“The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar” (Genesis 10:10).

Imagine not having a city mayor, state governor, or national president. When Nimrod, Noah’s great-grandson was born, the only leaders in existence were the leaders of households. Everyone was content to live at the same economic, social, and political status as the neighbours.

Nimrod changed all that. Described as a “warlike giant” (Syriac Script), he appears to have been the first man on earth to develop the idea of groups of people following a leader. And, of course, he wanted to be that leader. The Bible calls him a “mighty hunter” (Genesis 10:9), and hunting terrifying wild game likely gave him opportunity to be in charge of others. But animals were not all he hunted. The Hebrew word “hunter” suggests “prey,” and the Bible uses “prey” to describe people being hunted with tyranny, persecution, and oppression. Ancient Jewish literature records that Nimrod “was a hunter of the children of men” (Jerusalem Targum).

Nimrod’s thirst for power over his fellow man led him right into rebellion against God. His name comes from the Hebrew word marad, which means, “he rebelled.” “From the foundation of the world none was ever found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting, and in rebellions against the Lord” (Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel). Nimrod’s kingdom was the first kingdom on earth, and it was founded on the principle of selfish power.

When Jesus was born, the results of Nimrod’s kingdom had spread over the earth and covered it in a dark blanket of sin and death. Then Jesus began His own kingdom—a kingdom very different from Nimrod’s. He proclaimed, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Both Nimrod and Jesus claimed authority. But Nimrod’s kingdom was based on selfish authority that harms others, and Jesus’ kingdom is based on selfless authority that saves others.

King Jesus, I choose to be a willing subject of Your eternal kingdom today.

Key Bible Texts

For Further Study: Genesis 10:1–12; Matthew 28:18–20; Rev. 12:10

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