reckoning. Peter asserts that Assur/Nimrod is also the first Pharaoh, and thus kicks off Dynasty Number 1 in Egypt about the same time. I agree that Nimrod is the personage around whom much of Egyptian and Mesopotamian paganism springs. Indeed, my studied perspective coincides with Peter. Like me, he challenges the traditional view that Nimrod was born circa 2250 B.C. and led the Tower rebellion about 2150 B.C. While I haven’t chatted with Peter about the Septuagint’s chronology, something tells me he would likely agree that it far more accurately portrays history as well as the Bible’s testimony. The conventional point of view is wrong – not because it’s what the Bible teaches, but because it isn’t what the Bible teaches – at least, not what the Septuagint, the more authentic text of Scripture, says.
Who Is Nimrod? What Does Archeology Say?
David Rohl, a highly-regarded Egyptologist, points out that to discover who Nimrod is, we must consider all the names we know him by – for there are many historical or quasi-historical figures which allude to the biblical Nimrod. Says Rohl:
Assur [one such name] lived at the city of Nineveh’ and was the eponymous founder of the Assyrian nation, while Ninus founded Nineveh – as did Nimrod. It appears that we are dealing here with a single historical character who established the first empire on Earth and who was deified by many nations under four main name groupings:
- Early Sumerian Enmer, later Mesopotamian Ninurta (originally Nimurda), biblical Nimrod, Greek Ninus;
- Old Babylonian Marduk, biblical Merodach, later simply known as Bel or Baal (‘Lord’);
- Late Sumerian Asar-luhi (a principal epithet of Marduk, Assyrian Ashur, Egyptian Asar (Osiris);
- Sumerian Dumuzi, biblical Tammuz, Phoenician Adonis, Greek Dionysius, Roman Baccus.
Rohl is correct to say that there are many, many names ascribed to Nimrod. The popular favorite, The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, gets in trouble partly by naming too many gods that tie to Nimrod.
However, based on my study, Hislop is far more right than wrong on this one count. Yes, he trashes Catholicism and makes too much of the mother and child motif that runs throughout mythology in many parts of the world. He appears to do this only to pin the tail on the Roman Catholic Church and its veneration of Mary as yet another falsehood and justification for which Protestants should despise Catholics. However, on the matter of a core myth seeding many of the most significant myths in the history of humanity, Hislop nails the linkage. Rohl also confirms that studies in archeology, Egyptology, and global mythology vindicate much of what Hislop asserts. But does it all originate with Nimrod as Hislop says? Probably not.
And yet the search for the link between Nimrod and historical records remains the favorite mission for many. Still, after considerable arguments advanced by many scholars for hundreds of years, I see only two acceptable possibilities in the Mesopotamian region that refer to the biblical Nimrod: Sargon I (aka Sargon the Great) and Gilgamesh. We know about both by detailed cuneiform records and the Sumerian King List (see the stele above). And these two are often described by various legends that mimic what the Bible says. In trying to make sense of it, the names we encounter in archeology mostly reflect either Enmerkar or Ninurta. These personages range from wholly human to fully divine (with other examples somewhere in-between). Variations on these names occur, such as Marduk, Merodach, Ashur, and Dumuzi. (African names such as Menes and Narmer may also be relevant for good reasons as we will see in the next posting).
We must understand that archeology is an empirical science. It is not like an evolutionary theory that seeks to explain the origin of life and how the species of life emerged. There is more supposition here due to comparative anatomy and the interlocking dating of fossils and rocks, which trap us in a circular argument. Therefore, we can give archeology a thumbs up in many situations while condemning evolution’s attempt to tell us how life, even human life, began. This distinction is quite clear: Evolution is not an empirical science in all instances – while archeology is. Although archeology is influenced by premises that may be very unbiblical, generally it is fact-based. Artifacts pulled out of the ground, supply the grounds for its claims. And when it comes to Egyptology and Mesopotamian archeology, there is an enormous volume of significant written records telling the story of both Sumer and Egypt.
