Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by Rouge47, Apr 26, 2005.
There's room for some good discussion on this subject, but not while we keep discussing messengers, rather than messages, thanks.
No worries, this is a great subject worth really focussing on the references of.
Back on discussion - after BB's link to Ezra at the Wikipedia, I went across and checked out the Nephilim entry:
I'm new here.. just joined today.
Back in June of 2003 I did a study on the Nephilim because they intrigued me... so I thought that I'd share. I know that some of these verses have already been referenced, but I'm leaving them in here anyway.
Here is my Biblical research on the Nephilim and their (possible) descendants, pre- and post-flood.... enjoy. (heh... even though nearly all of this is laid out in the previsouly mention Wikipedia link.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephilim... just sharing anyway)
(all verses quoted from the New International Version of the Bible)
Genesis 6:2, 4 - "..the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, adn they married any of them they chose. .. 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."
Numbers 13:22 - "... Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak.."
v. 28 - "But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there."
v. 33 - "We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
**Note that the Anakites are post-flood, which indicates that the "sons of God" most likely came to earth again to mate with the daughters of men after God had wiped out the original Nephilim. They seem to have been very large and feared.
Deuteronomy 2:10, 11 - "(The Emites used to live there - a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. Like the Anakites, they too were considered Rephaites, but the Moabites called them Emites...)"
**Yes, I understand that this does not directly say that the Emites are Nephilim... but it does seem that way. If the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim, and the Emites were considered Rephaites just like the Anakites... it seems that the Emites could have been another clan of post-flood Nephilim.
Unless I'm completely wrong, which I'll always admit. Feel free to correct me, please.
Deuteronomy 9:1b, 2 - "... nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall - Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: 'Who can stand up against the Anakites?'"
**It then goes on to say that the LORD will subdue them, letting the people drive them out and annihilate them quickly... so it would be logical to conclude that the Anakites across the Jordan there were completely destroyed.
Compare with Deuteronomy 1:28.
Joshua 11:21, 22 - "At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country... Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdon did any survive."
Joshua 14:12 - "..the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified..."
Joshua 15:13, 14 - "... (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) From Hebron Caleb drove out three Anakites - Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai - descendants of Anak."
**Those 3 specific names also mentioned above in Num. 13:22.
Compare v. 14 with Judges 1:20.
"Arba, forefather of Anak" also mentioned in Joshua 21:11, and is then referenced as the "greatest man among the Anakites" in Joshua 14:15.
I'm also assuming here that Rapha (hence 'Rephaites') was a post-flood Nephilim, and that the 'descendants of the Rephaites' came about the same way as the Nephilim did back in Genesis, given the similar physical characteristics. Seems logical...
1 Chronicles 8:2 - "... and Rapha the fifth." (the fifth-born of Benjamin)
Deuteronomy 2:20, 21 - "(That too was considered a land of the Rephaites, who used to live there; but the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. They were a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. The LORD destroyed them from before the Ammonites, who drove them out and settled in their place...)"
**Assuming the same of the Zamzummites as I did of the Emites.
Deuteronomy 3:11 - "(Only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and was m ore than thirteen feet long and six feet wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.)"
**Og also mentioned as one of the last of the Rephaites in Joshua 12:4; 13:12.
2 Samuel 15-22 - "Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Isreal. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, saying, 'Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.'
In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.
In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.
In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot - twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him.
These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men."
**Compare this telling of the death of "Goliath the Gittite" with the following:
1 Chronicles 20:5 - "In another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod."
v. 20:4 also says that Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai (instead of "Saph" as the verses in 2 Samuel state).
[Either way, Elhanan and Sibbecai each killed a descendant of Rapha.]
Genesis 14:5 - "...Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir..."
**Perhaps "Zuzites" can also be interpreted as "Zamzummites"? Not sure - just throwing the possibility out there.
VALLEY OF REPHAIM:
2 Samuel 5:18, 22; 23:13
1 Chronicles 11:15; 14:9
Alrighty..... that's all I have.. Don't know if it was helpful or not. Just thought I'd lay it out there on the table for everyone to read, if they wanted.
To follow up my previous reply...
Here are some interesting footnotes I found in a Bible of mine.
They provide interesting points to think on and/or discuss.
