- Offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men.”
- A race of wicked people who were contemporaries of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men.
Friday, June 15, 2018
There seem to be two primary interpretations of who the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 are:
(A third view, such as by Matthew Henry, was that they were children of the Seth line marrying Cain’s line — his interpretation of “sons of God” and “daughters of men.”)
Be sure to review the text in various versions in yesterday’s post.
The pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch, in chapters 6 and 7, at least gives us what the tradition was during the period it was written:
And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.’ And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: ‘I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.’ And they all answered him and said: ‘Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.’ Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it….And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.
In this narrative it is obvious the the Nephilim are the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men."
Here are commentaries which support the idea that the nephilim were offspring of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men” (regardless of the identity of the “sons of God”).
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chapter 3, historian Josephus said “for many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of this whom the Grecians call giants.
In his Second Apology of Justin, chapter 5, Justin Martyr stated: God, when He had made the whole world, and subjected things earthly to 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 the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness. Whence also the poets and mythologists, not knowing that it was the angels and those demons who had been begotten by them that did these things to men, and women, and cities, and nations, which they related, ascribed them to god himself, and to those who were accounted to be his very offspring, and to the offspring of those who were called his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and to the children again of these their offspring. For whatever name each of the angels had given to himself and his children, by that name they called them.
Ariel’s Bible Commentary, The Book of Genesis, by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, specifically states that the Nephilim are “the results of the intermarriage between fallen angels and human women.” He goes on to state that the Greek word gigantes used to translate “Nephilim” in the Septuagint is the term for the Latin “Titans,” which were part man and part god; having human characteristics but also superhuman. In that regard it is best to translate “Nephilim” as “fallen ones.” Fruchtenbaum says the rabbinic interpretation of the meaning of “Nephilim” was “because they fell and caused the world to fall.” Interestingly, he states the use of “Nephilim” in Numbers 13:33 is due to the lie from the spies when they tried to discourage Israel from invading Canaan, and that no giants were found there.
Henry Morris’ Defender’s Study Bible (King James Version): These “giants” were the monstrous progeny of the demon-possessed men and women whose illicit activities led to God’s warning of imminent judgement. The Hebrew word is nephilim (“fallen ones”), a term possibly relating to the nature of their spiritual “parents,” the fallen angels. That they were also physical giants is evident from the fact that the same word is used later in connection with the giants in Canaan at the time of Joshua (Numbers 13:33) and by the fact that the word here was translated in the Septuagint by the Greek word gigantes. “After that” clearly refers to Numbers 13:33 and probably represents an editorial insertion in Noah’s record by Moses. These giants in Canaan may also have had demonically-controlled parents…. The antediluvian giants had, by the time of Moses, become renowned heroes of antiquity, as far as the world was concerned. They, like their parents, were probably demon-controlled. Their gigantic stature was engineered by genetic manipulations. . . A half-angel, half-human being would be an impossible anomaly in terms of soteriology. The only apparent solution to all the problems posed by these verses is demon possession of both parents and progeny, not demonic marriage or procreation.
The NET Bible: The Hebrew word [Hebrew letters at this point] (nefilim) is simply transliterated here, because the meaning of the term is uncertain. According to the text, the Nephilim became mighty warriors and gained great fame in the antediluvian world. The text may imply they were the offspring of the sexual union of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of humankind” (v.2), but it stops short of saying this in a direct manner.
Merril F. Unger’s Bible Dictionary: The Nephilim are considered by many as giant demigods, the unnatural offspring of “the daughters of men” (mortal women) in cohabitation with “the sons of God” (angels). This utterly unnatural union, violating God’s created orders of being, was such a shocking abnormality as to necessitate the worldwide judgement of the Flood.
The International Bible Commentary, with F.F. Bruce as general editor, states that, “The obvious inference is that they were the offspring of the unions just mentioned, and the setting suggest that they were the ring-leaders in the evil begin described.”
Harper’s Bible Dictionary says that they are “people of the pre-Flood generation, the offspring of daughters of men and divine beings….” (cited by Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.)
From the Encyclopedia Judaica we find this comment: In apocryphal writings of the Second Temple period this fragmentary narrative was elaborated and reinterpreted. The angels were then depicted as rebels against God: lured by the charms of women, they "fell" (Heb, nfl. נפל), defiled their heavenly purity, and introduced all manner of sinfulness to earth. Their giant offspring were wicked and violent; the Flood was occasioned by their sinfulness.