In Mesopotamia, Cuneiform tablets preserve their history from those ancient times, taking us back to roughly 2850 B.C. or even earlier. Most scholars believe that the first light of civilization in a conventional sense originates in Sumer circa 3200 B.C. (in the Jemdet Nasr period). “The Sumerian Bronze Age began in 3150 BCE when far-ranging trade networks were established.” And the beginning of civilization traces to the beginning of the Bronze Age (circa 4500 B.C.). The location and first dynasty were known as Kish (derivative of the biblical Cush). Kish was the first city with hard records identifying its beginnings in 2850 B.C. As the reader may recall, Cush was the son of Ham. In Egypt, monuments and “wall inscriptions” (hieroglyphic graffiti as it were), tell its story. Thus, Egypt originates in the same era too. Having extant written records in stone or clay from long ago carries substantial weight with archeologists, Egyptologists, and anthropologists.
The academic view generally follows the biblical perspective: The Bible indicates that Egypt began with Mizraim (a name which means Egypt). Mizraim was the son of Ham, along with three other offspring fathered by Ham. His son Cush had five sons chronicled together: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. From Raamah came Sheba and Dedan, the forefathers of Arabia.
In general, the names of Mizraim’s offspring are not familiar to us. Neither are Cush’s children except for the one named Nimrod, Cush’s sixth son, mentioned separately from the other five. But there are names among Canaan’s descendants that are most familiar as these were the peoples populating Canaan when Israel battles them after the Exodus. For example, the reader likely recognizes the names Amorites, Hittites, andJebusites. According to Egyptology, Egypt’s pre-dynastic period began about 3100 B.C.
The first pharaoh, sometimes known as Narmer (also Menes), dates circa 3000 B.C. (I have proposed and discussed why this timeframe is a bit too early in RTB-1, preferring to see Narmer in full array and on the scene circa 2800 B.C. I will give a summary below.) Later, we will make the case that Nimrod may have been this figure. If so, he was usurping Mizraim’s claim to Egypt as he was the son of Cush. But let’s dig further first.
We also know that the history of China begins with the Sinites (from Sino or China) who were possibly descendants from Canaan. “Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, The Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward, the clans of the Canaanites dispersed.” (Genesis 10:15-18, ESV) And the Sinites dispersed quickly and the furthest, going all the way to the land we know as China where they thrived. We still occasionally use Sino today (e.g., the phrase “Sino-American relations” is used in some cases to discuss geopolitics in Asia).
Now, archeology tells us the ancient history of China goes back well beyond the traditional biblical date of Adam and even the more extended chronology presented in the Septuagint. Some contend that cultures like China and perhaps Central Africa appear to begin before 10000 B.C., which leads to speculation that there was a “pre-Adamic Race” before the Garden of Eden and the unique creation of Adam and Eve. However, these races and their cultures were predecessors not traceable back to the Sinites or other sons of Noah. Regardless, we have several impregnable time markers for the Sinites and China: Bronze artifacts are dating supposedly to 3100 B.C., and the first dynasty begins with Fu Xi in 2850 B.C. according to Sima Qian. Qian is the “Grand Historian who collected the traditional tales of China into an epic history,” reports Susan Wise Bauer in her History of the Ancient World. This account of the Chinese Dynasty aligns, timing-wise, with Bauer’s Archaic Period in Egypt, more specifically Egypt’s Dynasty 1 (3100-2890 B.C.).
Furthermore, to add more confirmation of the importance of this date, Bauer points out that India, too, begins (approximately) at the same time, 3102 B.C. She writes, “The date itself appears in many histories of India; firm dates in ancient Indian history are hard to come by, so historians who cling to this one, do so more from relief than from certainty.” Still, this is the best archeology can identify for Asia, and it happens to fit closely with what the Septuagint chronology tells us. Many (but by no means all) Canaanites dispersed – widely. (If they had all dispersed, “Canaan Land” wouldn’t have been so named.) And this dispersal was simultaneous in all directions to many lands.
