There be GIANTS!

There be giants

There be GIANTS!

Have you ever heard of the word “Nephilim”?  Neither have I…until I was reading through Genesis and my curious – and somewhat nerdy – demeanor took over and I did some research.  I found out that there be GIANTS in the bible!  My findings were so interesting that I thought I’d share them with you, the reader.

There has been a bit of a debate in Christian circles concerning the existence of the “Nephilim” and “sons of God” who first appeared during the global Flood in Genesis.  The questions that kept running through my mind were, “Are the ‘sons of God’ the human descendents of the Godly offspring of Seth or were they celestial beings (demons or fallen angels)?  Were the Nephilim a bloodline of pre-flood giants who also survived after the flood or is it an expressive word describing an enormous and powerful people?  What other giants were mentioned in the Old Testament?

SONS OF GOD – GENESIS 6

First, let me back-track.  Here’s a passage from Genesis 6 where “sons of God” is first mentioned:

sculpture
A Sculpture carved in 1923 by French sculptor Daniel Chester – exhibited in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Genesis 6:1-5 (NKJV) “1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.  3 And the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

This first excerpt portrays the “Nephilim” [תפיל] as being “men” two times and uses two separate Hebrew words.  Interestingly enough, this passage uses the Hebrew word for man (גברים) not use the Hebrew words that represent angels (“angels” [מלאכים], “cherubim” [כרובים] and “seraphim” [שרפים]).  Regardless as to what “sons of God” was referring to in 6:2, it is distinct that God was angry about the interactions between the “sons of God” – the Nephilim – and the daughters of men (Deem, 2014).

“Sons of God” is mentioned only five other times in the Old Testament.  Twice, it is found in Genesis 6 referring to the Flood.  The remaining three accounts are in the book of Job. In the Job version, the “sons of God” are obviously referred to as angelic beings, since they come personally into God’s presence (Job 2:1) or survived previous to the existence of the earth (Job 38:7).  Even though the expression “sons of God” does not pertain to men in the Old Testament, close representations of the description, like “sons of the Most High” and “sons of the living God” do associate to Godly men (Psalm 82:6 and Hosea 1:10).  According to the New Testament, “sons of God” consistently represents men who have been reborn (Matthew 5:9, Romans 8:14, 8:19 and Galatians 3:26).  So because “sons of God” always depicts either angels or Godly humans, it would be doubtful that this phrase refers to fallen angels or demons (Deem, 2014).

THE GIANTS – THE NEPHILIM AND THE REPHAIM

The Anakim

The 12 spies returning with grapes
The 12 spies returning with grapes

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll move on to the word “Nephilim”.  Nephilim appears in just two verses of the Old Testament; one – already quoted – in Genesis 6 and another in Numbers 13.  Here, the children of Israel have finally arrived near Canaan, the Promised Land.  In verse 17, Moses sent representatives from each of the 12 tribes to spy out the land.  After 40 days, they return with grave news:

Numbers 13:31-33 (NKJV) “31 But the men who had gone up with him [Caleb] said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.  33 There we saw the giants [Nephilim] (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.

nephi-1
“The Nephilim” artist unknown

In verse 33, we discover that the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim. According to Strong’s Concordance H6061, Anak is the forbearer of a family or tribe of giants in Canaan.   Since Anak was from Canaan, it would be reasonable to conclude that the Nephilim were actually human instead of celestial beings.  Anak was mentioned in Numbers 13:22, 13:28, Deuteronomy 9:2, Joshua 15:13, 15:14, 21:11 and Judges 1:20.  These verses are vague in their explanation about these giants, other than the fact that they were powerful and tall and resided in fortified cities.  Were these giants descendants from the Nephilim of Genesis 6? (Deem, 2014)

