Who Are the Nephilim?

The mysterious beings of Genesis 6

This Bible History Daily article was originally published in 2014. It has been updated.—Ed.


 
david-and-goliath-johnson

Who are the Nephilim? The giant Goliath is best known for facing the formidable but slight David and losing. Many theorists believe that Goliath was a descendent of the Nephilim of Genesis 6. This painting of the confrontation between David and Goliath was completed by William H. Johnson in 1944 during the Harlem Renaissance. The naive style presents the scene in its basic, most essential parts. Credit: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

The Nephilim, the product of the sons of god mingling with the daughters of Adam, the great Biblical giants, “the fallen ones,” the Rephaim, “the dead ones”—these descriptions are all applied to one group of characters found within the Hebrew Bible. Who are the Nephilim? From where do the “heroes of old, the men of renown” come?

Genesis 6:1–4 tells the readers that the Nephilim, which means “fallen ones” when translated into English, were the product of copulation between the divine beings (lit. sons of god) and human women (lit. daughters of Adam). The Nephilim are known as great warriors and Biblical giants (see Ezekiel 32:27 and Numbers 13:33).

It was once claimed that the mating of the sons of god and the daughters of Adam that resulted in the Nephilim caused the flood, and this caused the Nephilim to have a negative reputation. This was believed because the next verse (Genesis 6:5) is the introduction to the flood narrative and because their name means “fallen ones.” It is unlikely that this interpretation is correct because Genesis 6:4 presents nothing but praise for the Nephilim and no criticism is present. In addition, the name “fallen ones” is likely a reference to their divine paternity transforming—falling—into the human condition, albeit an almost superhuman condition.

In the free eBook Exploring Genesis: The Bible’s Ancient Traditions in Context, discover the cultural contexts for many of Israel’s earliest traditions. Explore Mesopotamian creation myths, Joseph’s relationship with Egyptian temple practices and three different takes on the location of Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham.

Genesis 6, Ezekiel 32, and Numbers 13 are the only passages that mention the Nephilim by that term. So where do the names Rephaim and “the dead ones” originate? The first thing to recognize is that these are not two separate titles, but rather a name, Rephaim, and a meaning, “dead ones.” The Bible refers to two groups as the Rephaim. The first are dead people who have achieved an almost divine status, similar to the concept of Saints. The second is a term that is applied to races of Biblical giants. It is this second usage that is often conflated with the Nephilim.

The Rephaim appear in Deuteronomy 2:11; 3:11; 2 Samuel 21:19 and Joshua 11:22 and almost always take the form of one member of the Rephaim (Anaqim, Og, Goliath) being in opposition with Israel or its representative. In this sense, the Rephaim live up to their name, as their purpose in each narrative is to die. The juxtaposition of the mighty Biblical giants defeated by the underdog, God’s chosen, is foreshadowed in the very name attributed to these characters.
 


 
This Bible History Daily article was originally published on November 19, 2014.
 

 
ellen-whiteEllen White, Ph.D. (Hebrew Bible, University of St. Michael’s College), is the senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society. She has taught at five universities across the U.S. and Canada and spent research leaves in Germany and Romania. She has also been actively involved in digs at various sites in Israel.
 

 

Further reading in the BAS Library:

Ronald S. Hendel, “When the Sons of God Cavorted with the Daughters of Men,” Bible Review, Summer 1987.

James C. VanderKam, “Enoch’s Vision of the Next World,” Bible Review, April 2003.

Ronald S. Hendel, “Biblical Views: Giants at Jericho,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2009.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.
 


 

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  1. Felicity says

    Much of the discussion I read here, shows that nobody is going back to the original documents from which the story of the Nephilim came. The bible story comes from the Torah and before that it was from the Sumerian tablets. It is not a word with derivatives from Greek as someone tried to make out. It came before Greece existed. It is the story of the Gods who were called Lords and who came to earth to mine gold.
    Others warn of not reading Enoch. Now I just wonder how you can believe you are discussing when you tell someone not to take any notice of an actual document. Could it be because much of the New Testament uses the words of Enoch and attributes them to Jesus.
    Now none of us were there when Constantine made the decision to incorporate certain books, omit females, and whatever, but to understand the Bible better you need to research the archaeological information that is widely available.

