Genesis 10: What Would Be Said of You?

“Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).” (Genesis 10:8-12)

Genesis 10, like chapter 6, is a bridge between events, presenting another list of genealogies. And, like chapter 6, there’s not a lot there to grab hold of. But, both lists do seem to present one person of particular interest. In chapter 6 it is Enoch; in chapter 10, it is Nimrod.

We aren’t told much about him, but we are told he was a “mighty hunter,” and built many cities. We may infer from this he was a leader, an explorer and a motivator or people. Some have associated him with Babylonians leaders (most probably) and even Egyptian pharaohs (less likely). He did these things (at least the hunting) “before the Lord,” which may imply God’s approval, or as the Old Testament Survey Series: The Pentateuch suggests, His disapproval—that He acted in rebellion before God. Indeed, his very name means “let us revolt.” Many have connected him—and with good reason—with the events of the following chapter and the building of the Tower of Babel.

Without question he is mentioned because he accomplished great things that are not to be overlooked or slighted in any way. In a raw and empty world to establish six cities was no small feat. Nimrod must have been a force of nature at the time. However, the very fact that his spiritual nature is left so ambiguous is concerning. And, if his name is of importance, what greater act of revolting could be carried out when almost immediately after the flood a man stands up to God, shakes his fist, and in essence says, “I’m still doing things my way!” In the final analysis, it is unclear how we are to take this man; was he sinner or saint?

In contrast, though, while Nimrod was a “mighty hunter” and builder, we have other statements about great Bible characters that are more certain and comforting: Noah “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8); Moses was the most humble man who ever lived (at that time) (Numbers 12:3); and David was a man “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). Certainly, these people did great things and were commendable before the Lord. But others did less “mighty” things but were still spoken of highly by God: Enoch “walked with God” (Genesis 5:24); Phoebe was a “servant of the church” (Romans 16:1); and Priscilla and Aquila were “fellow workers in Christ Jesus.”

The point being how we expend our efforts in life is important. Doing mighty things is good, but only if you do so with the Lord’s commendation. Otherwise, it is a waste. But, even if one lives a life doing small things, if they are done with the Lord’s commendations, one has accomplished something truly mighty. Take a moment and think: What will history—man’s and God’s—say of you?

Let’s apply this to our lives.