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  #1  
Old Dec 4, '05, 9:40 pm
Agricola Agricola is offline
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Default Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Dear all,

I've always been curious about the Nephilim. Who are they? Who are the "sons of God"? Who are the "daughters of man"? Who are the "men of renown"? Also, who are Enac (Anak) and his sons? Its all very curious, like a cryptic note in the margin of a genius' handwritten thesis.

I see giants mentioned here in these selections: Genesis 6:2-4; Numbers 13:23, 13:29-34; Deuteronomy 1:28, 2:10-11, 2:20-21, 3:11, 9:1-6; Joshue 11:21-22, 14:12-15, 15:13-14, 21:11; Judges 1:20.

It would be great to know the significance of these "giants". It seems like their origin is questionable. As a child reading the bible, I interpreted "sons of God" to be angels... but incorporial beings spawning with composite beings does not seem like something that is possible... let alone something that God would tolerate for generations. I can't think of something to replace that primitive assessment of their role and beginnings.

Okay, so my fascination with giants in the Bible may be a little odd... but when you're a kid, something like that stands out... and when you grow up, its things like that that you remember.

If someone could come up with a good explanation of the origin of the Nephilim and their role in history, particularly the history of God's people until the time of Juda, that would be great.

God bless,


Agricola
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  #2  
Old Dec 5, '05, 3:35 am
Ghosty Ghosty is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

The Nephilim are described in detail in the Book of Enoch, a work cited by both Peter and Jude, and possibly Paul when he states that women should cover their hair because of the angels.. It's not considered Scripture by any major groups, Jewish or Apostalic Christian, that I know of today, but it is the traditional account of what exactly led up to the Flood, and its themes play a large part in Judeo-Christian theology.

You can read it online here. Chapter 6 begins the description of the "sons of God", who were rebel angels, and the nephilim that they bore with human women, the "daughters of man".

Peace and God bless!
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  #3  
Old Dec 5, '05, 5:52 am
Agricola Agricola is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Dear Ghosty,

I read the book of Enoch. Its interesting. It isn't in the canon though... so what are Catholics to think of it? What is its "status"? I know it is mentioned by the apostles, but is that any indicator?

I have a problem with the idea of incorporial beings (spirits, angels, demons) being capable of generation with composite beings (man). It seems to me that this would be not just a great evil, but an impossibility.

It is an interesting read, that's for sure, but it seems to concern itself with popular myth rather than revelation. Would Seth be rolling over in his grave if he read it?

God bless,
thank-you for your reply, please post again,


Agricola
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  #4  
Old Dec 6, '05, 7:33 pm
Ghosty Ghosty is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

As a Catholic you are not obligated to believe it, or even know of it. It's not Scripture, that's for sure.

What it does show, however, is how the Nephilim were viewed by Jews of the time of the Apostles, and likely before. It's certainly mythical in its style and telling, and we don't know what is true and what isn't.

Unfortunately we don't have any other tellings of the tale from antiquity that I'm aware of, and everything is merely speculation.

Peace and God bless!
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But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
  #5  
Old Dec 7, '05, 9:48 am
SueKrum SueKrum is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

I'm confused as well. Jesus said that the "angels neither give nor take in marrage" right? so how can angles be with women in THAT way? I've heard that they are mail in form, but can't uh..procreate. is that true? does the CCC say anything about it?
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  #6  
Old Dec 8, '05, 6:18 am
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wisdom 3:5 wisdom 3:5 is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SueKrum
I'm confused as well. Jesus said that the "angels neither give nor take in marrage" right? so how can angles be with women in THAT way? I've heard that they are mail in form, but can't uh..procreate. is that true? does the CCC say anything about it?
That's what leads me to believe the Nephilim were only men. I wonder if htere is any archeological record of very large people? I couldn't find any in researching this. You would think there would be a fossil of some sort or living quarters that would point to very large people like that.
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  #7  
Old Dec 8, '05, 11:23 am
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm

this link has a good summary in table form of what the church fathers thought.
  #8  
Old Dec 8, '05, 4:02 pm
Latin_Catholic Latin_Catholic is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Angels don't have babies (canít have them).

It's nonsense to keep that speculation going, because it's an ontological impossibility.
  #9  
Old Dec 9, '05, 4:29 am
steve99 steve99 is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Quote:
Originally Posted by wisdom 3:5
That's what leads me to believe the Nephilim were only men. I wonder if htere is any archeological record of very large people? I couldn't find any in researching this. You would think there would be a fossil of some sort or living quarters that would point to very large people like that.
I've heard some people say that Goliath was one of the last of the Giants - the Nephilim. Interesting thought?
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  #10  
Old Dec 12, '05, 11:47 am
TamaraS TamaraS is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

I just finished reading the book "A Father Who Keeps His Promises" by Scott Hahn. On pages 81-83 he talks about just this. I'm not saying what he says in it are true or untrue, but this passge has always troubled me a little and reading that part of his book shed a little light for me. It is way too long or complicated to explain here, but he basically said that the "sons of God" were the Sethites (the line of men from Seth, the son of Adam), and that the "daughters of men" were the Cainite women. He does a very good job explaining how and why he comes to this conclusion. If you're more interested you may want to read the book because I would probably not explain it properly here.