The “Free Messianic Bible” states that they were indeed the offspring, but it does not agree that the “sons of God” were fallen angels.
An article from Logos Talk (the blog of Logos Bible software) seems to accept the Nephilim as offspring, regardless of the identity of the “sons of God.”
Got Questions specifically identifies the Nephilim as the offspring.
Even Wikipedia states that the Nephilim were the offspring of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men.”
Here are commentaries which say the nephilim were not the offspring of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men.”
John MacArthur’s Study Bible: The word nephilim is from a root meaning “to fall,” indicating that they were strong men who “fell" on others in the sense of overpowering them. … They were already in the earth when the “mighty men” and “men of renown” were born. The fallen ones are not the offspring from the union in 6:1,2.
Charles Ryrie’s Study Bible: Nephilim. From a root meaning “to fall”; i.e., to fall upon others because they were men of strength…. Evidently they were in the earth before the marriages of Men.6:2, and were not the offspring of those marriages from which Mae the mighty men (military men) and men of renown (of wealth or power).
Kenneth Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III in their “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.”: Here “Nephilim” appears to refer to the great men of antiquity. Since the author has just referred to ten such great men (ch.5), perhaps these were the “men of renown.”
I’m sure one can go through more commentaries (and I have access to many more on CD) and find both sides of the debate, but I’m finding the vast majority believe the Nephilim were the offspring of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men,” regardless of the identity of the “sons of God.”
After studying all the noted commentaries in regards to who the “sons of God” were, and now studying about who the Nephilim were, I think the most rational understanding is that the Nephilim were indeed the offspring of the union of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men,” whether or not the fallen angels were direct sires or indirect via possession.
One thing is certain: they were not aliens from another world as so many claim today.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Before I post my article on who the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 were, I think it would be good to review what various Bibles say in their translations (I’m even including the horrid “The Message” here because I have parallel with it and the NIV, and I found the “translation” to be interesting).
I’m going to separate them between the translations which seem to say they were offspring of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men,” and those who seem to say differently or are not clear.
Firstly, here are the ones which appear to say they were the offspring:
Septuagint: Now the giants were upon the earth in those days; and after that when the sons of God were wont to go in to the daughters of men, they bore children to them, those were the giants of old, the men of renown.
King James Version: There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men of which were of old, men of renown.
New Living Translation: In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
The Message: This was back in the days (and also later) when there were giants in the land. The giants came from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men. These were the mighty men of ancient lore, the famous ones.
Here are the translations which aren’t really clear in my mind as to whether the Nephilim were the offspring (the question for me is whether “those/they/these” refers to the Nephilim or the offspring:
Tanakh: It was then, and later too, that the Nephilim appeared on the earth—when the divine beings cohabited with the daughters of men, who bore them offspring. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.
Hebrew Interlinear: The-Nephilim they-were on-the-earth in-the-days the-those and-also after then when they-went sons-of the-God to daughters-of the-man and-they-bore to-then they the-heroes which of-old men-of the-name.
Jay Green’s Literal Translation: The giants were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore to them—they were heroes which existed from ancient time, the men of name.
New KJV: There were giants in the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Darby: In those days were the giants on the earth, and also afterwards, when the sons of God had come in to the daughters of men, and they had borne [children] to them; these were the heroes, who of old were men of renown.
New American Standard: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
English Standard Version: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the the daughters of men and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Holman Christian Standard Bible: The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterwards, when the sons of God came to the daughters of man, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men.
New International Version (1984): The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
The NET Bible: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days (and also after this) when the sons of God were having sexual relations with the daughters of humankind, who gave birth to their children. They were the mighty heroes of old, the famous men.
Revised English Bible: In those days as well as later, when the sons of the gods had intercourse with the daughters of mortals and children were born to them, the Nephilim were on the earth; they were the heroes of old, people of renown.
God’s Word: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, as well as later, when the sons of God slept with the daughters of other humans and had children by them. These children were famous long ago.
Monday, June 11, 2018
I am really getting behind on things. It’s a good thing I’m retired because otherwise I don’t know how I’d have enough time to go to work!!
I’ve been doing a lot of reading articles which come my way, and I’m again going to be sharing with you:
Some good information exposing the false nature of the Orthodox Church. Be sure to also review my article on the topic.
