copper portrait

compiled by Dee Finney


3-3-09 - VISIONS - I saw a man holding a letter addressed to Airman Nimrod Shellas_______, giving him instructions.  The letter was quite lengthy on the page.

VISION 2:  I saw a closeup of Nimrod's face.  He had thick blonde hair and blue eyes with bangs over his forehead.  He raised his hand to brush his bangs upward, and I saw a thick blonde braid right in the center that was cut short so it wouldn't stick out from under the bangs which hid it.

The first thing I thought was 'unicorn', and then I remembered that when I was young, I had a very prominent 'widow's peak in that same spot and I was blonde and blue-eyed as well as a child.


Braiding usually consists of the interweaving of at least three strands of material into an overlapping pattern. Braiding can usually be done with a number of different materials such as hair, string, yarn and rope and will often serve to increase the strength and aesthetic value of the interwoven materials.


  1. Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim ... - Google Books Result

    by Brannon M. Wheeler - 2002 - Religion - 391 pages
    It is also mentioned that the two
    braids were like horns on his head.


    Moses from the Tomb
    of Julius II. San Pietro
    in Vincoli, Rome.Italy

    ... The believers were Solomon, David, and Alexander.  The disbelievers were Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar. ...

In the Pagan religion of Mithraism, Saturn was another name of Nimrod or Tammuz as The hidden god."

Who was Nimrod?

Nimrod (Hebrew: נִמְרוֹד, Standard Nimrod Tiberian נִמְרֹד ; Nimrōḏ Persian: نمرود ) is a Mesopotamian monarch mentioned in the Book of Genesis, who also figures in many legends and folktales. He is depicted in the Bible as a mighty ruler and nation builder who founded many cities including the great Babel or Babylon.


The Following is from:

By : Emil G. Hirsch   M. Seligsohn   Wilhelm Bacher   Executive Committee of the Editorial Board.  

—Biblical Data:

Son of Cush and grandson of Ham; his name has become proverbial as that of a mighty hunter. His "kingdom" comprised Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Sinar, otherwise known as the land of Nimrod (Gen. x. 8-10; I Chron. i. 10; Micah v. 5 [A. V. 6]).E. G. H. M. Sel.

—In Rabbinical Literature:

Nimrod is the prototype of a rebellious people, his name being interpreted as "he who made all the people rebellious against God" (Pes. 94b; comp. Targ. of pseudo-Jonathan and Targ. Yer. to Gen. x. 9). He is identified with Cush and with Amraphel, the name of the latter being interpreted as "he whose words are dark" (; Gen. R. xlii. 5; for other explanations see below). As he was the first hunter he was consequently the first who introduced the eating of meat by man. He was also the first to make war on other peoples (Midr. Agadah to Gen. x. 9).

His Feats as a Hunter.

Nimrod was not wicked in his outh. On the contrary, when a young man he used to sacrifice to Yhwh the animals which he caught while hunting ("Sefer ha-Yashar," section "Noa," pp. 9a et seq., Leghorn, 1870). His great success in hunting (comp. Gen. x. 9) was due to the fact that he wore the coats of skin which God made for Adam and Eve (Gen. iii. 21). These coats were handed down from father to son, and thus came into the possession of Noah, who took them with him into the ark, whence they were stolen by Ham. The latter gave them to his son Cush, who in turn gave them to Nimrod, and when the animals saw the latter clad in them, they crouched before him so that he had no difficulty in catching them. The people, however, thought that these feats were due to his extraordinary strength, so that they made him their king (Pirḳe R. El. xxiv.; "Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.; comp. Gen. R. lxv. 12).

Made King.

According to another account, when Nimrod was eighteen years old, war broke out between the Hamites, his kinsmen, and the Japhethites. The latter were at first victorious, but Nimrod, at the head of a small army of Cushites, attacked and defeated them, after which he was made king over all the people on earth, appointing Terah his minister. It was then, elated by so much glory, that Nimrod changed his behavior toward Yhwh and became the most flagrant idolater. When informed of Abraham's birth he requested Terah to sell him the new-born child in order that he might kill it (see Jew. Encyc. i. 86a, s.v. Abraham in Rabbinical Literature). Terah hid Abraham and in his stead brought to Nimrod the child of a slave, which Nimrod dashed to pieces ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.).

Nimrod is generally considered to have been the one who suggested building the Tower of Babel and who directed its construction. God said: "I made Nimrod great; but he built a tower in order that he might rebel against Me" (Ḥul. 89b). The tower is called by the Rabbis "the house of Nimrod," and is considered as a house of idolatry which the owners abandoned in time of peace; consequently Jews may make use of it ('Ab. Zarah 53b). After the builders of the tower were dispersed Nimrod remained in Shinar, where he reestablished his kingdom. According to the "Sefer ha-Yashar" (l.c.), he at this time acquired the name "Amraphel" in allusion to the fall of his princes () during the dispersion. According to the Targum of pseudo-Jonathan (to Gen. x. 11), however, Nimrod had left Babylonia before the building of the tower, and had gone to Assyria, where he built four other cities, namely, Nineveh, Rehobot, Calah, and Resen (comp. Naḥmanides ad loc.).

Nimrod's Dream.

The punishment visited on the builders of the tower did not cause Nimrod to change his conduct; he remained an idolater. He particularly persecuted Abraham, who by his command was thrown into a heated furnace; and it was on this account, according to one opinion, that Nimrod was called "Amraphel" ( = "he said, throw in"; Targ. pseudo-Jonathan to Gen. xiv. 1; Gen. R. xlii. 5; Cant. R. viii. 8). When Nimrod was informed that Abraham had come forth from the furnace uninjured, he remitted his persecution of the worshiper of Yhwh; but on the following night he saw in a dream a man coming out of the furnace and advancing toward him with a drawn sword. Nimrod thereupon ran away, but the man threw an egg at him; this was afterward transformed into a large river in which all his troops were drowned, only he himself and three of his followers escaping. Then the river again became an egg, and from the latter came forth a small fowl, which flew at Nimrod and pecked out his eye. The dream was interpreted as forecasting Nimrod's defeat by Abraham, wherefore Nimrod sent secretly to kill Abraham; but the latter emigrated with his family to the land of Canaan. Ten years later Nimrod came to wage war with Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, who had been one of Nimrod's generals, and who after the dispersion of the builders of the tower went to Elam and formed there an independent kingdom. Nimrod at the head of an army set out with the intention of punishing his rebellious general, but the latter routed him. Nimrod then became a vassal of Chedorlaomer, who involved him in the war with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, with whom he was defeated by Abraham ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.; comp. Gen. xiv. 1-17).

Nimrod was slain by Esau, between whom and himself jealousy existed owing to the fact that they were both hunters (Targ. pseudo-Jonathan to Gen. xxv. 27; "Sefer ha-Yashar," section "Toledot," p. 40b; Pirḳe R. El. l.c.; comp. Gen. R. lxv. 12).W. B. M. Sel.

—Critical View:

Two prominent theories are now held in regard to Nimrod's identity: one, adopted by G. Smith and Jeremias, is that Nimrod is to be identified with the Babylonian hero Izdubar or Gishdubar (Gilgamesh); the second, that of Sayce,Pinches, and others, identifies Nimrod with Marduk, the Babylonian Mercury. The former identification is based on the fact that Izdubar is represented in the Babylonian epos as a mighty hunter, always accompanied by four dogs, and as the founder of the first great kingdom in Asia. Moreover, instead of "Izdubar"—the correct reading of which had not yet been determined—Jeremias saw the possibility of reading "Namra Udu" (shining light), a reading which would have made the identification with Nimrod almost certain. Those who identify Nimrod with Marduk, however, object that the name of Izdubar must be read, as is now generally conceded, "Gilgamesh," and that the signs which constitute the name of Marduk, who also is represented as a hunter, are read phonetically "Amar Ud"; and ideographically they may be read "Namr Ud"—in Hebrew "Nimrod." The difficulty of reconciling the Biblical Nimrod, the son of Cush, with Marduk, the son of Ea, may be overcome by interpreting the Biblical words as meaning that Nimrod was a descendant of Cush.

Two other theories may be mentioned: one is that Nimrod represents the constellation of Orion; the other is that Nimrod stands for a tribe, not an individual (comp. Lagarde, "Armenische Studien," in "Abhandlungen der Göttinger Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften," xxii. 77; Nöldeke, in "Z. D. M. G." xxviii. 279).

Bibliography: Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl.;

Joseph Grivel, in Transactions Soc. Bibl. Arch. iii. 136 et seq.;
Sayce, ib. ii. 243 et seq.;
Jeremias, Izdubar Nimrod, Introduction, Leipsic, 1891;
Pinches, The Old Testament, pp. 127-131;
Rubin, Birusi ha-Kasdi, pp. 71-72, Vienna, 1882.E. C. M. Sel.

—In Arabic Literature:

By the Arabs Nimrod is considered as the supreme example of the tyrant ("al-jabbar"). There is some confusion among Arabian historians as to Nimrod's genealogy. According to one authority he was the son of Mash the son of Aram, and consequently a Semite; he built the Tower of Babel and also a bridge over the Euphrates, and reigned five hundred years over the Nabatæans, his kinsmen. But the general opinion is that he was a Hamite, son of Canaan the son of Cush, or son of Cush the son of Canaan (Ṭabari gives both); that he was born at the time of Reu, and was the first to establish fire-worship. Another legend is to the effect that there were two Nimrods: the first was the son of Cush; the second was the well-known tyrant and contemporary of Abraham; he was the son of Canaan and therefore a great-grandson of the first Nimrod. According to Mas'udi ("Muruj al-Dhahab," ii. 96), Nimrod was the first Babylonian king, and during a reign of sixty years he dug many canals in 'Iraḳ.

Nimrod and Abraham.

The author of the "Ta'rikh Muntaḥab" (quoted by D'Herbelot in his "Bibliothèque Orientale") identifies Nimrod with Daḥḥak (the Persian Zoak), the first Persian king after the Flood. But Al-Kharizmi ("Mafati al-'Ulum," quoted by D'Herbelot) identifies him with Kai Kaos, the second king of the second Persian dynasty. Nimrod reigned where Bagdad is now situated, and at first he reigned with justice (see Nimrod in Rabbinical Literature); but Satan perverted him, and then he began to persecute all the worshipers of God. His chief vizier was Azar (Terah), the father of Abraham; and the midrashic legends of Abraham's birth in which Nimrod is mentioned, as well as those concerning Nimrod's persecution of Abraham—whom he cast into a furnace—are narrated also by the Mohammedans (see Abraham in Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature and in Mohammedan Legend).