There are many who believe that the word Nephilim represents a tribe or race of people.  This, however, is not the case.  Biblical ethnic peoples were usually labeled by the original male forbearer – Levites, Malachites, Jebusites, Jacobites, Mosquito-bites (just kidding about the last one!).  In the same respect, the “Anakim” were descendants of Anak.  Yet, the Nephilim were never portrayed as descending from any one specific person.  In Hebrew, Nephilim (תפיל) translates into the English word for giant (Strong’s Concordance H5303) and also originates from the Hebrew word “nephal” (נְפַל) (Strong’s Concordance H3507), meaning to “fall upon”, “lie”, “be cast down” or to “overthrow”.   This definition alludes to the Nephilim’s hostile disposition (Deem, 2014).  This definition might also elude to the fact that the Nephilim were not from fallen angels but rather men who “fell upon” their fellow men with acts of violence (Deem, 2014).

The Amorites

Another mention of giaAmoritesnts in the bible is found in Genesis 14:5-7.  Although this passage does not mention the word “giants”, other clues can be found elsewhere in the bible.  The Amorites are included over eighty times in the bible and even earlier, some were connected with Abraham (Genesis 14:13).  They were in the line of Noah’s grandson Canaan (Genesis 10:15–16).  Josephus, a first century Jewish-Roman general turned scholar/historian, stated that the Amorite forefather was Amorreus (Josephus, 2013).  Although in secular writings, the Amorites are cited in the same texts with other giants, they are chronicled in detail as giants by Amos, one of the Minor Old Testament Prophets (Chaffey, 2012).

Amos 2:9-10 (NKJV), “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose height was like the height of the cedars, And he was as strong as the oaks; Yet I destroyed his fruit above And his roots beneath.  10 Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, And led you forty years through the wilderness, To possess the land of the Amorite..”

God specifically declared through Amos that the Amorites were extremely tall and powerful.  Some critics may minimize the depiction of the Amorites in Amos.  Many times, prophetic writings used metaphoric terminology.  However, there is some compelling proof that this passage was written directly as it was intended.  John C. P. Smith described this in detail in a personal correspondence (Footnote number 2, Chaffey, 2012).

The possibility that the Amorites were giants is further sustained in Numbers 13:31-33, which I quoted six paragraphs ago.  The Amorites were among the people the Israelite spies saw in Numbers 13:29.  It is remarkable that in their answer to Moses, Joshua and Caleb refused to defy the size of the Amorites (Numbers 14:6–9).

Joshua's battle with the Amorites
Joshua’s battle with the Amorites

There is additional non-canonized Apocrypha text that further mentions the Amorites.  Although not inspired by God, Apocryphal text does shed some historical significance on the giants.  The books of Baruch and Sirach reveal that giants (Greek – gigantes, gigantōn) had formerly resided in the land of Canaan before Israel returned and overthrew them.

Baruch 3:22-28 (NRSV) states, “26 The giants were born there, who were famous of old, great in stature, expert in war.  27 God did not choose them, or give them the way to knowledge; 28 so they perished because they had no wisdom, they perished through their folly.”

 

Sirach 16:7-9 (NRSV) states, “He did not forgive the ancient giants who revolted in their might.  8 He did not spare the neighbors of Lot, whom he loathed on account of their arrogance.  9 He showed no pity on the doomed nation, on those dispossessed because of their sins.”

The Emim

emimIn Deuteronomy 2, Moses mentions another cultural group of giants called the Emim – most likely defined as “terrors” (Chaffey, 2012).

Deuteronomy 2:10–11 (NKJV): “The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim. They were also regarded as giants [Hebrew rephaim], like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim.”

Preceding this passage, Moses had told the Israelites that the Emim previously resided in the area that God had given to Lot’s son Moab and his heirs (Genesis 19:37) (Chaffey, 2012).

The Zuzim or The Zamzummim

The Zamzummim (probably the same people group as the Zuzim in Genesis 14:5) were known as giants and are mentioned in the same chapter as the Emim.