How long did it take Noah to build the Ark? One thing everyone assumes is that Noah had ONLY three sons. The Bible doesn’t say that; the Bible only discusses the three sons who boarded the ark with him. There is no way Noah would have lived to be 500 without any children, so he must have had many sons and daughters, but only three sons who remained faithful to the Lord.
“Courtship” can have many connotations in the Christian realm (essentially unheard of outside of homeschooling), but the severe idea that every date must be considered a future spouse is just plain stupid. Gothardites seem to be the origin of that nonsense as a way to fight the culture’s sex-saturated dating scene, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
An excellent review of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. I said it was bad from the beginning and yet my pastor at the time, ignoring me, bought stacks to pass out to the men.
A brief argument for the existence of the soul. Good apologetics information.
A short rebuttal to KJV Only ideology.
The Bad and/or Ugly
Another examination of Andy Stanley’s “Aftermath” teaching.
False teacher Jim Bakker really needs to just shut up and go away.
Jesse Duplantis is a wolf, a con-man, but not a Christian. He abuses the gullible people who listen to him as he robs their money. This talk of his “need” for a new jet is nothing more than rank blasphemy, claiming Jesus talked to him and told him to lie to his followers to buy him a new jet. And he says Jesus would be flying all over the world if He was on earth now. Of course quite a few other of his ilk have done the same. If your “pastor” or other person you follow tells you Jesus wants him to have a jet plane, run away from these wolves as fast as you can.
(Babylon Bee has a great rejoinder!)
The Anglican Church spirals farther into apostasy.
Bethel Redding — proof of just how aberrant, apostate, heretical, and dangerous that place is.
Tony Campolo continues to go off the deep end. The man has proven to be a non-Christian.
Oh, the apostasy of the Church at large — the promotion of the secular world’s ideology with sexual immorality. The Underlying theory of this ideology is examined here.
Jen Hatmaker and Beth Moore — what a duo for false teachings!
This disgusting and occult practice of the Roman Catholic Church is mind-boggling.
The “pastor” of this “church” has no clue about Jesus if he thinks Jesus would assist people in their sin. I examined this issue before. Run from this church!
Can’t you just see Paul and the New Testament Church hosting a pagan celebration? NO? Neither can I, but foolish Christians somehow think assisting pagans in their beliefs is okay with God.
Paul Washer preached at Lakewood Church; it has to be true because I saw it on the Internet.
This must be what is seems like in these mega-churches.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
This article will attempt to answer the question, “Who were the 'sons of God' and the 'daughters of men' of Genesis Chapter 6:1-4?" I posted the original version of this article on 3 January 2015, but since that time I felt the need to include more information and delete the commentary on the nephilim (who will be addressed in another article).
Bible passages will be from the Holman Christian Standard Bible unless otherwise noted, beginning with the subject passage.
“When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. And the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because the are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterwards, when the sons of God came to the daughters of man, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men.”
Let’s look at the phrase “sons of God” and see where it appears in the Bible, and what the Hebrew actually says (from Wikipedia):
Gen. 6:2: bənê hāʼĕlōhîm — the sons of Elohim
Job 1:6, 2:1: bənê hāʼĕlōhîm — the sons of Elohim
Job 38:7: bənê ĕlōhîm — (lacking the definite article) sons of godly beings
Now let’s look at them in context:
Job 1:6, 2:1: "One day the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.” 2:1 adds the word “again.”
Job 38:6-7: "What supports its [earth's] foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
In Job 1:6 and 2:1 we can easily see that the “sons of God” are heavenly beings, i.e. “angels” of some type. It says that when they came to God, Satan was with them. This seems to be saying that Satan is one of the “sons of God.”
Job 38:6-7 is an example of Hebrew parallelism, where the “morning stars” are the same as “sons of God.” The allusion is to angels who watched God creating the earth, and therefore had to be created first.
So, with the two passages in Job it appears that the term “sons of God” refers to angels. Other passages are similar: In Daniel 3:25 the person in the furnace [angel] is described as looking like “a son of the gods” or “the son of God” (KJV). A similar term is “sons of the mighty” (or “heavenly beings”) in Psalm 29:1 and 89:6.
There have traditionally been four main theories to who these "sons of God” of Genesis are:
1. ”Godly" descendants of Seth.