Nimrod is referred to in the Koran (xxi. 68-69). When Nimrod saw Abraham come unharmed from the furnace, he said to him: "Thou hast a powerful God; I wish to offer Him hospitality." Abraham told him that his God needed nobody's hospitality. Nevertheless Nimrod ordered thousands of horned and small cattle brought, and fowl and fish, and sacrificed them all to God; but God did not accept them. Humiliated, Nimrod shut himself in his palace and allowed no one to approach him. According to another tradition, Nimrod challenged Abraham, when the latter came out of the furnace, to fight with him. Nimrod gathered a considerable army and on the appointed day was surprised to find Abraham alone. Asked where his army was, Abraham pointed to a swarm of gnats, which routed Nimrod's troops (see, however, below). Nimrod assembled his ministers and informed them of his intention to ascend into the heavens and strike down Abraham's God. His ministers having told him that it would be difficult to accomplish such a journey, the heavens being very high, Nimrod conceived the idea of building a high tower, by means of which he might accomplish his purpose (comp. Sanh. 109a). After many years had been spent in the construction of the tower, Nimrod ascended to its top, but he was greatly surprised to find that the heavens were still as remote from him as when he was on the ground. He was still more mortified on the following day, when the tower collapsed with such a noise that the people fainted with terror, those that recovered losing their speech (an allusion to the confusion of tongues).

Undaunted by this failure, Nimrod planned another way to reach the heavens. He had a large chest made with an opening in the top and another in the bottom. At the four corners of the chest stakes were fixed, with a piece of flesh on each point. Then four large vultures, or, according to another source, four eagles, previously fed upon flesh, were attached to the stakes below the meat. Accompanied by one of his most faithful viziers, Nimrod entered the chest, and the four great birds soared up in the air carrying the chest with them (comp. Alexander's ascent into the air; Yer. 'Ab. Zarah iii. 42c; Num. R. xiii. 13). The vizier opened alternately the upper and lower doors of the chest in order that by looking in both directions he might know whether or not he was approaching heaven. When they were so high up that they could see nothing in either direction Nimrod took his bow and shot arrows into the sky. Gabriel thereupon sent the arrows back stained with blood, so that Nimrod was convinced that he had avenged himself upon Abraham's God. After wandering in the air for a certain length of time Nimrod descended, and the chest crashed upon the ground with such violencethat the mountains trembled and the angels thought an order from God had descended upon the earth. This event is alluded to in the Koran (xiv. 47): "The machinations and the contrivances of the impious cause the mountains to tremble." Nimrod himself was not hurt by the fall.

After these adventures Nimrod continued to reign wickedly. Four hundred years later an angel in the form of a man appeared to him and exhorted him to repent, but Nimrod declared that he himself was sole ruler and challenged God to fight with him. Nimrod asked for a delay of three days, during which he gathered a considerable army; but this was exterminated by swarms of gnats. One of these insects is said to have entered Nimrod's nose, reached the chambers of his brain, and gnawed at it. To allay the pain Nimrod ordered some one to strike with a hammer upon an anvil, in order that the noise might cause the gnat to cease gnawing (comp. the same story in connection with Titus in Giṭ. 56b). Nimrod died after forty years' suffering.

Bibliography: D'Herbelot, Bibliothèque Orientale;
Hughes, Dictionary of Islam;
Mas'udi, Muruj al-Dhahab, ed. Barbier de Meynard, i. 78, 81-83; ii. 96; iii. 240;
Mirkhond, Raudat al-Safa, English transl. by Rehatsek, part i. vol. i., pp. 126-128, 134-144;
Ṭabari, Chroniques, French transl. by Zotenberg, i. 120, 136 et seq., 148-150, Paris, 1867.
E. G. H. M. Sel.

Despite his stance as a powerful leader, his reputation was tarnished by his traditional association with the construction of the Tower of Babel. Outside of the Bible, several ruins preserve Nimrod's name,[1] and he is featured in the midrash.

Mention of Nimrod in the Bible is rather limited. According to the "documentary hypothesis" of the Bible's origin, the Jahwist writer(s) make the earliest mention of Nimrod.[1] He is described as the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, great-grandson of Noah; and as "a mighty one on the earth" and "a mighty hunter before the Lord". He also appears in the First Book of Chronicles and in the Book of Micah.

Nimrod is said to be the founder and king of the first empire after the Flood, and his realm is connected with the Mesopotamian towns Babylon (Babel), Uruk, Akkad and Calneh. He is mentioned in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10), where he is said to have founded many cities. Owing to an ambiguity in the original Hebrew text, it is unclear whether it is he or Asshur who additionally founded Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and both of these interpretations are reflected in the various English versions.(Genesis 10:8–10)

 Traditions and legends

Though not clearly stated in the Bible, Nimrod has since ancient times traditionally been considered the creator of the Tower of Babel. Since his kingdom included the towns in Shinar, it is usually further assumed that it was under his direction that the building began; this is the view adopted in the Targums and later texts such as the writings of Josephus. Some extrabiblical sources,[specify] however, assert to the contrary, that Nimrod left the district before the building of the tower.

According to Hebrew traditions, Nimrod was of Mizraim by his mother, but came from Cush son of Ham and expanded Asshur, which he inherited. His name has become proverbial as that of a "mighty hunter". His "kingdom" comprised Babel (Babylon), Erech (Uruk), Accad (Akkad), and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, otherwise known as the land of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10; 1 Chronicles 1:10, Micah 5:6).

Josephus wrote:

Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power… Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion…

The Book of Jubilees mentions the name of "Nebrod" (the Greek form of Nimrod) only as being the father of Azurad, the wife of Eber and mother of Peleg (8:7). This account would thus make him an ancestor of Abraham, and hence of all Hebrews.

An early Arabic work known as Kitab al-Magall or the Book of Rolls (part of Clementine literature) states that Nimrod built the towns of Hadâniûn, Ellasar, Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Rûhîn, Atrapatene, Telalôn, and others, that he began his reign as king over earth when Reu was 163, and that he reigned for 69 years, building Nisibis, Raha (Edessa) and Harran when Peleg was 50. It further adds that Nimrod "saw in the sky a piece of black cloth and a crown; he called Sasan the weaver to his presence, and commanded him to make him a crown like it; and he set jewels in it and wore it. He was the first king who wore a crown. For this reason people who knew nothing about it, said that a crown came down to him from heaven." Later, the book describes how Nimrod established fire worship and idolatry, then receives instruction in divination for 3 years from Bouniter, the fourth son of Noah[2].

In the Recognitions (R 4.29), one version of the Clementines, Nimrod is equated with the legendary Assyrian king Ninus, who first appears in the Greek historian Ctesias as the founder of Nineveh. However, in another version, the Homilies (H 9.4-6), Nimrod is made to be the same as Zoroaster.

The Syriac Cave of Treasures (ca. 350) contains an account of Nimrod very similar to that in the Kitab al-Magall, except that Nisibis, Edessa and Harran are said to be built by Nimrod when Reu was 50, and that he began his reign as the first king when Reu was 130. In this version, the weaver is called Sisan, and the fourth son of Noah is called Yonton.

Jerome, writing ca. 390, explains in Hebrew Questions on Genesis that after Nimrod reigned in Babel, "he also reigned in Arach [Erech], that is, in Edissa; and in Achad [Accad], which is now called Nisibis; and in Chalanne [Calneh], which was later called Seleucia after King Seleucus when its name had been changed, and which is now in actual fact called Ctesiphon." However, this traditional identification of the cities built by Nimrod in Genesis is no longer accepted by modern scholars, who consider them to be located in Sumer, not Syria.

The Ge'ez Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan (ca. 5th century) also contains a version similar to that in the Cave of Treasures, but the crown maker is called Santal, and the name of Noah's fourth son who instructs Nimrod is Barvin.

In the History of the Prophets and Kings by the 9th century Muslim historian al-Tabari, Nimrod has the tower built in Babil, Allah destroys it, and the language of mankind, formerly Syriac, is then confused into 72 languages. Another Muslim historian of the 13th century, Abu al-Fida relates the same story, adding that the patriarch Eber (an ancestor of Abraham) was allowed to keep the original tongue, Hebrew in this case, because he would not partake in the building.

In Armenian legend, Haik, the founder of the Armenian people, defeated Nimrod in battle near Lake Van.

According to the medieval Hungarian chronicle Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum, the ancestors of Huns and Magyars (Hunor and Magor, respectively) were the twin sons of Menrot (son of Tana) and Eneth. In some of the different versions of this legend (Gesta Hungarorum, Chronicon Pictum), Menrot is referred to as Nimrod, the son of Kush, the "wise and just king" of the "marvellously beautiful and wealthy city of Ur" (where "Ur" is also a Hungarian name for God.) and Attila the Hun is referred to by the title "Attila, by the grace of God - son of Bendeguz (Mundzuk), grandson of the great Nimrod - the king of Huns, Medes, Goths, Danes, the Fear of World, Scourge of God".

One tradition[who?] suggests that Nimrod was killed by a wild animal. Another[who?] says that Shem killed him because he had led the people into the worship of Baal. Then tore his body to pieces and had them sent them out as a warning to others not to indulge in the false worship. Later his mother or wife, Shemiramis, collected them, put them together and claimed he was still alive, but had become a god, similar to the legend of Isis and Osiris[citation needed]. Still another mention of Nimrod is in the Book of Jasher Chapter 27:7 , which ascribes his death to Esau (grandson of Abraham), who supposedly beheaded him.

 The evil Nimrod vs. the righteous Abraham

The Bible does not mention any meeting between Nimrod and Abraham. In fact, there is a gap of seven generations between them, Nimrod being Noah's great grandson while Abraham was ten generations removed from Noah (Genesis 10,11). Nevertheless, later Jewish tradition brings the two of them together in a cataclysmic collision, a potent symbol of the cosmic confrontation between Good and Evil, and specifically of Monotheism against paganism and idolatry.

This tradition is first attested in the writings of Pseudo-Philo (van der Toorn and van der Horst 1990, p. 19), continues in the Talmud, goes through later rabbinical writings in the Middle Ages[3], and is still being added to by contemporary rabbis.[citation needed]

In some versions - as in Josephus - Nimrod is a man who sets his will against that of God. In others, he proclaims himself a god and is worshipped as such by his subjects, sometimes with his consort Semiramis worshipped as a goddess at his side. (see also Ninus)

A portent in the stars tells Nimrod and his astrologers of the impending birth of Abraham, who would put an end to idolatry. Nimrod therefore orders the killing of all newborn babies. However, Abraham's mother escapes into the fields and gives birth secretly (in some accounts, the baby Abraham is placed in a manger).

Abraham grows up and already at a young age he recognizes God and starts worshipping Him. He confronts Nimrod and tells him face-to-face to cease his idolatry, whereupon Nimrod orders him burned at the stake. In some versions, Nimrod has his subjects gather wood for four whole years, so as to burn Abraham in the biggest bonfire the world had seen (a story possibly inspired or confused with Nimrod's building of the Tower). Yet when the fire is lighted, Abraham walks out unscathed.

In some versions, Nimrod then challenges Abraham to battle. When Nimrod appears at the head of enormous armies, Abraham produces an army of gnats which destroys Nimrod's army. Some accounts have a gnat or mosquito enter Nimrod's brain and drive him out of his mind (a divine retribution which Jewish tradition also assigned to the Roman Emperor Titus, destroyer of the Temple in Jerusalem).

In some versions, Nimrod repents and accepts God, offering numerous sacrifices that God rejects (as with Cain). Other versions have Nimrod give to Abraham, as a reconciliatory gift, the slave Eliezer, whom some accounts describe as Nimrod's own son. (The Bible also mentions Eliezer, though not making any connection between him and Nimrod. He was Abraham's majordomo, entrusted with missions such as fetching a bride for Abraham's son, and he has entered Jewish tradition as the archetype of a loyal servant.)

