WERE THE REPHAIM PROGENY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
In order to answer the question posed in the title of this paper we will search the Scriptures for the following answers:
WHO ARE THE “SONS OF GOD” SPOKEN OF IN GEN. 6:4?
WHO ARE THE NEPHILIM?
WERE THE SONS OF ANAK GIANTS BECAUSE THEY WERE PROGENY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
WERE THOSE IN THE OTHER NATIONS OF GIANTS GIANTS BECAUSE THEY WERE PROGENY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
WERE THE REPHAIM PROGENY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
WHO ARE THE “SONS OF GOD” SPOKEN OF IN GEN. 6:4?
We read in Gen. 6:4, “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”. The Hebrew word translated “giants” is “nephilim”. We will discuss the Nephilim in the sections below, but for now, let us determine from Scripture who were the “sons of God” who “came in unto the daughters of men”.
To begin with, let us note the rather strange wording in this verse, “the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men”. Let us not draw any conclusions from the wording alone, but the phrase should peak one’s interest in who these sons of God might be.
The exact phrase in the Hebrew occurs also in Gen. 6:2, and Job 1:6 and 2:1.
Gen. 6:2, “…the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose”.
Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them”.
Job 2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord”.
Were these “sons of God” men? For them to be men they would have to be sons of Adam, and Adam then must have been created as a son of God, which would then mean that all men are sons of God. But if Adam was a son of God by virtue of his being created by God, then we would have to conclude that everything that was created was a son of God. I do not believe that there is any Scriptural evidence to conclude that animals, for example are sons of God. Nor are the creatures of the sea sons of God. That being the case, we may not conclude that Adam was a son of God by virtue of the fact that he was created by God.
But we read in the KJV of Luke 3:28 reads, “…..which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God”. Please note that the phrase “the son” is in italics, indicating, of course, that the words are not in the original Greek texts. So this phrase should read, “Adam which was of God”.
Some men are sons of God, but not by virtue of creation. We read in John 1:12, But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”. It is clear that believers are the sons of God. If all men were sons of God, then believing in Christ would not give believers “power to become the sons of God”. All men are the offspring of God by virtue of creation, but that relationship has none of the familial relationship of father to son.
As we consider a few scriptures, I believe it will become more clear just how the believer becomes a son of God. We read in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. The contrast is made here between flesh and spirit. Man is born of the flesh, but he becomes the son of God through the spirit. In my opinion, this fits perfectly with the fact that, as we read in Jn. 4:24, “God is spirit” (not “a spirit”). I suggest that just as God is spirit, one is or becomes a son of God through the spirit.
We learn in Ps. 104:4 (“Who maketh His angels spirits”) that angels were created as spirit beings. That is to say, they have no physical form of themselves but sometimes do take on a physical form. I believe that the sons of God who came unto the daughters of men were angels, i.e. spirit beings who took on the physical form of man in order to come unto the daughters of man.
Job 38:47, while not using the exact Hebrew phrase as the verses quoted above, is helpful in determining the fact that the sons of God in Gen. 6 were indeed angels. We read in Job 38:4-7, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”. My point is that the sons of God were present at creation, which is certainly not true of men but were, according to this passage, present at creation.
To continue: we read of these angels in Jude 6, “and the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day”. The Greek word translated “habitation” in the phrase, “left their own habitation” is “oiketerion”, it is used only here and in II Cor. 5:2 where it is translated “house”, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven”. Just as in II Cor. 5:2 the Greek word is used of a certain kind of a body, so too in Jude 6 it is used of a certain kind of a body. So Jude tells us that these angels who are being reserved for judgment had left “their own” bodies. They left them to take on the bodies of man, so that they might come unto the daughters of men. I believe that it is significant that the Greek word “soma” (which means “body”) is not used for “body” in Jude 6, as angels did not really have a body.
Because these angels are being reserved for judgment we may conclude that they acted against the will of God when they came unto the daughters of men. We may refer to them therefore, as “fallen angels“.
WHO ARE THE NEPHILIM?
In the Appendix number 25 in the Companion Bible, Dr. E. W. Bullinger writes of the word “nephilim”, “….means fallen ones (from naphal, to fall”). We read the word “nephilim” only three times in the Word of God. In Gen. 6:4 and twice in Num. 13:33. In Gen. 6:4 we read, “There were Nephilim 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……..”. This verse tells us just how these Nephilim came to be on the earth. They came to be on the earth “when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them”. In other words, we learn from this verse that the progeny of the fallen angels were called “Nephilim”.
In Nu. 13:33 we learn a great deal more about the word “nephilim”, “And there we saw the giants (Hebrew is Nephilim), the sons of Anak, which come of the giants (Heb. “Nephilim”); and we are in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight”. This verse can be confusing. The first phrase (“we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak”) tells us that the Nephilim are the progeny of Anak. (This is not a contradiction of Gen. 6:4 which tells us that they were the progeny of the “sons of God”. Obviously, the “sons of God” had come to the daughters of Anak which is why the progeny of the sons of God are called “sons of Anak”) . But in the next phrase, (“the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim“) we are told that the Nephilim are the progenitor, i.e. the seed, of the sons of Anak. The NIV has, “…..the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim“. If we take out the added words (those in italics) in the KJV we see that it says the same thing as the NIV The added words are, “which come”. Without those words this phrase reads, “Nephilim the sons of Anak of the Nephilim“. This phrase then, tells us that the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim, i.e. the Nephilim were the progenitor. Are the Nephilim the progeny or are they the progenitor? Let us review what we have learned in this regard.