Nevertheless, the fact that the genesis of these ancient civilizations all coalesces at the same juncture – the thirty-first century B.C. (i.e., late in the fourth millennium B.C.) – suggests that a single event “exploded” at a central location in the “navel” of the globe and pushed peoples everywhere. It’s no minor point to underscore that the Tower of Babel in the land of Sumer represents a central location on the world map. Thus, the circumstantial evidence demonstrates the reasonableness of the claim that Babel was the explanation. Likewise, if the failure of the Tower of Babel rebellion happened as the means to disperse “the collective” gathered in defiance at Shinar, then fixing the date of Babel at this juncture in time seems inescapable. Having detached [the division of the nations] with Peleg from the rebellion at the Tower of Babel in the previous posts, we can lay claim to the likelihood we finally have it right.
So what does this imply about Nimrod? Could he have been the leader of the Babel rebellion given where he sits in the lineage of Ham? In a word: No. Dating Nimrod as the emperor of the ancient world at this precise moment is just too early. The facts show he wasn’t the leader of the rebellion at Babel. On the other hand, his father, Cush, may have been. [He has the motive, means, and opportunity to be that man. His failure may have motivated to Nimrod to conquer the city and the old tower, 100 years or so later.]
As I’ve said, the writings of ancient historians and the hieroglyphs etched into stone in many Egyptian monuments are elaborate in detail. They supplied the history that other cultures in ancient times affirmed, such as the Greek culture through its historians like Herodotus (484 B.C. – 425 B.C.). Herodotus, the father of history, recorded the events of the ancient world in the fifth century B.C. The first dynasty of Egypt supposedly began circa 3100 B.C. But, as I have pointed out, Egyptologists inflate Egypt’s history by about 250 years. We should tie Egyptian beginnings to the heliacal rising of Sirius in the constellation Leo, about 2780 B.C. (This is the so-called Sothic Cycle.) Recall from my statement above that Fung Xi commenced his reign in China circa 2850 B.C. And when we examine the Sumerian King Lists, such as presented by my favorite David Rohl, we see the lineage of Kish (Cush), beginning only about 150 years earlier. Says Rohl, Meskiag-KASH-er (Cush), the first in the Uruk I Dynasty, appears about 3000 B.C. Enmerkar, the son of Cush, begins his reign circa 2850 according to Rohl’s educated reckoning. And Rohl will go on to stipulate that Enmerkar is archeology’s name for Nimrod.
The point: There is too much consistently in these records, stretching from Egypt to China, that disregard near-simultaneous starts. With Rohl, we have it on competent authority.
To recap: The Great Flood occurs about 3360 B.C. The rebellion at Babel happens about 200-250 years later, 3150 B.C., and the ancient civilizations begin building (or rebuilding) cities sometime between 3100 and 2900 B.C. These events famously transpire in Sumer and Egypt at the same time. India and China commenced not long afterward.
Freeman summarizes the situation well when he writes, “While the Sumerians were the first urban civilization, their neighbor Egypt was considered in the Bronze age the world’s oldest coherent nation-state that emerged in the valley of the Nile.” Freeman also tells us that the Indian civilization along the Indus River traded with Sumer very early on as well.
Thus, we can say that humankind seems to rebound almost simultaneously on a global basis. This rebound isn’t intuitive. It bespeaks a grand event that must have caused it. Babel is that event.
The Testimony of Archeology Tells the Timeframe of Babel & Nimrod
What does this imply? It means that the conventional notion that the Tower of Babel took place around 2200 B.C. is refuted by archeology from empirical evidence from Egypt, China, India, and Sumer. And yet, many histories confirm the Tower of Babel lay at the root of why these nations arose simultaneously. The archeology from those African and Asian points line up – it is no coincidence.
Consequently, the fact they concur with the Septuagint’s chronology is something that Christians who care about demonstrating the Bible to be true should NOT overlook. Archeology confirms how the Septuagint supports empirical history while trumping the Masoretic Text’s timeline. The Masoretic Text is wrong. The standard chronology of the Old Testament is wrong. But the authentic biblical record, preserved for us in the Septuagint, is right. And it aligns with archeology while the “Ussher (and King James) chronology” falls apart.
