Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Smatterings - Nimrod

We have a small group Bible study that meets in our home under the name "Wananada Wednesdays." We have been studying the book of Genesis during this season. Although I think we have generally been focusing on matters of greater import, this week a question about "Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord" in Genesis 10 came up. Why is Nimrod a heroic figure in Genesis, but a term of derision in modern English slang?

Turns out that etymology experts are uncertain. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) notes that hunters have sometimes been called nimrods as an allusion to the biblical hunter, and sometimes incompetent hunters have facetiously been called "nimrod," starting with a literary reference in 1933.

It may be Bugs Bunny that popularized this ironic use of "nimrod" (although the OED doesn't mention it). Bugs was known to occasionally call Elmer "poor little nimrod." The biblically illiterate audience was probably unaware of the allusion and picked it up as an insult for an incompetent person.

The pictures: above, Sargon I of Assyria, whom some identify with Nimrod; below, Elmer Fudd of Warner Brothers, whom Bugs Bunny identifies as "nimrod."

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Manning, one of the things I sincerely appreciate about you is how you can discuss some of the deepest and complex of subjects like "subordinationism within the Trinity" (thanks Grudem) and also teach some Bible trivia. Wait, is the term "Bible trivia" blasphemous or oxymoronic? I don't mean it in a condescending way whatsoever. All I meant was you give both "milk" and "solid food" most excellently.
    This post on Nimrod was quite intersting and entertaining and I bet it will come in handy when my small group gets to Genesis 10.

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