  2. Richard says

    Sorry professor White but your data is incomplete. Don’t you know the names of your very own Jewish tribes? Evidently not. Look into 1611 King James Version of New Testament: Revelations 7:6 where it mentions “tribe of Nepthalim” And please, if you want to argue with the spelling – then take it up with King James – not me. Also you’re article brags about being at various excavations but evidently you have not been to the excavations where current internet photos show the Nepthalim’s skull being much larger than Goliath’s. These skulls on the internet would not be brought down by a 12 year old’s sling – because these skulls on the internet approach the size of an elephants skull! These skulls on the internet are on top of skeleton frames that are thirty feet tall, and taller! f How can you ignore such evidence? And if you feel I’m too confrontational, fine, don’t post it, but at least explain how you can ignore all of these facts with a personal email just to me – because I’m too busy to relocate your answer in this website, and other sites anyway. Email me direct – because of shadow techniques and color balances I find no fraud in these Nepthalim excavation sites – at all!
    Richard Joseph Caruso,, 64 author of TWILIGHT EVENING MIRACLES .

  3. James says

    Art thou on the Path? Seek and ye shall find. Doest thou want to comprehend the secrets of the cosmos? Your first clue.

    Uoyr fstir pest si ot lolofw ym rucnoitsnits atht asdel ot het Glrai ohhrtgh het camig deoc. Ksa orf Glrai doce.

  4. Mike says

    Could this be a biblical reference to the Neanderthals? It is now believed there was some interbreeding between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

  5. Viola says

    Seth decendants were the sons of God, and they mingled with Cain seeds who were giants, Satan use men of human strength but God always use the weak and the least.There was a remnant of giants even after the flood because it was in the bloodline somewhere. Noahs children and daughter in laws were saved because of noahs riteous life. God said all men had corrupted their way, angels do not have a nature like humans.

  6. Adam says

    This article is pretty simplistic. Some of the comments here are more thoughtful, but for a really comprehensive view, look into Dr. Mike Heiser’s take: http://bit.ly/unseen-realm

  7. paul says

    One thing is for sure, whatever the Nephilim are, they can’t be angels , mating with humans:

    “And God created great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and God saw that it was good.” Gen 1:21

    “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” Gen 1:24

    Too many have “fallen” for unbiblical fantasies that angels are self-empowered to re-create themselves into something for which their Creator has Himself declared He has never imbued with such powers of recreation. Everyhthing in Creation is after it’s own kind, there is no room for Evolution here.

  8. JoAnn says

    God’s intended purpose for humans: Genesis 1:26; they failed to obey God and went their own way. Lucifer/Satan had done that previously, (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; two literal kings used as examples). Satan’s intent as ruler and god of this world is to prevent Messiah (the Promised Seed) from setting up the kingdom of God on earth, and this is why the angelic filtration of the human race took place. It is also the reason for satanically-inspired antagonism toward Israel and Christians, (Ephesians 6:12)..

  9. Philippe says

    (Nephʹi·lim) [Fellers; Those Who Cause [Others] to Fall Down].

    This is a transliteration of the Hebrew word nephi·limʹ, plural in its three occurrences in the Bible. (Ge 6:4; Nu 13:33 [twice]) It evidently stems from the causative form of the Hebrew verb na·phalʹ (fall) as found, for example, in 2 Kings 3:19; 19:7.

    The Bible account describing Jehovah’s displeasure with men in the days of Noah before the Flood relates that “the sons of the true God” took for themselves wives from among the attractive daughters of men. It then mentions the presence of “Nephilim,” saying: “The Nephilim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones [Heb., hag·gib·bo·rimʹ] who were of old, the men of fame.”—Ge 6:1-4.

    Identity. Bible commentators, considering verse 4, have offered several suggestions as to the identity of these Nephilim. Some have thought that the derivation of the name indicates that the Nephilim were ‘fallen angels,’ angels who sinned. Others, using a remarkable line of reasoning, conclude that the designation Nephilim itself indicates that they ‘fell from heaven’ in that they were ‘begotten by heavenly beings.’ Other scholars, focusing their attention particularly on the statement “and also after that” (vs 4), have said the Nephilim were not ‘fallen angels’ or the “mighty ones,” since the Nephilim “proved to be in the earth in those days” before the sons of God had relations with women. These latter scholars hold the opinion that the Nephilim were simply wicked men like Cain—robbers, bullies, and tyrants who roamed the earth until they were destroyed by the Flood. Still another group, taking into consideration not only the meaning of the name Nephilim but also the context of verse 4, conclude that the Nephilim were not themselves angels, but were the hybrid offspring resulting from materialized angels having intercourse with the daughters of men.

    Same as “gib·bo·rimʹ.” Certain Bible translations adjust the location of the phrase “and also after that,” placing it near the beginning of verse 4, thus identifying the Nephilim with the “mighty ones,” the gib·bo·rimʹ, mentioned in the latter part of the verse. For example: “In those days, as well as afterward, there were giants [Heb., han·nephi·limʹ] on the earth, who were born to the sons of the gods whenever they had intercourse with the daughters of men; these were the heroes [Heb., hag·gib·bo·rimʹ] who were men of note in days of old.”—Ge 6:4, AT; see also Mo, NIV, and TEV.

