Nephilim – Angelic Giants

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The Nephilim /ˈnɛfᵻˌlɪm/ (Hebrewנְפִילִים‎, sing. נָפִילNaphíl or Naphil) were offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” before the Deluge according to Genesis 6:4; the name is also used in reference to giants who inhabited Canaan at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan according to Numbers 13:33. A similar biblical Hebrew word with different vowel-sounds is used inEzekiel 32:27 to refer to dead Philistine warriors.

The Nephilim, the product of the sons of god mingling with the daughters of Adam, the great Biblical giants, “the fallen ones,” the Rephaim, “the dead ones”—these descriptions are all applied to one group of characters found within the Hebrew Bible

The Nephilim (Hebrew: נפלים, Nefilīm) were a race that came to dominate the antediluvian(pre-flood) world, and are referred to in the Bible as the heroes of old, men of renown. They were reportedly the children born to the “Sons of God” by the “daughters of men“, and are described as giants. It is also most important to note that they are mentioned almost simultaneous to God’s statement that He would destroy the earth by flood, and it seems from this association that their effect upon mankind was one of the primary justifications that brought the destruction.

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“Nephilim” is rendered fallen, or possibly feller: a tyrant or bully. Several English translations, such as the King James Version rendered the word “giants”. In the Greek Septuagint the word “nephilim” was also translated as “gigantes” (gigantic). This translation is undoubtedly used because the Nephilim later became known as giants to the ancient Hebrews, as illustrated by the manner in which they were referenced when the Israelite spies were sent into Canaan.

It is unclear what the Sons of God were, but they are distinguished from the daughters of men. The most obvious interpretation is that the Nephilim were a hybrid race between two distinct beings. There are at least three schools of thought regarding the Sons of God.

The older view, held nearly unanimously by ancient writers prior to Augustine of Hippo, is that the Nephilim were a hybrid race between certain fallen angels, called the Benei Ha’Elohim (“Sons of God”) or The Watchers in extra-Biblical traditions, and human women.

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When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” 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 LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” – Genesis 6:1-7 (NIV). It is unclear what the Sons of God were, but they are distinguished from the daughters of men.

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In The Genesis RecordHenry Morris states:

The only obvious and natural meaning without such clarification is that these beings were sons of God, rather than of men, because they had been created, not born. Such a description, of course, would apply only to Adam (Luke 3:38) and to the angels, whom God had directly created. The actual phrase bene elohim is used three other times, all in the very ancient book of Job. There is no doubt at all that, in these passages, the meaning applies exclusively to the angels. A very similar form (bar elohim) is used in Daniel 3:25, and also refers either to an angel or to a theophany. The term “sons of the mighty” (bene elim), and again refers to angels. Thus, there seems no reasonable doubt that, in so far as the language itself is concerned, the intent of the writer was to convey the thought of angels – fallen angels, no doubt, since they were acting in opposition to God’s will.

It was once claimed that the mating of the sons of god and the daughters of Adam that resulted in the Nephilim caused the flood, and this caused the Nephilim to have a negative reputation. This was believed because the next verse is the introduction to the flood narrative and because their name means “fallen ones.” It is unlikely that this interpretation is correct because Genesis 6:4 presents nothing but praise for the Nephilim and no criticism is present. In addition, the name “fallen ones” is likely a reference to their divine paternity transforming—falling—into the human condition, albeit an almost superhuman condition. Genesis 6, Ezekiel 32, and Numbers 13 are the only passages that mention the Nephilim by that term. So where do the names Rephaim and “the dead ones” originate? The first thing to recognize is that these are not two separate titles, but rather a name, Rephaim, and a meaning, “dead ones.” The Bible refers to two groups as the Rephaim. The first are dead people who have achieved an almost divine status, similar to the concept of Saints. The second is a term that is applied to races of Biblical giants. It is this second usage that is often conflated with the Nephilim.

The Rephaim appear in Deuteronomy 2:11; 3:11; 2 Samuel 21:19 and Joshua 11:22 and almost always take the form of one member of the Rephaim being in opposition with Israel or its representative. In this sense, the Rephaim live up to their name, as their purpose in each narrative is to die. The juxtaposition of the mighty Biblical giants defeated by the underdog, God’s chosen, is foreshadowed in the very name attributed to these characters.

