Tag Archives: Nephilim

God, Giants and Genesis (Part Two)

Looking at Genesis 6:1-4

I began this examination of Genesis 6:1-4 in Part One. For review, the passage is rendered in the King James Version as: 

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 shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants 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 KJV)

I used the King James Version because of its reference in verse 4 to “giants.” Virtually all modern Bible translations use the transliterated Hebrew word, Nephilim, instead of “giants.”

In the previous segment, I raised three questions about this passage:

(1) Who were the ‘sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men?’

(2) Who were the Nephilim?

(3) Is there a connection between the Nephilim and giants?

I dealt with the question about the ‘sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men’ in Part One of this study. In this concluding article, I will address the final two questions and attempt an overall explanation of the passage and the issues associated with it.

Who Were the Nephilim?

Before we can arrive at the identity of the Nephilim we must first determine the meaning of the word, and that is part of the problem. The most probable root of nephilim is the Hebrew verb, naphal¸which means, “to fall.” Hence, some take the plural noun in Genesis 6:4 to mean, “fallen ones,” with the implication that they had fallen from heaven.1

However, that interpretation is not certain. The verb can also speak of someone falling, or dying, in battle. In another use, naphal can speak of “falling upon” others in the sense of attacking them. In that case, Nephilim could refer to those who ruthlessly attacked others.2

To further complicate matters, it has been proposed that nephilim is related to the Hebrew noun nephel, which means “miscarriage” or “deformed baby” and speaks of the children born to the angel-human relations discussed in Part One.3

Since the noun nephilim occurs in only one other biblical passage (Numbers 13:33), and that passage refers back to Genesis 6:4, we gain little from investigating other biblical uses of the word. 

In short, it is difficult to determine the precise meaning of the Hebrew word nephilim. It was used to refer to a mysterious and noteworthy group of ancient people. However, not being able to nail down the exact lexical meaning of the word does not mean that we cannot identify those to whom the word refers.

Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB), the venerable Hebrew lexicon, defines nephilim as “giants.” The newer and well-respected Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT) gives, “giant, monster, deformed baby.” Even though the term “giants” is not in our modern translations in this passage, it is never far away from the meaning. We will further examine the issue of the Nephilim and giants in answering the last question of this study.

There is another issue that must also be resolved. Does the passage in focus allow us to determine the origin of the Nephilim?

The English Standard Version gives a quite literal translation of the Hebrew of verse 4.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

In Part One, I argued that the clearest meaning of “sons of God” and “daughters of men” was that of fallen angels cohabitating with human women. Genesis 6:4 states that the children born to these marriages became, from the standpoint of the writer of Genesis, the mighty warriors of antiquity (literally ‘mighty men’). They were “men of renown,” known and celebrated in legend and story.

Were the Nephilim the children produced by the marriages of angels and human women? That question is not explicitly answered by the text but it is implied. Literally, v. 4 says that the Nephilim were on the earth in those days when the marriages occurred and also “afterward,” which speaks of the time after the flood. It must be remembered that Moses wrote Genesis long after the flood. 

Does this mean that the Nephilim were the children of the illicit unions? I think that it does. Otherwise, the use of Nephilim alone as a mythical group makes little sense. Gordon Wenham, in writing of the “mighty men who were of old,” offers that they were the Nephilim and indeed that is the implied meaning.4

Genesis 6:1-4 speaks of a time when fallen angels took human women to themselves and “went in” to them (a euphemism for sexual relations). The form of the Hebrew verb implies something that was a continuous activity.5 The children born from these relations were given the name Nephilim—possibly because of their fallen nature—and were mighty warriors that had been enshrined in legends of the past.

All ancient cultures have legends of mythical warriors. One of the oldest is the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian tale from over 4,000 years ago. The heroic warrior-king. Gilgamesh was purportedly one-third god and two-thirds man. The Greeks had many legends of heroes who were the offspring of gods and human women. Examples of this are Heracles (Hercules) and Achilles, half-gods who were legendary warriors. None of this is to give full credence to ancient pagan legends but to demonstrate that a common narrative appears across cultures and even religions of mythical and renowned warriors who had both divine and human origins.