Deuteronomy 2:20–21 (NKJV) “20 [The land of Ammon] was also regarded as a land of giants; giants formerly dwelt there.  But the Ammonites call them Zamzummim, 21 a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim.  But the Lord destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them and dwelt in their place”

ZamzummimThis passage mentioned that the Zamzummim were a giant people who resided in the land of Ammon, also known as a “land of giants”.  God devastated the Zamzummim so the heirs of Ben-Ammi, Lot’s son who became the Ammonites, could dwell in the land (Genesis 19:38) (Chaffey, 2012).

Genesis 14:5 makes reference that the Zuzim occupied the land of Ham.  This “Ham” may very well be the same as Noah’s son, Ham, since Ham’s offspring dwelled in that land.  However, it is most likely specifically the “Hamathites”, who were from the family of Canaan, Ham’s son.  While the Zuzim and Zamzummim could have been altogether separate people groups, there are parallels in the names, stories and geological regions to incite that they were actually modifications of the same name.

The Rephaim

One of the most frequent names that portrays giants in scripture is Rephaim (Deuteronomy 3:11, 13).  Rephaim may be an actual mention of a particular ethnic people.  This was the belief of C. F. Keil, who, in his commentary of 2 Samuel 21:16–22, mentioned that “Raphah was the tribe-father of the Rephaim, an ancient tribe of gigantic stature, of whom only a few families were left even in Moses’ time” (Keil and Delitzsch, 2006).

It may also simply be a word that means giants.  The singular word, raphah, is mentioned a number of times in 2 Samuel 21:16, 18, 20.  In Hebrew, the words rapha and raphah appear with very slightly different spellings with somewhat different pronunciations: רָפָא (rapha) and רָפָה (raphah).  Whatever the differences, the two words are most likely various ways to spell the same word.

The Rephaim
The Rephaim

Another interesting story of giants in the Old Testament can be found in the third chapter of Deuteronomy.  Here, we find the account of the battle of the Israelites and Sihon, the king of the Amorites and Og, the king of Bashan.  In this narrative, an interesting account of Og is found (Chaffey, 2012):

Deuteronomy 3:11 (NKJV), “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants.  Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.”

Og’s bed - engraving circa 1770 by Johann Balthasar Probst
Og’s bed – engraving circa 1770 by Johann Balthasar Probst

Some biblical translations insert the word “sarcophagus” (neb) or “coffin” (tev or cev) instead of “bedstead” (eres).  Most English language Bibles use the term “bed” or “bedstead”, because “eres” translates as couch, divan, bed or bedstead.  Bedstead also makes more sense because a “sarcophagus” was fashioned from stone or marble and Og’s “bedstead” was made of iron (Chaffey, 2012).

Whether this verse was indicating Og’s bed or his coffin does not necessarily support the point at hand; but the size of the object should be the focus.  The “bed” or “coffin” was nine cubits long and four cubits in width “according to the standard cubit”.  A standard cubit is roughly 18 inches long, so Og’s bed or coffin would be about 13.5 feet long and 6 feet wide.  Another way to look at this is it could fit two people end to end who were 6 feet 9 inches tall!  That’s one tall guy!  But we have to realize that Og might not have actually been this tall.  Some historians have attempted to minimize the enormity of Og’s size.  They mention that people during that era were buried with some of their belongings, which would have filled in the extra space in the coffin and Og would not have been that large (Harris, et. al, 1999).  Despite that, the Bible is very direct when Og is recognized as a giant (Chaffey, 2012).

goliathGoliath

I’ve saved the most famous for last!  Goliath is probably the most notorious and well known giant not only in the bible but in history.  He was of course the mighty Philistine who was killed by David.  He was first mentioned in 1 Samuel 17.

1 Samuel 17:4-7 (NKJV),“4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.  6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.”

