THE Nephilim OR “GIANTS” OF GEN. 6, &c.
The progeny of the fallen angels with the daughters of Adam
(see notes on Genesis 6, and Appendix .23) are called in Genesis 6, Nephilim,
which means fallen ones (from naphal, to fall). What these beings
were can be gathered only from scripture. They were evidently great in size, as
well as great in wickedness. They were super human, abnormal beings; and their
destruction was necessary for the preservation of the human race. And for the
Jehovah’s (Yahweh’s), Word (Genesis
This was why the
Flood was brought “upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2.5) as prophesied by
Enoch (Jude 14).
But we read of the
Nephilim again in Numbers 13.33: “There we saw the Nephilim,
the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim”. How, it may be
asked, could this be, if they were all destroyed in the Flood? The answer is
contained in Genesis 6.4, were we read: “There were Nephilim
in the earth in those days (i.e. in the days of Noah); and also AFTER THAT, when
the sons of
God (Yahweh), came in unto the daughters
of men, and they bare children to them, the same became [the] mighty men (Hebrew
gibbor, the heroes) which were of old, men of renown” (lit. men of the
name, i.e. who got a name and were renowned for their ungodliness).
So that “after
that”, i.e. after the Flood, there was a second irruption of these fallen
angels, evidently smaller in number and more limited in area, for they were for
the most part confined to Canaan, and were in fact known as “the nations of
Canaan”. It was for the destruction of these that at the sword of Israel was
necessary, as the Flood had been before.
As to the date of
this second irruption, it was evidently soon after it became known that the seed
was to come through Abraham; for, when he came out from Haran (Genesis 12. 6)
and entered Canaan, the significant fact is stated” “The Canaanite was then
(i.e. already ) in the land.” And in Genesis 14.5 they were already known
as “Rephaim” and “Emim”, and had established themselves at Ashteroth Karnaim and
In chapter 15. 18-21
they are enumerated and named among Canaanite Peoples: “Kenites and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the
Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15.
19-21; cp. Exodus 3.8, 17; 23. 23. Deuteronomy 7; 20.17 Joshua 12.8).
These were to be cut
off, and driven out, and utterly destroyed (Deuteronomy 20.17 Joshua 3:10). But
Israel failed in this (Joshua 13:13; 15:63; 16:10; 17:18. Judges 1:19, 20, 28,
29, 30-36; 2:1-5; 3:1-7); and we know not how many got away to other countries
to escape the general destruction. If this were recognized it would go far to
solve many problems connected with Anthropology.
As to their other names, they were called Anakim, from
one Anak which came of the Nephilim (Numbers 13:23), and Rephaim,
from Rapha, another notable one among them.
From Deuteronomy 10
they were known by some as Emin and Horim and Zamzummim (v. 20,
21) and Avim &c.
As Rephaim they were
well known, and are often mentioned: but, unfortunately, instead of this, their
proper name, being preserved, it is variously translated as “dead,” “deceased”,
or “giants”. These Rephaim are to have no resurrection. This fact is stated in
Isaiah 26. 14 (where the proper name is reudered “the dead”).
It is rendered
“dead” seven times (Job 26. 5. Ps. 88. 10. Proverbs 2. 18; 9. 18; 21. 16.
Isaiah 14.8; 26. 19)
It is rendered
“deceased” in Isaiah 26. 14.
It is retained as a
proper name “Rephaim” ten times (two being in the margin). Genesis 14. 5; 15.
20. Joshua 12. 15(marg.). 2 Samuel 5. 18 22; 23. 13. 1
Chronicles 11.15; 14. 9; 20. 4 (margin). Isaiah 17. 5.
It is retained as a
proper name “Rephaim” ten times (two being in the margin). Genesis 14.5; 15.20
Joshua 12.15 (margin.). 2 Samuel 5.18, 22; 23.13. I Chronicles 11.15; 14.9; 20.4
(margin.). Isaiah 17.5.
In all other places
it is rendered “giants”, Genesis 6.4, Numbers 23.33, where it is Nephilim; and
Job 16.14 where it is gibbor (Appendix 14. iv).
By reading all these
passages the Bible student may know all that can be known about these beings.
It is certain that
the second irruption took place before Genesis 14, for there the Rephaim
were mixed up with the five nations or peoples, which included Sodom and
Gomorrha, and were defeated by the four kings under Chedorlaomer. Their
principal locality was evidently “Ashtaroth Karnaim”; while the Emim were
in the plain of Kiriathaim (Genesis 14.5).
noted descendant of the Nephilim; and Rapha was
another, giving their names respectively to different clans. Anak’s father was
Arba, the original builder of Hebron (Genesis 35.27. Joshua 15.13;
21.11); and this Palestine branch of the Anakim after Anak. They were
great, mighty, and tall (Deuteronomy 2.10, 11, 21, 22, 23; 9.2), evidently
inspiring the ten spies with great fear (Numbers13.33). Og king of Bashan is
described in Deuteronomy 3.11.
Their strength is
seen in “the giant cities of Bashan” to-day; and we know not how far they may
have been utilized by Egypt in the construction of buildings, which is still and
Arba was rebuilt by
the Khabiri or confederates seven years before Zoan was built by the
Egyptian Pharaohs of the nineteenth dynasty. See note on Numbers 13.22.
If these Nephilim,
and their branch of Rephaim, were associated with Egypt,
we have and explanation of the problem which has for ages perplexed all
engineers, as to how those huge stones and monuments were brought together. Why
not in Egypt as well as in “the giant cities of Bashan” which exist, as such, to
Moreover, we have in
these mighty men, the “men of renown,” the explanation of the origin of the
Greek mythology. That mythology was no mere invention of the human
brain, but it grew out of the traditions, and memories, and legends of the
doings of that mighty race of beings; and was gradually evolved out of the
“heroes” of Genesis 6.4. The fact that they were supernatural in tier origin
formed and easy step to their being regarded as the demi-gods of the Greeks.
Thus the Babylonian
“Creation Tablets”, the Egyptians “Book of the dead”, the Greek mythology, and
heathen Cosmogonies, which by some are set on an equality with Scripture, or by
others adduced in support of it, are all the corruption and perversion of
primitive truths, distorted in proportion as their origins was forgotten, and
their memories faded away.