Hesiod, the 8th century BC Greek poet, wrote that the “giants” (gigantes) came from the interaction of heaven (Ouranos) and earth (Gaia), another image of a heaven-earth encounter even though Gaia was believed to be a god.6

An interesting anecdote in this discussion is the use of Nephilim in Numbers 13:32-33.

So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:32–33)

The twelve spies were sent into the promised land. The passage gives the report of the ten spies who saw only problems. The spies speak in the Hebrew of “men of great height” (anishi middot) and called them Nephilim. Some commentators see this as the spies bringing up a frightful term from the past to make their point. Ronald Allen wrote:

The use of the term Nephilim seems to be deliberately provocative of fear, a term not unlike the concept of bogeymen and hobgoblins.”7

That is an understandable interpretation but it is complicated by the parenthetical note in the text, “The sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim.” If true—and it was written by Moses—then it allows only one of two interpretations. (1) Either some of the Nephilim survived the flood or (2) the activity before the flood that produced the Nephilim continued for a time after the flood.8

Clearly, (1) is incorrect as only Noah and his family survived the flood. (2) would seem to have support from Genesis 6:1:

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. (Genesis 6:4)

If, for a period of time after the flood, further interactions took place between fallen angels and human women, it would go far to explain these passages as well as account for legends of semi-divine mythical heroes in many cultures.

It must be stated that God has chosen to limit the biblical account of this primeval time so very little can be stated with absolute certainty.

Is There a Connection Between the Nephilim and Giants?

The last question to examine is the connection, if any exists, between the Nephilim and the mention of giants in the Scripture. As related, modern translations do not have “giants” in Genesis 6:4 but the word appears elsewhere in almost all modern translations.

Did Giants Exist?

The Bible speaks of men of great stature but how can we account for such height from a time when people were generally shorter than they are today? It is usually explained in one of three ways.

(1) Skeptics, not accepting the Bible as inspired, see the gigantic height as an exaggeration much as appears in many ancient tales.

Those who accept the authority of Scripture either try to explain it (2) in accordance with a modern understanding or (3) as something unique to that time.

Many are quick to note that the account of Goliath given in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) gives his height as four cubits and a span (about 6 ft. 9 in.). That is more acceptable to the modern mind. In 1 Chronicles 11:23, we have the account of one of David’s warriors killing an Egyptian with a height of five cubits (7 ft. 6 in.).

Those uncomfortable with the great height and seemingly unique nature of the giants of the Old Testament would point to the condition known today as giantism or acromegaly. Giantism is a condition where the pituitary gland has uncontrolled secretions of growth hormones usually due to a tumor.

The tallest person in the world today is Sultan Kosen from Turkey who has this condition and is 8 ft. 3 in. tall. The tallest man in modern recorded history was an American, Robert Wadlow, who died in 1940 and grew to be 8 ft. 11 in. Modern giants with this disorder have many health issues and certainly do not fit the biblical description of fearsome ancient warriors.

Giants in Scripture were not singular people but existed in groups. There were tribes of giants and giants were born to giant ancestors. The Bible testifies to this.

After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again 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 descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. (2 Samuel 21:18–22)

Giants in the Promised Land

Encounters with peoples of great height happened as soon as the Israelites entered the promised land. I have noted the report of the spies but it is not the only mention of giant people.

The twelve spies returned with stories of a fearsome and gigantic people named the “sons of Anak,” sometimes called the “Anakim.” This was not the only name that appears. The original inhabitants of Moab were the Emim, who were said to be “as great and as many and as tall as the Anakim.” (Dt. 2:10) Likewise, there were former giant inhabitants of Ammon with the ponderous name, Zamzummim, also a people as tall as the Anakim. (Dt. 2:20-21).

