Who / what were the Nephilim?


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 July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The Nephilim ("fallen ones, giants") were the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4. There is much debate as to the identity of the "sons o...

July 01 2013 12 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 3185 %282%29 Meluleki Maphosa Amateur Bible Student
Who were the Nephilim?

In my humble opinion the Nephilim could not have been the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of God and daughters of men. We need to take a close look at this passage (Gen 6:1-4) in light of what we already know about God and angels. 

1.	Has God ever called angels His sons and daughters? The answer is no unless I have missed something. I stand to be corrected. 

2.	Do angels have gender? To assume that they mated with humans implies that these fallen angels were male.

3.	Do angels have sexual feelings like humans? To me it would appear like these “fallen angels” lusted after human females and mated with them and indeed there was off spring. With all due respect, this is something akin to a horror movie about aliens mating with humans! 

4.	Who are the sons of God in the Bible? I don’t think I need to quote the bible on this one. All those that are born again and confess with their mouth are the sons of God.

Having put this issue in context I would suggest that in my reading, these sons of God were as human as you and me. These children of God had been instructed not to intermarry with the stock of Cain who had already chosen a life dedicated to disobedience and rebellion from God (Gen 4:3-7). This open rebellion ended in Cain killing Abel and he was not sorry for his evil deed. He had no respect for God and I could actually say he was the Anti-Christ of his day. The only thing he was sorry about was the weight of his punishment. Can then established his own dynasty separate from the obedient children of God who remained with Adam and Eve. The women in the Cain group are referred to in the bible as the daughters of men while those who remained loyal to God are referred to as the sons of God. The bible clearly teaches us not to have union with darkness, this was a direct result of compromising sons of God. We all know that the rebellion and apostasy that plagued Israel could be traced to them marrying foreign women and being subtly led astray. 

Therefore to me there is no mystery at all regarding the identity of the Nephilim. They were a group of people who resulted from the union of the children of God and darkness, they had some aspect of God’s light mingled with error. This is a very dangerous combination. It can present itself outwardly as an innocent Christian/Godly endeavour when that core of darkness still resides and controls. 
Having redefined the real identify of the Nephilim, can we say they don’t exist today. I think every conscientious Christian must worry and ask themselves if they are compromising today. That compromise is the Nephilim of today. Christianity must be kept in its purest form. This reminds of the battles that Jesus fought with the Pharisees and religious leaders of His day. He often reminded them of Isaiah 29:13. We are in danger of exalting our own ideas and thoughts above the simple words of the Bible, most often because we want to be “heroes and men of renown”. In my view when the bible speaks about the Anti-Christ at the end of time, it is not going to be an openly devil worshiping person. If it is then who is going to follow him and why warn people? There is no danger posed by someone who comes and says “I am a son of satan and I want you to worship me”. Even an average Christian will walk away. However if this guy comes brandishing a shinny bible and preaching to large crowds and seemingly presenting God to the world, if that guy introduces a few drops of error is the most dangerous and God warns us about. Christ says even the elect will be in danger of deception! Those are the Nephilim of today. Let us look beyond the simple story that God has graciously given to us in the Book of Genesis and be warned that history repeats itself. Let us not be caught unawares we have been warned. Notice that the flood came after the mention of the Nephilim, the end of this world will also come when the modern Nephilim had shown themselves.

September 04 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Shantkumar S. Kunjam An Indian, Mennonite Church, Pastor, Administrator, Bishop,
Who/what were the Nephilim? Genesis 6:1-8

Let us study the context.

This paragraph is a rationale for the great flood that destroyed all the living creatures of the earth but the creatures and humans that were in the arch of Noah.

V. 1. Humans multiplied rapidly with also the daughters being born to them.
V. 2. Sons of God. Here the Hebrew word is Benai Haelohim. All versions of the English Bible and commentators translate the Helohim God. Helohim is a composite word. Ha is a definite article The and Elohim meaning God, gods, mighty ones, judges and angels (See Ps. 8:5; 82:1, 6 footnotes in NKJV). Elohim is translated God when this word is subject of a singular verb, but with plural verbs it is translated gods, judges, mighty ones or angels. But when it is not a subject of any verb then according to the context it is translated any of those words including God.

Here my suggestion is that Haelohim should not be translated God. There are at least three reasons. 1. As in Genesis one God is always Elohim without article in whole of the Old Testament, may be with a few exceptions. 2. In these verses the Divine name YHWH translated the LORD is used. 3. The sons of God involved in physical sexual relationships is contrary to the spirit of the Bible.