Still other versions have Nimrod persisting in his rebellion against God, or resuming it. Indeed, Abraham's crucial act of leaving Mesopotamia and settling in Canaan, which effectively sets the stage for the rest of the Bible, is sometimes interpreted as an escape from Nimrod's revenge. Some accounts place the building of the Tower many generations before Abraham's birth (as in the Bible, also Jubilees). In others, it is a later rebellion after Nimrod failed in his confrontation with Abraham, and in still other versions, Nimrod does not give up after the Tower fails, but goes on to try storming Heaven in person, in a chariot driven by birds.

The story attributes to Abraham elements from the story of Moses' birth (the cruel king killing innocent babies, with the midwives ordered to kill them) and from the careers of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who emerged unscathed from the fire. Nimrod is thus made to conflate the role and attributes of two archetypal cruel and persecuting kings - Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh. Some Jewish traditions also identified him with Cyrus whose birth according to Herodotus was accompanied by portents which made his grandfather try to kill him.

The same confrontation is also found extensively in the Islamic Qur'an, between Namrood, the arch-rebel against Allah's authority, and the Prophet Ibrahim (Arabic version of "Abraham"), honoured in Islam as "Allah's khalil", meaning he who has reached a high state of love for Allah. The Qur'an takes an even dimmer view of Nimrod than the rabbinic tales. While some Jewish sources have him repenting in the end of the tale, Muslim sources usually depict him as obdurate to the bitter end, however many times his plots were foiled. In Ibrahim's confrontation with Namrood, the former argues that Allah is the one who gives life and gives death. Namrood responds by bringing out two people sentenced to death. He releases one and kills the other as a poor attempt at making a point that he also brings life and death. Ibrahim refutes by stating that Allah brings the Sun out from the East, and so he asks Namrood to bring it from the West. Namrood is then perplexed and angered. He arranges for Ibrahim to be thrown into a great fire, but Allah protects him from it by commanding the fire to be cool and safe for Ibrahim.

Whether or not conceived as having ultimately repented, Nimrod remained in Jewish and Islamic tradition an emblematic evil person, an archetype of an idolater and a tyrannical king. In rabbinical writings up to the present, he is almost invariably referred to as "Nimrod the Evil"(Hebrew: נמרוד הרשע‎), and to Muslims he is "Nimrod al-Jabbar" (The Tyrant or Thug).

The story of Abraham's confrontation with Nimrod did not remain within the confines of learned writings and religious treatises, but also conspicuously influenced popular culture. A notable example is "Quando el Rey Nimrod" ("When King Nimrod"), one of the most well-known folksongs in Ladino, (Judeo-Spanish), apparently written during the reign of King Alfonso X of Castile.

Beginning with the words: "When King Nimrod went out to the fields/ Looked at the heavens and at the stars/He saw a holy light in the Jewish quarter/A sign that Abraham, our father, was about to be born", the song gives a poetic account of the persecutions perpetrated by the cruel Nimrod and the miraculous birth and deeds of the savior Abraham[4].

Text of the Midrash Raba Version

The following version of the Abraham vs. Nimrod confrontation appears in the Midrash Raba, a major compilation of Jewish Scriptural exegesis. The part relating to Genesis, in which this appears (Chapter 38, 13), is considered to date from the sixth century.

"נטלו ומסרו לנמרוד. אמר לו: עבוד לאש. אמר לו אברהם: ואעבוד למים, שמכבים את האש? אמר לו נמרוד: עבוד למים! אמר לו: אם כך, אעבוד לענן, שנושא את המים? אמר לו: עבוד לענן! אמר לו: אם כך, אעבוד לרוח, שמפזרת עננים? אמר לו: עבוד לרוח! אמר לו: ונעבוד לבן אדם, שסובל הרוחות? אמר לו: מילים אתה מכביר, אני איני משתחוה אלא לאוּר - הרי אני משליכך בתוכו, ויבא אלוה שאתה משתחוה לו ויצילך הימנו! היה שם הרן עומד. אמר: מה נפשך, אם ינצח אברהם - אומַר 'משל אברהם אני', ואם ינצח נמרוד - אומַר 'משל נמרוד אני'. כיון שירד אברהם לכבשן האש וניצול, אמרו לו: משל מי אתה? אמר להם: משל אברהם אני! נטלוהו והשליכוהו לאור, ונחמרו בני מעיו ויצא ומת על פני תרח אביו. וכך נאמר: וימת הרן על פני תרח אביו." (בראשית רבה ל"ח, יג) (...) He [Abraham] was given over to Nimrod. [Nimrod] told him: Worship the Fire! Abraham said to him: Shall I then worship the water, which puts off the fire! Nimrod told him: Worship the water! [Abraham] said to him: If so, shall I worship the cloud, which carries the water? [Nimrod] told him: Worship the cloud! [Abraham] said to him: If so, shall I worship the wind, which scatters the clouds? [Nimrod] said to him: Worship the wind! [Abraham] said to him: And shall we worship the human, who withstands the wind? Said [Nimrod] to him: You pile words upon words, I bow to none but the fire - in it shall I throw you, and let the God to whom you bow come and save you from it!
Haran [Abraham's brother] was standing there. He said [to himself]: what shall I do? If Abraham wins, I shall say: "I am of Abraham's [followers]", if Nimrod wins I shall say "I am of Nimrod's [followers]". When Abraham went into the furnace and survived, Haran was asked: "Whose [follower] are you?" and he answered: "I am Abraham's!". [Then] they took him and threw him into the furnace, and his belly opened and he died and predeceased Terach, his father.
[The Bible (Genesis 11:28, mentions Haran predeceasing Terach, but gives no details.]


It is often assumed that Nimrod's reign included war and terror, and that he was a hunter not only of animals, but also a person who used aggression against other humans. The Hebrew translated "before" in the phrase "Mighty hunter before the LORD" is commonly analysed as meaning literally "in the Face of" in this interpretation, to suggest a certain rebelliousness in the establishment of a human government. Since some of the towns mentioned were in the territory of Assyria, which is connected to Shem's son Asshur, Nimrod is sometimes speculated to have invaded territory that did not belong to him. However, various translations of the Hebrew text leave it ambiguous as to whether the towns in Assyria were founded by Nimrod or by Asshur.

Inscription of Naram Sin found at the city of Marad

Historians and mythographers have long tried to find links between Nimrod and figures from other traditions. Marduk (Merodach), has been suggested as a possible archetype for Nimrod, especially at the beginning of the 20th century.[citation needed] Nimrod's imperial ventures described in Genesis may be based on the conquests of the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I (Dalley et al., 1998, p. 67). Alexander Hislop, in his tract The Two Babylons (Chapter 2, Section II, Sub-Section I) decided that Nimrod was to be identified with Ninus, who according to Greek legend was a Mesopotamian king and husband of Semiramis (see below); with a whole host of deities throughout the Mediterranean world, and with the Persian Zoroaster. The identification with Ninus follows that of the Clementine Recognitions; the one with Zoroaster, that of the Clementine Homilies, both works part of Clementine literature. [5] Ninus (and Venus presumed to be his great mother Queen Semiramis) ruled Nineveh in 1269 BC, but Greeks placed Ninus as 52 years of 2060-2009 BC (Abram's birth being year 43 of 52) in Eusebius.

David Rohl, like Hislop, identified Nimrod with a complex of Mediterranean deities; among those he picked were Asar, Baal, Dumuzi and Osiris. In Rohl's theory, Enmerkar the founder of Uruk was the original inspiration for Nimrod, because the story of Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta (see: [4]) bears a few similarities to the legend of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, and because the -KAR in Enmerkar means "hunter". Additionally, Enmerkar is said to have had ziggurats built in both Uruk and Eridu, which Rohl postulates was the site of the original Babel.

Because another of the cities said to have been built by Nimrod was Accad, a+n older theory connects him with Sargon the Great, grandfather of Naram-Sin, since, according to the Sumerian king list, that king first built Agade (Akkad). The assertion of the king list that it was Sargon who built Akkad has been called into question, however, with the discovery of inscriptions mentioning the place in the reigns of some of Sargon's predecessors, such as kings Enshakushanna and Lugal-Zage-Si of Uruk. Nimrod is the son of Cush (founder of the city Kish) who is the son of Ham in Ararat (thus Nimrod is grandson of Ham). Sargon is the grandson of Purzur-Sin being that he is the son of Ur-Zababa, who is the son of Puzur-Sin, the son of the woman Ku-Baba of Ararat (daughter of Noah's vineyard).

The Church of the Great God has also asserted that Nimrod is to be identified with the Egyptian god Osiris, and was posthumously father of Gilgamesh[6].

Nimrod figures in some very early versions of the history of Freemasonry, where he was said to have been one of the fraternity's founders. According to the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry: The legend of the Craft in the Old Constitutions refers to Nimrod as one of the founders of Masonry. Thus in the York MS., No. 1, we read: "At ye making of ye toure of Babell there was a Masonrie first much esteemed of, and the King of Babilon yt called Nimrod was a Mason himself and loved well Masons." However, he does not figure in the current rituals.


  1. ^ a b Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  2. ^ the Kitab al-Magall
  3. ^ "נמרוד". Jewish Encyclopedia Daat. Herzog College.  (Hebrew)
  4. ^ Full original text and an English translation appear in the Ladino wikipedia article; see also [1], [2], [3]
  5. ^ Homily IX
  6. ^ "Syncretismas!" by Martin G. Collins Forerunner, December 1995


  • The Legacy of Mesopotamia; Stephanie Dalley et al. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery; Stephen R. Haynes (NY, Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • "Nimrod before and after the Bible" K. van der Toorn; P. W. van der Horst, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 83, No. 1. (Jan., 1990), pp. 1-29
  • A song by American Alternative Rock band the Pixies is called "Nimrod's son" referring to incest.

External links

Genesis 10:8-12 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

8 Cush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful man on earth. 9 He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the LORD. That is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a powerful hunter in the sight of the LORD." 10 His kingdom started with Babylon, (A) Erech, [a] Accad, [b] and Calneh, [c] in the land of Shinar. (B) [d] 11 From that land he went to Assyria (C) and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, 12 and Resen, between Nineveh and the great city Calah.
  1. Genesis 10:10 Or Uruk
  2. Genesis 10:10 Or Akkad
  3. Genesis 10:10 Or and all of them
  4. Genesis 10:10 Or in Babylonia


Cross references:
  1.  Gn 11:9
  2. Genesis 11:9 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

    9 Therefore its name is called Babylon, (A) [a] for there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
  •  Gn 11:2;

          2 As people [a] migrated from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.


    Abram Rescues Lot
           1 In those days Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam,  and
              Tidal  king of Goiim
             Genesis 14:1 A region in southwest Iran
  •      Genesis 14:1 The name Tidal may be related to the Hittite royal name Tudhaliya.
  •      Genesis 14:1 Or nations
  •           Mic 5:6;

              6 They will shepherd  the land of Assyria with the sword,
              the land of Nimrod with a drawn blade.
              So He will rescue us  from Assyria
              when it invades our land,
              when it marches against our territory.