These passages in the second chapter of Deuteronomy introduce a new name to the discussion, Rephaim. All of these giant tribes were said to be Rephaim.

Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. (Deuteronomy 2:11)

This name bears study. It first appears in Genesis 14:5

In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness. (Genesis 14:5–6)

This passage speaks of events that took place in the time of Abraham, several centuries before the Israelites entered the promised land. All of the peoples mentioned are those also written of in the second chapter of Deuteronomy. They are not called giants in Genesis but Moses, who wrote Genesis, refers to them as giants in Deuteronomy.

Rephaim appears many times in the Old Testament and usually refers to the spirits of dead men in the underworld (Sheol). Isaiah, writing of the fall of the king of Babylon wrote:

Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come;
it rouses the shades (Rephaim) to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations. (Isaiah 14:9)

One cannot make a conclusive case connecting the words Nephilim (if it is taken as “fallen ones”) and Rephaim (dead spirits) but it seems less than coincidental that the terms are co-joined with respect to the same group of people, descendants of wicked angels sentenced to judgment.

The word Rephaim and its related term, Rapha, became synonymous with the giant inhabitants of the land of Canaan and is translated as such by all modern versions of the Bible with the exception of the NIV (which uses the transliterated name, Rapha).

The Holy War in the promised land was not only against Canaanites but also the Rephaim, resulting in their near eradication. The mention of Og of Bashan is noteworthy not only for his status as part of the Rephaim but also for his great size.

(For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.) (Deuteronomy 3:11)

Taking the cubit to be 18 inches, Og’s bed was 13.5 feet long.

At the end of the war, the few Rephaim remaining fled to familiar places.

There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain. (Joshua 11:22)

It is hardly coincidental that the remnant of the giants fled to Gath and that Goliath the giant came from Gath. What is interesting is that three to four centuries after Joshua’s defeat of the giants and their flight to Gath, in the time of David the giants are still there.


In concluding my study of this fascinating but mysterious passage, I have reached several conclusions over the two articles:

(1) The “sons of God” of Genesis 6:1 were fallen angels who (through means that we cannot know) took to themselves wives from human women and produced children.

(2) These children were given the mysterious name, Nephilim, which, coming from the Hebrew verb which means, “to fall,” could refer to their fallen status as descendants of angels who had fallen. They were later referred to as Rephaim, a word meaning dead spirits, perhaps because of their origins.

(3) These strange offspring were giants and also mighty warriors from antiquity, known in legend, at the time Moses was writing.

(4) The Nephilim of Genesis 6:1 were destroyed in the flood but giants were also seen after the food, perhaps indicating that the illicit activity between fallen angels and humans continued for a time after the flood.

(5) Giants were indeed upon the earth but not from pituitary disorders among individuals. There were giant tribes and families. There was a giant king, Og, whose enormous bed became famous.

(6) One of the tasks of Joshua as he entered the promised land was to defeat the Rephiam Some survived and fled to cities that would later be occupied by the Philistines. Among those was Gath, from which came Goliath, the opponent of David. Goliath was among the last of the Rephaim.


1 Mathews, Kenneth A, (1996) Genesis 1-11:26, (p. 336), Nashville, Broadman & Holman. Mathews notes that the interpretation as “fallen ones” is itself ambiguous. “…does this refer to their expulsion from heaven, their death as ‘fallen’ in battle, or to their moral degeneracy?”

2 The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testamant, Logos version.

3 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, p. 587. Also, Brown-Driver-Briggs.

4 Wenham, Gordon J., Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary (1987), Waco, p. 143.

5 Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 6:4). Biblical Studies Press, Logos Version. “The Hebrew imperfect verbal form draws attention to the ongoing nature of such sexual unions during the time before the flood.

