Who are the sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4?


Genesis 6:1 - 4

ESV - 1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them. 2 The sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 19 2022 Woman in rollers Penny G. Vera

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In my opinion, the "sons of God" were the descendants of the "godly" line of Seth, while the "daughters of men" were descended from the "ungodly" line of Cain. It was this intermingling of the godly with the ungodly that led to the general corruption of humanity noted later in the chapter, to the point of necessitating the Flood, from which only Noah, his sons, and their wives were saved, despite the general opportunity for humanity to join them in the Ark while it was being built (1 Peter 3:20).

November 20 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Of several interpretations of the identity of the “sons of God,” Genesis 6:1-4, one that has merit is that they were “nobles” or “rulers.” 

In Hebrew, “sons of God” is “bene elohim.” “Sons” not only means offspring, but also followers of a class of people, as “sons of the prophets.” “Elohim,” the plural form of “El” is most commonly used for the name of God, a name of plural majesty. However, “elohim” has other meanings, one of which is “judges,” Exodus 21:6; 22:8-9, Psalm 82:1, 6; 95:3. Sons of God can be anointed leaders or a class of leaders.

Psalm 82, a psalm about God judging judges may be the key. Two parallel thoughts are given in Psalm 82:6. The judges are called “gods” meaning they represent God. Then, they are the “sons of the Most High.” Together these phrases could be the equivalent to being the “sons of God” of Genesis 6:2.

However, although God’s “elohim,” they misused their authority as kings and magistrates to choose wives outside aristocracy and marry commoners or “daughters of men.” 

In Genesis 6:4, “giants” or “nephilim,” is a descriptive name for powerful rulers. William Tyndale translated Genesis 6:4, “There were tyrants in the world in those days…” “Nephilim” comes from the root ‘naphal,’ meaning ‘fall’ as one who falls on or knocks down another, meaning a bully or tyrant. “Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary” states, “The term in Hebrew implies not so much the idea of great stature as of reckless ferocity, impious and daring characters, who spread devastation and carnage far and wide.” 

Later these “nephilim” also appear when the spies of Israel reconnoitering Canaan, saw them, Numbers 13:32-33 (compare Joshua 14:15).

Among the offspring of the intermarriage of kings and commoners would be powerful famous leaders, “the mighty men...men of renown.”

There is a historical connection to this concept. In “Divine Kingship and Genesis 6:1-4,” Meredith Kline suggested that the sons of the gods were “divine” kings found in ancient accounts of Mesopotamia. 

Kings of city-states and nations, worldwide, have claimed their right and authority to reign was from heaven, and that they were either god or his representative. For example, England’s King James I, strongly believed in the “divine right of kings.” He described monarchs as “little gods on earth,” who could do whatever they pleased.

Some believe the defiant leader, Nimrod, Genesis 10:8-12, may be Gilgamesh, the “hero” of the Gilgamesh Epic, who “would not leave in peace the warrior’s daughter and the noblemen’s spouse,” and warred against Huwawa which sounds like Yahweh.

The nature of the pre-Flood world was very corrupt and wicked, from the leaders down to the very core of society, Genesis 6:5-7. 

In summary, the straight-forward reading of Genesis 6:1-4, which avoids fantastical or problematic explanations, suggests the “sons of God” were “divine” kings or rulers. They intermarried with commoners and among their offspring were the mighty and famous rulers. The “nephilim,” were very powerful leaders during the period leading up to the Flood.

August 26 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Carolyn Hostetter Wife, mother, grandmother, retired church administrator
The best answer to this question that I've found is at the website gotquestions.org, which supports biblically that sons of God are probably the angels. While there are a couple other ideas mentioned, this one makes the most sense to me, especially given the other passages that speak of sons of God as angels. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Genesis 6:1-4, Genesis 19:1-5.

See https://www.gotquestions.org/sons-of-God.html

February 29 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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