The Talmud & “Sons of GOD”

I’m interesting to know what the Jewish rabbis during Moses time had interpreted “Sons of GOD” in (Genesis 6:2).

Current Priests and scholars interrupt it as either “fallen angels” or “godly men of the Sethite line”.

The “fallen angels” part is seems had been taken from the book of Enoch, which put it in a direct contradiction with JESUS quote in (Mark 12:25), unless JESUS meant the angels after the flood where GOD prohibited them from interacting with humans.

This issue is important to me since I have to explain it to my Muslim relatives and friends.

Rabbis turned up many centuries after Moses, Sam, so ‘rabbis during Moses time’ is an anachronism - as to how the whole Nephilim issue is dealt with, here are three links that might help you -

Jewish Virtual Library which is short;

Chabad which explains more; and

The Jewish Encyclopedia which is more complicated.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:

Great reading, Kaninchen, especially the Chabad link. And, as is usually the case in Judaism, there are several possibilities, not all of which are contradictory.

according to some rabbis "The third possibility is that of rabbinical Jewish interpretation. It is that “sons of god” were rulers or princes. What follows will be very close to this. The first two explanations have become the popular ones and most people have never heard of this third possibility. Even when considered, it is dismissed as untenable (cf. Keil and Delitzsch’s commentary on Genesis).

Perhaps a combination of the first and third is the best explanation. "

here is something also interesting one finds Reviewing the development of humanly devised religious systems in Scripture, we find them from the very beginning. A spirit of defiance of the Lord characteristic of these systems is seen in Cain’s unworthy sacrifice and his murder of Abel, a true worshipper of Jehovah. Lamech continued in the spirit of Cain (and Genesis 6:1-4) opposing the Sethites, who were the first to “call upon (worship) the name of Jehovah.”

(It is probably erroneous to think that Israel and the world first heard of “Jehovah” through Moses, as many imply in discussing Exodus 3:14 and 6:3).

The genealogy of believers is listed in Genesis 5. What a contrast to the ungodly rebels of chapters 4 and 6! After the insertion of chapter 5, the narrative picks up again in chapter 6 with the cause of the Flood laid at the feet of the “sons of the gods.”

Who will be saved? The worshippers of Jehovah and no others. And so the theme goes throughout the Old Testament (Tanakh) into the New Testament (B’rit Hadashah), when Jehovah comes among men as Jesus (Yeshua), and throughout history to this hour. The anti-Jehovah, anti-Christ men could have come to the Lord and been saved too. But, they chose to defy Him and set up their own religio-politico system in opposition to Him.
Exposition of Genesis 6:1-5 in Light of “Divine” Kingship
the winged god Ashur
The winged god Ashur, patron god of the city of Ashur.

“Sons of the Gods”. In Scripture, adherents of a religious system were called “sons.” For instance, the “sons of Hamor” in Genesis 33:19 must have belonged to a cult in which donkeys were sacrificed while making a covenant (cf. G. E. Wright, Shechem. McGraw-Hill, 1965, p. 131). E. Kautzsch in Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (p. 418, u) says, “ben denotes membership of a guild or society (or of a tribe, or any definite class). Thus benei haelohim (of Genesis 6 and Job) properly means not ‘sons of god(s),’ but beings of the class of elohim.” Many references are found in the Old Testament to “sons (followers) of the prophets.” Even in the New Testament, Paul called Timothy his “son” (or disciple). It may not, therefore, be out of line to suggest that a follower of a temple-order would be a “son” of the order (or “class”, as Kautzsch calls it), including the priest-king. But, in the latter’s case, he would be called “son of the god so and so . . .” For instance, the city of Ashur – which became the center of the Assyrian Empire – had a patron god also named Ashur. In the seventh-century BC/BCE, the well-known Assyrian emperor, Ashurbanipal, came to power and took upon himself a name which means “Ashur Has Made a Son.”

Cities with their patron gods, then, developed a system that helps us understand the meaning of Genesis 6:2. Such a practice was so widespread that everyone reading this passage in ancient times would immediately understand what was meant. The “sons of the gods” include all city-kings. Or, it may be describing just one city’s typical religio-politico system, the king with the religious leaders.

