A Tentative Look at Nephilim

Walton and Walton’s Lost World of the Conquest does argue that “Canaanites” (all those in the land) represent outsiders in the sense of those not in covenant with YHWH. But Nephilim et al. seem to be a subgroup among the Canaanites. But you might consider their thesis (which I’m not totally on board with myself) to see if there’s some fodder for your thinking.

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Heck I think “Hebrew” means outsider of sorts, though it is also linked to the offspring of Heber, both could still be true vis-a-vi ancient Mesopotamia.

The root word means “to fall” so I think some connect that to fallen angels, but I think it is more in the sense of causing others to fall. Strong’s defines it…


Or nphil {nef-eel’}; from naphal; properly, a feller, i.e. A bully or tyrant – giant.

What I see in the text making just a few connections: They were big men, but not just for being physically large. They were “big men” in the sense of doing mighty deeds. Not in the good sense of the word, but in being warlords. Men fell in battle before them. And I see them as a result of the unions of the Sons of God and the daughters of Adam, though possible the Sons of God were themselves large to start with.

Since I think the text describes a local, maybe not even a regional, flood, the answer for me is C2. Their clans drifted away from Adam’s clans over the course of time and the flood didn’t finish them all off. Some of the bad seed was still loose- until the children of Israel finished the job.

I don’t mean to harp, but want to quibble with a common error that gets into the nitty-gritty of the original language. I don’t mean this to detract from the larger issues.

This is the commonly understood etymology, and I agree it’s possible. However, the spelling of nephilim would be peculiar. One would expect nephalim. Yes, the one-letter difference matters. An Aramaic origin (from the singular naphila) is a better fit, especially given the Greek gigantes. The LXX translator clearly read the Aramaic root rather than the Hebrew (maybe he was wrong, but without good evidence, it’s best to go with someone closer to the source). The same goes for the Masoretes (Jewish scribes of the 6th-10th c. AD) that added the vowel points. I understand the need to rely on Strong’s for help, but just know it’s got a lot of problems with it. For example, if the following were correct…

it would be the only instance of a Hebrew noun with this spelling form based on the verbal root.

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Perhaps this goes back to our prior discussion about how words and their meanings change. From the surrounding text in Genesis 6 it is easy to connect the term to “big men” in the “movers and shakers” sense of the word, as well as violence and bloodshed. The physical size is not emphasized there. By the time of the Conquest, it becomes the defining characteristic.

Even if, it still argues against “fallen ones.” Also, even if one grants the “mover and shaker” idea (i.e., “men of reknown”), the physical stature/strength still is inherently present in the the word for “mighty men” (gibborim). I don’t think we disagree on much of the larger picture.

You missed out point E.

I agree. I mentioned that connection to say where other people have made a mistake, not as an expression of my position on the word. The Nephelim were not the fallen ones, the people they felled were the fallen ones. Not fallen angels, but fallen in battle. We are not far apart at all.

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The speculative/purported link between the peoples we call:

Cain-in (i.e. Cain-ites);
Canaan (i.e. Caananites); and
Ken-in (i.e. Kenotes)…

Seems more than likely an INTENDED linkage!

I said E was MY preference. See my quote of his wording for my definition of “E” below!

Is it yours as well, @Ashwin_s?

In this interpretation, E makes the most sense.


So you believe in s global flood ? Because that’s the pivot point on this analysis.

I am open to both interpretations… I usually take time to understand positions before committing to any specific one. I am yet to commit on both the issue of a global flood as well as the nephilim.


Well… the flood requires accommodating the real world of geology.

That trumps obscure references in the bible that can go either way.

Ya well, the understanding of the real world of geology can change… There are nuances to this discussion. For example in this forum, on important point would be whether the flood was global for humanity… i.e did it wipe off all modern humans except Noah and family.

A more fundamental question is “does the text really say the flood was global?” Shem, Ham and Japheth saw it that way certainly, but what does the larger picture of the text say?


Isn’t that my point?

Here you have 2 different choices. Either the scribes were wrong about the Nephilim … or they were wrong about the global flood.

The latter seems the more likely since a regional flood is more consistent with global geology!

Any serious discussion of Genealogic Adam must include the many gene insertion into human genome by the fallen angels who took on human bodies and procreated with Adam’s descendants.Their relations produced superhuman population called the Nephilim. Gen 6:4

See the OP here. We’ve been talking about this for a while.

Thanks. It seems the origins of the Nephilm has been unclear on this Op to say the least…

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