       4 000 BC - Nimrod was also a descendent of Noah. The bible is silent on the time-frame of the building of the "tower" of Babel, but conservative bible scholars have placed it between 3500 and 4000 BC It could have been much earlier than this, and then again, much later.

    Also see:


    2348 BC - Civilizations that could not have existed until after the Tower of Babel, are routinely dated at 1000 or more years before the global Flood in 2348 BC, to which my reply is, ‘how long can you tread water!?’ Time texts in the Bible are the main point of Satan’s ...

    2188 BC - THE natives of Africa are supposed to be descended from Noah't •on Ham, who went thither and settled in Egypt after the building of the tower of Babel, this country being near the land of Shinar, The kingdom of Egypt is very ancient, and was founded by Menes one ...

    600 BC - Many Jews would have seen it with their own eyes when they were deported to Babylon in about 600 BC. This would have no doubt reminded them of the events at the Tower of Babel. The Bible reveals very little about the ziggurat. There are other sources outside of ...



    The Tower of Babel (Hebrew: מגדל בבלMigdal Bavel Arabic: برج بابلBurj Babil) according to chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower built at the city of Babel, the Hebrew name for Babylon (Akkadian Babilu). According to the biblical account, a united humanity, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, took part in the building after the Great Flood; Babel was also called the "beginning" of Nimrod's kingdom. The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens."(וְרֹאשׁוֹ בַשָּׁמַיִם) However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was dedicated to the glory of man, with a motive of making a 'name' for the builders: "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'" (Genesis 11:4). God, seeing what the people were doing, confounded their languages and scattered the people throughout the earth. It had been God's original purpose for mankind to grow and fill the earth. In the Hebrew scriptures Nimrod is portrayed as a 'mighty hunter'

    Babel is the Hebrew equivalent of Akkadian Babilu (Greek Babylon), a cosmopolitan city typified by a confusion of languages.[1] The Tower of Babel has often been associated with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, the ziggurat to Marduk, by Nabopolassar (610s BC). A Sumerian story with some similar elements is preserved in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.

    Biblical narrative and themes

    German Late Medieval (ca. 1370s) depiction of the construction of the tower.


    The story is found in Genesis 11:1-9 (King James Version) as follows:

    1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

    The phrase Tower of Babel does not actually appear in the Bible; it is always, "the city and its tower" (אֶת-הָעִיר וְאֶת-הַמִּגְדָּל) or just "the city" (הָעִיר).


    The story explains the origin of nations, of their languages, and of Babylon (Babel). The story's theme of competition between the Lord and humans appears elsewhere in Genesis, in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.[1] The story displays the Lord's contempt for human pride.[1]

    The traditional Judaeo-Christian interpretation, as found for example in Flavius Josephus, explains the construction of the tower as a hubristic act of defiance against God, ordered by the arrogant tyrant, Nimrod.

    Historical context

    The Tower of Babel in the background of a depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Martin Heemskerck.

    The Greek form of the name is from the native Akkadian Bāb-ilim, which means "Gate of the god". This correctly summarizes the religious purpose of the great temple towers (the ziggurats) of ancient Sumer (Biblical Shinar). In Genesis 10, Babel is said to have formed part of Nimrod's kingdom. It is not specifically mentioned in the Bible that he ordered the tower to be built, but Nimrod is often associated with its construction in other sources. The Hebrew version of the name of the city and the tower, Babel, is attributed in Gen. 11:9 to the verb balal, which means to confuse or confound in Hebrew. The ruins of the city of Babylon are near Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq.

    The peoples listed in Chapter 10 of Genesis (the Table of Nations) are stated by 11:8-9 to have been scattered over the face of the earth from Shinar only after the abandonment of the Tower. Some see an internal contradiction between the mention already in Genesis 10:5 that "From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with his own language" and the subsequent Babel story, which begins "Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words" (Genesis 11:1).[2] However, this view presupposes a rigid chronological sequence of 10:5 and 11:1, whereas the Judeo-Christian interpretation is that 10:5 refers to the same later scattering as mentioned more fully in 11:9.


    The account in Genesis makes no mention of any destruction of the tower. The people whose languages are confounded simply stop building their city, and are scattered from there over the face of the Earth. However, in other sources such as the Book of Jubilees, Cornelius Alexander (frag. 10), Abydenus (frags. 5 and 6), Josephus (Antiquities 1.4.3), and the Sibylline Oracles (iii. 117-129), God overturns the tower with a great wind.

    Etemenanki, the ziggurat at Babylon

    Reconstruction of the Etemenanki (total height 91 m)

    Etemenanki (Sumerian: "temple of the foundation of heaven and earth") was the name of a ziggurat dedicated to Marduk in the city of Babylon. It was famously rebuilt by the 6th century BC Neo-Babylonian dynasty rulers Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar II. According to modern scholars such as Stephen L. Harris, the biblical story of the Tower of Babel was likely influenced by Etemenanki during the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrews.

    Nebuchadnezzar wrote that the original tower had been built in antiquity: "A former king built the Temple of the Seven Lights of the Earth, but he did not complete its head. Since a remote time, people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words. Since that time earthquakes and lightning had dispersed its sun-dried clay; the bricks of the casing had split, and the earth of the interior had been scattered in heaps."

    The Greek historian Herodotus (440 BC) later wrote of this ziggurat, which he called the "Temple of Zeus Belus", giving an account of its vast dimensions.

    Book of Jubilees

    The Book of Jubilees contains one of the most detailed accounts found anywhere of the Tower.

    And they began to build, and in the fourth week they made brick with fire, and the bricks served them for stone, and the clay with which they cemented them together was asphalt which comes out of the sea, and out of the fountains of water in the land of Shinar. And they built it: forty and three years were they building it; its breadth was 203 bricks, and the height [of a brick] was the third of one; its height amounted to 5433 cubits and 2 palms, and [the extent of one wall was] thirteen stades [and of the other thirty stades]. (Jubilees 10:20-21, Charles' 1913 translation)

    The Book of Jubilees recounts Genesis and the first twelve chapters of Exodus, elaborating on the text (similar to a Midrash). It is often categorized as one of the Pseudepigrapha and dated to the late 2nd century BC[1], but it is still in the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church[3].

    Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews

    The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews (c 94 AD), recounted history as found in the Hebrew Bible and mentioned the Tower of Babel. He wrote that it was Nimrod who had the tower built and that Nimrod was a tyrant who tried to turn the people away from God. In this account, God confused the people rather than destroying them because destroying people with a Flood hadn't taught them to be godly.

    Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power... Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners [in the Flood]; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion...

    Greek Apocalypse of Baruch

    Third Apocalypse of Baruch (or 3 Baruch, c 2nd century), one of the pseudepigrapha, describes the just rewards of sinners and the righteous in the afterlife.[1] Among the sinners are those who instigated the Tower of Babel. In the account, Baruch is first taken (in a vision) to see the resting place of the souls of "those who built the tower of strife against God, and the Lord banished them." Next he is shown another place, and there, occupying the form of dogs,

    Those who gave counsel to build the tower, for they whom thou seest drove forth multitudes of both men and women, to make bricks; among whom, a woman making bricks was not allowed to be released in the hour of child-birth, but brought forth while she was making bricks, and carried her child in her apron, and continued to make bricks. And the Lord appeared to them and confused their speech, when they had built the tower to the height of four hundred and sixty-three cubits. And they took a gimlet, and sought to pierce the heavens, saying, Let us see (whether) the heaven is made of clay, or of brass, or of iron. When God saw this He did not permit them, but smote them with blindness and confusion of speech, and rendered them as thou seest. (Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, 3:5-8)


    Rabbinic literature offers many different accounts of other causes for building the Tower of Babel, and of the intentions of its builders. The Mishnah (the first written record of the Jewish Oral Law, c 200 AD) describes the Tower as a rebellion against God. Some later midrash record that the builders of the Tower, called "the generation of secession" in the Jewish sources, said: "God has no right to choose the upper world for Himself, and to leave the lower world to us; therefore we will build us a tower, with an idol on the top holding a sword, so that it may appear as if it intended to war with God" (Gen. R. xxxviii. 7; Tan., ed. Buber, Noah, xxvii. et seq.).

    The building of the Tower was meant to bid defiance not only to God, but also to Abraham, who exhorted the builders to reverence. The passage mentions that the builders spoke sharp words against God, not cited in the Bible, saying that once every 1,656 years, heaven tottered so that the water poured down upon the earth, therefore they would support it by columns that there might not be another deluge (Gen. R. l.c.; Tan. l.c.; similarly Josephus, "Ant." i. 4, § 2).

    Some among that sinful generation even wanted to war against God in heaven (Talmud Sanhedrin 109a.) They were encouraged in this wild undertaking by the notion that arrows which they shot into the sky fell back dripping with blood, so that the people really believed that they could wage war against the inhabitants of the heavens (Sefer ha-Yashar, Noah, ed. Leghorn, 12b). According to Josephus and Midrash Pirke R. El. xxiv., it was mainly Nimrod who persuaded his contemporaries to build the Tower, while other rabbinical sources assert, on the contrary, that Nimrod separated from the builders.


    Some Kabbalistic mystics provide intriguing and unusual descriptions of the Tower of Babel. According to Menachem Tsioni, an Italian Torah commentator of 15th century, the Tower was a functional flying craft, empowered by some powerful magic or technology [4]; the device was originally intended for holy purposes, but was later misused in order to gain control over the whole world. Isaac of Acre wrote that the Tower builders had reached, or at least planned to reach the distance of 2,360,000,000 parsas or 9-10 billion kilometers above the Earth surface, which is about the radius of the Solar System, including most Trans-Neptunian objects. [5]. Similar accounts are also found in the writing of Jonathan Eybeschutz and the ancient book Brith Menuchah [6], according to which the builders of the Tower planned to equip it with some shield technology ("shielding wings") and powerful weapons. Many Kabbalists believed that the ancient peoples possessed magic knowledge of the Nephilim, which allowed them to construct such powerful devices. Moreover, according to some commentaries, some Talmudic sages possessed a manual for building such a flying tower.

    These accounts coincide with some of Zecharia Sitchin's speculations and the ufological theories concerning the ancient Indian vimanas[citation needed]. According to another mysterious Kabbalistic account, one third of the Tower builders were punished by turning into various semi-demonic creatures and banished into three parallel dimensions, inhabited now by their descendants [7].

    Qur'an and Islamic traditions

    Though not mentioned by name, the Qur'an has a story with similarities to the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, though set in the Egypt of Moses. In Suras 28:38 and 40:36-37 Pharaoh asks Haman to build him a clay tower so that he can mount up to heaven and confront the God of Moses.

    Another story in Sura 2:102 mentions the name of Babil, but tells of when two angels taught the people of Babylon the tricks of magic and warned them that magic is a sin and that their teaching them magic is a test of faith. A tale about Babil appears more fully in the writings of Yaqut (i, 448 f.) and the Lisan el-'Arab (xiii. 72), but without the tower: mankind were swept together by winds into the plain that was afterwards called "Babil", where they were assigned their separate languages by Allah, and were then scattered again in the same way.

