I’m currently reading through Deuteronomy and it is interesting to see how detailed the Israelites were in describing everything: geography (especially place names), ethnic groups, animals, etc.
Especially with their knowledge of different ethnic groups…Rephaim, Moabites, Ammonites.
I guess the main topic of my thread is coming across verses which describe “Anakim.”
“9 And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot for a possession.’ 10 (The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim; 11 like the Anakim they are also known as Reph′aim, but the Moabites call them Emim.” -Deut. 2:9-11 (RSV: CE)
“20 (That also is known as a land of Reph′aim; Reph′aim formerly lived there,** but the Ammonites call them Zamzum′mim, 21 a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim**; but the Lord destroyed them before them; and they dispossessed them, and settled in their stead…” -Deut. 2:20-21 (RSV: CE)
In the 1966 Jerusalem Bible, in the footnotes, it’s described that the Anakim are probably descendants of the "prehistoric inhabitants of Palestine and Transjordania…and] were associated with the legendary Nephilim…and] were supposed to have built the megalithic monuments (PG. 223; The Jerusalem Bible).
Then I came across another verse regarding the Anakim.
“9 “Hear, O Israel; you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3 Know therefore this day that he who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the Lord your God; he will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” -Deut. 9:1-3 (RSV: CE)
I guess I’m wondering what the significance of the Anakim are to the Israelites…were they a legendary ethnic group (such as, a legendary group of people who are derived from an earlier, prehistoric oral tradition-----> considering their linkage to other “giants” such as the Nephilim) or just one of the many ethnic groups/peoples that the Israelites came to know and (originally) fear?
I’m also wondering what Deuteronomy means by the Anakim being “great and tall.” Are they slightly taller than the typical ancient Israelite or are they as tall as buildings? I’m sure if the Anakim were indeed tall and heavily built this would have put fear into anyone being forced to wage war with them. Would be an interesting thesis project for a graduate program, at least.
Are there any good books out there that detail all the different ethnic groups found and described in the Torah and the "Historical books’ of the Old Testament?