Now, the Akkadian civilization (that followed on the heels of Sumer) was a Semitic culture (from the line of Shem dwelling mostly in parts to Sumer’s north and northwest, and later called Assyria). It began with Sargon I, the dates of whose birth and death are firmly established (2360 B.C. to 2279 B.C.). Many scholars contend that Sargon was a Semite and was the first empire builder of the ancient world. For this reason, some scholars like Douglas N. Petrovich (whose work I much appreciate), argue forcefully (and wrongly) that Sargon I was Nimrod. Indeed, his supposition (relying upon the conventional chronology) leads him to say (wrongly) this is the biblical record. If so, it requires Nimrod lived roughly 100 years after the Great Flood recorded in the Bible. And, according to Ussher and the King James Bible, since the Flood of Noah took place in 2348 B.C., Nimrod would have to appear in history around 2200 B.C.
However, note that even this timing (of Sargon) is too early. It doesn’t quite fit the biblical timeline derived from the Masoretic Text either. So we have to ask, “Is this timeframe, 1,000 years later than what I purpose, really the ‘biblical’ timeframe?” Hardly. Therefore, we can uphold the inspiration of the Bible without accepting the chronology of the Masoretic Text. The two aren’t inexorably linked.
That’s why I say, “Wait a minute.” We ought to ask the big question first, “Does the Bible testify to the Flood in 2348 B.C. and the Tower of Babel roughly 2220 B.C.?” Petrovich argues for the truth of the Bible. However, he, too, is entangled in the “conventional chronology” of the corrupted rabbinic chronology, which became the baseline text for our Protestant and Catholic Bibles. As I argued in RTB-1, these accounts are not required (for us to believe) to remain “biblically orthodox” if we follow the authentic version of the Hebrew Bible (translated in the LXX).
As a reminder, Ezra assembled the earliest version of the Hebrew Bible circa 440 B.C., and it was this Bible that translators in Alexandria, Egypt, translated in Greek circa 282 B.C. The Greek Bible presents us with a snapshot of what the authentic Hebrew said. Today’s Hebrew Bible wasn’t cast until about 400 years after the Septuagint (counting from 282 B.C. for the Greek Bible to circa A.D. 120 for the “Akiba Bible” – Rabbi Akiba being the Rabbi who sanctioned the process). This means that Akiba’s Hebrew Bible is based on a Hebrew family of texts nearly 600 after Ezra’s compilation of the true biblical text. That’s one reason why there are so many differences. And the Protestant and Catholic Old Testaments reflect Akiba’s Hebrew Bible not the authentic one compiled by Ezra.
Do you see why this is so important?
This later text promulgated a chronology created by Akiba and the rabbis. And this is also the chronology the Jewish Talmud assumes. Hence, Talmudic statements about Nimrod and his contemporaries likewise build upon the false rabbinic assumptions shared by almost all conservative Bible scholars.
Again: The first definitive traces of the post-diluvian period pop up right around 3100 B.C. The Bronze Age begins then. The pre-Flood age can be associated with the Ubaid period so labeled by archeologists (from 5000 B.C. to 3360 B.C.) Once we understand this, we can establish the timing of the Egyptian dynastic period circa 2800 B.C. Likewise, the Sumerian King List, India’s ancient history, and the earliest historical “Sino” dynasty in China also occur at this same timeframe.
That is why we can pinpoint pinpoint the timing of “the Tower of Babel event,” i.e., at about 250 years after the Great Flood, which is also roughly 100 years before what archeology opines occurred circa 3100 B.C. (through cuneiform records and other ancient histories).
Additionally, based on the Septuagint timeline, we can reasonably hypothesize that there was an adequate number of years for the dispersion of nations (about 100-150 years); that is, from Babel to the founding of the ancient civilizations of Cush, India, China, and Egypt, when good scholarship tells us humanity’s “recorded history” began.
So, Petrovich argues Sargon was the mighty Hunter before (who “opposed”) the Lord. But all other cultures’ genesis provides empirical proof (on a global basis mind you) that Sargon couldn’t have been Nimrod. Likewise, “the Dispersion of the Nations” must have happened about 900-1000 years before Sargon I reigned circa 2200 B.C.
If the reader wants to go back and reread the previous posts on the division of the nations, you will see how all of the evidence piles up to tell us that the division happened almost 300 years AFTER Babel, when PELEG was born (c. 2800 B.C.); which then means that the division of the nations couldn’t have been due to languages being suddenly and supernaturally confused. Yes, communication breakdown took place. Failure to communicate was confused. Shared goals weren’t broken. There was no longer a “meeting of the minds.” But Peleg would be born centuries later when rising sea levels separated the descendants of Noah from one another across the Mediterranean world, northern Africa, and western Asia.