The first phrase of Num. 13:33 (” we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak”) tells us that the Nephilim were the progeny of Anak. But the second phrase “……the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim” tells us that the Nephilim were the progenitors of the sons of Anak.
There are no contradictions in the Word of God. I believe that we must conclude, therefore, that the word “nephilim” is used of both the progeny and the progenitor.
Actually, there is a precedence for using the same word for both progenitor and progeny. We read in Gen. 1:26, “Let us make man in our own image”, the Hebrew word translated “man” is “adam”. The Hebrew word “adam” is translated “man” in the first ten occurrences of the word and many times after that. It is used, for example in Ex. 9 several times for man as opposed to beast. So then we have the word “adam” used of both the progenitor (Adam) and the progeny (man).
So just as the Hebrew word “adam” is used for both the progenitor (Adam) and the progeny (man), so too is the Hebrew word “nephilim” used for both progenitor and progeny. We must at this point in our study clarify the fact that the sons of God, which we have seen are fallen angels, are also called “nephilim”. That is the only way to avoid a contradiction. Therefore, “nephilim” is another word for “the fallen sons of God”.
Now let us turn our attention to the progeny, i.e. the nation of giants called “Nephilim”. They are called “Nephilim” and they are also called “the sons of Anak”. The phrase used of these giants is “the sons (or “children, or descendants) of Anak”. Therefore, we can learn more of the Nephilim by looking up each time the children of Anak is mentioned in God’s Word.
In Num. 13:22 we read of the spies that had been sent out by Moses “ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak were….”.
In Nu. 13:28 we read, in part, of the report the spies gave to Moses, “the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great; and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. (See also Deut. 1:28.)
We have already considered Num. 13:33 where we learned that the descendants of Anak were the progeny of the sons of God, and the sons of God were called “Nephilim” in Gen. 6:4.
Deut. 2:10-11 and 21, “The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall as the Anakims which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims”. “A people great, and many, and tall as the Anakims….”.
Deut. 9:2 , “A People great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, ‘Who can stand before the children of Anak”.
Josh. 15:13-14, “And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua, even the city of Arga the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak“. (See also Josh. 14:12 and 15, 21:11-12 and Judges 1:20.)
Joshua 11:21-22, “and at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah and from all the mountains of Israel, Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There were none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel; only in Gaza in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.”
It is important to note that the progeny of the fallen angels are never referred to as the sons of the Nephilim, but are always referred to as “the sons (or a similar word) of Anak“. Why is that important? It is important because many, if not most, have assumed that the cause of the sons of Anak being giants was their being offspring of the fallen angels, i.e. the Nephilim. But I believe a more careful consideration is called for if we are to determine from Scripture how these sons of Anak came to be giants.
WERE THE SONS OF ANAK GIANTS BECAUSE THEY WERE PROGENY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
As mentioned above, the nation of giants called “Nephilim” was never referred to in the Bible as “the sons of the Nephilim”, but always as the “sons of Anak”. I believe that every word in the Bible is the exact right word to express an exact concept. I suggest therefore, that in order to fully appreciate the fact that the progeny of the fallen angels were always referred to as “the sons of Anak”, we put this situation in modern terms.
Let’s say that the cyclist Lance Armstrong had a son who was competing in a bicycle race. The announcers in that context would no doubt refer to him as “the son of Lance Armstrong”. Let’s also say that the tennis player Chris Everet had a son who was competing in a tennis tournament. The announcers in that context would undoubtedly refer to him as “the son of Chris Everet”. My point is that the announcers would speak of the parent of each son that is most associated with the characteristic that is dominant in that context. How then does this impact on our discussion of how the sons of Anak came to be giants?
Because every word in the Bible is the perfect word, I believe that if it were true that “giantness” was a result of the sons being the progeny of the Nephilim, then we would read in Deut. 9:2, “who can stand before the children of the Nephilim?”. But we do not read that. What we do read is, “Who can stand before the children of Anak?“. I believe that just as the sons of Lance Armstrong and Chris Everet would be referred to as the son of Lance or Chris because it is the characteristics associated with them that are important in the context, so too the giants are referred to as “the sons of Anak” because in the context of their “giantness”, Anak was the parent from which they got their “giantness”.