Tamara
  #11  
Old Dec 12, '05, 3:44 pm
Ghosty Ghosty is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TamaraS
I just finished reading the book "A Father Who Keeps His Promises" by Scott Hahn. On pages 81-83 he talks about just this. I'm not saying what he says in it are true or untrue, but this passge has always troubled me a little and reading that part of his book shed a little light for me. It is way too long or complicated to explain here, but he basically said that the "sons of God" were the Sethites (the line of men from Seth, the son of Adam), and that the "daughters of men" were the Cainite women. He does a very good job explaining how and why he comes to this conclusion. If you're more interested you may want to read the book because I would probably not explain it properly here.

Tamara
The reason that I don't like that explaination is that it's wholly modern, IIRC, and has no basis in the traditional readings of the passage. If the writers of Genesis had meant the Children of Seth and the Children of Caine, they could have said so without beating around the bush. The Jews had a very strong Tradition of understandings of the Torah, and making "sons of God" in Hebrew out to mean the descendants of Seth ruins other portions of Scripture, such as the Book of Job, which has always been understood to be Satan walking among the angels. What's more, the fact that there are Nephilim alive and described after the Flood (Book of Numbers) indicates that they are a type rather than mixed descendants of Caine and Seth, as the line of Caine died out in the Flood.

From Job 1:

6: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
7: The LORD said to Satan, "Whence have you come?" Satan answered the LORD, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."

and from Numbers 13:

31: Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we."
32: So they brought to the people of Israel an evil report of the land which 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 men of great stature.
33: 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."

If Scott Hahn's idea is correct, the traditional understandings of at least these two portions of Scripture by both Jews and Christians must be completely re-written.

Peace and God bless!
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But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
  #12  
Old Dec 12, '05, 5:18 pm
TamaraS TamaraS is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosty
The reason that I don't like that explaination is that it's wholly modern, IIRC, and has no basis in the traditional readings of the passage. If the writers of Genesis had meant the Children of Seth and the Children of Caine, they could have said so without beating around the bush. The Jews had a very strong Tradition of understandings of the Torah, and making "sons of God" in Hebrew out to mean the descendants of Seth ruins other portions of Scripture, such as the Book of Job, which has always been understood to be Satan walking among the angels. What's more, the fact that there are Nephilim alive and described after the Flood (Book of Numbers) indicates that they are a type rather than mixed descendants of Caine and Seth, as the line of Caine died out in the Flood.

From Job 1:

6: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
7: The LORD said to Satan, "Whence have you come?" Satan answered the LORD, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."

and from Numbers 13:

31: Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we."
32: So they brought to the people of Israel an evil report of the land which 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 men of great stature.
33: 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."

If Scott Hahn's idea is correct, the traditional understandings of at least these two portions of Scripture by both Jews and Christians must be completely re-written.

Peace and God bless!
I stated in my post that it may or may not be true, therefore it is not necessary for you to believe it or even like it for that matter. It is merely an opinion. Have you read the book? If so, forgive me, but otherwise you need to read it to see exactly how he draws his conclusion. It was interesting, and he doesn't form his opinion out of nothing. His words are never Gospel, but he is the president of theology at Franciscan University, so he may have a little more experience than you or I. He may very well not have overlooked what you have said in coming to his conclusion. And just because something is wholly modern does not necessarily mean it has no merit.

Thanks- Tamara
  #13  
Old Dec 12, '05, 5:29 pm
Ghosty Ghosty is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

TamaraS: No worries, I know his view is just his own, as is mine. I'm just presenting my reasons for not following the same thought path Hahn does. I actually have the utmost respect for Scott Hahn, and consider most of what he says to be gold.

I haven't read the book, but I've heard him talk on the matter and I didn't find his argument very convincing. As for my dismissal of it as modern, that has less to do with it being new than it does with it disregarding the firm tradition of centuries. It's one thing to come up with a new way of reading something, it's another to say that the people who wrote it down and told the story for 3000 years didn't know what their own words meant. What's more, the Apostles actually quoted directly the Book of Enoch, which clearly describes the Nephilim as the unnatural products of human and angelic union.

With those facts added together, I'm uncomfortable with new arguments coming up that change the entire meaning of a passage based purely on theological speculation about the nature of angels and how their forms could interact with ours. It's all a matter of opinion and speculation, of course, I just tend to favor playing it as close to the tradition as possible, rather than embracing new ideas that are contrary to millenia of tradition based on discomfort over a possible contradiction in our own theological constructs about non-human entities.

Just my thoughts!

Peace and God bless!
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But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
  #14  
Old Jan 6, '06, 9:22 pm
tresfurieux tresfurieux is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

I heard that if Hercules existed, he was most likely a nephilim
  #15  
Old Jan 7, '06, 11:36 am
tjmiller tjmiller is offline
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Default Re: Who are the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:4)

"Giants" is simply a mis-translation, folks!

The original Hebrew tells us that these fearful characters were not giants, per se (which isn't to say they couldn't've been Big Fellers)

but rather "the strong ones" - a people who were forceful, great, powerful, or violent - but also magnificent or majestic. They were the "overthrowers", those who threw themselves into the attack, the ruinous ones, those who laid others low... The words can also mean arrogant, proud, insolent.

BTW: Geo. Lucas took the name "Anakin" Skywalker from the above Hebrew terms. See how the name fits?
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Last edited by tjmiller; Jan 7, '06 at 11:38 am. Reason: omission
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