Genesis 6:1-4 refers to the sons of God and the daughters of men. There have been several suggestions as to who the sons of God were and why the children they had with daughters of men grew into a race of giants (that is what the word Nephilim seems to indicate).

The three primary views on the identity of the sons of God are 1) they were fallen angels, 2) they were powerful human rulers, or 3) they were godly descendants of Seth intermarrying with wicked descendants of Cain. Giving weight to the first theory is the fact that in the Old Testament the phrase “sons of God” always refers to angels.  A potential problem with this is in Matthew 22:30, which indicates that angels do not marry. The Bible gives us no reason to believe that angels have a gender or are able to reproduce. The other two views do not present this problem.
The weakness of views 2) and 3) is that ordinary human males marrying ordinary human females does not account for why the offspring were “giants” or “heroes of old, men of renown.” Further, why would God decide to bring the flood on the earth (Genesis 6:5-7) when God had never forbade powerful human males or descendants of Seth to marry ordinary human females or descendants of Cain? The oncoming judgment of Genesis 6:5-7 is linked to what took place in Genesis 6:1-4.

Only the obscene, perverse marriage of fallen angels with human females would seem to justify such a harsh judgment.
The weakness of the first view is that Matthew 22:30 declares, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” However, the text does not say “angels are not able to marry.” Rather, it indicates only that angels do not marry. Second, Matthew 22:30 are referring to the “angels in heaven.” It is not referring to fallen angels, who do not care about God’s created order and actively seek ways to disrupt God’s plan. The fact that God’s holy angels do not marry or engage in sexual relations does not mean the same is true of Satan and his demons.

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View 1) is the most likely position. Yes, it is an interesting “contradiction” to say that angels are sexless and then to say that the “sons of God” were fallen angels who procreated with human females. However, while angels are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:14), they can appear in human, physical form (Mark 16:5). The men of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to have sex with the two angels who were with Lot (Genesis 19:1-5). It is plausible that angels are capable of taking on human form, even to the point of replicating human sexuality and possibly even reproduction. Why do the fallen angels not do this more often? It seems that God imprisoned the fallen angels who committed this evil sin, so that the other fallen angels would not do the same (as described in Jude 6). Earlier Hebrew interpreters and apocryphal and pseudopigraphal writings are unanimous in holding to the view that fallen angels are the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6:1-4. This by no means closes the debate. However, the view that Genesis 6:1-4 involves fallen angels mating with human females has a strong contextual, grammatical, and historical basis.

With the understanding that the sons of God were the fallen angels, and that the Nephilim were the hybrid offspring of the union between the fallen angels and human women, the question then arises, What happened to the spirits of the Nephilim after they were killed, whether by the flood, or in the case of the possible post-flood Nephilim (Genesis 6:4Numbers 13:33), after the flood?
Some speculate that the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim remained on the earth and became what we now refer to as demons. The presumption is that, as angelic-human hybrids, the spirits of the Nephilim would have been different from the human soul-spirit, having the ability to remain present in this world despite no longer having a physical body. This would possibly explain the desire the demons have to possess human beings, thus gaining control over a physical body. This would also make some sense from the perspective of the fallen angels, who are outnumbered 2-1 by the holy angels, giving them a good reason to seek to increase their ranks.
The Nephilim explanation for the origin of the demons is partly the result of a misunderstanding of who exactly are the “spirits in prison” in 1 Peter 3:19. Many misunderstand the “spirits in prison” to be all of the fallen angels who rebelled against God. If all of the fallen angels are imprisoned, then there must be an alternate explanation for the existence of demons; thus, the need for the Nephilim explanation. However, clearly, not all of the fallen angels are imprisoned. Satan, the leader of the angelic rebellion against God, is not imprisoned. Why would God allow the rebel leader to remain free but then confine the angels who followed Satan in the rebellion? No, it makes more sense to understand the “spirits in prison” as the fallen angels who participated in an additional rebellion, viz., and the sons-of-God/daughters–of-men incident. The fallen angels who mated with human females are the ones who are imprisoned. There is no solid biblical reason to reject the idea that the demons are the same beings as the fallen angels.
The idea that the demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim is also drawn from the book of Enoch, which goes into great detail regarding the Nephilim. We have to remember that, while the book of Enoch contains some truth (Jude 14), it is not the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. We should never base a belief exclusively, or even primarily, on extra-biblical literature. So, with no need to explain the existence of demons outside of the fallen angels, and with no clear evidence in Scripture for the spirits of the Nephilim continuing on Earth, there is no solid basis on which to identify the demons with the spirits of the Nephilim. While the idea is possible, it cannot be derived explicitly from Scripture, and therefore should not be considered the best explanation of the origin of the demons.