6 Hesiod, Theogony, Trans. by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, (1983), Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 17.
Lines 176-188 read:
Ouranos came dragging with him the night, longing for Gaia’s love,
and he embraced her and lay stretched out upon her.
Then his son reached out from his hiding place and seized him
with his left hand, while with his right he grasped
the huge, long, and sharp-toothed sickle and swiftly hacked off
his father’s genitals and tossed them behind him—
and they were not flung from his hand in vain.
Gaia took in all the bloody drops that spattered off,
and as the seasons of the year turned around
she bore the potent Furies and the Giants, immense,
dazzling in their armor, holding long spears in their hands
and then she bore the Ash Tree Nymphs of the boundless earth.

7 Allen, Ronald B., Numbers, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 2 (1990), Grand Rapids, Zondervan, p. 812.

8 Mathews, op. cit., p. 336. The phrase, “the sons of Anak who come from the Nephilim,” appears in the MT but is absent from the LXX.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version

Image by Willgard Krause from Pixabay


God, Giants and Genesis (Part One)

Looking at Genesis 6:1-4

I must confess that I have an interest in somewhat obscure and difficult to understand portions of the Bible. The Scriptures are a treasure trove of knowledge for us. We gain knowledge about God. We learn of His dealings with mankind over the centuries. More importantly for us, as the Apostle wrote, the Scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) But in the midst of this wonder book of God’s revelation, there are passages that are harder to interpret and that cause us some difficulties in understanding their meanings.

To me, one of these fascinating but difficult passages of scripture is the pre-flood account of the ‘sons of God’ related in Genesis 6:1-4. To many, this is an obscure portion of Scripture that they pass over quickly in proceeding to the flood story. But, to many others, this passage holds a great interest. If you do an internet search with the relevant keywords of this passage, you will find much discussion and even several books that have been written on the topic.

I will give the passage in the Kings James Version for reasons that I will explain later:

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 shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants 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 KJV)

Chief among the interpretive challenges of this passage is the identification of the ‘sons of God’ mentioned here who take wives of the ‘daughters of men.’ These marriages resulted in the birth of those referred to as, “mighty men” and “men of renown.” Also of note—and the reason why I chose the King James Version—is the mention of “giants in the earth.” The word “giants” does not appear in the vast majority of our modern translations who substitute a transliteration of the actual Hebrew word, Nephilim.

There are several things to investigate in this passage:

(1) Who were the ‘Sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men?’

(2) Who were the Nephilim?

(3) Is there a connection between the Nephilim and giants spoken of in the Bible?

I will deal with the first question in Part One of this study and reserve the other two for the conclusion.

Who were the ‘Sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men?’

It is appropriate that we examine this question first. It is the first challenge for interpreting the passage. The actions of the ‘sons of God’ appear to be the occasion for God’s statement of judgment. Over the centuries, there have been different answers offered to solve the identity of the participants in the marriages that resulted in judgment. 

Fallen Angels and Human Offspring

The oldest traditional identification of the ‘sons of God’ is that they were angels who cohabitated with human women to produce offspring. This viewpoint has its origin in Jewish tradition from as early as the second century BC where it was advocated in the book of 1 Enoch.

In those days, when the children of man had multiplied, it happened that there were born unto them handsome and beautiful daughters. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw them and desired them; and they said to one another, “Come, let us choose wives for ourselves from among the daughters of man and beget us children.” (1 Enoch 6:2) 1

1 Enoch was not written by the biblical character Enoch but is from a collection of books that scholars call “pseudepigrapha.” 2 The book of Enoch bears the name of the ancient godly man but was written sometime in the second century BC. It is not canonical, meaning that it is not inspired Scripture. Its value is that it reflects ideas and traditions that existed among the Jews of that period.

It is likely that the interpretation that the ‘sons of God’ were angels goes back to at least the third century BC. Some manuscripts of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, have the reading “angels of God” instead of “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2. 3

Several early Christian writers held to this position (Justin, Irenaeus, Ps.-Clement, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian). Many liberal/critical commentators in the modern day have adopted this view but see it as a mythological story from an earlier polytheistic era. 4,5 It must be remembered that in liberal scholarship, the Jewish belief in a single God is believed to have evolved from the surrounding paganism rather than paganism having come from a rebellion against God, as the Bible attests.