Fotnotes from the NIV Study Bible, by the Zondervan Corporation, 1995.
sons of God saw... daughters of men.. and they married. See v. 4. The phrase "sons of God" here has been interpreted to refer either to angels or to human beings. In such phrases as Job 1:6; 2:1 it refers to angels, and perhaps also in Ps. 29:1 (where it is translated "mighty ones"). Some interpreters also appeal to Jude 6-7 (as well as to Jewish literature) in referring the phrase here to angels.
Others, however, maintain that intermarriage and cohabitation between angels and human beings, though commonly mentioned in ancient mythologies, are surely excluded by the very nature of teh created order (ch.1; Mk 12:25). Elsewhere, expressions equivalent to "sons of God" often refer to human beings, though in contexts quite different from teh present one (see Dt 14:1; 32:5; Ps 73:15; Isa 43:6; Hos 1:10; 11:1; Lk 3:38; 1 Jn 3:1-2, 10). "Sons of God" (vv. 2,4) possibly refers to godly men, and "daughters of men" to sinful women (significantly, they are not called "daughters of God"), probably from the wicked line of Cain. If so, the context suggests that vv. 1-2 describe the intermarriage of the Sethites ("sons of God") of ch. 5 with the Cainites ("daughters of men") of ch. 4, indicating a breakdown in the separation of the two groups.
Another plausible suggestion is that the "sons of God" refers to royal figures (kings were closely associated with gods in the ancient Near East) who proudly perpetuated and aggravated the corrupt lifestyle of Lamech son of Cain (virtually a royal figure) and established for themselves royal harems.
Nephilim. People of great size and strength (see Nu 13:31-33). Hebrew word means "fallen ones." In men's eyes they were "the heroes of old, men of renown," but in God's eyes they were sinners ("fallen ones") ripe for judgement.
descendants of Anak. Three notable Anak descendants are mentioned as living in Hebron. The Anakites were men of great stature; their physical size brought fear to the people (see vv. 32-33). In a later day of faith, Caleb was to drive them from their city (Jos 15:14; Jud 1:10).
Anakites. Eariler inhabitants of Canaan, described as giants (see 2:10,21; 9:2; Nu 13:32)
Emites. Possibly meaning "terrors."
Rephaites. Ancient people of large stature.
1 Ch 20:4
Rephaites. Ancient people known for their large size (see Ge 14:5; Dt 2:11; see also note on 2 Sam 21:16, below).
Zamzummites. Possibly meaning "murmurers," and perhaps to be identified with the Zuzites of Ge 14:5.
Anakites. Had been reported by the 12 spies to be a people "of great size" (Nu 13:32), whom the Israelites had feared so much that they had refused to undertake the conquest. They were related to the Nephilim (see note on Gen 6:4) and were named after their forefather, Anak.
2 Sam 21:16
Rapha. In calling the four formidable enemy warriors referred to in this series "descendants of Rapha" (v. 22), the writer most likely identifies them as giants, as suggested by Dt 2:10-11, 20-21. In that case, they may have been related to the Anakites, though the Anakites (but not Rephaites) figure significantly in teh accounts of the conquest (Nu 13:22,28,33; Dt 1:28; 9:2; Jos 14:12,15; Jud 1:20).
2 Sam 21:19
Elhanan ... killed Goliath. Since it is clear from 1 Sam 17 that David killed Goliath, it is possible that an early copyist misread the Hebrew for "Lahmi the brother of" (see 1 Ch 20:5) as "the Bethlehemite" (in Hebrew the word for "killed" stands first in the clause).
Horites. Formerly thought to be cave dwellers (the Hebrew word hor means "cave"), they are now known to have been the Hurrians, a non-Semetic people widely dispersed throughout the ancient Neat East.
I think those footnotes make a fine companion to the verses I posted above.
I just thought of something....
Gen 6:4 describes the Nephilim as being "heroes of old" and "men of renown"..
Now, a "hero" -- 1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods. 2. A person noted for feats of courage of nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. etc., etc.
And "renown" -- 1. The quality of being widely honored and acclaimed; fame.
I find it extremely interesting that Gen 6:4 seems to be the only reference of them being heroes and men of renown (implying honor and goodness).
Every other reference to the race of giants - be they Anakim, Rephaim, or what have you - seem to imply great fear and an evil of sorts. There seems to be no respect or excitement that a "hero" would bring. Just fear.
Just a curious thought.
Thanks for the references, OneGirlRevolution, and welcome to CR.