Since the “sons of god” are temple adherents, the writer of Genesis is not necessarily calling them this in sarcasm. He is using the term in the oriental sense. However, he did not mean that they were actually divine, only that they were adherents of another religious system. On the other hand, believers were not called by this term in the 0ld Testament.

cont …

“By this simple literary stroke the author at once caught the spirit of ancient paganism and suggested darkly the satanic shapes that formed the background of the human revolt against the King of Kings. For these “sons of the god” were of all the seed of the serpent most like their father” (Kline, p. 192)

also, Reading the words of Genesis 6:2, “the sons of God (בְנֵי-הָאֱלֹהִים, bene elohim) saw the daughters of men,” i found this The Sons of God" in Gen. 6.2, 4. It is only by the Divine specific act of creation that any created being can be called “a son of God.” For that which is “born of the flesh is flesh.” God is spirit and that which is “born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3.6). Hence Adam is called a “son of God” in Luke 3.38. Those “in Christ” having the “new nature” which is by the direct creation of God (2 Cor. 5.17; Eph. 2.10) can be, and are called “sons of God” (John 1.13; Rom. 8.14, 15; 1 John 3.1).

another possible view is that “the sons of God” were the sons of pre-Flood rulers or magistrates. This belief became the standard explanation of rabbinical Judaism after Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai pronounced a curse in the second century CE upon those Jews who believed the common teaching that the angels were responsible for the nephilim. This interpretation was advocated by two of the most respected Jewish sages of the Middle Ages, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) and Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Nachmanides), and became the standard explanation of rabbinical Judaism. However, it is not widely accepted by modern scholars.

cont …

Josephus believed and recorded that “the sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6 were fallen angels. As Whitson’s footnote acknowledges, this belief was standard in the ancient world.

Another well-known first century CE Jewish writer, Philo of Alexandria, shared Josephus’ views on this topic. In his work “On the Giants,” Philo wrote:

"And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, they took unto themselves wives of all them whom they chose."  Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels . . . (p. 152, The Works of Philo, "On the Giants," translated by C.D. Yonge) 

The Book of Enoch (also called I Enoch) also holds to a similar view The Genesis Apocryphon, one of the texts uncovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls, also contains references to the angels interbreeding with human women. In this text, a conversation between Lamech, the father of Noah, and his wife Bathenosh is detailed. Lamech questions his wife because he thinks that the conception of Noah was due to either an angel or one of their offspring, a nephilim. The Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, and the Genesis Apocryphon all clearly show that the common understanding at the time of Yeshua was that the fallen host had committed fornication with women in the period before the Flood.

As stated previously, many early Christian writers accepted the story told in Enoch as fact. Let’s examine the writings of two of them, beginning with Justin Martyr, who lived from 110 CE to 165 CE.

another similar passage is also found in the pseudepigraphic Book of Jubilees:Here is what he had to say in chapter 5 of his Second Apology, entitled "“How the Angels Transgressed”:

God, when He had made the whole world, and subjected things earthly to man, and arranged the heavenly elements for the increase of fruits and rotation of the seasons, and appointed this divine law – for these things also He evidently made for man – committed the care of men and of all things under heaven to angels whom He appointed over them.  But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate needs, and all wickedness. . . . (p. 363, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers) 

Now let’s examine chapter 3, “The Worship of Demons,” from The Instructions of Commodianus, a North-African bishop who lived about 240 CE:

When Almighty God, to beautify the nature of the world, willed that that earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised His laws.  Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside; so that, being contaminated, they could not return to heaven.  Rebels from God, they uttered words against Him.  Then the Highest uttered His judgment against them; and from their seed giants are said to have been born.  By them arts were made known in the earth, and they taught the dyeing of wool, and everything which is done; and to them, when they died, men erected images.  But the Almighty, because they were of an evil seed, did not approve that, when dead, they should be brought back from death.  Whence wandering they now subvert many bodies, and it is such as these especially that ye this day worship and pray to as gods. (p. 435, vol. 4, The Ante-Nicene Fathers) 

cont …

Cont …

, The idea that the nephilim or giants were the offspring of the fallen host and human females was not unique to Judaism. This understanding was likely behind the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies, as well as those of India and the near east. All these beliefs resulted not as mere inventions of fertile human imagination, but as a corruption of antediluvian truths which were distorted as their origin was forgotten over time.

