Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nimrod was an Afro-Asiatic Kingdom Builder

This small population living in the Andaman Islands (India) migrated from East Africa. Their ancestors are believed to have migrated from Africa between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. Another Kushite migration took place later. See Clyde A. Winters' The Kushite Spread of Haplogroup R1*-M173 from Africa to Eurasia, here: Current Research Journal of Biological Sciences 2(5): 294-299, 2010 ISSN: 2041-0778 © Maxwell Scientific Organization, 2010

Alice C. Linsley

Before Alexander the Great there was Nimrod or Sargon the Great! That's what Genesis tells us. Nimrod was a sent-away son because his brother Ramah inherited Kush's territory in southwest Arabia. Other sent-away sons who became great rulers include Kain, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and David.

Nimrod's brother was Ramah who assumed rule over his father's territory in Arabia (the area of Dedan-Ramah). Nimrod left Kush's territory for the Tigrus-Euphrates River Valley where he established his kingdom and built cities. The ruling lines of Ramah and Nimrod continued to intermarry, following the pattern of the ruler-priests, but the geographical distance was to be felt in the way that Arabic (Dedan-Ramah) and Aramaic (Haran-Ur) developed.

We first meet Abraham in the region of Haran and Ur because he is a descendant of Nimrod.

Nimrod is an important clue in piecing together the migration of Nilo-Saharan peoples from Africa to Mesopotamia, Turkey and India. (Remember Dr. Lalji Singh's samples from 46 Onge in India? His research reveals that this tribal group living at the eastern edge of the Bay of Bengal came originally from Africa.

Kush is an older name for the the Upper Nile, or ancient Nubia. The region extended from Sudan to the Horn of Africa and along the eastern side of the Red Sea. The oldest known agricultural tradition in Africa is traced to this region and dates to about 3800 BC.

Nimrod, "a mighty hunter before the Lord" was the son of Kush, according to Genesis 10:8. The term "mighty hunter" is related to the Hausa term for lead or chief hunter - sarkin maharba. The name Nim-rwd tells us about the extent of his rule. It means "waters of the earth" and reflects the ancient Afro-Asiatic riverine civilization which I have termed "the Afro-Asiatic Dominion."  It was indeed as expansive as Nimrod's name suggests.  It expresses the idea of universal rule such as is ascribed to God in Psalm 104.

Nimrod's cultural context was more Nilotic than Mesopotamian. Bible commentators assign Nimrod to a Mesopotamian cultural context because they generally do not recognize that Abraham's people were ethnically Kushite and spoke languages much older than Hebrew.  The language of Nimrod's kingdom was likely Sumero-Akkadian.

The rabbis argue that the name Nimrod comes from the Semitic root מרד (MRD) meaning "to rebel", but the Hebrew specialist Jeff Benner maintains that the root MRD (marad) gives us the words MaRauDer and MuRDer.

However, I believe that name is related to the Hausa word for hunter, which is maharba (MRB). Hausa is in the same language family as Egyptian, Arabic, Hebrew and the Akkadian of Nimrod's empire. The name emphasizes the hunter-warrior nature of this great kingdom builder. Compare the word nahshirkan (hunter) which appears in the Targum with the Hausa word for lead hunter sarkin maharba.

Nimrod's cultural context is Afro-Asiatic or what the Bible calls "Kushite" and he is named as a son of Kush in Genesis 10:8.  He is connected to the Mesopotamian city of Calah (Akkadian 'Kalhu'). This was the northern point of his territory, consistent with the practice of Kushite chiefs who established territories on a north-south axis. Nimrod's territory extended along the Tigris River between Calah and probably Ashur. (Likewise, Terah's between Ur and Haran, and Abraham's between Hebron and Beersheba.)

Afro-Asiatic chiefs controlled the waterways and established their settlements on a north-south axis. As with Sargon, they also controlled the ridges. (The legend of Sargon says, "The brothers of my father loved the hills.") They controlled the high places. A high place was a shrine city called kar or har. The people of these high places were called Ar. The designation of Ar is found in the Bible in reference to important biblical figures and places: Wadi Arnun (Ar-nxn, meaning Ar of Onn); Arabia; Aram; Arpachshad, A-amaic; Arsames, the satrapArod and Areli.

There is sufficient reason to believe that Nimod did live. Calah on the Tigris River is the present city of Nimrud. There also is a city southwest of Babylon named Birs Nimrwd. Nimrwd's name appears on tablets found in Palestine also. In 1876, George Smith wrote that, "Nearly thirteen hundred years before the Christian era, one of the Egyptian poems likens a hero to the Assyrian chief, Kazartu, a great hunter...and it has already been suggested that the reference here is to the fame of Nimrod. A little later in the period BC 1100 to 800, we have in Egypt many persons named after Nimrod, showing a knowledge of the mighty hunter there." (Chaldean Genesis p. 313)

Actually, the words nim and rwd have a Nilotic origin. A great Kushite ruler Nimlot controlled the waterways between Arvad on the Mediterranean and Sidon on the Red Sea. Abraham's nephew, Lot, was kin to the great Nimlot, as is attested by Deuteronomy 2:9 where we read that God gave Ar to Lot's descendants the Moabites. The ancient 3-clan confederation of Ar included the island kingdom of Arvad and the Arkites (Gen. 10:15-18). 