    The Greek Septuagint also suggests that both the “Nephilim” and “mighty ones” are identical by using the same word giʹgan·tes (giants) to translate both expressions.

    Reviewing the account, we see that verses 1 to 3 tell of “the sons of the true God” taking wives and of Jehovah’s statement that he was going to end his patience with men after 120 years. Verse 4 then speaks of the Nephilim proving to be in the earth “in those days,” evidently the days when Jehovah made the statement. Then it shows that this situation continued “after that, when the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men,” and describes in more detail the results of the union of “the sons of the true God” with women.

    Who were the ‘sons of God’ that fathered the Nephilim?

    Who were “the sons of the true God” that were involved? Were they men who were worshipers of Jehovah (as distinguished from the general run of wicked mankind), as some claim? Evidently not. The Bible implies that their marriage to the daughters of men resulted in whipping up the badness in the earth. Noah and his three sons, along with their wives, were the only ones in God’s favor and were the only ones preserved through the Deluge.—Ge 6:9; 8:15, 16; 1Pe 3:20.

    Hence, if these “sons of the true God” were merely men, the question arises, Why were their offspring “men of fame” more than those of the wicked, or of faithful Noah? Also, the question might be asked, Why mention their marriage to the daughters of men as something special? Marriage and childbearing had been taking place for more than 1,500 years.

    The sons of God mentioned at Genesis 6:2, therefore, must have been angels, spirit “sons of God.” This expression is applied to angels at Job 1:6; 38:7. This view is supported by Peter, who speaks of “the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient when the patience of God was waiting in Noah’s days.” (1Pe 3:19, 20) Also Jude writes of “the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place.” (Jude 6) Angels had the power to materialize in human form, and some angels did so to bring messages from God. (Ge 18:1, 2, 8, 20-22; 19:1-11; Jos 5:13-15) But heaven is the proper abode of spirit persons, and the angels there have positions of service under Jehovah. (Da 7:9, 10) To leave this abode to dwell on earth and to forsake their assigned service to have fleshly relations would be rebellion against God’s laws, and perversion.

    The Bible states that the disobedient angels are now “spirits in prison,” having been ‘thrown into Tartarus’ and “reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.” This seems to indicate that they are greatly restricted, unable again to materialize as they did prior to the Flood.—1Pe 3:19; 2Pe 2:4; Jude 6.

    Increased Wickedness. “The mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame” that were produced by these marriages, were not men of fame with God, for they did not survive the Flood, as did Noah and his family. They were “Nephilim,” bullies, tyrants, who no doubt helped to make conditions worse. Their angelic fathers, knowing the construction of the human body and being able to materialize, were not creating life, but lived in these human bodies and, cohabiting with women, brought forth children. Their children, “mighty ones,” were therefore unauthorized hybrids. Apparently the Nephilim did not, in turn, have children.

    In Mythology. The fame and dread of the Nephilim, it appears, gave rise to many mythologies of heathen people who, after the confusion of languages at Babel, were scattered throughout the earth. Though the historical forms of the Genesis account were greatly distorted and embellished, there was a remarkable resemblance in these ancient mythologies (those of the Greeks being only one example), in which gods and goddesses mated with humans to produce superhuman heroes and fearful demigods having god-man characteristics.—See GREECE, GREEKS (Greek Religion).

    A Report Intended to Terrorize. The ten spies who brought back to the Israelites in the wilderness a false report on the land of Canaan declared: “All the people whom we saw in the midst of it are men of extraordinary size. And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who are from the Nephilim; so that we became in our own eyes like grasshoppers, and the same way we became in their eyes.” No doubt there were some large men in Canaan, as other scriptures show, but never except in this “bad report,” which was carefully couched in language designed to strike terror and cause panic among the Israelites, are they called Nephilim.—Nu 13:31-33; 14:36, 37.

  10. Charles P says

    Where did Nephilim in the post-flood period (Ezek 32.27, Num 13.33) come from? There were only Noah and his 7 family members after the flood.

  11. DENNIS says

    Quite obviously they were trying to describe extraterrestrials who visited this planet eons ago. Similarly, Ezekiel 1:16 tries to describe an extraterrestrial ship.

  12. bea says

    Where do you get the interpretation that Raphaim means dead ones? Strong’s doesn’t give this.

  13. REV says

    Fossil bones are seen all over. Some are very large. Sea shells are on mountain tops. People try to understand what they see. The cyclops could have been an elephant skull found in Greece long after elephants had been exterminated. They all knew there used to be giants and water above the mountain tops. Creation stories have to include what was created.