Goliath's height compared to a normal man
Goliath’s height compared to a normal man

Verse four mentions that Goliath was from Gath, which was one of the three places where the Anakim still lived during that time (Joshua 11:21–22).  Even though Goliath is not described as a descendant from Anak, the Anakim might have intermarried with the Philistine population in that area and produced several giants.  The word “Philistine” has been interpreted as “immigrant” or “stranger” in certain texts.  The Bible mentions that the Philistines descended from Ham’s son Mizraim, the father of the Casluhim, where the Philistines came from (Genesis 10:14) (Chaffey, 2012).

There has been some deliberation over Goliath’s height because of some textual modifications in ancient scripts.

Many English translations pursue the Masoretic writings that state Goliath’s height at being “six cubits and a span” (about nine feet, nine inches tall).  However, the NET translation of the Bible states that Goliath was “close to seven feet tall”.  The reason for this difference is that the Masoretic Text varies a bit from some ancient manuscripts, namely the Septuagint and another early text that was discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls (labeled 4QSama).  Both texts state that Goliath’s height was “four cubits and a span” (roughly six feet, nine inches tall) (Chaffey, 2012).

A scale comparison between normal sized Bronze age spearheads from Canaan and the giant spearhead that was found in Kfar Monash in central Israel. Average Canaanite spear heads were nearly 8 inches to over one foot long, with a few examples 19.5-23.5 inches found
A scale comparison between normal sized Bronze age spearheads from Canaan and the giant spearhead that was found in Kfar Monash in central Israel. Average Canaanite spear heads were nearly 8 inches to over one foot long, with a few examples 19.5-23.5 inches found

Most historians today lean towards the manuscripts where Goliath was shorter (Hays, 2005).  Even though Goliath is not directly mentioned as being a giant in 2 Samuel 21:15-22, there is evidence that leans toward Goliath as actually being “six cubits and a span”.  For instance, the utter weight of his weaponry had to have been wielded by a man of extreme size and power.  His coat of mail alone weighed about 125 pounds and the tip of his spear was 15 pounds!  In addition, his helmet, leg armor, javelin or sword would have further burdened him.  I will also add that it would be difficult to imagine the mighty Israelite army as being afraid of a Philistine soldier who was a mere six feet, nine inches tall.  King Saul himself was even mentioned as being taller than any man (1 Samuel 9:2), yet he was never mentioned as being a giant (Chaffey, 2012).

Another part of this story that is usually ignored is that many people viewed David as a weak, scrawny youngster.  However, the Bible describes David as “a mighty man of valor, [and] a man of war” (1 Samuel 16:18) even before he went up against Goliath.  Remember when he killed a bear and a lion that threatened his sheep (Chaffey, 2012)?

Other Biblical Giants

David and his mighty men of valor
David and his mighty men of valor

Scripture refers to four additional Philistine giants, who were related to Goliath from Gath.  2 Samuel 21 gives more specifics about these giants than the 1 Chronicles 20 account.  However, the latter text does give us some additional facts that can render more understanding of the text.  The following is a passage from 2 Samuel 21 and the parts of 1 Chronicles are included in brackets (Chaffey, 2012).

2 Samuel 21:15-22 NKJV, “15 When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint. 16 Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose bronze spear was three hundred shekels, who was bearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, ‘You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.’ 

“18 Now it happened afterward that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob [or “Gezer”]. Then Sibbechai the Hushathite killed Saph [or “Sippai”], who was one of the sons of the giant. 19 Again there was war at Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim [or “Jair”] the Bethlehemite killed [“Lahmi”] the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.  

“20 Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was born to the giant. 21 So when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.

“22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”

To summarize this lengthy and confusing passage, David and his mighty men killed three giants named Ishbi-Benob, Saph (Sippai) and Lahmi and an unknown giant who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot (a genetic condition known as polydactyly).  These giants may have been ancestors of the remaining Anakim who still dwelled in the areas of Gath, Gaza and Ashdod (Joshua 11:22) (Chaffey, 2012).

