There is one man included amongst the patriarchs in the Book of Genesis who only received recognition by name and lineage, who should (in my opinion) be given status as a Patriarch rather than, or as well as, “potentate” (which puts him in a class below, I believe). His skills and prowess as a great hunter with a bow and arrow was recognized, even by God.
Nimrod the Hunter was a leader amongst men and a builder of cities, including Babel and Nineveh. He was a great-grandson of Noah but did not live up to the virtues and standards that God had found in Noah. He was a bully amongst men, took what he wanted — including women, whatever he desired because he was a big man. His mighty bow and hunting were his major interests in life. He believed in God but was (I believe) somewhat jealous of God.
Nimrod was the most powerful bowman in the land. He believed that if he shot an arrow into the clouds above, it would surely strike an angel, proof being, when the arrow returned to earth it would be stained with the blood of an angel. In fact, his concept in the building of a Tower was that he could ultimately be able to reach Paradise.
At some point during the building of the tower in Babel, it is written that God with an entourage, appeared on earth to see what was happening in Babel. What he found was all the people were speaking the same language and he decided that they should speak different languages. No one then would any longer understand one another, so he sent those with similar languages in different directions to establish clans and tribes throughout the land and where they settled they were to multiply and prosper. The workers on the tower also could not understand one another and dispersed with the others. That is how the Tower of Babel got its name.
Postscript: Pop Mandel was a student of the Bible and loved the stories. He decided the Bible presented great material for his artwork and so Pop created nearly 200 biblical oil paintings. Bible scholars might add to what Pop believed about Nimrod that God wanted mankind to fill the earth and go everywhere. Nimrod wanted to build cities and is credited with building the tower of Babel, the center of a city that would reach to the heavens. The goal of their leaders was to make a name for themselves that would be remembered forever.
Nimrod was like the Nephilim that all drowned in the Great Flood, of which only Noah and his family survived. Nimrod was a gifted and powerful man used by God to fend off the wild beasts and control their population to protect mankind. He was also gifted with the ability to teach others and lead them. Building cities and ruling God’s people was not what God wanted from Nimrod, especially considering Nimrod’s great ambitions and appetite for self-interests.
More from the Pop’s Art series archives:
- In the beginning God created
- Adam and Eve: Forbidden fruit and the fall
- Cain and Abel: Good and evil come to life
- Noah Walked with God, built an ark and saved mankind and the animals
- Part 2: Noah in the grapes
- Abraham is called to sacrifice Isaac and slaughter becomes laughter
- Jacob wrestles with God
- The Bible, Illustrated: Joseph thrown into a pit
- The story of the prophet Elijah, Jezebel and King Ahab
- Jonah swallowed by a whale
- Palm Sunday: Holy week and the symbolism of the palm branch
Herb Mandel was an artist, author and educator, and dear old dad of Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux. He shared stories about his artwork and his life.