Home » Angels and Aliens » Part Eight: Who Were the Nephilim?

Part Eight: Who Were the Nephilim?


Previously we saw that the sons of God were in fact fallen angels (demons) who had relations with the daughters of Adam. Their union produced unique offspring which the Bible refers to as Nephilim.

The Nephilim [hanephilim הַנְּפִילִ֛ים] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown, (Genesis 6:4 ESV).

The Hebrew word Nephilim comes from the root naphal meaning to fall. Gesenius in his Hebrew Lexicon notes: “Those who used to interpret the passage in Genesis of the fall of the angels, were accustomed to render [נְּפִילִ֛ים] fallers, rebels, apostates.” The Greek Septuagint, translated approximately 270 B.C. translates the word as “the giants” (oi gigantes οι γιγαντες). We find that this same word was used in classical Greek literature to refer to men or creatures that were half god and half man. [i] Jonathan M. Hall in his book Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity notes that gegenes in fact means “earth born”: “From the time of the Iliad, Erekhtheus was treated as a son of the earth, and Herodotus calls him gegenes (“earth-born”)” [ii] “gigantic” or “monstrous”.

In Greek mythology the Giants (from gegenes) were the children of Heaven (Uranos Ουρανός) and Earth (Gaea Γαία) (though some would argue that their father was Tartaros, the hell pit [iii]). “The giants of Greek mythology, or Gigantes (‘the earth-born‘) as they are called in the Greek tongue, were a class of oversized and ofttimes monstrous men who were closely related to the gods.” [iv] Consider also Kekrôps, who according to Apollodorus (iii. 14. § 1, &c.) was the first king of Attica, was known as “a gêgenês, the upper part of whose body was human, while the lower was that of a dragon.” [v]

If the translators of the Septuagint didn’t want us to think about demigods or men of enormous stature, they sure picked the wrong word! However, if by gegenes they understood hybrids between fallen angels (“the gods”) and women, then they chose the perfect word to describe these ungodly and unnatural creatures which parallels the biblical description of the sons of God (from the heavenlies) coming down to earth and fathering children. Considering the exposure those Alexandrian Jews must certainly have had to Greek literature and the numerous stories of giants, we would be completely ignoring their testimony if we were to understand the word as anything other than creatures who were hybrids of fallen angels and humans – who were also of colossal stature. In fact, in Greek mythology these Giants were sometimes 30 feet tall! If the translators had wanted to merely indicate that these men were the offspring of the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain, they should have chosen a different word.

Targum Jonathan translates Genesis 6:4 “Schamchazai and Uzziel, who fell from heaven, were on the earth in those days.” Shamchazai and Uzziel were fallen angels that we saw in the book of Enoch as being the ones that took the daughters of men. Targum Jonathan specifically adds “who fell from heaven” giving testimony to how they understood the word Nephilim. Targum Onkelos translates the verse in a similar fashion: “Giants were in the earth in those days; and also when, after that the sons of the mighty had gone in unto the daughters of men,” (Targum Onkelos, Genesis 6:4 emphasis mine). The interpretation of this verse is very consistent in the ancient witnesses: Demons came down from their habitation and took wives and from their sexual union came a race of giants which were hybrids: half-man and half-demon.

If one should ask how there could be Nephilim afterward when they were all destroyed in the flood the answer is simple: the fathers of the Nephilim were demons. While it appears that the demons that crossed the line when mingling with humans were thrown into the pit, other demons must have taken woman and had Nephilim with them after the flood. As a result we discovered that there were Nephilim in the land of Canaan when the children of Israel came to take possession of their Promised Land. Upon seeing the Nephilim they lost faith that God could win the battle for them and so they were taken back to the wilderness where they wandered for another forty years. When they came back to the land forty years later, the Nephilim were still there, but the children of Israel finally trusted in God.

According to the Bible, Who Were the Nephilim?

Looking at the ancient translations gives us a solid start as to what the word Nephilim means. Let’s now look at what else the Bible has to say about these gigantic half-man, half-demon hybrids. First of all we note that there are a series of verses which act as equations just like saying: A=B=C. Even though each letter is unique and has a different name, the value is the same for all. For example four quarters are equal to ten dimes, which are equal to one dollar. In the same way the verses concerning the Nephilim show us that they were known by different names in different countries, but they were equal and one and the same.

The following table demonstrates the equation of giants to each other that appears in Scripture. In the left column is the name given to a group of giants (starting with the Nephilim) with an equal sign to the name of the corresponding giants in another place. The right column gives the truncated portion of Scripture that proves the relationship. The complete verses are given in appendix four for review (ESV is used for clarity of the names).

Table: Correlation of Names of Nephilim

Names Scriptures (emphasis mine)
Nephilim = Anakim The descendants of Anak came from the giants [Nephilim], (Numbers 13:33)
Anakim = Rephaim = Emim The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim (Deuteronomy 2:10,11 ESV)
Rephaim = Zamzummim = Anakim (It is also counted as a land of Rephaim. Rephaim formerly lived there-but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim– a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim (Deuteronomy 2:20-21a, ESV)
Og, King of Bashan = Rephaim Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim, (Deuteronomy 3:11 ESV)
Bashan = Rephaim All that portion of Bashan is called the land of Rephaim, (Deuteronomy 3:13, ESV).

Sihon of the Amorites = Rephaim = Amorites

For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites (Numbers 21:26 ESV).

Og, King of Bashan = Rephaim = Amorites

His land and the land of Og, the king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who lived to the east beyond the Jordan; (Deuteronomy 4:47 ESV).What you did to the two kings of the Amorites […] Sihon and Og. (Joshua 2:10).
Goliath and his brothers = Anakim = Rephaim At Gath, where there was a man of great stature, […] and he also was descended from the giants [Rephaim, LXX reads: from the giants, γιγαντων], (2 Samuel 21:20 ESV).Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite [Gath]. […] at Gath, […] he also was descended from the giants [Rephaim, LXX reads: giants, γιγαντες]. […] These were descended from the giants in Gatt (I Chronicles 20:5-6, 8 ESV).

The Amorites

In addition to the verses above, we see that Abraham was the first to encounter the Rephaim, Zuzim (presumably the Zamzummim) and Emim in the land. They remained there through the days of Joshua and Judges.

  • In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, (Genesis 14:5, ESV, emphasis mine).
  • In the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, (Joshua 17:15 ESV, emphasis mine).
  • For you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.” (Joshua 14:12 ESV, emphasis mine).
  • The name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim), (Joshua 14:15).

After the battle, which Abram led to rescue his nephew Lot, God showed up and promised to Abram that he would have a son and would inherit the land. He mentions something very interesting concerning the Amorites: “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete,” (Genesis 15:16). Notice that the reason that his descendants will come back in the fourth generation is because of the iniquity of the Amorites suggesting that the Amorites, who were Nephilim, were performing great wickedness in the meantime.

We next encounter the Amorites just after Israel had received the Law at Mt Sinai. Within a year’s time, God led them up to the border of the Promised Land and God specifically mentioned that His Angel would go “before you and bring you in to the Amorites […] and I will cut them off. You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars, (Exodus 23:23, 24). We find that the Amorites were still in the land into the time of Judges from the passage “do not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell” (Judges 6:10).

Finally the moment of truth for the Israelites after coming out of Egypt, was when they arrived at the border of the Promised Land, at Kadesh Barnea. They sent in spies to check out the land who returned saying that the land was all that God had said it was.

The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.” But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them” (Numbers 13:29-33, ESV).

The fact that God commanded the Israelites to destroy man woman and child becomes logical if we understand that (as the text says) all people in the land were not merely sons of Adam, but were a mix between the sons of God (demons) and human women just like in the days of Noah.

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  1. Apparently King Og had a book that was studied by Christians 1,500 years ago. If this is true, those are the only writings of any of the Rephaim.

  2. One question I don’t get: How was Goliath descended from the “giants” if that wicked hybrid race was wiped out through the Flood?

    • Genesis 6 says there were Nephilim on the earth before and after the flood. 1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

      2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

      3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

      4 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 bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

  3. there seems to be much disagreement but if that makes you study that is good. read enoch he gives the straight information. the nephelim are the mixed children of the watchers which were the two hundred angels that came down on mount hermon led by semjaza leader of the two hundred and azazel leader on half or one hundred. twenty are named as leaders of tens. one tenth were left on the surface to trymen while the worst were coverend in the earth under the plain of dudael

    • First, I’d like to say I LOVE THE BOOK OF ENOCH. Second, I half to say the book of Enoch is a Pseudepigraphal work. A combination of “Pseudo” meaning “False” and “Pigraphian” meaning “Writing.” So its important to keep that in mind when reading it. It is a non-canonical book for a reason and can not be trusted as a acctual/factual historical source. In other words, we have no idea how many fell, their activities (other then marriage and procreation), ect.

      • Michael J Peterson

        actually it was removed for political reasons, but is referenced and quoted in the new testament and referenced in the old testament. So in my eyes (especially because fragments were found with the dead sea scrolls) it should be considered canon. If Jesus and other prophets held it as common and authoritative in their day than so should we. The book of Enoch is the most important book for the end of days. And so clearly links the old testament with the new. Predicting the coming of the son of man and describing the moon and shape of the earth. It also had a calendar as precise as any today. Describes the north and south poles and so much more. It is a book inspired by God.

      • first, there is only one book of Enoch the rest are Kabalism, which to Judaism is what Gnosticism is to Christianity. made up! second, Enoch himself stated two things: his book was not to be Canon, it was meant for the generation it was written in, but it was for the last generation. look up Dr. Ken Johnson on the book of Enoch. also the book of Jasher is a trip. (side note: Enoch is canon in the Ethiopian translation of the Bible)

  4. sorry I meant: “according to them”

  5. Good morning Douglas, i really much enjoyed this article. I have read some critics like Michael Heiser stating that nephilim cannot derive from Naphal because of vocalization. According to me, if it derived from Naphal, it would be vocalized Nophelim or Nophulim… this leaves me puzzled… what do you think about this? Have you ever heard such analysis? Thanks alot.

  6. so, why aren’t there Nephilim today?

    • the nephilim ”’IS” here today…only!!! they are in hiding—they are the groups of people who know esoteric ways of the paranormal and the ones who worship Satan secretly – the people who are truly ruling ”’the people” in evil esoteric manner..study the bible and learn from other good adepts at how this is being done.–there are the ”’puppets” and the there are the ”’puppeteers”’?????

      • They’re also using signs such as “flying saucers” to deceive us and make us think there are beings from other planets visiting us. Even now they are getting messages to us that it was THEY who created us and not God, & that they are here to save us from the total destruction. Satan always tries to take credit for God’s work, and when the antichrist comes he’ll have many people believing this.

    • The demons are the disembodied spirits or the giants who are posing as ghosts, etc, anything to confuse us. Also, there are still Nephilim on the earth from the 2nd time angels fell, when the Bible says “and also after that”. I think they’re all over the earth hiding out in caves, etc. I also believe when there are “Alien abductions”, they’re in a program to breed with us and mix our blood with the giants to pollute our image from God’s image to theirs. We need to listen carefully to what Doug is telling us so we know what he’s talking about.

  7. The fathers of the nephilim were neither demons nor angels, but fallen SONS of GOD! Make the difference. When the nephilim were killed in the flood, they were disembodied but their spirits survived. The spirits of the nephilim had no place to dwell, because they were hybrids. And, They were not thrown into a special place like the fallen sons of God! So they always seek to inhabit/posess persons to get a body. What did Jesus say? “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ ” (Luke 11:24). This indicates that a “demon” is not able to materialize, he needs a body! Whereas an angel or a son of God (wheater or not fallen) has the ability to materialize as Genesis 6:4 tells us, otherwise they were not able to beget human women. Furthermore, I think the sons of God were above the angels and not identical to them. How do I come to this conclusion? Here we again have a difference. We read in Job: “When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). God himself tells us the difference! Here we have the sons of God on the one hand and the morning stars on the other hand. Where are the morning stars? Clearly the angels. Why? We read in the bible (e.g. Ezekiel and so on) that satan was a “…covering (winged) cherub”. Recall, the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant were also winged (covering) beings! Demons need a body to posess – angels resp. sons of God does not, because they can materialize. Think about the 2000 swines recorded in Matthew.were above the angels and not identical to them. How do I come to this conclusion? Here we again have a difference. We read in Job: “When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). God himself tells us the difference! Here we have the sons of God on the one hand and the morning stars on the other hand. Where are the morning stars? Clearly the angels. Why? We read in the bible (e.g. Ezekiel and so on) that satan was a “…covering (winged) cherub”. Recall, the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant were also winged (covering) beings! Demons need a body to posess – angels resp. sons of God does not, because they can materialize. Think about the 2000 swines recorded in Matthew.

    • SORRY-BUT THE NEPHILIM WAS AREADY HERE ON EARTH—before— the sons of GOD mated w/ the women!!…and the reason GOD allowed his sons to mate was because the Nephilim was too strong for the ordinary human and when mated with the sons—they bore legends of strong men and women who fought the evil beasts from the Nephilim–but God warned his sons(((His supernatural sons))) that His spirit would strive w/man for 120 yrs……and yes the Nephilim was and is here after the flood and here today..

      • The Nephilim were NOT on the earth before the fallen angels came down and mated with earth women.

      • Genesis 6:4 “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.” The word “when” is the Hebrew word asher which is used as a conjunction. It can indeed mean when, but also since or as. In other words, the Nephilim are a clear result of the daughters of men and sons of God.

    • The Morning Stars and Sons of God were the same.

      • I’m assuming your assertion is the text is a hendiadys, however there are excellent scholarly arguments against this. Compared to Ugaritic mythology, the Sons of God a higher rank within a spiritual hierarchy.

    • If you want to be really technical about it….demon is a transliteration from the greek word daemon which essentially would be equivalent to the Hebrew usage of Elohim/ English god. The new testament writers use “demons” to distinguish bad spiritual entities and angels [a greek transliteration for aggelos (pronounced anggelos due to the gamma nasal) meaning messenger] to distinguish good spiritual entities. However, on your line of thinking I’d agree that the disembodied giants are unable to “materalize” into the physical state we enjoy.

    • sorry i am late to the party. i just unplugged from the matrix a year ago. This is cool, but the logic seems circular. i say this in love. as much as you want to share your knowledge, it seems to get confusing. lets keep it conceptual. there is a paradigm shift occurring. we are starting to talk about the Torah out loud. if we take the literal bible and believe contextually what it says not interpret, it makes so much sense. i have struggled with the story of Samson for years, as in it is allegorical, and not real, but then where was i when the foundations of the earth were laid? question everything!


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