In this photo taken Wednesday Aug. 24, 2011, Yoandri Hernandez Garrido, 37, known as "Twenty-Four" shows his 12 fingers in Baracoa, Guantanamo province, Cuba. Hernandez is proud of his extra digits and calls them a blessing, saying they set him apart and enable him to make a living by scrambling up palm trees to cut coconuts and posing for photographs in this eastern Cuban city popular with tourists. Known as polydactyly, Hernandez's condition is relatively common, but it's rare for the extra digits to be so perfect. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)
A man with polydactyly

An Egyptian Giant?

1 Chronicles mentions Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a member of David’s mighty men of valor, who conquered an Egyptian strongman:

1 Chronicles 11:23 NKJV, “And he killed an Egyptian, a man of great height, five cubits tall.  In the Egyptian’s hand there was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear.”

Even though this Egyptian warrior is usually thought of as a giant, scripture does not exactly say that he was one.  egyptian giantThis account also doesn’t appear in the deeds of David’s other men who killed the four giants.  However, it mentions that this Egyptian was “five cubits” tall (about seven and a half feet).  The biblical versions KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV and others use the word “great” before “height” or “stature” but the word “great” does not appear in the original Hebrew text.  This may have been done for dramatic and visual reasons or just because the Egyptian’s size was mentioned later on.

The biblical version, Young’s Literal Translation, cites this account in almost word-for-word Hebrew: “And he hath smitten the man, the Egyptian — a man of measure, five by the cubit — and in the hand of the Egyptian [is] a spear like a beam of weavers, and he goeth down unto him with a rod, and taketh violently away the spear out of the hand of the Egyptian, and slayeth him with his own spear.” (Chaffey, 2012).

In the other story given in 2 Samuel 23:21 the Egyptian warrior is described as “a spectacular man” in NKJV and “an impressive man” in NASB.  While people today may consider a seven and a half foot man as being a giant, it is interesting that scripture does not mention the Egyptian as one.  Maybe this is a sign that the other giants who were conquered by David’s other men were much taller than the Egyptian warrior.  Another possible reason for the exclusion of the word “giant” in this passage is that most giants of the Old Testament were associated by their specific people groups – the Anakim, the Emim, etc.  However, the tall Egyptian warrior was not associated with any of these ethnic groups.  In this event, it would be interesting why scripture didn’t use the common word for “giant” like “rapha” or “nephilim” (Chaffey, 2012).

Modern References to Giants in the Bible

At the Mount Blanco Fossil Museum, a 47” femur bone is on display from an archaeological site in Turkey. Well, not exactly. It’s the handiwork of the museum’s curator, fossil restorationist Joe Taylor, who was “commissioned to this anatomically correct, and to scale, human femur.” That’s right: the real giant femur claimed to have been discovered is just a personal account in a letter. As for photos circulating of a man holding a similar femur bone, you can buy your own exact replica from Taylor for the special price of $450
At the Mount Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton, TX a 47” femur bone is on display from an archaeological site in Turkey. Well, not exactly. It’s the handiwork of the museum’s curator, fossil restorationist Joe Taylor, who was “commissioned to this anatomically correct, and to scale, human femur.” The actual giant femur claimed to have been discovered is just a personal account in a letter. As for photos circulating of a man holding a similar femur bone, an exact replica can be purchased from Taylor for the special price of $450

During the last several years, there have been pictures of gigantic human skeletons that have been supposedly exhumed from the Middle East.  There has still been no scientific proof of any of these claims, however.  Even though some people state that the evidence was overlooked, ruined, lost or withheld by places such as the Smithsonian, the truth behind these claims was most likely a ruse that was created for any number of reasons (Chaffey, 2012).

I have seen many websites that depict pictures of people proudly standing next to or holding a giant human femur – the largest bone in the human skeleton.  However, these bones are actually models, supposedly duplicates of an actual human bone that was excavated in Turkey or Greece.  These “findings” are simply absurd with very little or absolutely no hard proof to support them (Chaffey, 2012).