With the understanding that the sons of God were the fallen angels, and that the Nephilim were the hybrid offspring of the union between the fallen angels and human women, the question then arises, What happened to the spirits of the Nephilim after they were killed, whether by the flood, or in the case of the possible post-flood Nephilim (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33), after the flood?

Some speculate that the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim remained on the earth and became what we now refer to as demons. The presumption is that, as angelic-human hybrids, the spirits of the Nephilim would have been different from the human soul-spirit, having the ability to remain present in this world despite no longer having a physical body. This would possibly explain the desire the demons have to possess human beings, thus gaining control over a physical body. This would also make some sense from the perspective of the fallen angels, who are outnumbered 2-1 by the holy angels, giving them a good reason to seek to increase their ranks.

The Nephilim explanation for the origin of the demons is partly the result of a misunderstanding of who exactly are the “spirits in prison” in 1 Peter 3:19 (see also Jude 6). Many misunderstand the “spirits in prison” to be all of the fallen angels who rebelled against God. If all of the fallen angels are imprisoned, then there must be an alternate explanation for the existence of demons; thus, the need for the Nephilim explanation.

However, clearly, not all of the fallen angels are imprisoned. Satan, the leader of the angelic rebellion against God, is not imprisoned. Why would God allow the rebel leader to remain free but then confine the angels who followed Satan in the rebellion? No, it makes more sense to understand the “spirits in prison” as the fallen angels who participated in an additional rebellion, viz., and the sons-of-God/daughters–of-men incident. The fallen angels who mated with human females are the ones who are imprisoned. There is no solid biblical reason to reject the idea that the demons are the same beings as the fallen angels.

The idea that the demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim is also drawn from the book of Enoch, which goes into great detail regarding the Nephilim. We have to remember that, while the book of Enoch contains some truth (Jude 14), it is not the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. We should never base a belief exclusively, or even primarily, on extra-biblical literature. So, with no need to explain the existence of demons outside of the fallen angels, and with no clear evidence in Scripture for the spirits of the Nephilim continuing on Earth, there is no solid basis on which to identify the demons with the spirits of the Nephilim. While the idea is possible, it cannot be derived explicitly from Scripture, and therefore should not be considered the best explanation of the origin of the demons.

A common belief which we share is that the “sons of God” who did marry the “daughters of men” were fallen angels.

Why did God send the judgment of the Flood in the days of Noah? The strange events recorded in Genesis 6 were understood by the ancient rabbinical sources, as well as the Septuagint translators, as referring to fallen angels procreating weird hybrid offspring with human women-known as the Nephilim. This was far more than simply a historical issue, the unique events leading to the Flood are a prerequisite to understanding the prophetic implications of our Lord’s predictions regarding His Second Coming.  This is believed to have happened both before the Flood and after the flood.  In Israel at the time of David, and before this when the Hebrews were scouting the land – there were tribes of these Nephilim – Goliath the giant of Gath is one example.  Early Church fathers also understood this to be the case.  It appears that these fallen angels were active all over the world.

These bizarre giants living on the earth are also echoed in the legends and myths of nearly every ancient culture.  The ancient Greeks, the Egyptians, the Hindus, the South Sea Islanders, the American Indians, and most all the others have these legends.

