After the Flood, human society apart from God began when Nimrod, a grandson of Ham, organized the first secular government in the city of Babel (Genesis 10:8-10) and expanded it to Nineveh and other cities (Micah 5:5-6). He instituted a system whereby one or a few at the top profit from the labor of the majority under them. Soon there were many cities, each ruled by a self-willed king. Not content with one city, ambitious rulers, seeking greater wealth and power, armed a portion of their manpower and by aggression subjugated adjoining cities. Thus nations were born and then empires.
This grasping, enslaving principle of government, intertwined with economic manipulation, has dominated the world ever since. Whatever form human governments take, they display the same Babylonian style of rule. Governments have risen and fallen, but their basic principles have remained—competition and strife based on greed and pride (Psalm 10:2-11).
Regardless of form, human government is based on exploitation of people and resources, power, aggression, and deception. The entire system began and continues with the idea of cramming people together into cities. As a world order built on strife and competition, each of the four phases of human civilization—political, economic, religious, and social—has tried to dominate the others. In ancient Rome, politicians ruled over religion, business, and society. After AD 554, the Roman Catholic church dominated the others. In America, where self-rule is enshrined in the Constitution, big business and avaricious politicians have constantly struggled for dominance. Communism, as with all forms of socialism, induces the laboring class to support a suppressive government for the benefit of the elite.
Regardless of the particular form of administration, the civilization that now holds the entire world under its sway is the same Babylonian system initially established by Nimrod. Babylon means “confusion.” Competition and strife have produced confusion throughout the world (James 3:16), but “God is not the author of confusion” (I Corinthians 14:33). Therefore, this world's system of government is not God's.
Martin G. Collins
Would Jesus Christ Vote? (Part One)
The word "before" could very well be translated "against," meaning "in opposition to." Nimrod was against God; he was standing before God—and not in a friendly way!
John W. Ritenbaugh
Division, Satan, Humility
Nimrod means "let us revolt." In the context of Genesis 10, there is absolutely no mention of animals that he supposedly hunted. The context has to do with the description of character, moral spirituality, and culture. Nimrod was a mighty man, a mighty hunter in terms of men. He was like the Nephilim (see Genesis 6:4). He was a giant of a moral and spiritual nature.
What was Nimrod doing when he was hunting? Nimrod hunted other Nephilim and eliminated them. He got rid of the competition and established a despotic and autocratic system of government. He did that before the Lord. In other words, he did what he did right in front of God. God was aware of what he was doing. The revolt was not hidden.
If a person is standing before another, he can stand before him as a friend, as neutral, or as an enemy. There is already an indication of how Nimrod stood before the Lord, because he is named "he who revolts." He is standing before the Lord as an enemy. He is against God, as chapter 11 shows.
Nimrod founded a city, and he named it Babilu. Not Babel. He called it Babilu, which means "Gate of God." "Babel" is what the Hebrews called it, and thus when Moses, a Hebrew, wrote Genesis, he called it "Babel." Babel is the Hebrew name. It sounds somewhat similar to Babilu, but Babel means "confusion."
John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 2)
Notice the word “before” in "He was a might hunter before the LORD." The word literally means "face"—that which is in the front and which appears to another, as in “face to face.” Nimrod was a mighty hunter facing the Lord. The word before literally means "that which turns." It has a wide variety of usages. It can be translated “facing,” “before,” “in front of,” or “against.”
“Against” is the correct translation here, according to the context. He was a mighty hunter against the Lord. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord in the sense of fighting against Him. You do not turn your back on your enemy. You face him, and he faces you.
Nimrod was against God; he was facing the Lord in battle, in antagonism rather than in submission. That is shown in the context by his conquests. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel. There is more here than meets the eye. He conquered Babel. He conquered Erech, Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. He was bringing what were probably city-states under his control and forming them into one nation. Nowhere did God give the right to dominion over other men by conquering them, and that was what Nimrod did.
The Sperling Translation renders this phrase, "He began to be a despot." He was a despot against God; and he deceived, manipulated, and controlled those he brought under his dominion. Satan and his demons, through Nimrod, conspired against God to bring mankind into one government against God.
God does not destroy things that are good. He does not intervene unless something is evil. This was something evil against God and against God's purpose. That is why He stepped in and confused the languages, because this was something directly against God's purpose, against the timeline that God had worked out in His own mind.
There we have the first example in the Bible of people under the sway of Satan. They were under the sway because they were his children spiritually and because they were antagonistic to God's purpose. They were not submissive to it or obedient to God.
Here we have mankind's first attempt to bring all of mankind under one government. From the very beginning in the book of beginnings, Genesis, God shows that bringing governments together under man is not a part of His purpose. It is antagonistic to God.
John W. Ritenbaugh
What I Believe About Conspiracy Theories
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Genesis 10:8: