The Nephilim were on the earth in those days (and also after this) when the sons of God were having sexual relations with the daughters of man, who gave birth to their children. They were the mighty heroes of old, the famous men. – Genesis 6:4
Numbers 13:33 There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim), and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.
Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned
26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole Israel community at Kadesh in Paran’s wilderness. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land.
27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country – a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.
28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!
30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”
32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.
33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them, we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
The mythology of the Greeks and the Romans, as well as that of the Ancient Near East, tell tales and stories of superhumans and giants who were part human and part god. Consider Hercules or the Titans, such as Cyclops and Atlas. Hercules was the greatest of all Greek heroes. According to Greek mythology, he was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. He was a half-god of superhuman strength.
Have giants really roamed the earth? Some translations of the Old Testament seem to indicate that that was indeed the case.
Enter the Nephilim. Who were the Nephilim, and where did they come from? Are they the legendary giants of antiquity and folklore? This plural word is used only twice in the Old Testament Scriptures Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33. The term’s precise meaning is uncertain. Nephilim were massive, powerful, and violent men. Nephilim literally means rebels or fallen ones.
The actual Hebrew term is Nephilim. It is transliterated into English as Nephilim. When the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, was translated from Hebrew into Greek, Nephilim was rendered as gigantes in Greek. The English word giants is derived from this word. When the King James version was translated, Nephilim, itwas rendered as giants. Many modern translations use this term in Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33.
But the Scriptures do not refer to them specifically as giants as we would use the term today. What exactly do the Scriptures say?
Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and afterward, when the sons of God had sexual relations with the daughters of men, and they gave birth to the children. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
According to Genesis 6:4, the Nephilim became mighty, fierce, and violent warriors. They were well known and famous in the antediluvian world.
Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan on a reconnaissance mission to find out if it was indeed a land flowing with milk and honey, how well was it fortified, and what kind of people lived there (Numbers 13:33). The Scriptures state that Nephilim were present. It adds a detail that is not present in Genesis 6:4.Further, they were large men. The spies declared that compared to the Nephilim, they were as tiny as grasshoppers in their own sight (Numbers 13:33). Could this fearful exaggeration be a rationalization to attempt to halt the invasion of Canaan?
The most famous of the Nephilim was Goliath of Gath, a Philistine, who was six cubits and a span or about 9 feet 9 inches in height (1 Samuel 17:4).
If all human life on earth was destroyed except for Noah and those that accompanied him on the ark, the Nephilim were part of the human gene pool of the humans that survived. They were the descendants of Adam and Eve.
In modern times, very tall humans are frequently seen on basketball teams. Many are over seven feet tall. In addition, there are real giants among us in modern times. Many of whom are 8-9 feet tall. In childhood, their pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone (somatotropin), producing gigantism.
REFLECT & PRAY
Sometimes understanding the Scriptures is difficult. We study the Scriptures not because they are easy but hard.
Father thank You for giving us the ability to reason and the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of the magnificent Word of God (Ephesians 3:18).
The Golden Rule of Interpretation states: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, give it no other sense.” When we seek to understand the Scriptures, we need to let them speak for themselves in the context in which they are found. We use a literal, grammatical, and historical method. It asks the question: what did it mean to the person writing it or speaking it, and what did it mean to those that heard it?
How does The Golden Rule of Interpretation apply to Genesis 6:1-4? In Genesis 4, the descendants of Seth and Cain are delineated. Seth and his descendants were noted for their godliness (Genesis 4:25-26, Genesis 5). At the same time, the descendants of Cain were noted for their ungodliness (Genesis 4:11-15).
1 Now it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,
2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God had sexual relations the daughters of men, and they gave birth to the children. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Without reading in ideas from other parts of Scripture or Jewish or Christian traditions, the most obvious explanation is that the sons of God were the godly line through Seth and the daughters of men were the ungodly line through Cain. They intermarried. Some of them would have been Nephilim.
The earth was soon filled with wickedness and evil. As a result, the Father selected Noah, a righteous, godly man, to preserve male and female pairs of animals and eight human beings from the global flood.
No fallen angels are mentioned anywhere in Genesis 6:1-4. Further, living creatures reproduce “after their kind” (Genesis 1). If, as many suggest, fallen angels somehow transformed themselves into male humans, married female humans, and had intercourse with them, where did the DNA come from to produce offspring?
Sometimes the Scriptures are quite puzzling and leave us scratching our heads. But the same was true even of the apostle Peter.
2 Peter 3:15-16
15 This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him
16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
It is incumbent upon each child of the King to study and research for themselves and find the best resources to help them better understand the Word of God. The King James Version puts it like this.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who must not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
This reflection is a bit different, but it comes in response to a question I was asked.
© Dr. H 2022
One thought on “Nephilim ∙”
Beautifully written and explained.