I am ultimately interested in finding out why Greek scribes translated the Hebrew works as "mighty hunter" in Genesis and Chronicles for the Septuagint. The original Hebrew in those books do not seem to use that language. I am wondering if they read stories elsewhere that informed that decision.

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    The Hebrew in Genesis calls him a "Gibor tzayid" -- "gibor" is "valorous", "tzayid" is hunter -- what's the issue?
    – Shalom
    Jan 4 at 0:16
  • sefaria.org/…
    – Shalom
    Jan 4 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Putting this in as an answer.

The Hebrew in Genesis 10:8 reads quite clearly:

וְכ֖וּשׁ יָלַ֣ד אֶת־נִמְרֹ֑ד ה֣וּא הֵחֵ֔ל לִֽהְי֥וֹת גִּבֹּ֖ר בָּאָֽרֶץ׃ Cush produced [a son] Nimrod. He began to be powerful on earth.

הֽוּא־הָיָ֥ה גִבֹּֽר־צַ֖יִד לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה עַל־כֵּן֙ יֵֽאָמַ֔ר כְּנִמְרֹ֛ד גִּבּ֥וֹר צַ֖יִד לִפְנֵ֥י הֹ'׃ He was a mighty hunter before Adonoy. It is therefore said, Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before Adonoy.

In Hebrew, "Gibor" -- mighty, valorous, heroic, or brave; "tzayid" -- a hunter.

(As Heshy points out, the parts-of-speech don't quite line up. "Valorous of the hunt?" "Hunterly great?" Still, something like that.)

So it's spelled out in the Hebrew in Genesis.

There is a well-known Midrash (it's not written in the Tanach per se) that Nimrod is the ruler when a young Abraham comes up with monotheism; Nimrod views him as a threat, and has Abraham thrown into a furnace in Ur-Kasdim, but Abraham survives. It's commonly taught to kids -- to the point that most are shocked when they grow up and they can't find it in their Tanach -- but it's not in the verses per se. (Some faithful Jews do explicitly survive a Babylonian furnace in the Book of Daniel, and the Genesis verse "I am God who brought you out of Ur-Kasdim" is viewed as a hint that something dangerous happened there ... (the Midrash reads several other hints in the verses) ... but still - it's a Midrash. Not all were intended literally, and there can be multiple valid Midrashic interpretations.) It's actually quite notable that the verses themselves tell us very little of Abraham's youth, and really focus on two things: how he relates to his family, and God's plan for him.

That Midrash (at least one version thereof) appears in Bereshis Rabba 38 -- here's Sefaria's translation:

. Thereupon Terach seized him and delivered him to Nimrod. "Let us worship fire," Nimrod said. "Let us rather worship water which quenches fire," Avraham said. "Let us worship water," Nimrod said. "Let us rather worship the clouds which bear the water," Avraham said. "Let us then worship the clouds," Nimros said. "Let us worship the wind which disperses the clouds," Avraham said. "Let us worship the wind," Nimrod said. "Let us worship human beings which can stand up to the wind," Avraham said. "You are just bandying words, and we will worship nothing but the fire. Behold, I will cast you into it, and let your God whom you adore come and save you from it!" Nimrod said. ... When Avraham descended into the fiery furnace and was saved, ...

  • It's not exactly mighty hunter, because gibor is the noun and tzayid is the adjective. Maybe more like "master hunter"? It doesn't literally translate so well.
    – Heshy
    Jan 5 at 0:46
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    Thanks! That's a good point. I missed it. I have heard stories of Abraham and Nimrod debating? Is that anywhere that you know?
    – Tym0027
    Jan 5 at 6:46
  • @Tym0027 see above. Midrash, not the verses. Not the Greek translators either.
    – Shalom
    Jan 5 at 10:24
  • The story of avraham in fire in ur kasdim dates back well before any standard midrash. It's found in josephus and jubilees iinm. Not formally canonized tanach but pretty close. A good reminder to everyone not to just immediately dismiss any midrash as a late innovation.
    – Double AA
    Jan 5 at 13:12
  • @DoubleAA thank you; that is really cool! That drives home the question then of why the Chumash omitted it.
    – Shalom
    Jan 5 at 21:34

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