Genesis 11

Who is the real nimrod here? Nimrod is purported by legend to be the political kingpin behind the building of the Tower of Babel. But we can’t be sure of this, because, though it was the avowed purpose of the tower to make a name for its makers, the project failed with the tower’s collapse, and the names have been lost to posterity. Very ironic.

The Tower narrative is the proverbial tale of the doomnation of human endeavors to vanquish nature with its civilizing force and scientific agility. The tale of the tower is a tale on par with the myth of Icarus; or with the story of the Titanic–the ship about which someone reputedly said or wrote, “Even God can’t sink this ship.”

These tales, that illustrate the vanity of humanity’s efforts to immortalize itself, are often portrayed in tragic tones.

The same story might be turned upside down and heard quite differently by a people like the Israelites (to whom Moses tells this story), who were the slaves conscripted to build Pharaoh’s pyramids; the exploited human commodity of labor upon which such aspirations of men like Nimrod are built. To them, it might sound more like a story akin to the toppling of some cruel dictator’s statue that signals–freedom.

©2020 Joel Picard

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