Jump to content

Who Or What Were The Nephilim?


Recommended Posts

 

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

 

Genesis 6:1-4

 

 

These verses in Genesis have always intrigued me.  They seem so out of place and speak of "sons of God" having children with "daughters of humans."  Then there are the Nephilim which seem to be something different from either the "sons of God", the "daughters of humans" or their offspring.  At least to me, the somewhat confusing wording seems to suggest that the Nephilim were observers of what was taking place between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of humans".  Also, the "they" in the passage that says, "They were the heroes of old, men of renown" could be either the Nephilim or the children that were born from the union of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of humans".

 

Does anyone have any insight into who or what were the Nephilim?  I am not speaking theologically when I ask that question.  Rather, do the Nephilim represent something real that was expressed in the above quoted passage?  Put another way, were the Nephilim something real but unusual that found their expression in this myth?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Keeping this site online isn't free, so we need your support! Make a one-time donation or choose one of the recurrent patron options by clicking here.



Originally the "sons of god" was the "sons of the most high god" or El.   You see they were the lesser gods such as Yehweh, Jehova, Baal and all the others.  Every local tribe had it's own god or goddess and these each in turn were children of the high god, El.  The Nephilim are an insight into the older mythology of the Jewish/Cannanite people.  It's also found in Numbers chapter 13.  Of course the "Sons of Anak" would have been dead from the flood if only Genesis and Numbers had been written by the same guy.  Clearly these two different authors were borrowing the Nephilim from older stories to be the new bad guys in the new stories they were writing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally the "sons of god" was the "sons of the most high god" or El.   You see they were the lesser gods such as Yehweh, Jehova, Baal and all the others.  Every local tribe had it's own god or goddess and these each in turn were children of the high god, El.  The Nephilim are an insight into the older mythology of the Jewish/Cannanite people.  It's also found in Numbers chapter 13.  Of course the "Sons of Anak" would have been dead from the flood if only Genesis and Numbers had been written by the same guy.  Clearly these two different authors were borrowing the Nephilim from older stories to be the new bad guys in the new stories they were writing.

 

That was very helpful, mymistake.  Here's the passage in Numbers to which you refer:

 

 

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

 

Numbers 13:31-33.

 

I would agree with you.  The Nephilim came from older stories and were borrowed and placed in the Hebrew scriptures.  Still, I wonder.  Was there some sort of factual basis for the Nephilim?  Maybe we'll never know, but I find the references to them very intriguing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

And of course they're targeted as alien hybrid references in the Bible as far as the Von Daniken crowd is concerned. When people start looking for a possible factual basis for the older myths like the Nephilim it usually turns into alien theorizing. 

 

But of course it could have just as well had a basis in a natural giant race of people that were considered offspring of the "Gods" and found it's way into early Canaanite / proto-Hebrew mythology. But I don't think there's anything in the way of hard evidence for any of it, just speculation. 

 

This is funny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzqqo1egUrU

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And of course they're targeted as alien hybrid references in the Bible as far as the Von Daniken crowd is concerned. When people start looking for a possible factually basis for the older myths it usually turns the way of alien theorizing. 

 

But of course it could have just as well had a basis in a giant race of people that were considered offspring of the "Gods" and found it's way into early Canaanite / proto-Hebrew mythology. But I don't think there's anything in the way of hard evidence for any of it, just speculation. 

 

Yes, I am aware of all the alien theories, that the nephilim were an alien race or some such.  It's just that these references to Nephilim seem odd to me.  I think on some occasions myths have at least some basis in fact, however far removed the myths are from the reality.  For example, given that there are other flood myths somewhat similar to the Genesis account could suggest that there may have been localized floods that were later mythologized and through the mythology turned into a worldwide calamity caused by divine retribution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Still, I wonder.  Was there some sort of factual basis for the Nephilim?  Maybe we'll never know, but I find the references to them very intriguing.

 

 

I heard it theorized that a certain island in Greece (I forget which one) with a known bone bed for Mammoths/Mastodons served as the inspiration for the myth of the Cyclopes.  Bronze age people would have all known how to slaughter the kind of animals they ate.  So they knew a few things about bones.   Of course at bone sites not all the bones survive.  Usually it's just a few per corps.  A mastodon leg would leave the impression of a huge giant.   And a mastodon skull would have only a single hole where human skulls have eyes.