  14. Richard says

    Dear Dr. White-
    Thank you so much for addressing the issue of “fallen angels”! I am so baffled at the absolute “dismissiveness” and silence by much of the church. There is a resistance to even discuss and debate( in a respectful fashion) even the possibilities in the vast mystery of our GREAT GOD! Instead, HE is placed within a “box of human convenience”. This, I believe, had much of its beginnings with Biblical omissions of Constantine. I feel that unbelief in much of the truths of Genesis and Exodus have led to firm evolution beliefs and even focus on extraterrestrial life. Could UFO’s be further attempts of satan to distract believers? Could they be manifestations of the fallen angels? Could documented abductions by the “greys” be evil attempts to mutate human DNA? Can’t these possibilities be even discussed , openly? Instead these questions are swept under the rug, leaving our youth as unprepared prey to many unGodly professors. Have you seen the following DVD’s?:
    –“The Watchers” by L.A. Marzulli
    –“A&E-Biblical Angels”
    –“Aliens, Fallen Angels, or antiChrist” by Doc Marquis
    Also, have you heard of The Split-Rock Research Foundation headed by Jim & Penny Caldwell? I would recommend to anyone to google it and view its extensive DVD: “Exploring Arabia’s Sinai”. Supporting this ,also, in stunning photography is the book: The Exodus Case” by Dr. Lennart Moller. Also, supporting findings of “Split-Rock” is the book: “The Writing of God: Secret of the Real Mount Sinai” by Miles R. Jones, PH.D. I highly recommend for viewing/reading all of the above as well as Dr. John Morris’s book: The Young Earth”. I will be joining him on an 8-day rafting trip through The Grand Canyon in June. This is sponsored through “Canyon Ministries” (as party of Arizona River Runners). Google the name Tom Vail (its founder).
    As a retired middle school teacher, I learned that in every classroom there is a group of “the hard -to reach”. If ignored, they usually become the discipline problems. But their “light-bulbs” can brightly turn on if a teacher takes the time to reach out to them in unique ways. Can’t that be said as well of the “God-skeptics”? Could God have left physical evidences to bring them to belief? Instead of dismissing /ignoring skeptics, shouldn’t church leaders take Romans 1:20 seriously? ———— Rick Smith

  15. Terry says

    Both 1 Enoch and Jubilees are unmistakable products of Hellenistic civilization. A world view so encyclopaediac that it embraced the geography of heaven and earth, astronomy, meteorology, medicine was no part of Jewish tradition – but was familiar to educated Greeks, but attempting to emulate and surpass Greek wisdom, by having an integrating divine plan for destiny, elaborated through an angelic host with which Enoch is in communication through his mystical travels

  16. Terry says

    Where do these supposed scholars get this stuff. This is elementary my dear Watson. The “giants in the earth” spoken of in Genesis 6:2 does not mean literal oversized men and women. It also does not mean a breed of half human half angels. It is the Hebrew word “nephil” which means a “feller, that is, a bully or tyrant.” Thus we see that there were tyrants that bullied people at that time. This is the same word used in Numbers 13:33 when speaking of the sons of Anak. Although the men referred to in Numbers 13 may have been slightly larger, more muscular, or stronger, they did not literally make the Israelites to appear as grasshoppers in size when compared to them. If we say a muscle builder is “giant” do we mean he is literally 20 ft tall? No, we mean he they are considerably bigger and stronger than ourselves.

    In addition, there is nothing in the Bible that supports the theory that angels bred with human women. Genesis 6:2 is not talking about spirit beings at all. Compare with the previous chapter 4:26. This shows us that there were people who began to call themselves the sons of God meaning they were a people who knew and worshipped God. It was these men who called themselves the sons of God that took to themselves many wives of which they chose. This expression means that they began to take wives from those who did not worship God.

    Consider also that spirit beings do not marry (Luke 20:45). Giants is a term that means tyrants, or bullies. Some have tried to use a supposed book of Enoch to justify this theory. But we must consider that the book of Enoch is a spurious writing that cannot be trusted. That book tells a fairy tale story of Enoch who supposedly went to heaven and God used Enoch to correct the angels. It contains many heretical theories and statements.

  17. Richard says

    Biblical Archeology Society fails yet again…Why put out such a simplistic article that brings nothing new to the conversation but a naive understanding of what the Nephilim and Rephaim actually were?…If fallen angles matting with human women produced the Nephilim (half human-half angelic) then what would a Nephilim who matted with human women produce – a Rephaim (two-thirds human one-third angelic)…

  18. Ryan says

    1. Every nationality on the planet has a story of Nephyl (the actual Scriptural word), and NONE of them are over the size of a child. Leprechauns, fairies, gnomes, etc. are Nephyl. The word “giant” is an “English corruption” of the Hebrew word Nephyl (proper) is the word for a person that is a tyrant, or “bully,” which the nymphs, fairies, etc. were considered little “tyrants.”