The Hebrew word Nephelim (plural of nephel) (Nephilim) literally means “rejects”. The Hebrew plural for Nephites would be “Nephi’im”.

Satan probably put this plan to interrupt Abraham’s “seed into motion, as soon as it was made known that the Seed of the Woman (Christ) was to come through ABRAHAM.

Genesis 6:4 (Original KJV): There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bear children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Bible Probe Note: Note the words; “and also after that”. This probably tells of two “irruptions” by Satan’s seed.  One before Noah’s time and another after the flood.   They were called “The Watchers” in The Book of Enoch.

Their descendants, called Nephilim (translated “giants”), were monsters of iniquity; and being superhuman in size and in their wicked character, had to be destroyed.

Genesis 6:12 (Original KJV): And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

Only Noah and his family had preserved their pedigree pure from Adam (Genesis 6:9). All the rest had become “corrupt” (shachath). The only remedy was to destroy it defacto (Latin for “in fact”), as it had become defacto destroyed.

This irruption of fallen angels before Noah’s day was probably Satan’s first attempt to prevent the coming of the “Seed of the woman” foretold in Genesis 3:15. If this could be accomplished, God’s Word would have failed, and Satan’s own doom would be averted.

Genesis 3:15 (Original KJV): And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shaltbruise his heel.  also see Isaiah 7:14

The idea that the spirits of dead giants (off spring of demons mating with earth women) inhabit the underworld (place beyond the veil) is supported here:

– They’re segregated from the heroes, the old-time giants who entered the grave in full battle dress, their swords placed under their heads and their shields covering their bones, those heroes who spread terror through the land of the living.

The book of Jasher, which is mentioned in the Bible in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1.18 says, “After the fallen angels went into the daughters of men, [then] the sons of men taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order to provoke the Lord” (4:18).  The Book of Enoch says that fallen angels not only merged their DNA with women, but that “they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish” (7:5; 6)

Satan’s plan was to occupy Canaan with “his own seed” in advance of Abraham’s seed.

As soon as it was made known that the Seed of the woman was to come through ABRAHAM, there must have been another irruption, as recorded in Genesis 6:4 (see above), “and also after that” (that is to say, after the days of Noah, more than 500 years after the first irruption). The aim of the enemy was to occupy Canaan in advance of Abraham, and so to contest its occupation by his seed. For, when Abraham entered Canaan, we read (Genesis 12:6) “the Canaanite was then (that is to say, already) in the land.”

Also in Genesis we see two more attempts by Satan to interfere with Abraham’s seed before the birth of Isaac, as told in both Genesis 12:10-20 and in Genesis 20:1-18.

In the late 1950’s, during road construction in the Euphrates Valley of south-east Turkey, many tombs containing the remains of giants were uncovered. At the sites the leg bones were measured to be 120 cms (47.24 inches). Joe Taylor, Director of Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, was commissioned to sculpt the human femur. This Antediluvian giant stood some 14-16 ft tall (see below).

Genesis 6:4 claims: “There were giants in the earth in those days;” Deuteronomy 3:11 state that the bed of Og, king of Bashan, was 9 cubits by 4 cubits (approximately 14 ft long by 6 ft wide).

Possible explanation.  The earth had more oxygen.

Long ago, even insects may have been larger due to higher oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere (believed to have been about 35 percent instead of 21 percent today). This increased oxygen level could be part of the explanation for giants, long-lived people, and even why fossils of giant dragonflies with 2-foot wingspans have been found.

In an ancient text of the Jews, we read an astonishing description of some of these gigantic Amorites whom the Israelites conquered. In Buber’s Tanhuma, Devarim 7, the text tells us of a Rabbi Johnanan ben Zakkai’s encounter with the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This event occurred in about A.D. 135, soon after the Roman victory in the Bar Kochba war, when the Jews rebelled against the Romans. The text reads:

“The wicked emperor Hadrian, who conquered Jerusalem, boasted, ‘I have conquered Jerusalem with great power.’ Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai said to him, ‘Do not boast. Had it not been the will of Heaven, you would not have conquered it.’ Rabbi Johanan then took Hadrian into a cave and showed him the bodies of Amorites who were buried there. One of them measured eighteen cubits [approximately 30 feet] in height. He said, ‘When we were deserving, such men were defeated by us, but now, because of our sins, you have defeated us'” (quoted in Judaism, edited by Arthur Hertzberg, p.155-156, George Braziller, New York: 1962).