    In the History of the Prophets and Kings by the 9th century Muslim historian al-Tabari, a fuller version is given: Nimrod has the tower built in Babil, Allah destroys it, and the language of mankind, formerly Syriac, is then confused into 72 languages. Another Muslim historian of the 13th century, Abu al-Fida relates the same story, adding that the patriarch Eber (an ancestor of Abraham) was allowed to keep the original tongue, Hebrew in this case, because he would not partake in the building.

    Book of Mormon

    In the Book of Mormon (a scriptural text of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), a man named Jared and his family are warned by God about the destruction of the tower. Because of their prayers, God preserves their language and leads them across the sea into the Americas. See the Book of Ether [1] in the Book of Mormon.

    Sumerian parallel

    There is a Sumerian myth similar to that of the Tower of Babel, called Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, where Enmerkar of Uruk is building a massive ziggurat in Eridu and demands a tribute of precious materials from Aratta for its construction, at one point reciting an incantation imploring the god Enki to restore (or in Kramer's translation, to disrupt) the linguistic unity of the inhabited regions — named as Shubur, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land, "the whole universe, the well-guarded people — may they all address Enlil together in a single language."[9]

    One recent theory first advanced by David Rohl associates Nimrod, the hunter, builder of Erech and Babel, with Enmerkar (i.e., Enmer the Hunter) king of Uruk, also said to have been the first builder of the Eridu temple. (Amar-Sin (c. 2046–2037 BC), third monarch of the Third Dynasty of Ur, later attempted to complete the Eridu ziggurat.) This theory proposes that the remains of the historical building that via Mesopotamian legend inspired the story of the Tower of Babel are the ruins of the ziggurat of Eridu, just south of Ur. Among the reasons for this association are the larger size of the ruins, the older age of the ruins, and the fact that one title of Eridu was NUN.KI ("mighty place"), which later became a title of Babylon[10]. Both cities also had temples called the E-Sagila.


    Various traditions similar to that of the tower of Babel are found in Central America. One holds that Xelhua, one of the seven giants rescued from the deluge, built the Great Pyramid of Cholula in order to storm Heaven. The gods destroyed it with fire and confounded the language of the builders. The Dominican friar Diego Duran (1537-1588) reported hearing this account from a hundred-year-old priest at Cholula, shortly after the conquest of Mexico.

    Another story, attributed by the native historian Don Ferdinand d'Alva Ixtilxochitl (c. 1565-1648) to the ancient Toltecs, states that after men had multiplied following a great deluge, they erected a tall zacuali or tower, to preserve themselves in the event of a second deluge. However, their languages were confounded and they went to separate parts of the earth.

    Still another story, attributed to the Tohono O'odham Indians, holds that Montezuma escaped a great flood, then became wicked and attempted to build a house reaching to heaven, but the Great Spirit destroyed it with thunderbolts. (Bancroft, vol. 3, p.76; also in History of Arizona)

    According to Dr Livingstone, the Africans whom he met living near Lake Ngami in 1849 had such a tradition, but with the builders' heads getting "cracked by the fall of the scaffolding" (Missionary Travels, chap. 26).

    In his 1918 book, Folklore in the Old Testament, Scottish social anthropologist Sir James George Frazer documented similarities between Old Testament stories, such as the Flood, and indigenous legends around the world. He identified Livingston's account with a tale found in Lozi mythology, wherein the wicked men build a tower of masts to pursue the Creator-God, Nyambe, who has fled to Heaven on a spider-web, but the men perish when the masts collapse. He further relates similar tales of the Ashanti that substitute a pile of porridge pestles for the masts. Frazer moreover cites such legends found among the Kongo people, as well as in Tanzania, where the men stack poles or trees in a failed attempt to reach the moon [11]. He further cited the Karbi and Kuki people of Assam as having a similar story. The traditions of the Karen people of Myanmar, which Frazer considered to show clear 'Abrahamic' influence, also relate that their ancestors migrated there following the abandonment of a great pagoda in the land of the Karenni 30 generations from Adam, when the languages were confused and the Karen separated from the Karenni. He notes yet another version current in the Admiralty Islands where mankind's languages are confused following a failed attempt to build houses reaching to heaven. Some of these stories were later revealed to have derived recently from Christian missionary teaching.

    Traces of a somewhat similar story have also been reported among the Tharus of Nepal and northern India (Report of the Census of Bengal, 1872, p. 160).

    Multiplication of languages

    There have also been a number of traditions around the world that describe a divine confusion of the one original language into several, albeit without any tower. Aside from the Ancient Greek myth that Hermes confused the languages, causing Zeus to give his throne to Phoroneus, Frazer specifically mentions such accounts among the Wasania of Kenya, the Kacha Naga people of Assam, the inhabitants of Encounter Bay in Australia, the Maidu of California, the Tlingit of Alaska, and the K'iche' of Guatemala [12].

    Height of the tower

    The narrative in the book of Genesis does not mention how tall the Biblical tower was, but the tower's height is discussed in various extra-canonical sources.

    The Book of Jubilees mentions the tower's height as being 5433 cubits and 2 palms, or nearly 2.5 kilometers (about 1.55 miles). The Third Apocalypse of Baruch mentions that the 'tower of strife' reached a height of 463 cubits (696 feet or 212 meters), taller than any structure built in human history until the construction of the Eiffel Tower (1,063 feet or 324 meters) in 1889.

    Gregory of Tours (I, 6) writing ca. 594, quotes the earlier historian Orosius (ca. 417) as saying the tower was "laid out foursquare on a very level plain. Its wall, made of baked brick cemented with pitch, is fifty cubits wide, two hundred high, and four hundred and seventy stades in circumference. A stade contains five agripennes. Twenty-five gates are situated on each side, which make in all one hundred. The doors of these gates, which are of wonderful size, are cast in bronze. The same historian [Orosius] tells many other tales of this city, and says: 'Although such was the glory of its building still it was conquered and destroyed.'"

    A typical mediaeval account is given by Giovanni Villani (1300): He relates that "it measured eighty miles round, and it was already 4,000 paces high (5,920 m (19,423 ft)) and 1,000 paces thick, and each pace is three of our feet." [14]. The 14th century traveler John Mandeville also included an account of the tower, and reported that its height had been 64 furlongs (= 8 miles), according to the local inhabitants.

    The 17th century historian Verstegan provides yet another figure - quoting Isidore, he says that the tower was 5164 paces high, about 7.6 kilometers, and quoting Josephus that the tower was wider than it was high, more like a mountain than a tower. He also quotes unnamed authors who say that the spiral path was so wide that it contained lodgings for workers and animals, and other authors who claim that the path was wide enough to have fields for growing grain for the animals used in the construction.

    In his book, Structures or why things don't fall down (Pelican 1978–1984), Professor J.E. Gordon considers the height of the Tower of Babel. He wrote, 'brick and stone weigh about 120 lb per cubic foot (2000 kg per cubic metre) and the crushing strength of these materials is generally rather better than 6000 lbf per square inch or 40 megapascals. Elementary arithmetic shows that a tower with parallel walls could have been built to a height of 7000 feet or 2 kilometres before the bricks at the bottom were crushed. However by making the walls taper towards the top they ... could well have been built to a height where the men of Shinnar would run short of oxygen and had difficulty in breathing before the brick walls crushed beneath their own dead weight."

    Enumeration of scattered languages

    There are several mediaeval historiographic accounts that attempt to make an enumeration of the languages scattered at the Tower of Babel. Because a count of all the descendants of Noah listed by name in chapter 10 of Genesis (LXX) provides 15 names for Japheth's descendants, 30 for Ham's, and 27 for Shem's, these figures became established as the 72 languages resulting from the confusion at Babel — although the exact listing of these languages tended to vary over time. (The LXX Bible has two additional names, Elisa and Cainan, not found in the Masoretic text of this chapter, so early rabbinic traditions such as the Mishna speak instead of "70 languages".) Some of the earliest sources for 72 (sometimes 73) languages are the 2nd century Christian writers Clement of Alexandria (Stromata I, 21) and Hippolytus of Rome (On the Psalms 9); it is repeated in the Syriac book Cave of Treasures (c. AD 350), Epiphanius of Salamis' Panarion (c. 375) and St. Augustine's The City of God 16.6 (c. 410). The chronicles attributed to Hippolytus (c. 234) contain one of the first attempts to list each of the 72 peoples who were believed to have spoken these languages.

    Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae (c. 600) mentions the number of 72, however his list of names from the Bible drops the sons of Joktan and substitutes the sons of Abraham and Lot, resulting in only about 56 names total; he then appends a list of some of the nations known in his own day, such as the Longobards and the Franks. This listing was to prove quite influential on later accounts which made the Lombards and Franks themselves into descendants of eponymous grandsons of Japheth, eg. the Historia Brittonum (c. 833), The Meadows of Gold by al Masudi (c. 947) and Book of Roads and Kingdoms by al-Bakri (1068), the 11th cent. Lebor Gabála Érenn, and the midrashic compilations Yosippon (c. 950), Chronicles of Jerahmeel, and Sefer haYashar.

    Other sources that mention 72 (or 70) languages scattered from Babel are the Old Irish poem Cu cen mathair by Luccreth moccu Chiara (c. 600); the Irish monastic work Auraicept na n-Éces; History of the Prophets and Kings by the Persian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (c. 915); the Anglo-Saxon dialogue Solomon and Saturn; the Russian Primary Chronicle (c. 1113); the Jewish Kabbalistic work Bahir (1174); the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson (c. 1200); the Syriac Book of the Bee (c. 1221); the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum (c. 1284; mentions 22 for Shem, 31 for Ham and 17 for Japheth for a total of 70); Villani's 1300 account; and the rabbinic Midrash ha-Gadol (14th c.). Villani adds that it "was begun 700 years after the Flood, and there were 2,354 years from the beginning of the world to the confusion of the Tower of Babel. And we find that they were 107 years working at it; and men lived long in those times". According to the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum, however, the project was begun only 200 years following the Deluge.

    The tradition of 72 languages persisted into later times. Both José de Acosta in his 1576 treatise De procuranda indorum salute, and António Vieira a century later in his Sermão da Epifania, expressed amazement at how much this 'number of tongues' could be surpassed, there being hundreds of mutually unintelligible languages indigenous only to Peru and Brazil, respectively.


    See also


    1. ^ a b c d e Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
    2. ^
    3. ^ The Book of Jubilees, translated by R. H. Charles
    4. ^
    5. ^
    6. ^
    7. ^ The Inhabitants of the Seven Earths - Vol. 1 - Legends of the Jews - Louis Ginzberg
    8. ^ Entry on "Sack" in Betty Kirkpatrick (ed), Brewer's Concise Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Cassell, London, 1992.
    9. ^ 145f.: an-ki ningin2-na ung3 sang sig10-ga den-lil2-ra eme 1-am3 he2-en-na-da-ab-dug4.
    10. ^ Rohl, David. Legend: The Genesis of Civilization, 1998.
    11. ^ Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament(1918), chap. 5.
    12. ^ Folk-lore in the Old Testament by James George Frazer, p. 384 ff.
    13. ^ Kohl, Reisen in die 'Ostseeprovinzen, ii. 251-255
    14. ^ Selections from Giovanni's Chronicle in English.