In addition, Nimrod was known as "The great hunter". For those anthropologists out there, this might tie him to a more ancient hunter gatherer tradition that survived into what was then "modern" memory.
As far as his descent: "The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and sabteca...Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the lord; therefore it is said "like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech and accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nineveh, Rehoboath-Ir, Calah , and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city." (Genesis 10:7--12)
What is interesting is that Cush "became the father of Nimrod", separate from the other 5. Does this mean he was an illegitamite and/or adoptive son? This may be where the reference to the Nephalim comes from. It seems he went on to produce most of the Villains of the bible (Babel, Assyria, and most of the other eastern warring nations of the Tigris/Euphrates).
I find it interesting that while Nimrod was mentioned to be a hunter, he is associated with the "enemy" cultures. This, along with the story of Cain, who made an offering of animal flesh before the lord, the rejection of which drove him to sin (Genesis 4:1--10), lend a fairly negative association with the practice of hunting. Another Indo-European religion, that of Krishna, based on the Bagvad Gita (pardon the spelling), also discourages hunting, to the point of putting a ban on the eating of meat. These clues really tickle me.
Compare this with the context; the most ancient cities, archeologically speaking, appear in the middle east, where gathering and herding became the driving force in cultural evolution.
Another important reference to Nimrod occurs in the Epic of Gilgamesh; Gilgamesh's buddy Enkidu was described as a great hunter. Together they fought Humbaba of the ceder forest. Could Enkidu be Nimrod with a different mask? I don't like to make loose associations, but it shows that the Sumer/Assyrian/Babylonian cultures would more readily celebrate hunting.
Let's bring this full circle, back to the Nephalim; can anyone reference the text and/or books so that I can do some of this research? I am extremely curious where this mythology is placed, given that the bible dedicates only a few lines to them in pre-flood genesis, then hints at them later (Nimrod, Goliath, etc.)
Just my 2 cents on goliath: I don't think he could be called a Nephalim; perhaps descended from them, but he was clearly a Philistine hero. The philistines were an Aegean people, referenced as "the Sea Peoples" in egyptian stories; They settled the coast of Palestine (whom derives its name from them) around 1200 BC; the late bronze/early iron age. If any of Nimrods descendants founded the greek world, then it is possible that Goliath was descended from the Nephalim. Otherwise, he can be viewed as a kind of Hercules/Gilgamesh type charecter.
By the way, I love to have references when something is posited.
How dare you demand references! You sure won't make many friends with this crowd. In my research about the Hebrew cosmic myth origin of the OT stories I have discovered (Hebrew Myths- Robert Graves/ Raphael Patai) the Hebrews equated Nimrod to fool and to Orion (the great hunter)> the explanation was this was to poke fun at those who worshipped the constellation Orion. Also in the same text one of the nephilim (Shemhazai) was hung upside down in the heavens, in the same contellation of Orion. Bullinger (Witness to the Stars) claims The Chaldean name for Orion was Niphla which I have not been able to confirm. The Jews called Orion "Gibbor" "The giant, considered Nimrod bound to the sky for rebellion against Jehovah..." (Graves) they also claim Nimrod derives from the Hebrew word "marod" "to rebel."
The main problem with the Biblical account is the origin of Nimrod as the son of "Cush." Cush was the Biblical name for Ethiopia and clearly Nimrod was Babylonian. Osiris was the Egyptian Orion. There is an Egyptian Cushite story of Osiris as a great hunter who near death from starvation chased a ram (Amon/Aries) to an oasis. (Star Names Their Lore and Meaning- Richard Hinckly Allen). The Egyptian dictionary expalins Cush to mean "tomb RAM." Nimrod as Orion follows Aries (Cush) in the sky. In Egypt it was a chase. In Hebrew the story morphed to where Cush was the father. The oasis symbolized the coming of spring.
The original Hebrew name for Orion was Ke Sil which signified foolishness, impiosness, arragance, and rebellion. Arabs had various names for it meaning "the giant", The Strong One" and "The snake." (Allen)
The constellation Aries was associated with the Amorites and Assyria (Allen). Thus "Cush" as the father was most likely meant to be a symbol of the Ram and a methaphor for Assyria.
It all makes sense as a cosmic myth when we consider the syncretism that was going on.
Hi tropheus74, and welcome to CR.
Wow! I'll have to check that book out. I'm assuming this is the same Robert Graves of "I, Claudius" fame...