Take, for example, the legend of the Titans. In Greek mythology, the Titans were a family of giant gods who were the offspring of Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). The most famous of the Titans was Cronus, who killed his father. Cronus later led the Titans in their losing war against Zeus and the Olympian gods. After their defeat, the Titans were imprisoned in a section of the underworld called Tartarus.

In his second epistle, the apostle Peter uses part of this Greek myth to explain the fate of some of the fallen angels. He states that for their sins, these angels had been tartarosas, which The NKJV Greek English Interlinear New Testament translates literally as “confining them to Tartarus” (also known in the Bible as “the Abyss”):

II PETER 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [tartarosas] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; (NKJV) 

This is the same Tartarus where Greek mythology says the Titans were imprisoned. It’s highly unlikely that Peter would have used such an analogy if this pagan legend wasn’t based on at least some grain of truth which his readers would have knowledge of.

God bless

Thanks Kaninchen, those links added more confusion :whacky:, but I liked the “Explanation 1: Angels taking a risk” part of the second link.

But that book is rejected by all the Churches except the Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox Church :confused:

yes, rejected; but everything exceptind sin has truth contains.

God Bless

I think the fallen Angles scenario is a false interpretation, because if they were male Angles then what about the females of those Angels, wouldn’t also we see something like this:
“The daughters of God saw the sons of men that they were fair”.

If male Angles can be seduced by the beauty of women then also the females Angels can also seduced by the beauty of men.



I have a copy of the Stone Edition Chumash which is a Torah and Commentary used by Orthodox Jews. It says:

“According to many commentators, b’nai ha elohim, literally the sons of God, are the God fearing descendants of Seth, while the daughters of man (implying less spiritual people) are the iniquitous descendants of Cain. The result of such marriages was that Seth’s righteous offspring were enticed by the proponents of a godless, depraved culture, and suffered the fate that destroyed mankind.”

Yes, I tend to agree with that interpretation. :thumbsup:

Beside I believe :heart:JESUS:heart: words 100%.

Angels are masculine beings.

secondly most of the early pre-nicene fathers interpreted the phrase “sons of God” as angels.

I think I rather believe the one who came from heavens (JESUS) who have seen everything, rather than earthy men whom didn’t see anything…

There is no conflict between what the fathers say and what Christ said
any basic reading of the genesis passage will show that the sons of God are angels whose hybrid offspring were giants. Please explain how two sets of humans will bring about a race of giants?

Christ was speaking of the righteous angels in the passage you mentioned.

Evidence cited in favor of the “fallen angels” interpretation includes the fact that the phrase “the sons of God” is used twice outside of Genesis chapter 6, in the Book of Job (1:6 and 2:1) where the phrase explicitly references angels. The Septuagint’s translation of Genesis 6:2 renders this phrase as "the angels of God

I thought angels were supposed to be spirits? Catechism of the Catholic Church (328-336)

So they are not a race of men,then. It does not even say they are any specific sex. How could non-material, asexual beings mate with the daughters of men?? It can not mean that.

Since humans had the genes which had enabled them to live for 950 years in those days, maybe some of them were taller and huge, so it could be that some sort of giants where born as a result of such mixed DNAs.

For example, look at this giant skeleton, it looks like human skeleton but bigger, if we find a skeleton which look weird, then the Angels theory could be right.

Umm the bible doesn’t say anything about giant bungs with weird skeletons. It says they produced offspring that were giants, period. That the prw-nicene fathers teach this too. And why aren’t there that many today? If they were the product of average humans mating and were numerous in number, why aren’t there anymore giants today and I’m such great numbers?

Look at the end of the day we are not going to convince each other of our views. Even the fathers were divided on this. I tend to side with the pre-nicene fathers as to me its pretty blatant that Sons of God refer to angels.

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