In part one of this series, I presented some definitions of Hebrew words found in Gen. 6:1-4 and what the Encyclopedia Judaica had so say on the Nephilim. I concluded by presenting the controversy that it is not even certain that the “sons of God” in the passage are the same as the Nephilim as many so confidently assert. I also provided a biblical definition of the phrase “sons of God,” found in Rom. 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (NKJV). Also, it seems the Bible provides a definition of the word “Nephilim” in Num. 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.”
Here, the Nephilim are clearly being related to giants and also related to the sons of Anak, who was a human. We are told in Josh. 21:11 that Arba was the father of Anak and that he was a man in Jos. 14:15, “And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim) (Josh 14:15 NKJV). The Heb. word for “man” in this passage is adam.
I will start this article by presenting what the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible and The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia have to say on this and end with what the book of Enoch and the book of Jasher have to say about them.
“NEPHILIM. The word occurs in the Heb. Bible only in Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33, tr. In KJV as “giants,” as found in the LXX. The modern revision have transliterated the Heb. Word. Etymological derivation of the word from the naphal root does not lead to satisfactory solutions.
There are hints in the OT that great physical stature is implied in the word “nephilim.” Numbers 13:32 says the Nephilim were of the “great stature,” and connects their descent with the Anakim. Deuteronomy 2:21 compares yet another pre-Israelite people, the Rephaim, with the Anakim in physical stature.
“The idea that the Nephilim sprang from cohabitation of angels and mortal does not fit other Biblical indications. Angels do not have sexual functions (Luke 20:34, 35). This interpretation is possible only if one puts the Scripture on a level with Gr. Mythology were anthropomorphic polytheism makes possible unions between gods and men.
“. . . The Nephilim may be regarded as wither contemporary with the marriages of Genesis 6:4, or the product of the marriages. . . .” [Bold mine.] (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 4, p. 406.)
This Bible encyclopedia brings out the controversy of the Nephilim being the same as the “sons of God” or just contemporary with them, as also does the ISBE,
“NEPHILIM [Heb. n’pilim (Gen. 6:4; Nu. 13:330)], AV GIANTS. The etymology of n’pilim is uncertain. The following explanations have been advanced with mixed reception. First, it may derive from the niphal of the verb pala, meaning “be extraordinary,” i.e., “extraordinary men.” Second, it may derive from the verb napal, “fall,” in one of the following senses: (1) the “fallen ones” – from heaven, i.e., supernatural beings; (2) morally “fallen men”; (3) “those who fall upon,” in the sense of invaders or hostile, violent men; (4) “those who fell by” the sword (cf. Ezk. 32:20f.); (5) “unnaturally begotten men”; or bastards (cf.nepel, “abortion” or “miscarriage”). None of these satisfies all scholars, and some consider n’pilim an unexplainable relic from an ancient, now-forgotten language. Contextual information is unfortunately limited to two enigmatic passages.”
“. . . Genesis 6:1-4, while meaningful to the original recipients, has become obscure with the passing of time. It is impossible to be certain whether the Nephilim were the same as the “mighty men” (gibborim) at the end of v. 4 or a separate group that overlapped chronologically.” [Bold mine.] (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol.3, pp.518-519.)
It seems to me a no-brainer that the Bible would not mention the Nephilim in the same passage with the “sons of God” marrying the daughters of men just because they were contemporaneous with them. There must be some connection even if they are not the same.
Next are some excerpts from fragments of the book of Enoch in the Dead Sea Scrolls (14:25-15:12) about the fallen angels cohabiting with the daughters of men. In this vision Enoch was called up to the throne of God and the Lord began to speak to him,
“And the Lord called me with his own mouth and said to me, ‘Come near to me, Enoch, and to my holy Word.’ And he lifted me up and brought me near to the gate, but I (continued) to look down with my face.
15 But he raised me up and said to me with his voice, ‘Enoch.’ I (then) heard, ‘Do not fear, Enoch, righteous man, scribe of righteousness; come near to me and hear my voice.