Some have claimed that the Nephilim, or the “sons of God,” both mentioned in Genesis 6:2-4, were aliens. This is a wild extension of a common view that the “sons of God” who married the “daughters of men” were fallen angels, and that the Nephilim were products of those “marriages.”

“Sons of God” is clearly used of angels in Job 38:7 Orig KJV: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”. The Septuagint (LXX) here translates “sons of God” as “angels of God.” This need not mean that evil angels, or demons, actually cohabited with women.  Jesus made it clear that angels do not engage in sexual activities, at least not angels in heaven. Matthew 22:30 Orig KJV: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”  Nevertheless, evil angels on earth could have used the bodies of ungodly men, by demonic possession, to achieve their evil purpose of producing an evil generation of people (Genesis 6:12).

There are other reasonable suggestions as to the identity of the “sons of God” and the Nephilim. Interestingly, the word Nephilim is only used here and in Numbers 13:33, where it clearly refers to the descendants of Anak, who were big people, but still people. Furthermore, “sons of God” is not used exclusively of angels — the children of Israel are called “the sons of the living God” in Hosea 1:10 (see also Psalm 73:15; 80:17).

Numbers 13: 32-33 Original KJV: 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that elated up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

The Anakim: This was another name for the Watchers. It means “the descendants of Anak”, or Enoch, Cain’s son. Though it was said that a flood had been sent to destroy them, there were still entire cities of Anakim in Canaan as late as the time of Moses. And Jewish chronicler Josephus states that even in his own day it was not uncommon for people to dig up gigantic skeletal remains.

 

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp … Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”

Reading further, both in 2 Samuel 21:16-22 and I Chronicles 20:4-8, we discover that Goliath had four relatives, also giants:

1) Ishbi-Benob, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels (more than seven pounds) and who said he would kill David;

2) Saph (or Sippai), another descendant of Rapha (the giant);

3) Lahmi (the brother of Goliath), whose spear shaft resembled a weaver’s rod; and

david and goliath

4) a huge man (unnamed in the text) with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

Goliath and these four were all descendants of Rapha in Gath, “and they fell at the hands of David and his men” (2 Samuel 21:22 and I Chronicles 20:8).

 

David apparently knew in facing Goliath that these other four might also have to be reckoned with. So David prepared himself to take down all five giants, one stone per giant, if need be. The Bible tells us that the other four did fight against David and his army in later battles, and all four were defeated.

David’s stone was a bullet of faith, launched from his sling at probably 100 to 120 mph, and with sufficient momentum to break through Goliath’s skull bones. The boastful giant never knew what hit him. The text indicates that David ran toward Goliath as he launched his shot, thus adding to its momentum. We can assume from David’s success in killing both bear and lion that he was a fast runner (Goliath could never have caught him in open field running) and an accurate shot, probably able to put a stone into a 3- or 4-inch circle consistently from a distance of 20 or 30 feet (an accuracy comparable to that of today’s pro baseball pitchers).

 

Rulers in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia often proclaimed themselves as “sons of God” to enhance their power and prestige. So, another view with much support is that the “sons of God” were power-hungry rulers and despots, who, in their hunger for power and influence, took many wives in polygamy. They, and their offspring, through tyranny, became “mighty men.” (Nimrod was described as a “mighty one” in Genesis 10:8.)

 

 

fferent term (Nephilim) to describe them. Although this may not be one of the better explanations, it is plausible, and I wouldn’t discount it entirely.

The Sethite view is probably the second-most-popular view. It appeals to the context of Genesis 5, just before the mention of the sons of God and Nephilim. So, it has good support with regards to the literary context.

