Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ayoola Goodyness Olanrewaju writes


i know how it feels

when it is all misty
and the dream is crooked...

i know the darkness
too dark to be written into light quills
or the cravings of empty spaces...

i know the stings
when the bones become venom...
when the blood grow into snakes
or scorpions...

i know the fruitlessness
the barrenness of knocks on the grounds
when the opening is not the doors
but gullies
or the pits you still fall into
and there is no one to help...

i know the miracle that comes with
holding on...importunity
and the smiles when the dream is straight...

and i know losing everything
and not getting back
when a spoilt banana is taken as ripened
when a folly is not tethered
when a man begins to build a ladder of babel
for the attention of gods...

 Image result for babel ladder
Building the Tower of Babel [from Egerton Genesis Picture Book, ca, 1360]


  1. Nimrod, shown in the lower right corner, was the king of Shinar who (according to Flavius Josephus in the first century) constructed the Tower of Babel; the "land of Nimrod" in Micah 5:6 was Assyria. He was the great-grandson of Noah via Ham and Cush. Genesis 10:10 claimed that "Babel, Erech, Akkad and Calneh in the land of Shinar" (Mesopotamia) were the "beginning of his kingdom," and he may also have founded the Assyrian cities Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah. In "The Book of Jubilees"(8:7) he was named as the father of Eber's wife Azurad, whose son Peleg ("division") was an ancestor of Abraham and hence of all Jews and Arabs. According to Genesis 10:25 and 1 Chronicles 1:19, "the earth was divided" during the time of Peleg, presumably a new patriarchal division of the world among Noah's descendants. A "Clemens" wrote a religious romance (perhaps in the 5th century), part of which was preserved in an early Arabic work, "Kitab al-Magall" (the Book of Rolls), which said Nimrod reigned 69 years, building Nisibis, Raha (Edessa), and Harran when Peleg was 50 and Hadâniûn, Ellasar, Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Rûhîn, Atrapatene, Telalôn, and other cities when Peleg's son Re'u was 163. It also related that Nimrod, the first king to wear a crown, "saw in the sky a piece of black cloth and a crown" and ordered Sasan the weaver to copy it, causing "people who knew nothing about it, said that a crown came down to him from heaven." The book also claimed that Nimrod established fire worship and idolatry, then received instruction in divination from Bouniter, the fourth son of Noah, who was born after the Flood and was the first astronomer. (The "Syriac Cave of Treasures," written ca. 350, said that Nimrod founded Nisibis, Edessa, and Harran when Re'u was 50, and that he became the world's first king when Re'u was 130.) In the "Recognitions," another version of the Clementines translated into Latin by Tyrannius Rufinus (who died in 410), Nimrod was equated with the Assyrian king Ninus, whom the 5th-century Greek historian Ktesías (in the "Persica") claimed was the founder of Nineveh; the Greeks usually claimed that Ninus was the husband of Semiramis. In a Syriac version of the Clementines, the "Homilies," Nimrod was equated with Zoroaster. In the 5th century the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi identified Nimrod with Belus, whom the Greeks believed was a king of Assyria (though neither he nor Ninus are attested in any Mesopotamian annals, but Assyrian inscriptions do bear the name Bel-Nibru; Nibru was the Sumerian name for Nippur).

  2. In the 9th century Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer related Jewish traditions that Nimrod had inherited from Cush the garments of Adam and Eve, which made him invincible, and that he assumed universal rulership after defeating the descendants of Ham's brother Japheth, the progenitor of the European and East Asian peoples. Much of the traditional lore about Nimrod came from Josephus: he was "a bold man, and of great strength of hand" who excited the people to "an affront and contempt of God" and "gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach. And that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers. Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion." (Dante, who placed him in the Circle of Treachery in the "inferno," gave him one line, the unintelligible "Raphèl maí amèche zabí almi.") However, in the 4th century Mar Aprêm Sûryayâ (Ephrem the Syrian), a Syriac Christian deacon, insisted that that Nimrod was righteous and opposed the builders of the Tower; and the "Targum Yerushalmi" (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan) translation of the Torah cited a Jewish tradition that Nimrod left Shinar in southern Mesopotamia because he refused to take part in its construction and was rewarded with the four cities in Assyria in northern Mesopotamia.

  3. In the 9th century Muslim historian Abu Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarir al-Ṭabari wrote that Nimrod built the Tower in Babil but Allah destroyed it and confused Syriac, the orignal language of mankind, into 72 languages; in the 13th century the Kurdish historian Abu Al-fida' Isma'il Ibn 'ali ibn Mahmud Al-malik Al-mu'ayyad 'imad Ad-din ("Abulfeda") claimed that Nimrod's son-in-law Eber refused to participicate in the Tower project and was allowed to keet the original language, Hebrew. Beginning with the 1st-century "Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum" (usually called"Pseudo-Philo"), Jews and Muslims recounted various interactions between Nimrod and Abraham: Due to a stellar portent of the impending birth of Abraham and the end of idolatry, Nimrod ordered that all new-borns be killed. But Abrahm's mother managed to give birth in secret. As a young man, Abraham confronted Nimrod's false religion, and Nimrod ordered him to be burned at the stake, after collecting wood for four years to make the biggest bonfire in history. According to the 6th-century "Midrash Rabba," Nimrod ordered Abraham to worship the fire. "Abraham said to him: Shall I then worship the water, which puts off the fire! Nimrod told him: Worship the water! [Abraham] said to him: If so, shall I worship the cloud, which carries the water? [Nimrod] told him: Worship the cloud! [Abraham] said to him: If so, shall I worship the wind, which scatters the clouds? [Nimrod] said to him: Worship the wind! [Abraham] said to him: And shall we worship the human, who withstands the wind? Said [Nimrod] to him: You pile words upon words, I bow to none but the fire - in it shall I throw you, and let the God to whom you bow come and save you from it! Haran [Abraham's brother] was standing there. He said [to himself]: what shall I do? If Abraham wins, I shall say: "I am of Abraham's [followers]," if Nimrod wins I shall say "I am of Nimrod's [followers]." When Abraham went into the furnace and survived, Haran was asked: "Whose [follower] are you?" and he answered: "I am Abraham's!". [Then] they took him and threw him into the furnace, and his belly opened and he died and predeceased Terach, his father." When Abraham emerged unharmed, Nimrod challenged him to battle, but either Abraham's army of gnats destroyed Nimrod's forces or a gnat or mosquito entered Nimrod's brain and drove him mad. In some versions Nimrod repented, only to have his sacrifices rejected by God, or gave Abraham his son Eliezer to act as his majordomo. On other versions Nimrod resumed his rebellion against God and, in a chariot driven by birds, tried to make a personal assault upon Heaven. Muslims claim that Nimrod and Abrham continued their debate: Abraham insisted, "My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death," but Nimrod tried to disprove that claim by sentencing two men to death and pardoning one of them, prompting Abraham to say, "God brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west." In frustration Nimrod exiled Abraham, who fled to Canaan, which God gave to him and his descendants. According to Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, Abraham's grandson Esau ambushed, beheaded, and robbed Nimrod.


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