    This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

    • Pr. Diego Duran, Historia Antiqua de la Nueva Espana (Madrid, 1585)
    • Ixtilxochitl, Don Ferdinand d'Alva, Historia Chichimeca, 1658
    • Lord Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, vol. 9
    • H.H. Bancroft, Native Races of the Pacific States (New York, 1874)
    • Klaus Seybold, Der Turmbau zu Babel: Zur Entstehung von Genesis XI 1-9, Vetus Testamentum (1976).
    • Samuel Noah Kramer, The "Babel of Tongues": A Sumerian Version, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1968).

     External links


    Bible Concordance / Dictionary

    Babylon—the capital city of Babylonia. The Babylonians captured and destroyed Jerusalem and took many people as prisoners.

    2 Chronicles 36:15-21
    The Fall of Jerusalem

        15 The LORD, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, [a] who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, the elderly or the aged. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the LORD's temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.

        20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.

      Jeremiah 50 Jeremiah 51

    Later in the Bible, Babylon becomes a symbol for evil forces that are against God.

    Revelation 17
    Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast

        1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries."

        3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 This title was written on her forehead:

        6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God's people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

        When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

        9 "This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

        12 "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

        15 Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."

      Revelation 18

    Lament Over Fallen Babylon

        1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted:
           " 'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!'
           She has become a dwelling for demons
           and a haunt for every evil
    [b] spirit,
           a haunt for every unclean bird,
           a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.

        3 For all the nations have drunk
           the maddening wine of her adulteries.
           The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
           and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."

    Warning to Escape Babylon's Judgment

        4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
           " 'Come out of her, my people,'
           so that you will not share in her sins,
           so that you will not receive any of her plagues;

        5 for her sins are piled up to heaven,
           and God has remembered her crimes.

        6 Give back to her as she has given;
           pay her back double for what she has done.
           Pour her a double portion from her own cup.

        7 Give her as much torment and grief
           as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
           In her heart she boasts,
           'I sit enthroned as queen.
           I am not a widow;
           I will never mourn.'

        8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
           death, mourning and famine.
           She will be consumed by fire,
           for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

    Threefold Woe Over Babylon's Fall

        9 "When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:
           " 'Woe! Woe to you, great city,
           you mighty city of Babylon!
           In one hour your doom has come!'

        11 "The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

        14 "They will say, 'The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.' 15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn 16 and cry out:
           " 'Woe! Woe to you, great city,
           dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet,
           and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!

        17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!'

        "Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. 18 When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' 19 They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out:
           " 'Woe! Woe to you, great city,
           where all who had ships on the sea
           became rich through her wealth!
           In one hour she has been brought to ruin!'

        20 "Rejoice over her, you heavens!
           Rejoice, you people of God!
           Rejoice, apostles and prophets!
           For God has judged her
           with the judgment she imposed on you."

    The Finality of Babylon's Doom

        21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:
           "With such violence
           the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
           never to be found again.

        22 The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters,
           will never be heard in you again.
           No worker of any trade
           will ever be found in you again.
           The sound of a millstone
           will never be heard in you again.

        23 The light of a lamp
           will never shine in you again.
           The voice of bridegroom and bride
           will never be heard in you again.
           Your merchants were the world's important people.
           By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.

        24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God's people,
           of all who have been slaughtered on the earth."


    1. Revelation 18:2  Isaiah 21:9
    2. Revelation 18:2  Greek unclean
    3. Revelation 18:4  Jer. 51:45
    4. Revelation 18:7  See Isaiah 47:7,8.


    Babylon was a city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, sometimes considered an empire, the remains of which can be found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad. All that remains today of the ancient famed city of Babylon is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in Iraq. Historical resources inform us that Babylon was at first a small town, that had sprung up by the beginning of the third millennium BC (the dawn of the dynasties). The town flourished and attained prominence and political repute with the rise of the first Babylonian dynasty. It was the "holy city" of Babylonia by approximately 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

    The form Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bāb-ilû, meaning "Gateway of the god(s)", translating Sumerian Ka.dingir.ra). In the Hebrew Bible, the name appears as בבל (Babel), interpreted by Book of Genesis 11:9 to mean "confusion" (of languages), from the verb balbal, "to confuse".


    The earliest source to mention Babylon may be a dated tablet of the reign of Sargon of Akkad (ca. 24th century BC short chronology). The so-called "Weidner Chronicle" states that it was Sargon himself who built Babylon "in front of Akkad" (ABC 19:51). Another chronicle likewise states that Sargon "dug up the dirt of the pit of Babylon, and made a counterpart of Babylon next to Agade". (ABC 20:18-19).

    Some scholars, including linguist I.J. Gelb, have suggested that the name Babil is an echo of an earlier city name. According to Dr. Ranajit Pal, this city was in the East[1]. Herzfeld wrote about Bawer in Iran, which was allegedly founded by Jamshid; the name Babil could be an echo of Bawer. David Rohl holds that the original Babylon is to be identified with Eridu.

    See also:  Eridu:

    The Bible in Genesis 10 indicates that Nimrod was the original founder of Babel (Babylon). Joan Oates claims in her book Babylon that the rendering "Gateway of the gods" is no longer accepted by modern scholars.

    Over the years, the power and population of Babylon waned. From around the 20th century BC, it was occupied by Amorites, nomadic tribes from the west who were Semitic speakers like the Akkadians, but did not practice agriculture like them, preferring to herd sheep.

    Map showing the Babylonian territory upon Hammurabi's ascension in 1792 BC and upon his death in 1750 BC

    Old Babylonian period

    The First Babylonian Dynasty was established by Sumu-abum, but the city-state controlled little surrounding territory until it became the capital of Hammurabi's empire (ca. 18th century BC). Subsequently, the city continued to be the capital of the region known as Babylonia — although during the almost 400 years of domination by the Kassites (1530–1155 BC), the city was renamed Karanduniash.

    Hammurabi is also known for codifying the laws of Babylonia into the Code of Hammurabi that has had a lasting influence on legal thought.

    The city itself was built upon the Euphrates, and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon grew in extent and grandeur over time, but gradually became subject to the rule of Assyria.

    It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from ca. 1770 to 1670 BC, and again between ca. 612 and 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000.[2]

    Detail of the Ishtar Gate

    Assyrian period

    During the reign of Sennacherib of Assyria, Babylonia was in a constant state of revolt, led by Mushezib-Marduk, and suppressed only by the complete destruction of the city of Babylon. In 689 BC, its walls, temples and palaces were razed, and the rubble was thrown into the Arakhtu, the sea bordering the earlier Babylon on the south. This act shocked the religious conscience of Mesopotamia; the subsequent murder of Sennacherib was held to be in expiation of it, and his successor Esarhaddon hastened to rebuild the old city, to receive there his crown, and make it his residence during part of the year. On his death, Babylonia was left to be governed by his elder son Shamash-shum-ukin, who eventually headed a revolt in 652 BC against his brother in Nineveh, Assurbanipal.

    Once again, Babylon was besieged by the Assyrians and starved into surrender. Assurbanipal purified the city and celebrated a "service of reconciliation", but did not venture to "take the hands" of Bel. In the subsequent overthrow of the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonians saw another example of divine vengeance. (Albert Houtum-Schindler, "Babylon," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed.)

     Neo-Babylonian Chaldean Empire

    Mural near the reconstructed Ishtar Gate, depicting the palace quarter of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon. The Ishtar Gate is shown in the top left corner of the image.

    Under Nabopolassar, Babylon threw off the Assyrian rule in 626 BC and became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Chaldean Empire.[3][4][5]

    With the recovery of Babylonian independence, a new era of architectural activity ensued, and his son Nebuchadnezzar II (604–561 BC) made Babylon into one of the wonders of the ancient world.[6] Nebuchadnezzar ordered the complete reconstruction of the imperial grounds, including rebuilding the Etemenanki ziggurat and the construction of the Ishtar Gate — the most spectacular of eight gates that ringed the perimeter of Babylon. The Ishtar Gate survives today in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Nebuchadnezzar is also credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), said to have been built for his homesick wife Amyitis. Whether the gardens did exist is a matter of dispute. Although excavations by German archaeologist Robert Koldewey are thought to reveal its foundations, many historians disagree about the location, and some believe it may have been confused with gardens in Nineveh.

    Persia captures Babylon

    In 539 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, with an unprecedented military maneuver. The famed walls of Babylon were indeed impenetrable, with the only way into the city through one of its many gates or through the Euphrates, which ebbed beneath its thick walls. Metal gates at the river's in-flow and out-flow prevented underwater intruders, if one could hold one's breath to reach them. Cyrus (or his generals) devised a plan to use the Euphrates as the mode of entry to the city, ordering large camps of troops at each point and instructed them to wait for the signal. Awaiting an evening of a national feast among Babylonians (generally thought to refer to the feast of Belshazzar mentioned in Daniel V), Cyrus' troops diverted the Euphrates river upstream, causing the Euphrates to drop to about 'mid thigh level on a man' or to dry up altogether. The soldiers marched under the walls through thigh-level water or as dry as mud. The Persian Army conquered the outlying areas of the city's interior while a majority of Babylonians at the city center were oblivious to the breach. The account was elaborated upon by Herodotus,[7] and is also mentioned by passages in the Hebrew Bible.[8][9] Cyrus claimed the city by walking through the gates of Babylon with little or no resistance from the drunken Babylonians.

    Cyrus later issued a decree permitting captive people, including the Jews, to return to their own land (as explained in the Old Testament), to allow their temple to be rebuilt back in Jerusalem.

    Under Cyrus and the subsequent Persian king Darius the Great, Babylon became the capital city of the 9th Satrapy (Babylonia in the south and Athura in the north), as well as a centre of learning and scientific advancement. In Achaemenid Persia, the ancient Babylonian arts of astronomy and mathematics were revitalised and flourished, and Babylonian scholars completed maps of constellations. The city was the administrative capital of the Persian Empire, the preeminent power of the then known world, and it played a vital part in the history of that region for over two centuries. Many important archaeological discoveries have been made that can provide a better understanding of that era.[10][11]

    The early Persian kings had attempted to maintain the religious ceremonies of Marduk, but by the reign of Darius III, over-taxation and the strains of numerous wars led to a deterioration of Babylon's main shrines and canals, and the disintegration of the surrounding region. Despite three attempts at rebellion in 522 BC, 521 BC and 482 BC, the land and city of Babylon remained solidly under Persian rule for two centuries, until Alexander the Great's entry in 331 BC.

    Hellenistic period

    In 331 BC, Darius III was defeated by the forces of the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela, and in October, Babylon fell to the young conqueror. A native account of this invasion notes a ruling by Alexander not to enter the homes of its inhabitants.[12]

    Under Alexander, Babylon again flourished as a centre of learning and commerce. But following Alexander's death in 323 BC in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, his empire was divided amongst his generals, and decades of fighting soon began, with Babylon once again caught in the middle.

    The constant turmoil virtually emptied the city of Babylon. A tablet dated 275 BC states that the inhabitants of Babylon were transported to Seleucia, where a palace was built, as well as a temple given the ancient name of Esagila. With this deportation, the history of Babylon comes practically to an end,[citation needed] though more than a century later, it was found that sacrifices were still performed in its old sanctuary. By 141 BC, when the Parthian Empire took over the region, Babylon was in complete desolation and obscurity.