One variant of the Sethite view is that the sons of God were kings or rulers. This has some biblical support, such as Psalm 82:1–6. Also, this would explain why many ancient cultures refer to demi-gods as well. It also explains how ancestor worship can arise, even in a post-Flood realm. But both of these Sethite views still have problems.

In both of these Sethite views, it is assumed that there was a godly lineage from Adam to Seth and followed down the line to Noah:

Adam–Seth–Enosh–Kenan–Mahalalel–Jared–Enoch–Methuselah–Lamech–Noah

In this godly lineage of Sethites, they were called sons of God being in the context of the previous chapter. These sons of God or their children married or began marrying ungodly women (daughters of men), and their children followed after false gods and rejected the one true God. In other words, they fell away from God—recall the word Nephilim is related to the verb series “to fall” in Hebrew. In this view, offspring from these unions had fallen from God and were termed Nephilim.

While commenting on Genesis in Exposition of Genesis, H.C. Leupold says of this view:

But who are these “sons of God”? Without a shadow of doubt, the Sethites—the ones just described in chapter five as having in their midst men who walked with God, like Enoch (v. 22), men who looked to higher comfort in the midst of life’s miseries, like Lamech (v. 29), men who publicly worshipped God and confessed His name (4:26). Such men merit to be called the “sons of God” (benê ‘elohîm), a title applied to true followers of God elsewhere in the Old Testament Scriptures. When the psalmist refers to such (Psalm 73:15) as “the generation of thy children,” he uses the same word “sons,” describing them as belonging to God. Deuteronomy 32:5 uses the same word “sons” (“children,” A. V.) in reference to Israel. Hosea 1:10 is, if anything, a still stronger passage, saying specifically to Israel, “Ye are sons of the living God” (Heb. benê ‘el chay). Psalm 80:17 also belongs here. Criticism resorts to a technicality at this point. If God said to me: “Thou art my Son,” criticism’s claim would be: “You have not been called ‘God’s son,’ but ‘my son,’”—a mere technicality. So in the face of the passages we have just cited criticism claims the Scriptures do not use the expression “sons of God” for the godly, because “thy children” is used in three instances and in the fourth another name is used for God, ’el chay. We might word the case thus: strictly speaking, “sons of God” is a title applied to the godly; grammatically, the very expression “sons of God” does not happen to be used in reference to them in that very form.

Over against this usage that we have cited criticism arrays another, the substance of which is: The title “sons of God” is used in reference to the angels. This claim cannot be denied; see Job 1:62:138:7 and Daniel 3:25; alsobenê ‘elîm, “sons of the Mighty,” Psalm 29:189:7. But this claim becomes erroneous when it is thus worded: The title “sons of God” is used only in reference to the angels.

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But of these two uses of the title, which shall we choose in this instance? We have had no mention made of angels thus far in Genesis. We have met with other sons of the true God, in fact, the whole preceding chapter, even 4:25–5:32, has been concerned with them. Who will, then, be referred to here? Answer, the Sethites, without a doubt.

This sounds like a fairly good view from an initial glance. However, there are still a few problems.

Were these men and their descendants all godly? Of all of Adam’s children, Seth was deemed worthy to replace Abel, who was righteous, and with him, people began to call on the name of Lord (Genesis 4:26). Enoch was indeed godly without a doubt. In the genealogy listed in Genesis 5, Enoch is singled out with honors unlike any other from Adam to Noah:

Genesis 5:24
Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Noah was righteous among his generations and found favor with the Lord (Genesis 6:8–9). Were others Sethites? Perhaps several in the patriarchal list were righteous, but probably not all Sethite descendants, which is one of the biggest arguments against this view.

It seems that there would have to be some godly heritage passed along for Noah to have any teachings to remain righteous when others weren’t. However, we need to keep in mind the great ages of these patriarchs. Noah lived 950 years, Seth lived 912 years, and Methuselah lived 969 years (Genesis 5). So, a godly heritage could have been passed from Seth directly to one of his descendants, such as Enoch and Methuselah, and then directly to Noah! (Many Bible scholars assume that Methuselah was also godly since his father Enoch, who walked with God in an incredible faith, would not have erred by failing to pass on a godly heritage to his son—Genesis 5:24Hebrews 11:5Jude 14).