 

 

Just googling around a bit:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1189188/posts

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/fossil-origin-of-the-cyclops.html

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Still, I wonder.  Was there some sort of factual basis for the Nephilim?  Maybe we'll never know, but I find the references to them very intriguing.

 

 

I heard it theorized that a certain island in Greece (I forget which one) with a known bone bed for Mammoths/Mastodons served as the inspiration for the myth of the Cyclopes.  Bronze age people would have all known how to slaughter the kind of animals they ate.  So they knew a few things about bones.   Of course at bone sites not all the bones survive.  Usually it's just a few per corps.  A mastodon leg would leave the impression of a huge giant.   And a mastodon skull would have only a single hole where human skulls have eyes.

 

 

That would be entirely possible.  I hadn't thought of it and it makes sense, too.  Ancient people saw fossilized bones of what we today know to be dinosaurs and such and incorporated those giant bones into their myths.  Good thinking!

 

ETA:  One more thought on this.  They could also have wondered what happened to cause these "giants" to die and voila the flood myth which killed everything (except Noah, his family and the lucky few animals that were saved).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And of course they're targeted as alien hybrid references in the Bible as far as the Von Daniken crowd is concerned. When people start looking for a possible factual basis for the older myths like the Nephilim it usually turns into alien theorizing. 

 

But of course it could have just as well had a basis in a natural giant race of people that were considered offspring of the "Gods" and found it's way into early Canaanite / proto-Hebrew mythology. But I don't think there's anything in the way of hard evidence for any of it, just speculation. 

 

This is funny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzqqo1egUrU

 

 

I like how when they are showing doctored photographs or sensational headlines they flash them quickly as if to distract the viewer.  Don't look at it for too long.  Moving right along.

 

Edit:

Notice in the still you can see that the shadow on the men's necks doesn't match any of the other shadows in the pic?  It's better to not let people look at it for a long time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Nephilim are vague enough to allow for a fantastic use of creative license. When you think about the bible as our most modern form of mythology I think now is a good time to build upon it. I mean come on the greek mythologies are ridiculously cool don't see why we cant turn the bible around for some good ole fashion mythological writings. I would envision the nephilim as half god half man with different attributes among them sorta like the sons and daughters of Zeus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of these things is not in the Bible:

 

http://i.imgur.com/qjKLBDl.jpg

 

Sea Monster

Leviathan

Behemoth

Dragon

Giant

Cockatrice

Kangaroo

Satyr

Talking Donkey

Unicorn

 

 

And while they didn't include them on the poster we can add:  Talking Snake, Demons, Angels, Gods and Devils because we never see any of those in the real world either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tall, blonde Scandinavians?  Ancient Vikings who got lost and ended up in the Mediterranean?

 

I mean, really, for an ancient people whose worldview is limited to a few hundred square miles around them for generations, where EVERYONE has dark hair and dark eyes, ANYTHING or ANYONE different or exotic could end up in their mythology.  I find it hard to read to much into references like these.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Babylonian Dream

 

 

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

 

Genesis 6:1-4

 

 

These verses in Genesis have always intrigued me.  They seem so out of place and speak of "sons of God" having children with "daughters of humans."  Then there are the Nephilim which seem to be something different from either the "sons of God", the "daughters of humans" or their offspring.  At least to me, the somewhat confusing wording seems to suggest that the Nephilim were observers of what was taking place between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of humans".  Also, the "they" in the passage that says, "They were the heroes of old, men of renown" could be either the Nephilim or the children that were born from the union of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of humans".

 

Does anyone have any insight into who or what were the Nephilim?  I am not speaking theologically when I ask that question.  Rather, do the Nephilim represent something real that was expressed in the above quoted passage?  Put another way, were the Nephilim something real but unusual that found their expression in this myth?

 

The Nephilim were the children of the Sons of God and Daughters of Men, and was basically the word for demigod hero in this story. Among the nephilim in the Dead Sea Scrolls literature, for instance, was Gilgamesh. This, for them, ties into the whole Enoch story. And the Sons of God/El, are the gods. The Canaanite gods were often equated with their mesopotamian counterparts.