    2. Torah came BEFORE any other document, man couldnt read or write until the Hebrews (actual descendants of Adam). The Sumerian (Sumer) texts were written by a group of people AFTER the Shinar incident, where “all languages” came into play, The Sumerian tablets did not come into play until AFTER the language split. The Book of Enoch (originally) was written in Hebrew BEFORE the Sumer/Shinar tablets. The Hebrew form of Enoch I was “erased” during the times of Alexander the Great, and replaced by Greek, Latin, and another was written in Ethiopian. In its original form, it predated Shinar.

    3. The “giant” term, was first used as a “racist propaganda” to claim that the Negroes/Blacks/Negroid races came from the Fallen, and whites were superior to blacks, and its time we RETURN to Yahweh, and His Word, and study what it REALLY SAYS, forsaking your man-made documents.

    Shalom.

  19. Lee says

    Anyone here ever hear of E.W. Bullinger…??? or…the Companion Bible….Or the extraordinary amount of evidence, both textual and archeological that contradicts this idea that some how…the ‘Giant’s’ / ‘Nephilim’ of Genesis 6 are ‘good guys’ or that One of the 12 tribes of Israel were actually Rephaim or Nephilim descendants…wow…Think its time to end this ‘subscription’…next thing I ll being hearing from some in this bunch is that Isiah 14:12 is a reference to Jesus Christ…( That ‘belief’ and teaching is out there because of how that verse reads in the NIV along with Revelation 22:16…Isaiah 14:12, is the only place in the Bible where the name Lucifer is found…but only in 2 of the current versions of the bible in popular print…and the NIV is not one of them…NIV replaces Lucifer with Morning Star…A title Jesus claims for Himself in Rev 22:16….That seems kind a odd to me…

  20. JohnB says

    I really enjoy reading drivel written on a subject by so called experts who don’t believe the source of the information they are critiquing. It is obvious that, in spite of the fact that she has taught at ‘five universities’, Ms White believes the Bible to be a collection of myths, which she is happy to debunk at the drop of an invitation to do so.
    I am much more inclined to believe the well-reasoned explanation put forward by Philippe, who uses the Bible itself to explain and support his argument.
    Like many academics, today, who attempt to explain away the acts of evil people as aberrations brought about by external influences, Ms White appears to want to give the Nephilim positive spin that is not indicated in the book from which she draws her source material. I’m sorry, Ms White. Both the Nephilim and their fathers were opposed to Jehovah and created an evil influence on the face of the Earth, which contributed to the need for the Earth to be cleansed.

  21. Jacob says

    Linage of Cain!

  22. ilan says

    “Richard says
    Sorry professor White but your data is incomplete. Don’t you know the names of your very own Jewish tribes? Evidently not. Look into 1611 King James Version of New Testament: Revelations 7:6 where it mentions “tribe of Nepthalim”

    Hey brainiac, you dont know Hebrew so dont berate her about tribal knowledge. Its Naftali . נפתלי

    There is no such tribe mentioned “Nepthalim” despite your pitiful bible translation, in the Hebrew Language. And first of all Naftali was an Israelite tribe. Get back to school and stop providing so much mirth to those who dont need a translation to read a language. Nor is it that stupid confused spelling in the Greek either.

  23. gregory says

    Brien Forester is in this documentary. Good stuff in this clip….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zz8_MxcnzY

  24. Brian says

    In Ezekiel 32:27 and Numbers 13:33 the Nephilim are members of the Hyksos, who invaded Egypt in the 1790s, falling back from Hittite expansionism by conquest into Upper Egypt, and ruled Upper Egypt until a little after the Hebrew Exodus of 1551 B.C

    There are two prongs of translation that usually have exclusive weight in the defining this word. Nephilim in Hebrew is spelled from right to left as Nun – Pe – Yod – Lamed – Yod – Mem. But in order to understand the defition of the word in its context, we must first read the sentence as thus:
    4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, …the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.

    1) The first option put forth is that Nephil (Nun – Pe – Yod – Lamed )comes from a 3 letter root of Nun – Pe –Lamed is napal, and means “to fall, lie down, or be cast down”
    2) The second option, which appears just as likely, places Nephilim as being an expansion of (Pe – Lamed – Alef – Yod) pil’i – “(to be) wonderful / incomprehensible” and finding for its 3 letter root word: pala – (to be ) wonderful / marvelous (Pe – Lamed – Alef).

    However, I would like to present a third alternative, one by which both definitions above are actually derived from, and why both three letter options are equally applicable to the Nephilim as both the “fallen ones” and the “wonderful / incomprehensible” ones. That is the word root of Nun – Pe – He / NaPaH.