It is general knowledge that there have been no unearthed fossilized remains of human giants.  In spite of that, human fossils are almost non-existent because we humans usually don’t burry our dead without a coffin that would result in fossilized remains.  What is indeed significant is that many giant versions of other creatures existed in the past or still exist today (Chaffey, 2012).

To name just a few, these include the following: the bird-eating spider – up to 12-inch leg span, centipedes – up to 13 inches long, rats – the Josephoartigasia with a conservatively estimated body mass of 750 pounds (can you say Rodents of Unusual Size?), the sea scorpion – Jaekelopterus estimated to be more than 8 feet long, snakes – the Titanoboa, over 42 feet long, squids – the Mesonychoteuthis, 50 feet or more in length, sharks – the Rhincodon, up to 65 feet long and octopuses with 100 foot long tentacles (The Diagram Group, 1980).

Interesting enough, scientists have found giant animals with sizes that were far larger than their modern-day counterparts.  So is it reasonable to say that, in theory, there existed larger equivalents of us humans in the biblical past (Chaffey, 2012)?

Most historians and academics today reject the belief that there were biblical warriors who could have been over seven and a half feet tall.  As a consequence, the bible’s accounts of giants have usually been minimized or overlooked.  However, as a believer that the bible is the inspired and trusted word of God and everything written within it must be true, I absolutely believe the stories of giants that were included in the Old Testament (Chaffey, 2012).

Gilgal Refā'īm is an ancient megalithic monument that some say is a remnant of the giants in the Golan Heights of modern day Israel (Early Bronze Age II, 3000–2700 BC)
Gilgal Refā’īm is an ancient megalithic monument that some say is a remnant of the giants in the Golan Heights of modern day Israel (Early Bronze Age II, 3000–2700 BC). Look closely and you will see the cow standing on the bottom left. This will give an idea as to the enormity of this monument

WERE THE NEPHILIM DEMONIC OR ANGELIC BEINGS?

sons of godThere are certain Christians who have considered that the Genesis 6 “sons of God” were actual demonic beings or fallen angels who were intimate with human women and were sentenced to punishment (Jude 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:4).  Jesus, however, made it very apparent that angels could not reproduce and thus could not have intercourse with humans (Matthew 22:23-30).  Demons are of the exact makeup of angels, they are only fallen angels (Revelation 12:3, 7:9) and they would also be impotent (Deem, 2014).

The book of Enoch also mentions the Nephilim.  Some may not have heard of this particular book because by the fourth century AD, it was left out of the Christian bible and not canonized.  It is considered as non-inspired scripture.  Enoch was the great-grandson of Noah and was the first man in the bible to be taken to heaven without dying.

Enoch 7:11-14, “And the women conceiving brought forth giants, whose stature was each three hundred cubits [about 450 feet!]. 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.”

Another non-canonized biblical reference to the Nephilim is found in the book of Jubilees.  This particular manuscript, sometimes known as the “lesser Genesis” (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious writing of 50 chapters.  It was well known to early Christians and was referenced in the writings of Epiphanius, Justin Martyr and others.

Jubilees 5:1-2, “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.”

Now both of these references, although they are non-biblical and a bit absurd, might shed a little light on proof of the existence of the Nephilim.  However, the claim that they were about 450 feet tall is a bit unbelievable (Deem, 2014).

THEOLOGICAL PROBLEMS WITH THE NEPHILIM AS DEMONS

There are several theistic issues with the idea that the Nephilim were descended from fallen angels.  First of all, there fallen angelwas never a biblical report of any fallen angel taking human form – only angels appeared as humans.  By their very existence, all angels are spiritual beings and non-physical (Hebrews 1:13-14).  Every story in the bible where angels appear, they are faithful to God and work to further His will.  There are no accounts where angels possessed the ability to take on human bodily entities, which would be a pre-requisite to produce children with human females (Deem, 2014).

