Genesis 10:9 MEANING

Genesis 10:9
(9) He was a mighty hunter.--When men were still leading a pastoral life, and were but poorly armed, the war with wild beasts was a most important and dangerous occupation. Probably from single combats with fierce animals, Nimrod, now recognised as a public benefactor, was led to organise hunts upon a large scale, and so, like Romulus, became the chief of a band of the most spirited and vigorous shepherds. "With their aid, he next undertook the more serious duty of introducing order and rule among men who had hitherto lived in scattered groups without control, and without the means of suppressing feuds and of punishing deeds of violence.

Before the Lord.--A strong superlative. (Comp. Genesis 13:13.)

Verse 9. - He was a mighty hunter. Originally doubtless of wild beasts, which, according to Bochart, was the first step to usurping dominion over men and using them for battle. "Nempe venationum prsetextu collegit juvenum robustam manum, quam talibus exercitus ad belli labores induravit" ('Phaleg.,' 54:12). Before the Lord.

1. Ἐναντίον κυρίου (LXX.), in a spirit of defiance (Augustine, Keil, Murphy, Bush).

2. Coram Des, in God's sight, as an aggravation of his sin - el, Genesis 13:3 (Cajetan).

3. As a superlative, declaring his excellence - cf. Genesis 13:10; Genesis 30:8; Genesis 35:5; 1 Samuel 11:7; John 3:3; Acts 7:20 (Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Kalisch, ' Speaker's Commentary'). 4. With the Divine approbation, as one who broke the way through rude, uncultivated nature for the institutions of Jehovah (Lange). Cf. Genesis 17:18; Genesis 24:40; 1 Samuel 11:15; Psalm 41:12. Probably the first or the third conveys the sense of the expression. Wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the (a) mighty hunter before the Lord. The precise import of this is usually determined by the view taken of the previous phrase.

10:8-14 Nimrod was a great man in his day; he began to be mighty in the earth, Those before him were content to be upon the same level with their neighbours, and though every man bare rule in his own house, yet no man pretended any further. Nimrod was resolved to lord it over his neighbours. The spirit of the giants before the flood, who became mighty men, and men of renown, Ge 6:4, revived in him. Nimrod was a great hunter. Hunting then was the method of preventing the hurtful increase of wild beasts. This required great courage and address, and thus gave an opportunity for Nimrod to command others, and gradually attached a number of men to one leader. From such a beginning, it is likely, that Nimrod began to rule, and to force others to submit. He invaded his neighbours' rights and properties, and persecuted innocent men; endeavouring to make all his own by force and violence. He carried on his oppressions and violence in defiance of God himself. Nimrod was a great ruler. Some way or other, by arts or arms, he got into power, and so founded a monarchy, which was the terror of the mighty, and bid fair to rule all the world. Nimrod was a great builder. Observe in Nimrod the nature of ambition. It is boundless; much would have more, and still cries, Give, give. It is restless; Nimrod, when he had four cities under his command, could not be content till he had four more. It is expensive; Nimrod will rather be at the charge of rearing cities, than not have the honour of ruling them. It is daring, and will stick at nothing. Nimrod's name signifies rebellion; tyrants to men are rebels to God. The days are coming, when conquerors will no longer be spoken of with praise, as in man's partial histories, but be branded with infamy, as in the impartial records of the Bible.He was a mighty hunter before the Lord,.... Which might be literally true; for, from the time of the flood to his days, wild beasts might increase very much, and greatly annoy men who dwelt very likely for the most part in tents scattered up and down in divers places: so that he did a good office in hunting and destroying them. An Arabic writer (o), of some authority in the eastern parts, says, that by hunting he got food sufficient for the builders of Babel, while they were employed therein; and Aben Ezra interprets it in his favour, that he built altars, and the creatures he took in hunting he offered them on them a burnt offering to God. But neither of these is probable; however, it may be observed, that in this way by hunting he arrived to the power and dominion over men he afterwards had; for not only he ingratiated himself into their favour by hunting down and destroying the wild beasts which molested them, but by these means he might gather together a large number of young men, strong and robust, to join him in hunting; whereby they were inured to hardships, and trained up to military exercises, and were taught the way of destroying men as well as beasts; and by whose help and assistance he might arrive to the government he had over men; and hunting, according to Aristotle (p), is a part of the military art, which is to be used both on beasts, and on such men who are made to be ruled, but are not willing; and it appears, from Xenophon (q), that the kings of Persia were fitted for war and government by hunting, and which is still reckoned in many countries a part of royal education. And it may be remarked, that, as Nimrod and Bacchus are the same, as before observed, one of the titles of Bacchus is "an hunter". Cedrenus (r) says, that the Assyrians deified Nebrod, or Nimrod, and placed him among the constellations of heaven, and called him Orion; the same first discovered the art of hunting, therefore they joined to Orion the star called the dog star. However, besides his being in a literal sense an hunter, he was in a figurative sense one, a tyrannical ruler and governor of men. The Targum of Jonathan is;"he was a powerful rebel before the Lord;''and that of Jerusalem,"he was powerful in hunting in sin before the Lord,''and another Jewish writer (s) says, he was called a mighty hunter, because he was all his days taking provinces by force, and spoiling others of their substance; and that he was "before the Lord", truly so, and he seeing and taking notice of it, openly and publicly, and without fear of him, and in a bold and impudent manner, in despite of him, see Genesis 6:11. The Septuagint render it, "against the Lord"; he intended, as Jarchi's note is, to provoke him to his face:

wherefore it is said; in a proverbial way, when any man is grown mighty and powerful, or is notoriously wicked, or is become a tyrant and an oppressor of the people, that he is

even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. This was a proverb used in the times of Moses, as it is common now with us to call a hunter Nimrod.

(o) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 18. (p) Politic. l. 1. c. 8. (q) Cyropaed. l. 1. c. 5. (r) Apud Abrami Pharum, l. 5. sect. 6. p. 128. (s) R. Gedaliah, Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 76. 2.

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