Therefore, Benai Haelohim should be translated sons of the mighty ones, that is sons of powerful people of the society.

The Hebrew phrase Benoth Haadam is translated daughters of men. Haadam here is people in general including men and women, that is, common people.

"and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose". Here it does not mean formal marriages but the sons of the powerful people of the society grabbed the daughters of common people to quench their sexual desires.

V. 3 & 5-8. This grieved the LORD and hence the decision to destroy the earth.

V. 4. The Hebrew word Nephilim means fallen ones which is translated Giants. If we refer to Jewish commentary on this, it interprets it the fallen spirits. In the New Testament it is told that at the end time there will be increased activities of satanic forces and God sent delusions (2 Thess. 2:9-12). So it can be said that here at the symbolic end of the word also there had been increased activity of the fallen spirits among men.

This unholy sexual activity brought forth uncontrolled generation full of violence and pervert sex. See v. 5. And hence God sent flood.

Thus the Nephilim means the fallen spirits.

January 08 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Doreen Lovell Evangelist and Prayer Intercessor

Nephilim is derived from the root “fall” meaning either “the fallen ones” or ones who fallen (violently) upon others” (Genesis 6:4). According to most interpreters they are products of sexual union of heavenly beings, “sons of God” and human women. This account is so supernatural that people have constantly debated the use of the words “sons of God”. Since elsewhere in the Bible the phrase is used to describe angels, some people have postulated that Nephilim is the offspring of “Sons of God the godly line of Seth with “the daughters of men” the ungodly line of Cain. This postulation however, is not supported with scripture, so we assume that “sons of God” does indeed mean angels. This scenario is not impossible as Jude verse 6 refers to the angels which kept not their place but left their own habitation and like those in Sodom and Gomorrah, pursued unnatural sexual relations. The unnatural union produced offspring as “heroes of old, men of renowned (Gen. 6:4) called Nephilim, men of strength and giants like Goliath.

The book of Enoch talks of Nephilim as a race of giants who are able to do amazing things, perform acts of great evil. It’s no wonder why the Book of Enoch hadn’t been included into the modern biblical version, since its content speaks of wicked angels who became fond of mortal women and had mated with them, giving birth to the hybrid race of giant humanoids known throughout secular and Biblical history as the Nephilim. 

“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.’ (Book of Enoch 6)

When the angels descended upon the Earth, they started offering gifts of knowledge to both mortal men and women, thus defying the will of the creator of an unaltered race of humans with a will of their own. In exchange, the angels demanded respect and adoration, but they were unaware of the chaos they had instituted.

“And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them.

The conception of the Nephilim was the first ordeal humans had to face, as there was no way to overcome the needs of those supersized humanoids. Intervening into the natural order of things had infuriated The Creator, so ‘The Watchers’ and all that had been corrupted were about to taste retribution.

“And cleanse thou the earth from all oppression, and from all unrighteousness, and from all sin, and from all godlessness: and all the uncleanness that is wrought upon the earth destroy from off the earth. And all the children of men shall become righteous, and all nations shall offer adoration and shall praise Me, and all shall worship Me. And the earth shall be cleansed from all defilement, and from all sin, and from all punishment, and from all torment, and I will never again send (them) upon it from generation to generation and forever. “Needless to say that the global demise took the form of a great flood, and Noah was informed of this through the ascribed words of his forefather Enoch, and was allowed to perpetuate the human species, as well as preserve countless other wildlife (extracted from the Book of Enoch).

We know that Nephilim were on the earth after the flood as seen when the Israelites went to spy on the land in the region of Canaan.They were however, destroyed by the Israelites with God’s help, during their invasion of Canaan (Joshua 11:21-22, Duet 3:11, 1 Sam 17).

Is there anything that can prevent this from happening again? According to Jude these angels who did not stay within their own position of authority are now being kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.

August 25 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini cheryl richardson Cheryl Richardson
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit it shall not always strive with man, for he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There giants (the Nephlim) were in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Gen. 6:1-4
The beings from the spirit world, more literally, means the sons of God, were probably not angels, because angels cannot marry or reproduce (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25)

The giants mention were probably large people sometimes reaching nine or ten feet in height. These may have been the same people mentioned in Numbers 13:33. Goliath, a man nine feet tall, appears in 1Sam. 17. They used their physical advantage to oppress the people around them.

The spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, work destruction on earth and cause trouble.

