Genesis 10:12
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
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10:8-14 Nimrod was a great man in his day; he began to be mighty in the earth, Those before him were content to be upon the same level with their neighbours, and though every man bare rule in his own house, yet no man pretended any further. Nimrod was resolved to lord it over his neighbours. The spirit of the giants before the flood, who became mighty men, and men of renown, Ge 6:4, revived in him. Nimrod was a great hunter. Hunting then was the method of preventing the hurtful increase of wild beasts. This required great courage and address, and thus gave an opportunity for Nimrod to command others, and gradually attached a number of men to one leader. From such a beginning, it is likely, that Nimrod began to rule, and to force others to submit. He invaded his neighbours' rights and properties, and persecuted innocent men; endeavouring to make all his own by force and violence. He carried on his oppressions and violence in defiance of God himself. Nimrod was a great ruler. Some way or other, by arts or arms, he got into power, and so founded a monarchy, which was the terror of the mighty, and bid fair to rule all the world. Nimrod was a great builder. Observe in Nimrod the nature of ambition. It is boundless; much would have more, and still cries, Give, give. It is restless; Nimrod, when he had four cities under his command, could not be content till he had four more. It is expensive; Nimrod will rather be at the charge of rearing cities, than not have the honour of ruling them. It is daring, and will stick at nothing. Nimrod's name signifies rebellion; tyrants to men are rebels to God. The days are coming, when conquerors will no longer be spoken of with praise, as in man's partial histories, but be branded with infamy, as in the impartial records of the Bible.Out of that land came he forth to Asshur. - This may be otherwise rendered, "out of that land came forth Asshur." The probabilities in favor of the former translations are the following: First. The discourse relates to Nimrod. Second. The words admit of it. Third. The word Asshur has occurred hitherto only as the name of a country. Fourth. Asshur, the person, was considerably older than Nimrod, and had probably given name to Asshur before Nimrod's projects began. Fifth. Asshur would have been as great a man as Nimrod, if he had founded Nineveh and its contiguous towns; which does not appear from the text. Sixth. "The beginning of his kingdom" implies the addition to it contained in these verses. Seventh. And the phrases "in the land of Shinar, out of that land," and the need of some definite locality for the second four cities, are in favor of the former rendering.

Asshur was a country intersected by the Tigris. It included the part of Mesopotamia north of Shinar, and the region between the Tigris and Mount Zagros. Its extension westward is undefined by any natural boundary, and seems to have varied at different times. Nineveh was a well-known city of antiquity, situated opposite Mosul on the Tigris. The country in which it was placed is called by Strabo Aturia, a variation seemingly of Asshur. It's remains are now marked by the names Nebbi-yunus and Koyunjik. Rehoboth-ir, the city broadway or market, has not been identified. Kelah is said to be now marked by the ruin called Nimrud. This lies on the left bank of the Tigris, near its confluence with the greater Zab, Its name seems to be preserved in the Calachene of Strabo. It was about twenty miles south of Nineveh. It is possible, however, so far as we can conjecture from conflicting authorities, that Kelah may be Kileh Sherghat, about fifty miles south of Mosul, on the right bank of the Tigris. Resen is placed by the text, between Nineveh and Kelah, and is therefore probably represented by Selamiyeh, a village about half way between Koyunjik and Nimrud. If Kelah, however, be Kileh Sherghat, Resen will coincide with Nimrud. "That is the great city."

This refers most readily to Resen, and will suit very well if it be Nimrud, which was evidently extensive. It may, however, refer to Nineveh. This completion of Nimrod's kingdom, we see, contains also four cities. The Babylonian and Assyrian monarchies were akin in origin, and allied in their history and in their fall. They were too near each other to be independent, and their mutual jealousies at length brought about the ruin of the northern capital. A Kushite, and therefore a Hamite, founded this first world-monarchy or tyranny. Another Hamite power arose simultaneously in Egypt. A branch of the Kushites seem to have gone eastward, and spread over India. But another branch spread through the South of Arabia, and, crossing into Africa, came into contact, sometimes into alliance, and sometimes into collision with the Egyptian monarchy. The eastern empire is noticed particularly, because it intruded into Shemitic ground, and aimed continually at extending its sway over the nations descended from Shem.

11. Out of that land went forth Asshur—or, as the Margin has it, "He [Nimrod] at the head of his army went forth into Assyria," that is, he pushed his conquests into that country.

and builded Nineveh—opposite the town of Mosul, on the Tigris, and the other towns near it. This raid into Assyria was an invasion of the territories of Shem, and hence the name "Nimrod," signifying "rebel," is supposed to have been conferred on him from his daring revolt against the divine distribution.


1. Nineveh, which is called a

great city, Jonah 3:3, on 4:11; and indeed was so, being sixty miles in compass. Thus it is a trajection, and the relative is referred to the remoter noun, as sometimes is done, though this seems to be a little forced. Or,

2. Resen; so the meaning is, though this city be much inferior to Nineveh, yet this also, if compared with most others, is a great city.