And tell the Watchers of heaven on whose behalf you have been sent to intercede: “Is it meet (for you) that you intercede on behalf of man, and not man on your behalf. For what reason have you abandoned the high, holy, and eternal heaven; and slept with women and defiled yourselves with the daughters of the people, taking wives, acting like the children of the earth, and begetting giant sons? Surely you, you [used to be] holy, spiritual, the living ones, [possessing] eternal life, but (now) you have defiled yourselves with women, and with the blood of the flesh of begotten children, you have lusted with the blood of the people, like them producing blood and flesh, (which) die and perish. On that account, I have given you wives in order that (seeds) might be sown upon them and children born by them, so that the deeds that are done upon the earth will not be withheld from you.” Indeed you formerly you were spiritual, (having) eternal life, and immortal in all the generations of the world. That is why (formerly) I did not make wives for you, for the dwelling of the spiritual beings of heaven is heaven.’
“But now the giants who are born from the (union of) the spirits and the flesh shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, because their dwelling shall be upon the earth and inside the earth. Evil spirits have come out of their bodies. Because from the day that they were created from the holy ones they became the Watchers; their first origin is the spiritual foundation. They will become evil upon the earth and shall be called evil spirits. The dwelling of the spiritual beings of heaven is heaven, but the dwelling of the spirits of the earth, which are born upon the earth, is in the earth. The spirits of the giants oppress each other, they will corrupt, fall, be excited, and fall upon the earth, and cause sorrow. They eat no food, nor become thirsty, nor find obstacles. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of the people and against the women, because they have proceeded from (from them).” (From: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth, Doubleday, New York, 1983, Vol. 1, pp. 21-22.)
The book of Jude, when he actually says he was quoting from the book of Enoch, was speaking of evil men and false brothers who go to church—although he had previously mentioned angels who did not keep their “proper domain,”
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:5-15 NKJV).
The book of Jasher (which the Bible mentions twice) has much to say about Enoch. It says he became a righteous king upon the earth before the flood and reigned for over 200 years. We really have no way of knowing if any of the so-called book of Enoch today was actually written by him. Professor Charlesworth, says the book of Enoch is a composite written by many people over many years. He gives as a date for the section I quoted as the early pre-Maccabean period, which is from 333-175 B.C. I will now quote what the book of Jasher has to say about the “sons of God” marrying the daughters of men, which maybe the oldest source we have.
And the child grew up and was weaned, and he went in the ways of his father Methuselah, perfect and upright with God. And all the sons of men departed from the ways of the Lord in those days as they multiplied upon the face of the earth with the sons and daughters, and they taught one another their evil practices, and they continued sinning against the Lord. And every man made unto himself a god, and they corrupted the earth, and the earth was filled with violence. And their judges and rulers went to the daughters of men and took their wives by force from their husbands according to their choice, and the sons of men took from the cattle of th earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, and all men and all animals. And the Lord said, I will blot out man that I created from the face of the earth, yea from man to the birds of the air, together with the cattle and beasts that are in the field, for I repent that I made them. (The Book of Jasher, translated by Albinus Alcuin [800 A.D.], Pub. 2000 in English, The Book Tree, Escondido, CA.)
Here, those who the Bible calls the “sons of God” are called “rulers and judges.” They were the rulers and judges of the time who became corrupt and began to take other men’s wives as they chose and began to treat the people violently. It is also interesting that it mentions that they began to crossbreed different kinds of animals.
The word for “God” in the phrase in Gen. 6 for “sons of God” is Elohim. This word is at times used to refer to false gods, and it is also used for human judges and rulers such as in the following Psalm where Asaph is comparing the faulty judging of men with the just judging of God.
A Psalm of Asaph.
God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
I said, "You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes."
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations
(Ps. 82:1-8 NKJV).
Notice he calls these human judges “gods,” or elohim in the Hebrew, just as the book of Jasher, instead of calling the them “sons of god,” called them “rulers and judges.” Jesus, of course, quoted this verse in referring to God calling men “gods.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-36 NKJV).
Another place a judge is called an elohim is in 2 Samuel when Saul went to a medium, and she brought up the judge Samuel,
Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself (1 Sam. 28:11-14 KJV).
The word “gods” here is always in the plural, even when referring to the One True God and referring to only one God or man.
So we have established that the word “gods” can refer to mere men who were judges and rulers, giving more credence to what the ancient book of Jasher says about these “gods” marrying the daughters of men.
We still have a long way to go, however, to find out–if they were mere men–why they produced giants. We will keep on researching and seeking the Holy Spirit on these things in upcoming blogs. I am a firm believer in not just researching alone, but also seeking the Holy Spirit on any Scriptural matter. If I don’t get any revelation from the Spirit on these things, I will never know for sure. But the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth concerning biblical doctrine.