The patriarchs in the lineage from Seth to Noah’s father Lamech died prior to the Flood, which was a judgment on man’s sin, so they avoided this judgment. Was this because they were all godly? Perhaps. Regardless, this doesn’t give any solid biblical evidence that confirms that the others in lineage were righteous besides those already discussed, and only a small case could be made for Lamech (see the quoted section by Leupold above).

If we look at the descendants of some of these others in Sethite lineage, why didn’t they pass a godly heritage to their children? Recall, even the other sons and daughters of Methuselah (Genesis 5:26) and Lamech (Genesis 5:30) did not make it to the Ark, and unless they died before the Flood, they would have been considered wicked (Genesis 6:5). In light of this, many Sethites were not saved from the Flood but perished, indicating Sethites weren’t necessarily godly and shouldn’t all be lumped together as sons of God.

Another problem presents itself for the Sethite view when we discuss Numbers 13. Post-Flood, everyone was a Sethite! Where did those Nephilim come from?

There is an another inconsistency in this view. Genesis 6:1 refers to men being that of mankind, and then, in verse 2, men (daughters of men) are, in this view, inconsistently held as daughters of the Cainites. So, it may be going a bit far, though it doesn’t negate this view entirely.

In all, this view has fewer problems but is still speculative in some areas.

 

This view is similar to the Sethite view, and it could be considered an upgrade from it as well. In this view, not all of Seth’s lineage or descendants were assumed to be godly but can include some of them as godly. It also eliminates any perceived problem of the Nephilim in Numbers 13 needing to be Sethites, as there have been godly men both pre-Flood and post-Flood. It also holds consistency between the use of men in verse 1 and verse 2 of Genesis 6 keeping both as mankind.

In this view, godly men, such as some of the men listed in the Bible from Seth’s line (perhaps some on other lineages as well), were called the “sons of God” in keeping with literary context. So, sons of God were merely godly men of the time. Perhaps Leupold was trying to convey this view but simply didn’t take it far enough.

Like the Sethite view, godly men (sons of God) were marrying women who were not godly (daughters of men), such as Cain’s (or others of Adam’s) descendants, including ungodly people from Seth’s line, thus resulting in Nephilim because they fell away from God’s favor. Once again, the Hebrew word Nephilim is related to the verb series “to fall.” For example, we know Cain fell away, and Lamech (descendant of Cain) and many other men and women had fallen away. The Nephilim could easily have been people who had fallen or turned from God in a severe way. This would also make sense as to why some of Canaan’s descendants (descendants of Anak were Canaanites) were called Nephilim in Numbers 13.

If you recall, Sodom and Gomorrah were so sinful that they were destroyed with direct intervention by God (Genesis 18:2019:24). This reminds me of the Flood—God Himself had a direct hand in destroying them (Genesis 6:1317). When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, it is logical to assume that many descendants of those people who were not living in the area any longer were not destroyed. In fact, the Bible doesn’t say that all of the descendants of these places were completely destroyed. Therefore, it is logical that there could have been descendants living out away from the plain, such as Hebron, which is where the Anakites came from (Joshua 15:13).

The Bible indicates that the Anakites were descendants of the Nephilim, but it couldn’t have been those wiped out in the Flood, since God destroyed all land flesh. Therefore, it had to be group a people that were post-Flood. If the Nephilim had fallen so far pre-Flood that God Himself destroyed the earth as a result of their sin, then it makes sense that the post-Flood account of similar but smaller scale destruction in Sodom and Gomorrah may well have been the Nephilim. With the Anakites, who were Canaanites like those in Sodom and Gomorrah, they may very well have been their descendants.

It makes more sense that they were relatives/descendants from Sodom and Gomorrah (and the other cities of the plain). The sinners who died in the Flood and the sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah had one significant thing in common—they were the ones in history to fall so far from God that God Himself had a direct hand in destroying them. So, it makes sense why these two groups could both be called Nephilim in this view: 100% human descendants of Adam who were in a state of being fallen far from God. Of course, there should be no dogmatism about this point.