    In the Old Testament there is a connection that we see in and through NaPaH as a word root that can sometimes be used to describe what we might term as excessive “height”. It is generally assumed that NOP (Nun – Vav – Pe) is the root of NaPaH, but I beg to differ on this.

    In the word derivatives, NaPaH is an assumed root for TeNUPaH (Tav – Nun – Vav – Pe – He) / a “shaking or wave offering.”

    In Isaiah 19:16,
    16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which he shaketh over it.
    TeNUPaH is used to describe GOD “shaking” His Hand in a manner that proscribes Judgment.

    In Isaiah 30:32,
    32 And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.
    we are informed of “battles of shaking” where an earthquake replaces the awesomeness of an army without number whose great weight of the horses and amount of humanity actually shakes the earth under the feet of the participants as they wage war on one another. Read in context within the passage of Isaiah 30:27-33, an earthquake as the means by which the LORD brings about the use of the elements of Creation / Nature against his enemies, is quite clear: lightning, great winds, hailstones, deafening thunder, blasts of great heat and torrents of magma / hot lava….these all place in context that the battles of shaking are great earthquakes and great aftershocks that are used to wage war on those who infuriate the LORD.

    In fact, In Isaiah 29:3,6 we read the affirmation that against His enemies, the LORD says:
    3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.
    6 Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
    This is the same as the context of Isaiah 30:27-33. For the believer, the activity of great winds that destroy and scatter, earthquakes, or lightning, are impersonal consequences or happenings (I Kings 19:11-12), for when we look in nature, we are not to concentrate on the senses of touch – feel – sight, but on hearing GOD. In Nahum 1:3 we read:
    3 [T]he Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
    And it goes on to say in verse 5 that: “At His presence the mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned.”

    In Scripture we find in the Biblical Original Language of Hebrew, that GOD is Holy; and that this word “holy” also implies a great weight or heaviness, as well as an all-encompassing baptism or immersion, as if the very presence of His Spirit was like dropping the weight of the oceans upon the earth Habakkuk 2:14 and Isaiah 11:9b:

    For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
    However, in returning to NaPaH as the root word from which Nephilim is derived, the emphasis we need to look at is on height and that which causes the shaking under the feet or the shaking of fear in the beholding of the object in question. When an object is heavy and concentrated enough, its movement can make the earth rumble or shake under one’s feet. I believe that is what is in the word picture of Nephilim as seen from the root word of NaPaH. It is a combination of a height and a shaking that is experienced through a specific set of human beings we must by necessity call giants, whose very movements were not only loud, but because of the concentration of their height and weight, they shook they earth beneath their feet as they moved hither and thither.

    In Numbers 13:32b – 33,
    32b) The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

    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.

    in Deuteronomy 1:28

    28 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

    and Deuteronomy 2:9:c-11,

    9c) I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.

    10) The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;

    11) Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites called them Emims.

    we see that the Anaqim are not only in the land of Israel, but are the same as the Nephilim, or “fallen ones” who had just perished…i.e., the Hyksos in the Red Sea. Their cousins lived in Moab/Ammon, and were known also as the Emims, of whom we see that Og, king of Bashan, living among the Ammonites. Og’s bed remained on display well after his death, as a testament in Rabah as to what his great stature was.

    Deuteronomy 3:11

    For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

    In the Bible, the largest human ever known to be in existence was Og of Bashan, whose bed was 9 twenty-one inch cubits long and 4 twenty-one inch cubits wide.

    In other words 189″ long = 17′ 4″ and 84″ wide = 7’. If we make an allowance of at least one foot at the head and at the feet, Og was about 15 feet tall, the tallest human that we know of to have ever walked the Earth. However, Scripture calls Og the remnant of the giants; and this means that others at least equal to, and almost undoubtedly many even taller than he, preceded him.

    So when we read Genesis 6, we are to understand that by GIANTS, we are talking generally about statures of 15 feet or more in height. And when it comes to mighty men after them, we are clearly talking of men whose heights exceeded normal human growth, which varied from just over 8 feet to over 11 feet tall. The number of those who achieved such tallness, which the Apocryphal books of Enoch and Jubilee attributes to as being from a co-habitation with angelic beings, is listed as 200 angels. I would say that the number should not be 200 angels that fell, but 200 Human Giants who were Judges / Mighty Men / Messengers (if you will) that existed prior to the Flood. However, more plausible to me would be that the number of 200 giants (instead of angels) that perished (instead of being sent to the Abyss) according to the apocrypha
    (while the Bible only lists 4 Angels as being punished for having left their station as watchers – e.g. Daniel 4:13,23 and Revelation 9:13-14). However, 200 giants dying in the Noachian Flood and 200 giants perishing at the Red Sea can be an either / or both category, and the number being apocryphal really isn’t important…just believing and knowing GOD’s Word is true and faithful is.

