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?


The Rephaim/Anakim are descendants of the angels who took human wives, therefore their children were giants and warriors and sometimes had six fingers and toes and other greater-than-life abnormalities.

The “sons of God” are angels in the OT. Some (a few I guess) “seeing how beautiful the daughters of men were” came down to Earth and took “as many wives as they wanted”.

It’s written in Scripture, so I personally believe it.


No way. Angels are pure spirit. They can take on the appearance of men, but they are not able to have sexual relations with humans. The idea that angels had sex with humans is NOT Catholic teaching.


But how do we know that the Anakim were not just another human ethnic group like the Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, etc.? Perhaps they were taller than other inhabitants in Canaan and appeared to be “giants” to the Israelites, who feared them.

I’m wondering where bsroufek is getting his/her information regarding the Anakim being descendants of angels who took human wives. I’ve heard of some Protestants believing in this but I never know where they get this information from?


It’s taken from the Book of Genesis. Read the story of Noah. It’s listed in the events that led up to the flood. I believe that is what the poster was referring to.


Genisis 6:1-4. According to the commentary in “The New American Bible,” the “sons of heaven” and the “Nephilim” are from fragments “of an old legend that had borrowed much from ancient mythology.”

Just because something is in the Bible, it doesn’t make every interpretation correct. I’ll take the Catholic intrepretation any day.


The term “sons of God” is also used for humans that follow God, not just angels. Angels are pure spirit, so they are not able to have sex with humans (or any thing else). :shrug:


I agree with you. I was just stating where he got it, not that I think that it is an actual fact. I, too, do not believe that angels married humans, I just wasn’t sure if you knew what his statement was based upon


Here is what Augustin Calmet has in his Bible Dictionary

ANAK, Anakim, famous giants in Palestine. Anok, father of the Anakim, was son of Arba, who gave name to Kirjath-Arba, or Hebron. He had three sons, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, whose descendants were terrible for their fierceness and stature. The Hebrew spies reported, that in comparison to those monstrous men, they themselves were but grasshoppers, Num. 13:33. Caleb, assisted by the tribe of Judah, took Kirjath-Arba, and destroyed the Anakim, Josh. 15:13, 14. Judges 1:20. A few only remained in the cities of the Philistines, Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod, Josh. 11:22. See Giant.

GIANT, (Heb. nephil, one who bears down other men.) Scripture speaks of giants before the flood; “Nephilim, mighty men who were of old, men of renown," Gen. 6: 4. Aquila translates nephilim, men who attack, who fall with impetuosity on their enemies; which agrees very well with the force of the term. Symmachus translates it violent men, cruel, whose only rule of action is violence. Scripture sometimes calls giants Rephaim, Gen. 14:5, &c. The Emim, ancient inhabitants of Moab, were of a gigantic stature, that is, Rephaim. Job says, that the ancient Rephaim groan under the waters; and Solomon, (Prov. 2:18; 9:18.) that the ways of a loose woman lead to the Rephaim, and that he who deviates from the ways of wisdom, shall dwell in the assembly of Rephaim; that is, in hell, Prov. 21:16, &c. (See Gen. 14:5; Deut. 2:11, 20; 3:11, 13; Josh. 12:4; 13:12 ; Job 26:5.) The Anakim, or sons of Anak, who dwelt at Hebron, were the most famous giants of Palestine, Numb. 13:33. The LXX sometimes translate gibbor, giant, though literally it signifies — a strong man, a man of valor, a warrior. See in the LXX, Gen. x. 8 ; Ps. xix. 5. Isa. iii. 2 ; xiii. 2; xlix. 24, 25 ; Ezek. xxxix. 18, 20. It is probable that the first men were of a strength and stature superior to those of mankind at present, since they lived a much longer time; long life being commonly the effect of a strong constitution. Giants, however, were not uncommon in the times of Joshua and David, notwithstanding that the life of man was already shortened, and, as may be presumed, the size and strength of human bodies proportionably diminished. Goliah was ten feet seven inches in height, (1 Sam. xvii. 4.); but this depends on the length at which the Hebrew cubit is taken.


Angels are pure spirit. Fine. But they CAN take on physical form, as with Lot, pulling him out of Sodom and with Tobit/Tobiah, St. Raphael. Since they can take on physical form, I see no reason why this story in Genesis about the angels both before and after the flood (Goliath killed by David was a Rephaim) couldn’t be true. The Bible is “the true, inerrant word of God,” so why believe commentary saying that these angel/women relations were mythology?

Does the commentary also say that the Noah story was mythology?


1 - because the Bible does not say they are angels.
2 - because the Church says they are not angels.
3 - because the Commentary I used is “A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture” published in 1953 with a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

[quote=bsroufek;10825969Does the commentary also say that the Noah story was mythology?



II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 and Genesis 6:1-5 all talk about (fallen) angels having intercourse with women. Jude verses 6 and 7 talk about these angels who fell because of their lust for women.

So, you are incorrect, Scripture does say that they are angels which fell because of their lust for women. I don’t believe the Church says they are not angels.

Some commentators may believe they are not angels, but that doesn’t mean the Church does.


I think you must be reading a different Bible than I am.

Genesis 6:1-5: When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. Then the LORD said: "My spirit shall not remain in man forevers, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years. At that time the Nephilim appeard on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.

II Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment…

Jude 6: And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the deepest darkness until the judgment of the great day…

As I said, “sons of heaven” are not considered to be angels by the Catholic Church. There are a couple of interpretations, but none that they were anything other than human. Talk to your parish priest.

Neither verse in II Peter or Jude mention sexual sins.


You very importantly missed Jude verse 7 which reads:

Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, **in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity **and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Jude verse 7 links the sexual sins to verse 6, very clearly IMO.

This is as far as I will go to quote scripture to you, as I don’t want unnecessary argument. I see that you don’t agree. That’s fine.


This topic did stray more than a bit from the OP’s question. But you really should have a talk with your parish priest. Or at the very least, don’t present your opinions as the the teachings of the Church.

Over & out! :wink:

closed #16

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