Jesus confirmed this when He appeared to the disciples after He rose from the dead and related His bodily resurrection in Luke 24:

Luke 24:36-40 (NKJV), “36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you.’ 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself.  Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.’  40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.”

jesus11In this passage, Jesus proved that any angelic or spiritual presence is not like that of a physical bodily appearance but rather that of an observable apparition only.  If an angel were in front of you and you tried to touch it, your hand would not fall on physical flesh but rather go through it.  Therefore, it would be impossible for such a spiritual existence – a fallen angel – to make a female human pregnant (Deem, 2014).

If demons did have the power to produce children via human intercourse, this ability would be included in Satan’s scheme to take over humanity and destroy God’s plan.  In truth, the only mentions of demons in the bible are where they mislead (John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 11:3, 11:14-15, 1 John 3:8, 4:1 and Revelation 12:9) or possessed physical beings (Matthew 8:16, 8:28, 9:32, 12:22, 15:22, Mark 1:32, 3:22, 5:15-16, 18, 9:17, Luke 4:33, 8:2, 8:27, 8:36 and John 10:21) (Deem, 2014).

IN CONCLUSION

Because the bible proves that angels cannot reproduce with humans, it is understandable that they are not the patagonianGenesis 6 “sons of God” who had offspring with the “daughters of men”.  The best explanation for this is that the “sons of God” were actual men who originated from Seth (Adam and Eve’s third son), and were a Godly people.  The other line of men were descended from Cain (Adam and Eve’s second son) who would have produced the “daughters of men” (Genesis 4:23-24).  Still, before the flood, Seth’s descendants (the “sons of God”) took wives who were from Cain’s family and as a result, they became ungodly through their unbelieving wives.  This is the main reason why God decided to wipe out the human race through the global Flood.  The only people who remained were, of course, the eight faithful who still believed in and followed the Lord (Noah and his family) (Deem, 2014).

Genesis 6 also mentions the Nephilim, who were the treacherous tyrants of their era, well known for their destructive deeds (Genesis 6:4).  These people were most likely from the line of Cain, who threatened other people and characterized a part of the group who had evil thoughts.  The post-Flood Nephilim were also immoral oppressors but of a different family line than the pre-Flood people since they would have all perished in the Flood (Deem, 2014).

Robert Wadlow of Alton, IL is the tallest known human to have been accurately measured. He was 8'11" before he died at 22 years old from an infected foot
Robert Wadlow of Alton, IL is the tallest known human to have been accurately measured. He was 8’11” before he died at 22 years old from an infected foot

Regardless as to where the giants of the Old Testament originated from, it appears as though they were wiped out by the God and the Israelites and no longer exist today.  Although remnants of the “giants” somewhat exist now, they usually don’t exceed seven and a half feet tall.  If they do, they are usually gangly and awkward, have to walk with a cane and have many health issues.  Most of today’s “giants” suffer from a genetic hormonal imbalance called “giantism” where there is an over-secretion of HGH (human growth hormone) from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.  However, giants have always amazed and astonished people by their sheer size, abilities and oddities.  Despite the proof that they roamed the earth in biblical times, they continue to be a mystery.

 

References

Deem, R. (2014). Who Were the Nephilim and Sons of God? God and Science. http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/nephilim.html

Chaffrey, T. (2012). Giants in the Old Testament. Answers in Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/giants-in-the-old-testament/#fn_1

Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (2013). The antiquities of the Jews. Lanham: Start Publishing LLC.

Keil & Delitzsch. 2006. Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 2, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 680. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers

Harris, Robert Laird, Gleason Archer, Bruce Waltke. 1999. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. s.v. 2198d. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press.

Hays, J. Daniel. 2005. Reconsidering the Height of Goliath. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48, no. 4:702–715.

The Diagram Group. 1980. The Book of Comparisons. Hampshire, England: Sidgwick & Jackson.

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