The Nephilim were a race that came to dominate the antediluvian (pre-flood) world, and are referred to in the Bible as the heroes of old, men of renown. They were reportedly the children born to the "Sons of God" by the "daughters of men". It is also most important to note that they are mentioned almost simultaneous to God's statement that He would destroy the earth by flood, and it seems from this association that their effect upon mankind was one of the primary justifications that brought the destruction.
"Nephilim" is rendered fallen, or possibly feller: a tyrant or bully. Several English translations rendered the word "giants", but of late translators seem to prefer to leave it untranslated. The "giants" translation may have come from the Greek old testament where "nephilim" was "gegantes" which looks like "giant" but in modern Greek would be "titans". In Greek mythos, the titans were the supernaturally powerful offspring of gods and humans.
In Genesis 6 , where the global flood is described, it states that the Nephilim were also on the Earth afterward. Many therefore, assume that descriptions of giants in the Bible are references to Nephilim bloodlines. However, the only specific mention of Nephilim on the earth after the flood is part of the bad report from the spies in Numbers 13, a report that is called "bad" (or "evil") as in an unreliable source.
"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,
The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.
They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air — for I am grieved that I have made them." - Genesis 6:1-7
The Sons of God:
It is unclear what the Sons of God were, but they are distinguished from the daughters of men. The most obvious interpretation is that the Nephilim were a hybrid race between two distinct beings. There are at least three schools of thought regarding the Sons of God.
The older view, held nearly unanimously by ancient writers prior to Augustine of Hippo, is that the Nephilim were a hybrid race between certain fallen angels, called the Benei Ha'Elohim("Sons of God") or The Watchers in extra-Biblical traditions, and human women.
Several tribes are encountered in the campaign of the Five Kings in Abraham's day that some argue might be Nephilim or hybrids of Nephilim. They are described as having become several tribes occupying the lands around the Valley of Siddim (Dead Sea) and evidently intermixed with the Canaanites.
Genesis 14 and Deuteronomy 2 name these tribes as the Rephaim ("titans", children of "Rapha"), Zuzim or Zamzummim ("terrible ones"), Emim, Horites, and Anakim ("crushing tyrants"). The tribe of the Anakim are directly connected with the Nephilim in the false report of the spies described in (Numbers 13:33 ). The context of the passages suggest that the other tribes of giants were relatives of the Anakim or other lines of Nephilim, particularly the Rephaim whose giant descendant is described as living in Gath along with the Anakim Goliath and Lahmi (see below). The Rephaim are giants (in fact these peoples are generally described as being tall or large) and seem to have been thus matched with the Nephilim based on theEnglish rendering of "giants" in Genesis 6.
The tribe of the Anakim were descended from a giant named Anak, who was a son or grandson of a giant named "Arba", from which the ancient city of Hebron was originally called "Kiriath Arba" or "The City of Arba" because "Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim". This tribe was so tall, that the weak-kneed spies reported, "we are like grasshoppers to them."
Scripture describes how the tribes of giants were fought and destroyed by the tribes of normal men who replaced them, including the Israelites. Moses killed Og, king of the Rehpaim who lived on the Golan heights near Mt. Hermon. Og had a bed nine cubits long (13.5 to 15.5 feet, depending on which cubit was used) and was called "last of the remnant of the giants". Og may be the source of the word "ogre" in the English language.
Joshua drove the three remaining sons of Anak out of Hebron in his first campaignm. They evidently reoccupied the city of Hebron while Joshua was waging his campaign against Canaanite cities in the North. Caleb later retook Hebron and killed the three giants.
Later David and Saul fought a remnant of smaller giants who had taken refuge in the Philistine city of Gath. They included Goliath, who was about nine feet tall, and his brother Lahmi "whose spear had a shaft like a weaver's rod". The last of the Gittite giants was slain, "In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha".
The last Scriptural reference to the giants may be Isaiah 45:14 , which prophecies that Sabean "men of stature" will become slaves in chains of the redeemed Israelites.
The characteristics of these tribes described in Scripture:
* Their height was two or three times the height of normal men.
* They were associated with some kind of unholy intermixing before the Flood.