The Arvadites had close Egyptian ties and paid tribute to the Kushite Pharaohs for protection. The Kushite Pharaoh Tahar-ko called the land of Canaan and Syria “Khor” which is a compound of K for Kush and Hor for Horus. (Kash, Kwash, Akwanski and Kush are cognates referring to the First People, who were considered deified ancestors.)  In 2010, the 4400 year old tomb of a Kushite priest was found at Giza. The tomb belongs to a priest named Rwd-Ka (Ruler of the Sphere) and dates to the 5th Dynasty, between 2465 and 2323 B.C. He is recognized as a very high ranking ruler-priest.

The older Kushitic root of the names Arkite and Arvadite is AR and its origin is likely Proto-Saharan. Among the Igbo of Nigeria, the scribe clans were called Ar or Aro. They are also known for their skill in hunting and war.

The word Arab means “father is scribe.” The earliest known writing originated in Canaan among the coastline peoples of the Red Sea and Phoenicia. The oldest Arabic texts were found in the region of Dedan. The Arabic word for throne is aarsh and related to the scribal function attached to rulers.

These references from antiquity testify to the Kushite expansion out of Africa. This expansion was driven by the unique marriage and ascendency pattern of Abraham's Kushite people.  Each Kushite ruler had two wives. The first wife was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the second was a patrilineal cousin or niece (as was Keturah to Abraham).  The firstborn son of the sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father, so Isaac was Abraham's heir. The firstborn son of the cousin/niece wife ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. So Joktan, Abraham's firstborn by Keturah, ascended to the throne of Joktan the Elder, Keturah's father. All other sons were given gifts and sent away to establish territories of their own with God's help.

Related reading:  Hittite ReligionWho were the Kushites?; Abraham's Nephews and Niece; Peleg: Time of Division; The Migration of Abraham's Ancestors


Unknown said...

where does the book of Genesis state that Nimrud was cities builder? thanks, Gevara

Alice C. Linsley said...

Gevara, You can read about Nimrod and his territory and cities in Genesis 10.

Anonymous said...

Sargon I according to Asyriologist is( biblical Nimrud). Akkadians were one of clan of Joktanite clan and also descent from Kushite Rama. Keturah concubine of Abraham was his daughter.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, I believe that Nimrud of the Bible is probably Sar-gon I. Both "sar" and "gon" are African words meaning king or ruler. So Sargon means something like "kings of kings."

Abraham's cousin wife, Keturah, could not have been a literal daughter of Nimrud as she lived at least 8 generations after Nimrud. Her father's name was Yaqtan (Joktan).

Alice C. Linsley said...

Peter, Akkad was an important city of Nimrod's kingdom in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. Akkadian script is named for this location. This script predates Joktan. Look at the diagram above.

Anonymous said...

Akkadians were Kushitic but we know also they were Semitic or not?

Alice C. Linsley said...

The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried. Abraham is a descendant of both rulers.

The God of Ham and Shem was one and the same.

Anonymous said...

The God of Ham and Shem was one and the same? There is archeology from middle east region about Edenic people they worship Yahweh and predates Sumerian religion. Sumerian they worship the fallen Angels. Sumerian religion came from proto -saharian. Civilization. The sun worshiping start when Angels came on the Earth.and continue by Hams wife. There is legend that state :Hams wife Enonia she was daughter of Lilith or Ishtar which is fallen Angel Aza. Sun worshipers claim descent from NEFILIM via Hams wife.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Peter, This blog is dedicated to Biblical Anthropology. As such, we try to restrict our discussion to information, especially anthropologically significant data, found in the Bible. None of what you have written above is found in the Bible. None of this Talmudic speculation can be verified using the Biblical text.

Alice C. Linsley said...

AlDahir said...

Nimrod: (Gen 10:8) Nmrd/Nmrwd (Hebrew)/Nmrwd (Arabic): Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary says that this name is a foreign word; however, ‘rwd’ in Hebrew means ‘to rule’. Nam is most likely Nammu. Nimrwd appears to mean ‘the ruler Nammu’ and is most likely a reference to Ur Nammu who founded the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur. He is remembered for his legal code, the Code of Ur Nammu, the oldest known surviving example in the world. He ruled Ur, Eridu and Uruk. He constructed buildings at Nippur, Larsa, Kish, Adab and Umma. He built roads and restored order after the Gutian period. He also built a number of ziggurats, including the Great Ziggurat of Ur. The latter building explains the Tower of Babel. His conquests and empire explain the empire attributed to him in Gen 10.