    Persian Empire period

    Under the Parthian, and later, Sassanid Persians, Babylon remained a province of the Persian Empire for nine centuries, until about 650 AD. It continued to have its own culture and peoples, who spoke varieties of Aramaic, and who continued to refer to their homeland as Babylon. Some examples of their cultural products are often found in the Babylonian Talmud, the Mandaean religion, and the religion of the prophet Mani.

     Archaeology of Babylon

    Babylon in 1932

    Historical knowledge of Babylon's topography is derived from classical writers, the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar, and several excavations, including those of the Deutsche Orientgesellschaft begun in 1899. The layout is that of the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar; the older Babylon destroyed by Sennacherib having left few, if any, traces behind.

    Most of the existing remains lie on the east bank of the Euphrates, the principal ones being three vast mounds: the Babil to the north, the Qasr or "Palace" (also known as the Mujelliba) in the centre, and the Ishgn "Amran ibn" All, with the outlying spur of the Jumjuma, to the south. East of these come the Ishgn el-Aswad or "Black Mound" and three lines of rampart, one of which encloses the Babil mound on the north and east sides, while a third forms a triangle with the southeast angle of the other two. West of the Euphrates are other ramparts, and the remains of the ancient Borsippa.

    We learn from Herodotus and Ctesias that the city was built on both sides of the river in the form of a square, and was enclosed within a double row of lofty walls, or a triple row according to Ctesias. Ctesias describes the outermost wall as 360 stades (68 kilometers/42 mi) in circumference, while according to Herodotus it measured 480 stades (90 kilometers/56 mi), which would include an area of about 520 square kilometers (200 sq mi).

    The estimate of Ctesias is essentially the same as that of Q. Curtius (v. I. 26) — 368 stades — and Cleitarchus (ap. Diod. Sic. ii. 7) — 365 stades; Strabo (xvi. 1. 5) makes it 385 stades. But even the estimate of Ctesias, assuming the stade to be its usual length, would imply an area of about 260 square kilometers (100 sq mi). According to Herodotus, the width of the walls was 24 m.


    In 1985, Saddam Hussein started rebuilding the city on top of the old ruins (because of this, artifacts and other finds may well be under the city by now), investing in both restoration and new construction. He inscribed his name on many of the bricks in imitation of Nebuchadnezzar. One frequent inscription reads: "This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq". This recalls the ziggurat at Ur, where each individual brick was stamped with "Ur-Nammu, king of Ur, who built the temple of Nanna". These bricks became sought after as collectors' items after the downfall of Hussein, and the ruins are no longer being restored to their original state. He also installed a huge portrait of himself and Nebuchadnezzar at the entrance to the ruins, and shored up Processional Way, a large boulevard of ancient stones, and the Lion of Babylon, a black rock sculpture about 2,600 years old.

    When the Gulf War ended, Saddam wanted to build a modern palace, also over some old ruins; it was made in the pyramidal style of a Sumerian ziggurat. He named it Saddam Hill. In 2003, he was ready to begin the construction of a cable car line over Babylon when the invasion began and halted the project.

    An article published in April 2006 states that UN officials and Iraqi leaders have plans for restoring Babylon, making it into a cultural center. [13][14]

     Effects of the U.S. military

    US forces were criticised for building the military base "Camp Alpha", comprising among others a helipad on ancient Babylonian ruins following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under the command of General James T. Conway of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

    US Marines in front of the rebuilt ruins of Babylon, 2003.

    US forces have occupied the site for some time and have caused damage to the archaeological record. In a report of the British Museum's Near East department, Dr. John Curtis describes how parts of the archaeological site were levelled to create a landing area for helicopters, and parking lots for heavy vehicles. Curtis wrote that the occupation forces

    "caused substantial damage to the [replica of the] Ishtar Gate, one of the most famous monuments from antiquity [...] US military vehicles crushed 2,600-year-old brick pavements, archaeological fragments were scattered across the site, more than 12 trenches were driven into ancient deposits and military earth-moving projects contaminated the site for future generations of scientists [...] Add to all that the damage caused to nine of the moulded brick figures of dragons in the Ishtar Gate by soldiers trying to remove the bricks from the wall."

    A US Military spokesman claimed that engineering operations were discussed with the "head of the Babylon museum". [15]

    The head of the Iraqi State Board for Heritage and Antiquities, Donny George, said that the "mess will take decades to sort out".[16] In April 2006, Colonel John Coleman, former chief of staff for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, offered to issue an apology for the damage done by military personnel under his command. However he claimed that the US presence had deterred far greater damage from other looters.[17] Some antiquities were removed since creation of Camp Alpha, without doubt to be sold on the antiquities market, which is booming since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq[18].

    Further reading

    See also



    1. ^ A New Non-Jonesian History Of The World
    2. ^ Rosenberg, Matt T. Largest Cities Through History, Accessed April 19, 2008.
    3. ^ Bradford, Alfred S. (2001). With Arrow, Sword, and Spear: A History of Warfare in the Ancient World, pp. 47-48. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0275952592.
    4. ^ Curtis, Adrian; Herbert Gordon May (2007). Oxford Bible Atlas Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0191001581 p. 122 "chaldean+empire"&num=100
    5. ^ von Soden, Wilfred; Donald G. Schley (1996). William B. Eerdmanns ISBN: 978-0802801425 p. 60 "chaldean+empire"&num=100#PPA60,M1 (
    6. ^ Saggs, H.W.F. (2000). Babylonians, p. 165. University of California Press. ISBN 0520202228.
    7. ^ Herodotus, Book 1, Section 191
    8. ^ Isaiah 44:27
    9. ^ Jeremiah 50-51
    10. ^ Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia The British Museum. Accessed April 19, 2008.
    11. ^ Mesopotamia: The Persians
    12. ^ Beck, Roger B.; Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, Dahia Ibo Shabaka, (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN 0-395-87274-X. 
    13. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey. Unesco intends to put the magic back in Babylon, International Herald Tribune, April 21, 2006. Accessed April 19, 2008.
    14. ^ McBride, Edward. Monuments to Self: Baghdad's grands projects in the age of Saddam Hussein, MetropolisMag. Accessed April 19, 2008.
    15. ^ "Damage seen to ancient Babylon". The Boston Globe. January 16, 2005. 
    16. ^ Heritage News from around the world, World Heritage Alert!. Accessed April 19, 2008.
    17. ^ Cornwell, Rupert. US colonel offers Iraq an apology of sorts for devastation of Babylon, The Independent, April 15, 2006. Accessed April 19, 2008.
    18. ^ J. E. Curtis, « Report on Meeting at Babylon 11 – 13 December 2004 », British Museum, 2004 [1]

    External links


       In his diligently documented book,mented book, BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION (1966,1981 ISBN# 091693800X), Ralph Woodrow explains, ---

         "Instead of this day (Dec. 25) being the time of our Saviour's birth, it was the very day and season on which the pagans for centuries had celebrated the birth of the Sun-god! December 25th was the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol—one of the names of the sun-god. In pagan days, this birth of the sun-god was especially popular among that branch of the "mysteries" known as Mithraism. Concerning this we read: 'The largest pagan religious cult which fostered the celebration of December 25 as a holiday throughout the Roman and Greek worlds was the pagan sun worship—Mithraism. This winter festival was called THE NATIVITY—the nativity of the SUN.' And not only was Mithra, the sun-god of Mithraism, said to be born at this time of the year, but Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter, Tammuz, and other sun-gods were also supposedly born at what is today called the 'Christmas' season—the winter solstice! Says a noted writer: 'The winter solstice was the time at which all the sun-gods from Osiris to Jupiter and Mithra had celebrated their birthdays, the celebration being adorned with the pine tree of Adonis, the holly of Saturn, and the mistletoe...tapers represented the kindling of the newborn sun-god's fire.' Now the fact that the various sungods that were worshipped in different countries were all believed to have been born at the same season (in the old fables), would seem to indicate that they were but different forms (under different names) of the original son of THE SUN-god, TAMMUZ, of Babylon, THE LAND From WHICH SUN-worship originally SPREAD. In Babylon, the birthday of Tammuz was celebrated at the time of the winter solstice with great feasts, revelry, and drunkenness—the same way many celebrate today! The ancient celebration spread and became so much an established custom that in pagan Rome and Greece, in the days of the Teutonic barbarians, in the remote times of ancient Egyptian civilization, in the infancy of the race, the period of the winter solstice was ever a period of rejoicing and festivity. When this mid-winter festival came to Rome, it was known as the Saturnalia—Saturn being but another name of Nimrod or Tammuz as The hidden god."   -- end quote/book excerpt.

         The nativity worship of the sun-god Tammuz was performed with carved idol images that were set up in chamber rooms (manger scene sets) and prayed to.  These are mentioned by the prophet of God, Ezekiel:

           "Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery?("inner rooms of carved idols"; see Strong's Heb.Dict.#s 2315,4906; compare Lev.26:1) for they say, Yahweh seeth us not; Yahweh hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.  Then He brought me to the door of the gate of Yahweh's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz."  (Ezek.8:12-14)

        The figures of the "modern" nativity sets have been given "Christian names" (such as Mary, Joseph, Three Wise men, shepherds, etc) but these are only an evolved corruption of the real representation of Tammuz worship.  The Bible in Matthew 2:11-16 has no mention of a " new-born manger scene" nor "three wise men" visiting Mary and Joseph AT THE TIME OF CHRIST'S BIRTH!   The Bible story explains that wise men came INTO A HOUSE to visit the messiah child Jesus when He was already TWO YEARS OLD!  However we find in the ancient Babylonian religion, traditions of beliefs that Baal priests attended the birth of their baby god Tammuz at the time of the winter solstice.  It was this heathen figurine Nativity Scene concept which the Roman Catholic Church incorporated into the story of the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, which we read about in the Bible.  


    Tammuz (deity)

    Northwest Semitic Tammuz (Hebrew תַּמּוּז, Standard Hebrew Tammuz, Tiberian Hebrew Tammûz), Arabic تمّوز Tammūz; Akkadian Duʾzu, Dūzu; Sumerian Dumuzid (DUMU.ZID 𒌉𒍣 "the true son") was the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation.

    Dumuzid in the Sumerian king list

    In the Sumerian king list two kings named Dumuzi appear:

    Other Sumerian texts showed that kings were to be married to Inanna in a mystical marriage, for example a hymn that describes the mystical marriage of King Iddid-Dagan (ca 1900 BCE).[5]

    Dumuzid and Inanna

    Today several versions of the Sumerian death of Dumuzi have been recovered, "Inanna's Descent to the Underworld", "Dumuzi's dream" and "Dumuzi and the galla", as well as a tablet separately recounting Dumuzi's death, mourned by holy Inanna, and his noble sister Geštinanna, and even his dog and the lambs and kids in his fold; Dumuzi himself is weeping at the hard fate in store for him, after he had walked among men, and the cruel galla of the Underworld seize him.[6]

    A number of pastoral poems and songs relate the love affair of Inanna and Dumuzid the shepherd. A text recovered in 1963 recounts "The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi" in terms that are tender and frankly erotic.

