In listening to Micah the other day, I heard something familiar:
This One will be our peace.
When the Assyrian invades our land,
When he tramples on our citadels,
Then we will raise against him
Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.
They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
The land of Nimrod at its entrances;
And He will deliver us from the Assyrian
When he attacks our land
And when he tramples our territory. (Micah 5.5-6 NASB)
The LXX references Nimrod as well.
This brought to mind Revelation 17.11:
“The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.
The mention of Babylon, Erech/Uruk, and Akkad/Agade points, on the one hand, to Babylonia. More specifically, the fact that Nimrod is based in Babylonia, from which he then extends his rule over Assyria (construing ʾaššûr in Gen 10:11 as the land, in the directional case, viz., “he went out to Assyria”), reflects, at the least, the long-standing cultural superiority of Babylonia over Assyria.1
The Hebrew Scriptures provides for a great deal of connection between Nimrod and Babylon. In Revelation 17, John speaks to the downfall of that city (Rome, by the way, and not the Catholic Church). What is missing in many — I haven’t checked all — commentaries is the connection between these two verses. Rather, I see a connection here I cannot find mentioned in many if not all commentaries. The connection, of course, is centered not just on the mention of seven and eight and neither is it just on the opposition between shepherds and men (beasts and kings), but also on the opposition between the Good Shepherd and Nimrod, or YHWH’s agent and Babylon.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on the literary connection, if any, between these two passages?
Seriously, they must have hated Nero to write these things about him… (psst… not convinced Nero is in view here, but a Roman emperor surely is).
- Review: The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia: By Archibald H. Sayce (mbplee.wordpress.com)
- Peter Machinist, “Nimrod (Person)”, in , vol. 4, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary ( ed. David Noel Freedman; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 1117. ↩