September 05 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Alan Hitchner
Strong's expanded concordance of the Bible refers to this specific term as Hebrew 5303. Its definition there is: a bully, tyrant, giant. It stems from a root of Hebrew 5307 : of fallen, cast down, overthrown, inferior, fugitive judges, lying, perish, smitten. To me, this diverges greatly from the notion of men of great renown as seen in the KJV. The Nephilim beings may have been mentionable or feared, but I don't think they were great men by any standard, and certainly not worthy of renown as we might think of it.

September 26 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
I have taken this view ever since I went to Arizona Bible College, I think, or at least by the time I finished Dallas Theological Seminary:

Some Bible scholars believe “sons of God” refers to the godly line of Seth (from whom the redeemer was to come—Gen. 4:26), who intermingled with the godless line of Cain. They point out that (a) this fits the immediate context, (b) it avoids the problems with the angels view, and (c) it accords with the fact that humans are also referred to in the OT as God’s “sons” (Isa. 43:6). -- DefendingInerrancy

One variant of the Sethite view is that the sons of God were kings or rulers. This has some biblical support, such as Psalm 82:1-6. Also, this would explain why many ancient cultures refer to demi-gods, as well. It also explains how ancestor worship can arise, even in a post-flood realm. 

In 2 of these Sethite views, it is assumed that there was a godly lineage from Adam to Seth and followed down the line to Noah:


In this godly lineage of Sethites, they were called sons of God, being in the context of the previous chapter (Genesis 5). These sons of God or their children married or began marrying ungodly women (daughters of men), and their children followed after false gods and rejected the one true God. In other words, they fell away from God—recall the word Nephilim is related to the verb series “to fall” in Hebrew. In this view, offspring from these unions had fallen from God and were termed Nephilim.

I used to hold the fallen angel view, maybe partly because it was so interesting, but now I see more of this idea: "We have had no mention made of angels thus far in Genesis. We have met with other sons of the true God, in fact, the whole preceding chapter, even Genesis 4:25-5:32, has been concerned with them. Who will, then, be referred to here? Answer, the Sethites, without a doubt." -- Bodie Hodge

And Wiersbe says this about my former "interesting" theory: "But as interesting as the theory is, it creates more problems than it solves, not the least of which is the union of sexless spirit beings with flesh and blood humans. Even if such unions did occur, could there be offspring and why would they be giants? And how did these ‘giants’ (Nephilim, “fallen ones”) survive the flood (Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:31-33), or was there a second invasion of fallen angels after the flood?" --https://storage.snappages.site/7STCWP/assets/files/The-Wiersbe-Bible-Commentary-Old-Testame-90.pdf

December 29 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Genesis 6:4 speaks of ‘giants’ or ‘Nephilim.’ A common understanding is that they are the offspring of the ‘sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men,’ Genesis 6:2. But, it cannot be angels cohabiting with man since it produces a part-human and part-supernatural offspring. Besides, the way Genesis 6:4 reads, there is no mention that the Nephilim were even offspring. The first phrase of 6:4 is a summary statement of their existence before and after the union. If they were before then, they could not be the offspring. The last phrase of Genesis 6:4 speaks of the offspring of the union of the sons and daughter, “Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown,” ‘Those’ or ‘these’ means ‘the same’ referring to children, not Nephilim.

As to their identity, the Septuagint (LXX) has ‘gigantes’ which looks like ‘giants,’ which it does not mean. Instead, it means ‘earth-born.’ This word confirms they were people.

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.” William Tyndale translated Genesis 6:4, “There were tyrants in the world in those days…” 

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

‘Nephilim’ is found in only one other place in the Bible, twice in Numbers 13:33. Long after the flood, when the spies of Israel reconnoitered Canaan, they reported seeing the Nephilim. The spies exaggerated their “great stature,” Numbers 13:32. This is followed by the words, “And there we saw the Nephilim…” It is redundant to speak of their height and then call them giants. They were not giants but powerful men. And they would feel like grasshoppers before them. If angels cohabited with men as supposed in Genesis 6, then there is the strange appearance of these beings after the Flood when presumably destroyed by it. 

However, they are specifically mentioned as descendants of Anak – a human father. Some who believe the Nephilim in Genesis 6 as being the offspring of angelic interference, inexplicably suggest the Nephilim in Numbers 13 probably does not mean semi-supernatural beings. Previously, Numbers 13:22 specifically stated that while the spies were at Hebron, they noted “Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there.” Joshua 14:15 states that Hebron was formerly Kirjath Arba and explains, “Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.” These were powerful leaders. 

In Genesis 6:4, the sons of God were the rulers who had descendants, some of whom were mighty and famous. The Nephilim were the powerful tyrants of that era.

March 02 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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