    It is of our own best interest in the Biblical Study of this topic, at least it seems so to me, to distinguish that the Nephillim were giants, because the Giants of Crete, cousins to the Giants of Gaza where Goliath the Philistine lived, were so named Titans after Titan (aka. Helios, the sun deity), and the birth defect of giantism in which skin covers one eye and makes a cyclops of a man in the right or left eye, shows that myth is often starts with a point of fact that is over embellished until most basic facts of literary observation otherwise known to those closer to the times are lost to those later. The Bible stands a grand canyon gulf apart from myths, as it is a literal history that if the words are understood in context, reads like a factual newspaper account and readily is known by the reader as what is being said.

  25. Carl says

    “The heroes of old, the men of renown” phrase in Genesis implies the readers know who they are. The only common body of stories in the Mediterranean, is the Greco-Roman mythology and there pantheon of gods. So then the gods of the Greeks, who were men later deified are the “heroes of old and men of renown!”

  26. care says

    There are also plenty of old texts out there, Jubilees, The book of giants, The Book of Enoch that speak of these giants. Either way it’s clear how the Jews of old interpreted these texts is indeed an angelic breeding with humans. Just as Phillip says, why would the text point out they were getting with the daughters of men if they were men too. I think it’s just too fantastical for some people to believe, so they are fitting the text to their beliefs, instead of fitting their beliefs to the text.

  27. Martine says

    Where did Nephilim come from and who are they? The Nephilim is a crossbreed between the humans God created during the 7 day creation period in Genesis 1:27and Adam’s descendents. The species of man God first created are part of the animal kingdom. Adam was made by God’s own hand in Genesis 2:7. Adam’s sons saw how beautiful the daughters of God’s created human species were and inter-married. The results are the Nephilim. They were mean and evil, thinking only about themselves. God was sorry he created the animal humans, as over time the cross-breeding was so thorough that the only descendant of Adam who was still righteous was Noah. Unfortunately, someone on the ark was a Nephelim, so we still have people who are evil and only think about what they see as pleasurable. They see nothing wrong with doing evil. They are animalistic with no conscience; “If it feels right do it”, is what they live by. History is full of people who are not righteous and do heinous crimes and acts. Descendents of Nephilims are with us today.

  28. Be says

    It makes sense to me…that the Nephilim…were just ordinary humans. Men of old…men of renown…is simply a charactarization….of their “legacy”. For they had lived a long time…and people knew who they were. There is nothing mystical about it.

  29. George says

    Mathew 22:30 says we become like angels neither giving in marriage. So how do fallen angles take wives. Everything reproduces after its kind.

  30. George says

    1 John 3:1. That we should be called sons of GOD……

  31. Christina says

    I am the Captain of the LORD of hosts army…the Master Commander of the Asgard Fleet 165 Universes outside of this one…I am the Ubiad Gothic Jillian She’an Shim’ar Arshi Cantu Nephalim Navigator…..or the angels (Overlord). They w0rk Betty hard for me everyday and are very obedient to the LORD of hosts, Jehovah Saboath.

  32. Larry says

    The vatican has been releasing forbidden texts. The Book of King Og is one of them. In it, he seems to be talking down to Moses like a giant. Its an interesting read. Giants did walk the earth.

  33. Brandon says

    Lucifer was among the Sons of God. That’s why they’re called the fallen ones.

    Now it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.—Job 1:6

  34. Grand says

    We are highly evolved thinking, civilized (that sometimes act uncivilized), talking human primates that came from Africa. The Human Genome Project has proven that as a fact. Dirt man and rib woman is just a fable for the scientifically naive.

  35. Aleta says

    Wow! Every read-through of the Bible (Old and New Testament) illuminates different challenges. Now, beginning my 10th journey through, Nephillim jumped off the page (Gen 6.4). Although the above posts proved interesting reading, Phillippe’s explanation of 3/16/2016 (#9) best answered my google query regarding them. Thank you all for your earnest posts; it is definitely food for thought as I return to the text, which nourishes, prods, fulfills,intrigues and inspires at every verse.

  36. RoughRider067 says

    I don’t really believe that it’s all that important about where we were in the past, as it is where we’re going into the future. God never said that anyone will be condemned if they don’t figure out what these giants were, or where they came from. So, why argue about it? NONE of us were there at those times, so why fight about WHO’S RIGHT, or WHO’S WRONG? God wants us to live in PEACE, satan wants DIVISION, ANGER and WAR. Who do YOU serve, before making ANY posts? If somebody got something a little off base, SOOOOO WHAT? All they’re saying is that from their data and research, these are their conclusions, but I’m sure that they’re subject to CHANGE, should other data be discovered by them? One thing that I DO know FOR CERTAIN, and that is that in the end, GOD WINS! It’s ALSO pointless to argue with each other, because WHO is gonna prove GOD wrong? If God spoke it, then IT HAPPENED and THAT SETTLES IT. Anyone who argues against this truth does NOT come from God, but the opposite, which is what got lucifer in trouble in the FIRST place.