In my own research, (and I don't speak hebrew) I have read (Practical Kabbalah, Rabbi Laibl Wolf) that the word "Neph" is the hebrew word for "breath" or "Soul" (as in breath of life, etc.) which could speak to the ethereal nature of the "Nephalim". The Chaldean word and the hebrew word could descend from the same linguistic root, and if the chaldeans worshipped orion then perhaps the name "Niphla" spoke to the divine nature of the constellation. I don't know, I'm just wondering alloud.
It could also be due to syncretism; it was not uncommon for similar sounding words in different languages to play on one another. For example, John Ferguson, in "The Religions of the Roman Empire" tells the story (originally told by Plutarch) of a Greek ship captain named Thammous. He states:
"As they were sailing close to the island of Paxi he heard a voice calling "Thamous". The voice told them to announce at a later stage of their journey 'Great Pan is dead'. They did, and the announcement was greeted with sorrow and anguish. This lamentation was typical of the annual mourning for Tammuz, and it seems that what they heard was not 'Thamous' but 'Tammuz'--'Tammuz, the All-great, is dead' (Pam-megas not Pan megas)."
Once again, off the subject of the Nephalim.
If the hebrew concept of the shape of the world was anything like the ancient greeks, then this reference isn't too surprising. The greeks viewed the world as a disc, and "Cush" (south of Nubia) spread around the edge of the disc from south to east (thus, "the Hindu Cush"). I'm sorry, at this point I don't have my greek history text with me, so I must reference that awful Oliver Stone film "Alexander" as my reference point.
Again, I MUST get a copy of these books. (argh..so much to read, and only about 80 years to cram it in)...
I would like to explain my take on Genesis 5-8, or so, which is the story of Noah, and the "nephilim".
First of all, no one actually reads the TEXT, and that is the major point of confusion. But the TEXT is very clear about the nephilim, the "Sons of God" and mortal man - they were all separate groups, and the "Sons of God" who intermarried with the earth women are NOT ONE TIME mentioned as EVIL at all in any portion of the text.
To begin with, Genesis 5 is a GEANOLOGY, that gives us the fatherly line going down to Noah, so we know Noah's fathers family history, fully human, clear back to Adam.
Genesis 6 tells the story of how, since the time of ADAM the "Sons of God" intermarried with earth's women, and their children became the MEN OF RENOWN, THE HEROES OF OLD. Why does the Noahide story include this, if it has nothing specifically to do with Noah? In fact it does have to do with his maternal geanology - and explains to us why Noah had communication with God, and could understand how to build the ark, and how he had the strength and life span to do so: He was a descendent of a "Sons of God"/earth woman marriage on his mother's side. NOAH WAS A MAN OF RENOWN, A HERO OF OLD. This is the entire reason WHY this explanation is given in Genesis 6 -it has no business there if it has nothing to do with Noah, his geanology and his special abilities. The "Sons of God" are NOT evil, and are in no way related to the "nephilim", which translates as GIANTS, another group on earth at the time.
The reason the "nephilim"/giants are mentioned is because people did not have any way of identifying the times in which they lived - they could not say "5000 years prior to the Christian era", or "During the reign of King so and so", because nothing had happened yet - except that they lived in an age when giants roamed the earth - they identified their "time" with these giants. The Bible, in Genesis 6 is silent on what the nephilim were, and does NOT tell us they were evil either - just read the TEXT and you will see this is true. The neophilim may have been beings like the Titans of greek myth, or they may have been the dinosaurs, but nothing more is said about them than that they were there during the era of this story.
The third group was "man" - people who did not have ANY "Sons of God" heritage, and descended entirely from human genes. These were the people that inherited Adam and Eve's ability and desire to sin, and their sins caused alot of grief upon earth. These were the people who God desired to destroy. Those whose daughters married the "Sons of God" had at least half the genetic code to honor God and be good, but alas, their other half still desired to sin, so we have beings who had miraculous powers, but an inclination toward mischief. The MEN OF RENOWN, HEROES OF OLD are really the beings that are remembered in much of mythology, and they are not myths, according to the Bible: They were historical people who existed on earth as descendents of the "Sons of God" and their earthly wives.