In summary, the view that the ‘sons of God’ of Genesis 6 were angels who took human women has an ancient pedigree.

Men from the Genealogical Line of Seth

Another popular interpretation is that ‘sons of God’ were the descendants of the righteous line of Adam’s son Seth while the ‘daughters of men’ came from the wicked line of Cain. Several of the church fathers and many of the Reformers held to this viewpoint (Julius Africanus, John Chrysostom, Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther).

An example comes from John Calvin:

It was, therefore, base ingratitude in the posterity of Seth, to mingle themselves with the children of Cain, and with other profane races; because they voluntarily deprived themselves of the inestimable grace of God. 6

Calvin thought the fallen angel viewpoint so difficult to believe that he would not even try to refute it. He was unsparing in his criticism.

That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious. 7

Even today, commentators are divided between these two opinions. Kenneth Mathews, in his excellent commentary on Genesis, wrote favorably of this interpretation.

Although this view has its share of difficulties, we find that it is the most attractive. 7

Human Judges or Rulers

Later Jewish interpreters viewed the ‘sons of God’ as human judges or rulers. This distinction between the two parties was a social one depicting the marriage of rulers and princes with commoners. Lately, a revision of this view depicts the ‘sons of God’ as human kings who terrorized the population and practiced polygamy. 9

Evaluation of Historic Interpretations

I will deal with the last option first. In no place in the Old Testament is the plural term, ‘sons of God,’ applied to human rulers. Literature from other ancient near eastern societies sometimes referred to their kings in this way but it was probably for the purpose of establishing a divine right to rule. Such a concept would have been avoided by biblical writers. Also, there is no evidence in near eastern tradition of a wicked kingship that resulted in punishment by a universal flood. 10

The view that the ’sons of God’ were the righteous line of Seth intermarrying with the sinful line of Cain has been very popular over the centuries because it eliminates the thorny issue of angels procreating with humans. It received its first known promotion by Julius Africanus who lived about AD 160-240. Augustine followed in the fifth century with the same viewpoint in Book XV of the City of God. This led to the general rejection of the angel-humans option by most early commentators. 11

In favor of this interpretation is that Genesis 4-5 contrast the respective lines of Cain and Seth. It has also been argued that in ‘sons of God,’ the word for God (Elohim) is a genitive of quality describing those descendants (i.e., “godly sons”) 12

In the taking of wives of “of all which they chose,” it is argued, the godly line of Seth  moved beyond the bounds God had set for them and intermarried with the ungodly. In joining with the descendants of Cain, “the Sethites, too, became so badly contaminated that the existing world order [had to be] definitely terminated. 13

For all its advantages, the Seth-Cain view is not without considerable difficulties. For one, in writing Genesis 6:1 of men multiplying upon the earth, Moses uses the generic Hebrew word for mankind, adam. He uses the term again in v. 2 in speaking of the ‘daughters of men’ that the ‘sons of God’ marry. Then again, in v. 3, God speaks of His spirit not striving with mankind (adam) forever. There is no reason to suspect that the word adam is used only for the line of Cain in v. 2 and then used for all of mankind in verses 1 and 3.

The interpretation that the ‘sons of God’ were angels has much stronger biblical support. In every place where the term appears, it refers to supernatural beings (Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:8).14 As was noted before, this is the earliest known interpretation, appearing in the third century BC and possibly earlier. These two factors are the strongest arguments in favor of this viewpoint.

Also, there exists in the legends of ancient peoples stories of supernatural beings proposing marriage or having sexual relations with mortals (Greek mythology, Epic of Gilgamesh, etc.). It is thus probable that the true happenings recorded in Genesis were adapted by pagan peoples to form these legends.15

New Testament References

There is New Testament support for seeing ‘sons of God’ as angels. In 2 Peter 2:4, Peter speaks of angels who sinned and were cast into Tartarus,16 being held in chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment.