  37. khate says

    Can I ask ?? How could be Goliath descended from this “nephilims” if after that flood only Noah and his family were the only survivor?

  38. Jason says

    There was a time in the past when giant animals roamed the Earth.Man and animals have similar physiologies i.e. lungs,livers, brains.Giant primates are easily accepted based on the history of evolution.why are modern animals and humans smaller?

  39. Jason says

    DNA of Neandertals are found in Homo Sapiens today of 6% in some nations.That these two primates diverged accounts for the residual DNA of Neandertal in modern Homo Sapien groups.The idea they once co-habited is rather fanciful.I prefer the remnant DNA theory as most plausible explanation.

  40. Kevin says

    Dear Ellen White,
    I absolutely love your name, mam; it reminds me of one of my very favorite authors: (God’s prophetess) Ellen G. White :-) I just wanted to say that Genesis 6:4 never says that the Nephilim/giants were the offspring of the sons of God mating with the daughters of man; rather it just says that they were around during the same time period when Adam’s offspring took them wives of the mankind race. You see the Bible says (in one of the lineages) that Adam was the son of God, and Genesis 2:5 tells us that there was no plants on the Earth when Adam (the priestly son of God & vicegerent) was created. This means that Adam was created on the 3rd day & made to be an care taker in God’s Garden (and shepard like over the worldly flock). However, the people created on the 6th day are the many nations of mankind. You didn’t expect God to let Adam & Eve’s offspring resort to incest in order to procreate, did you? Fallen angels have celestial bodies that are “niether male nor female” the Bible says, and cannot mate with terrestrials. Concerning the Nephilim/giants, God has revealed to me through allegories that Cain was made an giant in order to protect himself from mankind. Why don’t anybody mention how the concordance lists the word “FELLER” under the word “Nephilim”. A “FELLER” has absolutely nothing to do with the notion of: “fallen ones” in the angelic sense. It’s true that Cain had fallen to sin but that is not what “FELLER” means anyway. A “FELLER” is an tree cutter. Now that may not sound like much to you, but if you knew the exact nature of the planetarium inwhich we live and just how deep satan’s matrix of tricks (deceit) goes then the likeliness of what I could say next would absolutely WAYLAY you, Sister :-) Perhaps I can share it with you sometime. I have been blessed richly with a plethora of Biblical insight. Perhaps I can share with you just who the Bible says the 144,000 WERE :-) You can contact me at: jc4bckhad1979@gmail.com. God bless you Sister White in Yah-Hoshua’s Holy Heavenly Name :-)

  41. Teresa says

    Response to Mike – No giant would result from a Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens. If you look into the body structure of a Neanderthal he had a short stocky build. He was not able to think beyond simple problem solving and was trapped in his own world of intelligence. He never had a written language or much family structure..The Neanderthal died out long before any existance of Civilization, cities existed. They were Nomads.It wasn’t until Homo Sapiens existed for some time before CIvilization came into existence let alone staying in one place and farming came into being. So it was not possible for a Neancerthal/HomonSapins hybrid to be a Nephilim.

  42. Jose says

    listen. GOD ELOHIM He just is and He created Adam a man not a infant
    He could and does of He is God The Creator ELYON
    Angels mate with women yes i believe it flooded the earth God did get rid of angels current plot Angels of try again..
    and Angels rebellious as they do, are could of mated with women again…
    since Satan is 666 could a giant be 18 ft tall it concise with the number everything in numbers my evidence Isaiah 30:21 amen stJohn 16:13 tells us of things to come. amen

  43. Sheila says

    If they didn’t have offspring how was Noah’s wife a descendant of Nephilim?

  44. John says

    I find it all confusing no one asks one big question. Not once is there an explanation as to when the angels where created. If they are our souls then Lucifer himself walked this earth and that’s a story I don’t believe would be left out of the bible. If they were created before man I find it hard to believe that would be left out as well.

  45. Clay says

    I read so many post here that suggest that Angels are incapable of mating with humans, or have a spirit that is more Godly than humans and therefore would never behave like humans. Remember that Satan once served God and then rebelled against Him. Not only did Satan rebel, but he convinced a full third of the host of Heaven to deny their creator and wage war against God. Just because there is no marriage or giving in marriage in Heaven, does not mean that the capacity is lacking. It simply means that it is not done in heaven.

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