When God wiped out the earth with the flood, he saved one family - a family who had both divine heritage and genes, and human heritage and genes. When the ark landed, it landed upon a mountain top surrounded by water, an island. Later the water drained away, making for a mountain top society. Noah offered God a sacrifice outside the ark, his home. He and his family lived and worshiped in the ark, which was at the same time a temple and a home. They had children, who considered Noah their priest, king, magistrate, ruler, governor. As the families expanded and the water drained away, they forgot about Noah's God, and began worshipping him and his sons and their wives as gods and goddesses. In fact the word "god" with a small "g" literally means "ruler, magistrate, governor, priest, king, heavenly messenger, and sometimes idol" in hebrew. Noah and his family had positions such as these as their new society expanded, for they lived many years. The Bible only gives us a glimps at their life just after the flood but has no space to go into great detail. We get our details from the histories their descendents wrote about them, which the christian church labeled as mythology.
Eventually people lived at the bottom the the mountain, on the Plain of Shinar, and during the life of Peleg, the "earth split", in other words, the supercontinent of Pangea split and many continents formed, and the tower of Babel fell down. This event is an earth quake and the early rumbles no doubt caused the Tower of Bable to fall. When this happened the languages were also divided, and the people who remembered the pantheon of Noah and his wife, sons and so forth, had new words and names to describe their "rulers" on the mountain top. This is why the Teutons have their gods/goddesses live on top of a mountain in a castle called Valhallah, while the Greeks have their gods/goddesses live in a temple on Mt. Olympus. Other societies chose to remember the family upon the "island" (before the flood waters drained away), or even under water (while the ark was being tossed at sea). These stories are remembered as Atlantis, and in Asian "myth" histories. Many cultures have a rainbow in their creation or deity myths, reflecting that many groups counted this as a message from Noah, heaven and so forth. The Germans even believed that the rainbow was a "bridge" back to heaven. In some asian religions, goddesses dwell on the bridge, and created the world from there.
The Nephilim DO NOT EXIST TODAY. Fundamentalist Christian writers who enjoy making alot of money at the expense of those who do not read the Biblical text carefully create these stories of fear and terror so that you will purchase their book and buy their take on the story. But you have eyes and a mind! So read the Text and you wont have to read their jumbled and off kilter opinions. If you have not noticed, many christian web sights are selling million dollares in books on the "evil nephilim" or the "left behind" series - all fiction based on what the author "thinks" may happen, or "thinks" did happen, without ever consulting other "histories" from other ancient cultures who also meticulously wrote down what they remembered and valued about the stories.
If you want to really know that I am right, purchase a good book on world Mythology, a STRONG'S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE to look up the word nephilim and other significant words in the Biblical text, and as you read the myths, the Biblical text, and the correct translations, think of what I am telling you about Noah and his family, including reading the Biblical TEXT of Genesis 5, 6, and 7 (maybe 8) - you will see that I am correct. Remember to look up the word God, and god, (big G, and little g), and you will find that while God means self existant/uncreated first being, god means "ruler, magistrate, governor, priest, king, heavenly messenger, and sometimes idol". In this context you and I are gods, while we are not God. WE have been given power to rule and govern things in our lives, such as money, kids, job, home and so forth. So did Noah. His descendents just slipped into idolatry of him and his family as a pantheon, because they forgot about God with a big G, and this is how pantheon systems formed. You will also find that world pantheons have dieties that do very similar things, even though their names have changed: while the languages changed, the deities and their duties did not change, even over long periods of time (some may have been combined etc.)
Now consider this: you and I are descended FROM Noah, we are his descendents, because all others of mankind were destroyed. We too belong to this "Sons of God" heritage, and are half mortal and half divine, because of Noah's heritage. We have inherited the ability to do miraculous things as well, but we do not know it. Christ knew this and he taught that "anyone who believes in me will be able to do greater things than I did while upon earth". Faith in Christ turned on Noah's full powers, which is why the text says that Noah walked with God (he had faith in the pre-incarnate Christ, who is named Jehovah); We too can believe in Christ and turn our natural miracle working powers on, our divine heritage. YOu ahve the power through Christ to be miraculous because of this story. Some people in the neo-pagan movement have discovered that they have "powers" but have not discovered how to super-power their abilities through Christ. But if you read the text, and then listen to Christ, you do! Isnt that Great News?
Yes the same Robert Graves. Hebrew Myths is a hard copy to obtain,it is long out of print, although some of it has been reproduced on line in bulk.
Separate names with a comma.