An almost identical statement appears in Jude 6:

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day (Jude 6)

Jude continued in v. 7 to speak of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. He writes that they “likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire.”

The passage clearly shows that the sins of these angels were of the same nature as the sexual immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah.

This strong scriptural support is not without its detractors. It is pointed out that, with the exception of the cherubim guarding the Tree of Life in Genesis 3:24, no angel was shown in Scripture before Genesis 6. It is also argued that the flood judgment was against man with no indication in the Genesis account that angels were punished or held to be culpable.

Probably the strongest argument against the angelic viewpoint is that there is no biblical evidence for angels having the ability to procreate with humans or otherwise. Objectors point to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 22:30

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Matt 22:30)

They would point out that Jesus’ words show something very different from the pagan conception of celestial beings procreating with humans.16

These objections are not insignificant and although it is argued from Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:30 that angels cannot procreate, it reads too much into the passage. Jesus was not speaking about procreation but about relationships between men and women in the eternal state. The old order of husband and wife would not exist in that future existence.

Jesus spoke of “angels in heaven” not cohabitating but this says nothing about the actions of fallen angels with depraved and rebellious humans. As Richard Wolff said, “the angels in heaven neither marry or are given in marriage, but this does not automatically exclude the possibility of unnatural relationships of fallen angels.”18

It is true that Genesis says nothing about punishment of angels but this was an account written for men. 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 seem to provide the missing information that the angels were and are being punished for their transgressions.


The identity of the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6:1-4 is one of those issues for which it is impossible to be overly dogmatic and we should never let it divide us. However, as difficult as it may be for us to understand, the biblical evidence favors the identity of the ‘sons of God’ as being angels who sinned in taking human wives. These actions spoke to the general corruption of humankind at that time to which God responded with the punishment of the flood.

In part two of this article, I will deal with the Nephilim and their relationship to the mention of giants in the Bible.


1  1 Enoch 6:1-2, (1983) The Old Testament Pseudipigrapha, Vol 1, ed. by James H. Charlesworth (p 15)

2  The term Pseudepigrapha refers to anonymous works written under the name of a biblical heroes long after that hero lived. These writings appeared in Judea between the Second Century BC and the Second Century AD.

3  Mathews, Kenneth A, (1996) Genesis 1-11:26, (p. 327), Nashville, Broadman & Holman.

4  Huey, F. B. Jr, The Sons of God, The Genesis Debate (1986), ed. by Ronald F. Youngblood, (p. 185), Grand Rapids, Baker.

5  Speiser, E. A., Genesis, (1964) The Anchor Bible, (p. 45-46), Garden City, Doubleday. Speiser notes the similarity between this account and the Greek mythological tales of battles between the gods. Uranus was defeated by his son Cronus which, in turn, was beaten by his son, Zeus. Zeus then battled a group of giants known as the Titans. He speculates that the Genesis and Greek accounts had their basis in a Hurrian mythological tale from the second millennium BC.

6  Calvin, John, The Book of Genesis (2005), (p. I:238), Grand Rapids, Baker.


8  Mathews, op. cit., p. 329.   

9  Huey, op. cit., p. 185.

10  ibid., pp. 195-196.

11 ibid., p. 190.

12  Mathews, op. cit., pp. 329-33.

13  Leupold, H. C., Exposition of Genesis (1942), (p. 249), Grand Rapids, Baker.

14  Huey, op. cit., pp 193-194.

15  Mathews, op. cit., pp 325-326.

16  The Greeks believed that Tartarus was the lowest part of the underworld where divine punishment was meted out. The giant Titans were in Tartarus, according to Greek mythology.

17  Mathew, op. cit., pp. 326-327.

18  Wolff, Richard, quoted in Huey, op. cit., pp. 199-200.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version

Image by Willgard Krause from Pixabay