 

Also, by the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, while they hadn't yet quite been demonized, they were on their way to being it. Well... in the 200 BCE era scrolls anyway. Look up the Book of Giants.

 

 

 

 

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

 

Numbers 13:31-33.

 

I would agree with you.  The Nephilim came from older stories and were borrowed and placed in the Hebrew scriptures.  Still, I wonder.  Was there some sort of factual basis for the Nephilim?  Maybe we'll never know, but I find the references to them very intriguing.

 

 

Borrowed? I think slipped into their modern monotheist texts. IMO, the hebrew's parallel stories more than often (except with the flood, its a little too close to the assyro-babylonian story....) were Hebrew versions of the same story, and the hebrew versions were originally just as polytheistic.

The Nephilim are vague enough to allow for a fantastic use of creative license. When you think about the bible as our most modern form of mythology I think now is a good time to build upon it. I mean come on the greek mythologies are ridiculously cool don't see why we cant turn the bible around for some good ole fashion mythological writings. I would envision the nephilim as half god half man with different attributes among them sorta like the sons and daughters of Zeus.

Their mention was vague, like with that of Enoch, because they were well known to the hebrews of the time, and there were probably elements of those stories that caused them to stop being in circulation in the maintext of the Bible. Instead, to fall to the category of apocrypha. Yeah, we have some Bibles that have Enoch, a later version, but its got the references to all those gods and demigods removed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the mythology, Nephilim are the offspring of angels and humans.  A sort of hybrid demi-god (like Hercules).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Babylonian Dream

In the mythology, Nephilim are the offspring of angels and humans.  A sort of hybrid demi-god (like Hercules).

Indeed. In fact, hercules was equated with the Babylonian version of one of the "Nephilim" found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gilgamesh.

 

 

I am a Nephalim BOW BEFORE ME

All Hail! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe it's a memory of interaction with other hominids before they died out, or were bred out?

 

just a thought.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Babylonian Dream

Maybe it's a memory of interaction with other hominids before they died out, or were bred out?

 

just a thought.

Its possible, especially when you consider figures like Enkidu, but I don't know.

 

I was reading a post on another forum that got me thinking though. This whole idea of all the evil in the world being associated with evil, suprising good results with angels and gods, and heros with gods seems to have an explainable basis without anything extraordinary, or without other species.

 

People couldn't understand how psychopaths could behave so inhumanly, so they had to be demonic or related to demons somehow. And those that defeated those who would make lives miserable for everyone, and make them feel safe, were then associated with the divine. Because they were powerful over those that would make them feel powerless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of these things is not in the Bible:

 

http://i.imgur.com/qjKLBDl.jpg

 

Sea Monster

Leviathan

Behemoth

Dragon

Giant

Cockatrice

Kangaroo

Satyr

Talking Donkey

Unicorn

 

 

And while they didn't include them on the poster we can add:  Talking Snake, Demons, Angels, Gods and Devils because we never see any of those in the real world either.

A few of these aren't in the original text though, and only appear in translations:

the cockatrice is tzepha` in the Hebrew text, which also is translated as 'viper' in several places. Since the classical idea of the cockatrice really only appeared in medieval times, it's fairly unlikely that a cockatrice is the intended meaning. Most of the time the word tzepha` occurs in the bible, it's also in collocation with other words for snakes. Considering that Hebrew poetry (and rhetorics in general) favored the use of parallelism, we've got a pretty good case to claim that the KJV is a shit translation for translating it 'cockatrice'.

 

Same goes for unicorn - altho' there we have comparative evidence from other semitic languages (and other reasons) to claim that the word used for it - re'em - actually signifies the aurochs, the ancestor of many bovine breeds. The word translated as 'satyr' also signifies the kid of a goat or a lamb, and in many places is used in a way that unambiguously refers to something along those lines. The KJV translators probably got it wrong in the one particular verse where they translate it satyr since they want it to be about as menacing as Lilith mentioned in the same verse- but considering the other things mentioned are not demons or anything, it wouldn't be surprising if these words too refer to species in their local environment.

 

The other ones though, those are fair play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.