* They were closely associated with the wicked Canaanites after the Flood.
* In one case they are described as having polydactyly (extra fingers and toes).
* Unlike the Canaanites, there are no examples of Nephilim who became followers of God.
The Nephilim are described in great detail in the Book of Jubilees and Book of Enoch. Both of these books have been traditionally rejected as apocryphal by the European Church. However, they were both considered canonical by the Ethiopic Church from the time of Christ until today, and the Book of Enoch was quoted in the Biblical Epistle of Jude.
Jubilees has the following to say about the sons of God and the Nephilim:
"And in the second week of the tenth jubilee [449-55 A.M.] Mahalalel took unto him to wife Dinah, the daughter of Barakiel the daughter of his father's brother, and she bare him a son in the third week in the sixth year, [461 A.M.] and he called his name Jared, for in his days the angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named the Watchers, that they should instruct the children of men, and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth." - Jubilees 4:15
"And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants. And lawlessness increased on the earth and all flesh corrupted its way, alike men and cattle and beasts and birds and everything that walks on the earth -all of them corrupted their ways and their orders, and they began to devour each other, and lawlessness increased on the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all men (was) thus evil continually. And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt, and all flesh had corrupted its orders, and all that were upon the earth had wrought all manner of evil before His eyes. And He said that He would destroy man and all flesh upon the face of the earth which He had created. But Noah found grace before the eyes of the Lord. And against the angels whom He had sent upon the earth, He was exceedingly wroth, and He gave commandment to root them out of all their dominion, and He bade us to bind them in the depths of the earth, and behold they are bound in the midst of them, and are (kept) separate. And against their sons went forth a command from before His face that they should be smitten with the sword, and be removed from under heaven. And He said 'My spirit shall not always abide on man; for they also are flesh and their days shall be one hundred and twenty years'. And He sent His sword into their midst that each should slay his neighbour, and they began to slay each other till they all fell by the sword and were destroyed from the earth." - Jubilees 5:1-8
The Book of Enoch has the following to say about them:
"It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those days, that daughters were born to them, elegant and beautiful. And when the angels, the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamoured of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children. Then their leader Samyaza said to them; I fear that you may perhaps be indisposed to the performance of this enterprise; And that I alone shall suffer for so grievous a crime.
But they answered him and said; We all swear;
And bind ourselves by mutual execrations, that we will not change our intention, but execute our projected undertaking. Then they swore all together, and all bound themselves by mutual execrations. Their whole number was two hundred, who descended upon Ardis, which is the top of mount Armon.
That mountain therefore was called Armon, because they had sworn upon it, and bound themselves by mutual execrations. [Mt. Armon, or Mt. Hermon, derives its name from the Hebrew word herem, a curse.]
These are the names of their chiefs: Samyaza, who was their leader, Urakabarameel, Akibeel, Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Saraknyal, Asael, Armers, Batraal, Anane, Zavebe, Samsaveel, Ertael, Turel, Yomyael, Arazyal. These were the prefects of the two hundred angels, and the remainder were all with them.
Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees.
And the women conceiving brought forth giants,
Whose stature was each three hundred cubits. These devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them; When they turned themselves against men, in order to devour them; And began to injure birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, to eat their flesh one after another, and to drink their blood. Their flesh one after another. [Or, "one another’s flesh." R.H. Charles notes that this phrase may refer to the destruction of one class of giants by another.]
Then the earth reproved the unrighteous.
Moreover Azazyel taught men to make swords, knives, shields, breastplates, the fabrication of mirrors, and the workmanship of bracelets and ornaments, the use of paint, the beautifying of the eyebrows, the use of stones of every valuable and select kind, and all sorts of dyes, so that the world became altered.
Impiety increased; fornication multiplied; and they transgressed and corrupted all their ways.
Amazarak taught all the sorcerers, and dividers of roots: Armers taught the solution of sorcery; Barkayal taught the observers of the stars, Akibeel taught signs; Tamiel taught astronomy; And Asaradel taught the motion of the moon,
And men, being destroyed, cried out; and their voice reached to heaven." - Enoch 6-7.
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