GREY MATTER: Episode 63 – Towering Tyrants: What Is The Antidote?

Last Updated: December 20, 2022By

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When I was a boy, “Nimrod” was an epithet describing someone lacking intelligence or sound judgment. In fact, Nimrod was a rather impressive person. The great-grandson of Noah, Nimrod, is described in Genesis as the first of the ante-diluvian “mighty men”. Nimrod, it seems, was much larger than the average man, a giant even. The Bible calls him “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Nimrod established a great kingdom that included the infamous Babel.


Nimrod was possessed of prodigious physical strength and an indomitable will. No wonder then that so many people of his time followed him, and that legends have emerged about him. Why, then, is his name associated with an insult or slur? As the leader of the kingdom of Babel, Nimrod is, of course, connected with the infamous Tower described in Genesis Chapter 6. Hebrew lore holds that Nimrod swore revenge upon God, so that if God had a mind to drown the world again, Nimrod would build a tower too high for the waters to reach, and that Nimrod would thereby avenge God himself for destroying his forefathers.


The motive for building the Tower was thus to protect humanity against another flood, ignoring, of course, that the reason for the first great deluge was humanity’s own wickedness and rebellion, from which mankind had refused to repent. Nimrod was, therefore, rebellious against God, just like his forebears. He espoused a form of Old Testament secularism, persuading his people not to ascribe their strength to God as a means of fulfillment, but to believe instead that it was their own courage that procured such happiness. Construction of the Tower ended inexorably with a typical Old Testamentary demonstration of God’s power: He conflated the languages of those working on the Tower, making it impossible for them to communicate effectively to complete construction. And so Nimrod was proven a colossal fool: all of mankind’s strength and abilities, even the mightiest among them, are bestowed by a God who can rescind such emoluments at any moment.


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