    According to the myth of Inanna's descent to the underworld, represented in parallel Sumerian and Akkadian[7] tablets, Inanna (Ishtar in the Akkadian texts) set off for the netherworld, or Kur, which was ruled by her sister Ereshkigal, perhaps to take it as her own. She passed through seven gates and at each one was required to leave a garment or an ornament so that when she had passed through the seventh gate she was entirely naked. Despite warnings about her presumption, she did not turn back but dared to sit herself down on Ereshkigal's throne. Immediately the Anunnaki of the underworld judged her, gazed at her with the eyes of death, and she became a corpse, hung up on a nail.

    Based on the incomplete texts as first found, it was assumed that Ishtar/Inanna's descent into Kur occurred after the death of Tammuz/Dumuzid rather than before and that her purpose was to rescue Tammuz/Dumuzid. This is the familiar form of the myth as it appeared in M. Jastrow's Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World, 1915, widely available on the Internet. New texts uncovered in 1963 filled in the story in quite another fashion,[8] showing that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna's release.

    Inanna's faithful servant attempted to get help from the other gods but only wise Enki/Ea responded. The details of Enki/Ea's plan differ slightly in the two surviving accounts, but in the end, Inanna/Ishtar was resurrected. However, a "conservation of souls" law required her to find a replacement for herself in Kur. She went from one god to another, but each one pleaded with her and she had not the heart to go through with it until she found Dumuzid/Tammuz richly dressed and on her throne. Inanna/Ishtar immediately set her accompanying demons on Dumuzid/Tammuz. At this point the Akkadian text fails as Tammuz' sister Belili, introduced for the first time, strips herself of her jewelry in mourning but claims that Tammuz and the dead will come back.

    There is some confusion here. The name Belili occurs in one of the Sumerian texts also, but it is not the name of Dumuzid's sister who is there named Geshtinana, but is the name of an old woman whom another text calls Bilulu.

    In any case, the Sumerian texts relate how Dumuzid fled to his sister Geshtinana who attempted to hide him but who could not in the end stand up to the demons. Dumuzid has two close calls until the demons finally catch up with him under the supposed protection of this old woman called Bilulu or Belili and then they take him. However Inanna repents.

    Inanna seeks vengeance on Bilulu, on Bilulu's murderous son G̃irg̃ire and on G̃irg̃ire's consort Shirru "of the haunted desert, no-one's child and no-one's friend". Inanna changes Bilulu into a waterskin and G̃irg̃ire into a protective god of the desert while Shirru is assigned to watch always that the proper rites are performed for protection against the hazards of the desert.

    Finally, Inanna relents and changes her decree thereby restoring her husband Dumuzi to life; an arrangement is made by which Geshtinana will take Dumuzid's place in Kur for six months of the year: "You (Dumuzi), half the year. Your sister (Geštinanna), half the year!" This newly-recovered final line upset Samuel Noah Kramer's former interpretation, as he allowed: "my conclusion that Dumuzi dies and "stays dead" forever (cf e.g. Mythologies of the Ancient World p. 10) was quite erroneous: Dumuzi according to the Sumerian mythographers rises from the dead annually and, after staying on earth for half the year, descends to the Nether World for the other half".[9]

    The "Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi"

    Aside from this extended epic "The Descent of Inanna," a previously unknown "Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi" was first translated into English and annotated by Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer and folklorist Diane Wolkstein working in tandem, and published in 1983.[10] In this tale Inanna's lover, the shepherd-king Dumuzi, brought a wedding gift of milk in pails, yoked across his shoulders.

    The myth of Inanna and Dumuzi formed the subject of a Lindisfarne Symposium, published as The Story of Inanna and Dumuzi: From Folk-Tale to Civilized Literature: A Lindisfarne Symposium, (William Irwin Thompson, editor, 1995).


    1. ^ Joseph Campbell "the dead and resurrected god Tammuz (Sumerian Dumuzi), prototype of the Classical Adonis, who was the consort as well as son by virgin birth, of the goddess-mother of many names: Inanna, Ninhursag, Ishtar, Astarte, Artemis, Demeter, Aphrodite, Venus" (in Oriental Mythology: The Masks of God pp 39-40).
    2. ^ Marcovich,"From Ishtar to Aphrodite" Journal of Aesthetic Education 30.2, Special Issue: Distinguished Humanities Lectures II (Summer 1996) p 49.
    3. ^ Edwin M. Yamauchi, "Tammuz and the Bible" Journal of Biblical Literature 84.3 (September 1965:283-290).
    4. ^ Inana and Bilulu: an ulila to Inana, from Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (Oxford)[1][2]
    5. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer, "Cuneiform studies and the history of literature: The Sumerian sacred marriage texts", ''Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 107 (1963:485-527).
    6. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer, "The Death of Dumuzi: A New Sumerian Version" Anatolian Studies 30, Special Number in Honour of the Seventieth Birthday of Professor O. R. Gurney (1980:5-13).
    7. ^ Two editions, one ca 1000 BCE found at Ashur, the other mid seventh century BCE from the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh.
    8. ^ Edwin M. Yamauchi, "Tammuz and the Bible" Journal of Biblical Literature 84.3 (September 1965:283-290).
    9. ^ S. N. Kramer, "Dumuzi's Annual Resurrection: An Important Correction to 'Inanna's Descent'" Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 183 (October 1966:31), interpreting this newly-recovered final line as uttered by Inanna, though the immediately preceding context is incomplete.
    10. ^ Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer editors/translators 1983. Inanna, Queen of Heaven & Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. (New York: Harper Colophon).

    External links

    Further reading

    • Campbell, Joseph, 1962, Oriental Mythology: The Masks of God (New York:Viking Penguin)
    • Campbell, Joseph, 1964. Occidental Mythology: The Masks of God (New York:Viking Penguin)
    • Kramer, Samuel Noah and Diane Wolkstein, 1983. Inanna : Queen of Heaven and Earth (New York : Harper & Row) ISBN 0-06-090854-8
    • Jacobsen, Thorkild, 1976, The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press)

    by:  Kersey Graves (1875)

    More than twenty claims of beings invested with divine honor (deified)—have come forward and presented themselves at the bar of the world with their credentials, to contest the verdict of Christendom, in having proclaimed Jesus Christ, "the only son, and sent of God:" twenty Messiahs, Saviors, and Sons of God, according to history or tradition, have, in past times, descended from heaven, and taken upon themselves the form of men, clothing themselves with human flesh, and furnishing incontestable evidence of a divine origin, by various miracles, marvelous works, and superlative virtues; and finally these twenty Jesus Christs (accepting their character

    p. 30

    for the name) laid the foundation for the salvation of the world, and ascended back to heaven.

    1. Chrishna of Hindostan.

    2. Budha Sakia of India.

    3. Salivahana of Bermuda.

    4. Zulis, or Zhule, also Osiris and Orus, of Egypt.

    5. Odin of the Scandinavians.

    6. Crite of Chaldea.

    7. Zoroaster and Mithra of Persia.

    8. Baal and Taut, "the only Begotten of God," of Phenicia.

    9. Indra of Thibet.

    10. Bali of Afghanistan.

    11. Jao of Nepaul.

    12. Wittoba of the Bilingonese.

    13. Thammuz of Syria.

    14. Atys of Phrygia.

    15. Xaniolxis of Thrace.

    16. Zoar of the Bonzes.

    17. Adad of Assyria.

    18. Deva Tat, and Sammonocadam of Siam.


    19. Alcides of Thebes.

    20. Mikado of the Sintoos.

    21. Beddru of Japan.

    22. Hesus or Eros, and Bremrillah, of the Druids.

    23. Thor, son of Odin, of the Gauls.

    24. Cadmus of Greece.

    25. Hil and Feta of the Mandaites.

    26. Gentaut and Quexalcote of Mexico.

    27. Universal Monarch of the Sibyls.

    28. Ischy of the Island of Formosa.

    29. Divine Teacher of Plato.

    30. Holy One of Xaca.

    31. Fohi and Tien of China.

    32. Adonis, son of the virgin Io of Greece.

    33. Ixion and Quirinus of Rome.

    34. Prometheus of Caucasus.

    35. Mohamud, or Mahomet, of Arabia.


    These have all received divine honors, have nearly all been worshiped as Gods, or sons of God; were mostly incarnated as Christs, Saviors, Messiahs, or Mediators; not a few of them were reputedly born of virgins; some of them filling a character almost identical with that ascribed by the Christian's bible to Jesus Christ; many of them, like

    p. 31

    him, are reported to have been crucified; and all of them, taken together, furnish a prototype and parallel for nearly every important incident and wonder-inciting miracle, doctrine and precept recorded in the New Testament, of the Christian's Savior. Surely, with so many Saviors the world cannot, or should not, be lost.

    We have now presented before us a two-fold ground for doubting and disputing the claims put forth by the Christian world in behalf of "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." In the first place, allowing the question to be answered in the affirmative as to whether he was really a Savior, or supernatural being, or more than a mere man, a negative answer to which seems to have been sprung (as previously intimated) at the very hour of his birth, and that by his kindred, his own nearest relatives; as it is declared, "his own brethren did not believe on him"—a skepticism which has been growing deeper and broader from that day to this.

    And now, upon the heel of this question, we find another formidable query to be met and answered, viz.: Was he (Christ) the only Savior, seeing that a multitude of similar claims are now upon our council-board to be disposed of?

    We shall, however, leave the theologians of the various religious schools to adjust and settle this difficulty among themselves. We shall leave them to settle the question as best they can as to whether Jesus Christ was the only son and sent of God—"the only begotten of the Father," as John declares him to be (John i. 14)—in view of the fact that long prior to his time various personages, in different nations, were invested with the title "Son of God," and have left behind them similar proofs and credentials of the justness of their claims to such a title, if being essentially alike—as we shall prove and demonstrate them to be—can make their claims similar.

    We shall present an array of facts and historical proofs,

    p. 32

    drawn from numerous histories and the Holy Scriptures and bibles appertaining to these various Saviors, and which include a history of their lives and doctrines, that will go to show that in nearly all their leading features, and mostly even in their details, they are strikingly similar.

    A comparison, or parallel view, extended through their sacred histories, so as to include an exhibition presented in parallels of the teachings of their respective bibles, would make it clearly manifest that, with respect to nearly every important thought, deed, word, action, doctrine, principle, receipt, tenet, ritual, ordinance or ceremony, and even the various important characters or personages, who figure in their religious dramas as Saviors, prophets, apostles, angels, devils, demons, exalted or fallen genii—in a word, nearly every miraculous or marvelous story, moral precept, or tenet of religious faith, noticed in either the Old or New Testament Scriptures of Christendom—from the Jewish cosmogony, or story of creation in Genesis, to the last legendary tale in St. John's "Arabian Nights" (alias the Apocalypse)—there is to be found an antitype for, or outline of, somewhere in the sacred records or bibles of the oriental heathen nations, making equal if not higher pretention to a divine emanation and divine inspiration, and admitted by all historians, even the most orthodox, to be of much more ancient date; for while Christians only claim, for the earthly advent of their Savior and the birth of their religion, a period less than nineteen hundred years in the past, on the contrary, most of the deific or divine incarnations of the heathen and their respective religions are, by the concurrent and united verdict of all history, assigned a date several hundred or several thousand years earlier, thus leaving the inference patent that so far as there has been any borrowing or transfer of materials from one system to another, Christianity has been the borrower.