And Abraham wouldn’t travel to Egypt 100 years after the Babel event as convention has it. He would come to Egypt almost 800 years later. That is what archeology teaches. And that is what the Septuagint reveals to us too.
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 Goodgame, Peter. The Second Coming of the Antichrist. Defender Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition. Location 3085.
 Rohl, David. From Eden to Exile: The 5000-year History of the People of the Bible. Lebanon, TN: Greenleaf Press. 2002. p. 73. Note: Rohl is sympathetic to the biblical view but remains agnostic.
 Hislop also subscribes to a historical Semiramis, supposed mother and wife of Nimrod, as the purveyor of the Babylonian Mystery Religion which is somewhat conventional nowadays thanks to Hislop’s book. This is a modicum of truth here, but far less than many of my friends assert.
 Freeman, Henry. The Sumerians: A History from Beginning to End. Hourly History Limited (2016). Kindle Edition. p. 14.
 There are two other Shebas and one other Sheba and Dedan pair in the genealogies that confuse who is in fact the forebears of the peoples on the Arabia peninsula and from whom they descend.
 Bauer, Susan Wise. The History of the Ancient World. New York: W.W. Norton. 2007. Kindle Edition. Location 1090
 Ibid., Kindle location, 1051
 Rohl, op. cit. p.71.
 Freeman, op. cit. p. 17
 Dr. Raquel Gilboa states a probable fact, that Sargon I was something of an amalgamation of numerous desirable traits of the Akkadian kings. Sargon’s deeds and acts engraved on the tablets could well have been intended, as was the prevailing ancient custom also in Egypt, to aggrandize a specific ruler by “adopting” the faculties and deeds transmitted through oral traditions regarding previous protagonists. See Gilboa, Raquel. “The Peoples Descending from Noah: A Brief Note on Genesis 9-10.” Originally published in Biblische Notizen, No. 171, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/38143936/A_Brief_Note_on_the_Peoples_Descending_from_Noah.pdf?email_work_card=view-paper.
 Hislop provides this defense for the Masoretic Text and against the Septuagint:
Dr. Hales has attempted to substitute the longer chronology of the Septuagint for the Hebrew chronology. But this implies that the Hebrew Church, as a body, was not faithful to the trust committed to it in respect to the keeping of the Scriptures, which seems distinctly opposed to the testimony of our Lord in reference to these Scriptures (John 5:39; 10:35), and also to that of Paul (Rom 3:2), where there is not the least hint of unfaithfulness. [Note: The rabbinic corruption came 50 years after John and Paul wrote these statements.] Then we can find a reason that might induce the translators of the Septuagint in Alexandria to lengthen out the period of the ancient history of the world; we can find no reason to induce the Jews in Palestine to shorten it. The Egyptians had long, fabulous eras in their history, and Jews dwelling in Egypt might wish to make their sacred history go as far back as they could, and the addition of just one hundred years in each case, as in the Septuagint, to the ages of the patriarchs, looks wonderfully like an intentional forgery; [The opposite is the forgery.] Whereas we cannot imagine why the Palestine Jews should make any change in regard to this matter at all. [Except that they rejected Jesus Christ and hated his followers.] It is well known that the Septuagint contains innumerable gross errors and interpolations. [This is an accusation stemming from his premise that the LXX, and not the MT, has corrupted the authentic Hebrew. Emphasis added.]
Hislop surprisingly overlooks the many points others had made before him which I cover in RTB Part 1, failing to discern the many changes made by the rabbis to obscure Jesus’ Messiahship. That is reason enough for them to change the text. In other words, given that they rejected Jesus, we should not be so quick to assume they wouldn’t keep from changing the Scripture on our behalf.
From Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons: The Only Fully Complete 7th Edition (p. 165). Cross Reach Publications. Kindle Edition.
 There are some who suggest that the Sinites (the ancestors of the Chinese) left the Mesopotamian area after the Tower of Babel, but before Nimrod returned to conquer the lands of Sumer and Akkad.