2. Kings or rulers described as "gods."
3. Fallen angels
4. Humans possessed by demonic fallen angels.
1. ”Godly" descendants of Seth. This really doesn’t make sense, and in my opinion is totally untenable. This claim makes the only “godly” people those who descended from Seth. This view also (usually) says that the “daughters of men” were descended from Cain — as if everyone who descended from Cain was evil! The Hebrew literally says “daughters of Adam,” which refers to all women. If all the descendants of Seth were so godly, why weren’t anyone but Noah and his family saved? Yet Matthew Henry subscribed to this theory, as do Kenneth Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III in their “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.”
The International Bible Commentary, with F.F. Bruce as general editor, states that “very early the Church Fathers, followed by many of the Reformers, referred [the term] to the descendants of Seth.”
2. Kings or rulers described as “gods." While some ancient rulers declared themselves to be gods, the context does not allow for this interpretation.
The International Bible Commentary, with F.F. Bruce as general editor, states that “It was only because the possibility of sexual relationships contradicted the general concepts of angels, that early rabbinic expositors understood it to mean persons of high social class, i.e. there was a disregard of social differences.”
3. Fallen angels. This theory apparently was the belief of the Jews and ancient Christians. Remember, the passage in Genesis said that the sons of God “took” the women they wanted — the implication being that they had the power to take what they wanted without question.
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chapter 3, historian Josephus said “for many angels of God accompanied with women…”.
In his Second Apology of Justin, chapter 5, Justin Martyr stated: God, when He had made the whole world, and subjected things earthly to 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. . . .
The NKJV Study Bible: It may be that in this isolated case, fallen angels did assume human form and marry human women. . . . Here it appears that some of Satan’s angels, spirit beings, took on human form…and, out of a perverted lust, seduced women.
Charles Ryrie: … a group of fallen angels who, because of this unique sin, were confined …. The phrase “sons of God” is used in the O.T. almost exclusively of angels… Angels do not procreate after their kind (Mark 12:25), but if these were angels, they did on this unique occasion cohabit with human women to produce human offspring.
The International Bible Commentary, with F.F. Bruce as general editor, states that, “The earliest Jewish interpretation was of angelic beings; so LXX, Jubiliees, Enoch, Josephus (cf. 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6).”
Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in his commentary on the book of Genesis, also supports this view, and points out that Augustine and Chrysostom were the first to posit the purely human view, and that before that Christians believed fallen angels mated with human women. He questions the idea of “godly men” marrying “ungodly women,” as the Sethite/Cainite view suggests. I highly recommend Fruchtenbaum’s examination.
William MacDonald also seems to support this view in his Believer’s Bible Commentary.
The main objection to this happens to be based on Jesus’ statement that there won’t be marriage or marrying in heaven in the resurrection, and that they will be like the angels in heaven (Mattthew 22:30, Mark 12:25). That does not say that angels were never capable of marrying, or that they were not capable of sexual unions with humans. And it only addresses the angels in heaven, not on earth. Neither of these passages say the angels are sexless. In every event with angels in the Bible, they appear in physical bodies in the form of men, and in Gen.18 even ate food, so the idea that they might also be sexual beings at that point shouldn’t seem far-fetched.
4. Humans possessed by demonic fallen angels. This is similar to idea number 1 in that the sons of God are angels, but in this case they possessed human men and so would have normal human function for sexual relations, and the offspring would be normal humans, but probably possessed.
Henry Morris, in his “Defender’s Study Bible” subscribes to this view, as does John MacArthur, as well as the pastor of the church I currently attend.
The New Testament addresses this issue from the standpoint of the “sons of God” being angels—but whether they were angels taking on human form or possessing men is not clear:
Jude 6 says, “and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling.” This has been explained by many commentators as pointing to the incident with the “sons of God,” as well as other fallen angels (demons).
Likewise, 2 Peter 2:4-5 says, “For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned, but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment…” These are most likely the same angels Jude is referring to.
The NET Bible essentially states that they may have been either the fallen angels or the angels possessing men: Since the passage speaks of these beings cohabiting with women, they must have taken physical form or possessed the bodies of men.
Many commentaries I’ve read (including those in my library) do not take a stance, but give all four theories as possibilities.
I believe that the only theory about the “sons of God” which makes sense is that they were fallen angels.