And Resen, between Nineveh and Calah,.... This was another city built by Ashur, situated between those two cities mentioned: the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call it Talsar, or Thalassar, see Isaiah 37:12 The conjecture of Bochart (b) is more probable, that it is the Larissa of Xenophon, situated on the Tigris; though Junius thinks it is either Bassora, or Belcina, which Ptolemy (c) places on the Tigris, near Nineveh:

the same is a great city: which Jarchi interprets of Nineveh, called a great city, and was indeed one, being sixty miles in circumference, Jonah 1:2 but the construction of the words carries it to Resen, which might be the greatest city when first built; and, if understood of Larissa, was a great city, the walls of it being one hundred feet high, and the breadth twenty five, and the compass of it eight miles. Benjamin of Tudela says (d), that in his time Resen was called Gehidagan, and was a great city, in which were 5000 Israelites; but according to Schmidt, this refers to all the cities in a coalition, Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen, which all made that great city Nineveh; or were a Tetrapolis, as Tripoli was anciently three cities, built by the joint interest of the Aradians, Sidonians, and Tyrians, as Diodorus Siculus (e) relates.

(b) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 23. (c) Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 5. c. 19.) (d) Itinerarium, p. 75. (e) Bibliothec. l. 16. p. 439.

And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
12. Resen] Not yet identified; but conjectured to lie among the mounds which conceal ruins between Nineveh and Nimrud.

(the same is the great city)] This is a note added by the compiler; or, possibly, as Skinner suggests, a gloss, referring to Nineveh, which is misplaced.

13–19 (J). The descendants of Mizraim (Egypt), Genesis 10:13-14; and of Canaan (Phoenicia), Genesis 10:15-19. The names of tribes (the plural termination -im) in Genesis 10:13-14, and of peoples (Genesis 10:16-19), seem to imply a different source of tradition from that in Genesis 10:2-7.

Verse 12. - And Resen, i.e. Nimrod, between Kalah Shergat and Kouyunjik (Kalisch); but if Calah be Nimroud, then Rosen may be Selamiyeh, a village about half way, between Nineveh and Calah, i.e. Kouyunjik and Nimroud, ut supra (Layard). The same. Rosen (Kalisch), which will suit if it was Nimroud, whose remains cover a parallelogram about 1800 feet in length and 900 feet in breadth; but others apply it to Nineveh with the other towns as forming one large composite city (Knobel, Keil, Lange, Wordsworth). Is a great city. With this the record of Nimrod s achievements closes. It is generally supposed that Nimrod flourished either before or about the time of the building of the tower of Babel; but Prof. Chwolsen of St. Petersburg, in his 'Ueber die Ueberreste der Altbabylon-ischen Literatur,' brings the dynasty of Nimrod down as late as , relying principally on the evidence of an original work composed by Qut ami, a native Babylonian, and translated by Ibnwa hachijah, a descendant of the Chaldaeans, and assigned by Chwolsen to one of the earlier periods of Babylonian history, in which is mentioned the name of Nemrod, or Nemroda, as the founder of a Canaanite dynasty which ruled at Babylon (vide an excellent paper on this subject in Turner's 'Biblical and Oriental Studies,' Edin., A. and C. Black, 1876). Perhaps the hardest difficulty to explain in connection with the ordinary date assigned to Nimrod is the fact that in Genesis 14, which speaks of the reigning monarchs in the Euphrates valley, there is no account taken of Nineveh and its king - a circumstance which has been supposed to import that the founding of the capital of Assyria could not have been anterior to the days of Abraham. But early Babylonian texts confirm what Genesis 14. seems to imply - the fact of an Elamite conquest of Babylonia, B.C. 2280, by Kudur-nanhundi (Kudurlagamar, the Chederlaomer of Genesis), who carried off an image of the goddess Nana from the city Erech (vide 'Assyrian Discoveries,' Genesis 12; 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3.), so that this difficulty may be held to have disappeared before the light of archaeological discovery. But at whatever period Nimrod flourished, the Biblical narrative would lead us to anticipate a commingling of Hamitic and Shemitic tongues in the Euphrates valley, which existing monuments confirm (cf. 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 3). Genesis 10:12From Shinar Nimrod went to Assyria אשּׁוּר is the accusative of direction), the country on the east of the Tigris, and there built four cities, or probably a large imperial city composed of the four cities, or probably a large imperial city composed of the four cities named. As three of these cities - Rehoboth-Ir, i.e., city markets (not "street-city," as Bunsen interprets it), Chelach, and Resen - are not met with again, whereas Nineveh was renowned in antiquity for its remarkable size (vid., Jonah 3:3), the words "this is the great city" must apply not to Resen, but to Nineveh. This is grammatically admissible, if we regard the last three names as subordinate to the first, taking as the sign of subordination (Ewald, 339a), and render the passage thus: "he built Nineveh, with Rehoboth-Ir, Cheloch, and Resen between Nineveh and Chelach, this is the great city." From this it follows that the four places formed a large composite city, a large range of towns, to which the name of the (well-known) great city of Nineveh was applied, in distinction from Nineveh in the more restricted sense, with which Nimrod probably connected the other three places so as to form one great capital, possibly also the chief fortress of his kingdom on the Tigris. These four cities most likely correspond to the ruins on the east of the Tigris, which Layard has so fully explored, viz., Nebbi Ynus and Kouyunjik opposite to Mosul, Khorsabad five hours to the north, and Nimrud eight hours to the south of Mosul.

(Note: This supposition of Rawlinson, Grote, M. v. Niebuhr, Knobel, Delitzsch and others, has recently been adopted by Ewald also.)

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