Let us approach this question from another angle. The Emim* and Amorites were also nations of giants. Does the fact that the Emim and the Amorites were giants prove that they were progeny of the fallen angels? No, it does not. Let me explain. We learn in I Sam. 17:24 and 17 that the the giant Goliath, whom David slew, was a Gittite. Are we to assume that the Gittites were also progeny of the fallen angels? I believe we cannot because we read in II Sam. 6:10 of Obed-edom, another Gittite. “So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto the city of David; but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite“. Then in verse 12 we read, “And it was told king David, saying, ‘The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God”. God would certainly not have blessed the house of an offspring of fallen angels for taking the ark into his home. If Goliath’s “giantness” was a result of his being an offspring of the fallen angels, then too was Obed-edom, who was of the same nation, an offspring of the fallen angels. If that were true, God would certainly not have blessed him for taking the ark into his home. I believe we must conclude that Obed-edom was not an offspring of the fallen angels, and neither then was Goliath. That suggests that “giantness” in and of itself does not prove that they were offspring of fallen angels.
We read of another giant in I Chron. 11:23, “And he (Benaiah who served in David’s army) slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear”. The note in the Companion Bible tells us that a cubit is 18 inches. That would make this Egyptian seven and one-half feet tall. I will say however, that the Appendix in the Companion Bible gives the measurement of a cubit as from 21 to 25 inches. That would make this Egyptian closer to nine feet tall. I believe that even if we take the smallest measurement of 18 inches, this Egyptian would be considered a giant. Again, there is nothing in the Word of God to suggest that Egyptians were the progeny of fallen angels. Therefore, we may not assume that all giants were giants because they were progeny of fallen angels.
For all the reasons given above, I believe that the the “giantness” of the sons of Anak, i.e. the progeny of the “sons of God” , was due to their being sons of Anak, not to their being the progeny of the sons of God. In that case, we may not assume that all giants of that time were progeny of the fallen angels.
WERE THOSE IN THE OTHER NATIONS OF GIANTS GIANTS BECAUSE THEY WERE PROGENY OF THE FALLEN ANGELS?
The question posed in this paper is: were the Rephaim progeny of fallen angels? Many have assumed that because the Rephaim were giants, and the Anakim, who we are told were indeed progeny of the fallen angels, were also giants, that the “giantness” of the Rephaim proves that they too were the progeny of fallen angels. But as we saw in the section above, there is no evidence to conclude that the Anakim*, were giants as a result of them being progeny of the fallen angels. And, as we will see in the following sections, the other nations of giants were not progeny of the fallen angels, and therefore there “giantness” could not come from their being progeny of the fallen angels. We are led to the conclusion therefore, that “giantness” by itself does not prove that these nations of giants were all progeny of the fallen angels.
There were four nations of giants. They were the Anakim, the Emim, the Amorites and the Rephaim*. The sections above present the Scriptural evidence that the Anakim, i.e. the progeny of the fallen angels (the “Nephilim” of Gen. 6:4) were indeed giants, but not because they were the progeny of the fallen angels, but because they were the progeny of Anak. Let us discover from the Word of God all we can about the the other nations of giants.
The Emim are mentioned three times in the Bible. We read of them in Gen. 14:5, and Deut. 2:10-11.
Gen. 14:5, “And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim”.
Deut. 2:10-11, “The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims“. The Hebrew word translated “giants” in this passage is “Rephaim”. So that phrase should read, “which were also accounted Rephaim”. In other words, this passage tells us that the Emim were as tall as the Anakim, i.e. they were giants. It also tells us that the Emim were evidently accounted by some as “Rephaim”, but the Moabites called them “Emims”.
The reader will note that the only connection the Emim had with the Anakim is that both were a nation of giants. So there are no scriptures that connect the Emim to the Nephilim. There are no scriptures that tell us that the Emim got their “giantness” from the Nephilim. And since we are specifically told that the Anakim were progeny of the fallen angels, and we are not told that the Emim were, I believe that we may conclude that the “giantness” of the Emim was not because they were the progeny of the fallen angels.
The Amorites are spoken of many times in the Bible. In order to be absolutely thorough I will give each occurrence of the words “Amorite(s)”, but I will first give and highlight the verses that have any bearing at all on our question. That question is: does the fact that the Amorites were giants prove that they too were offspring of the fallen angels? If there is any connection between the Amorites and the fallen angels it would mean that “giantness”, in all probability, came from them. If there is no connection that would mean that, in all probability, their “giantness” did not come from the fallen angels.
The first occurrence of “Amorite” is found in Gen. 10:16 which tells us from whom they came, “Cannan (a son of Ham, vs. 6) begat the Amorites……”. See also I Chron. 1:8 and 13-14.
Amos 2:9-10 tells us that the Amorite were indeed giants, “Yet destroyed I the Amorites before them (the texts read “you”) whose height was like the height of the Cedars….yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt….to possess the land of the Amorite.”
I Sam. 7:14, “…..and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites”. In my opinion, if the Amorites were indeed offspring of fallen angels neither Satan or God would have allowed peace between them and Israel in the promised land. This is not proof, but it is, I believe something to consider.
II Sam. 21:1-3, “then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord, And the Lord answered, ‘It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites, And the king called the Gibeonites and said unto them(now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them; and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, ‘What shall I do for you: and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord?'” I believe that we may say with confidence that David would not have gone to the remnant of the Amorites in an effort to appease what Saul had done if the Amorites had been offspring of fallen angels.
Below are all the other verses in the Bible that mention the Amorites. The reader will see that there is no connection between the Amorites and the fallen angels or between the Amorites and the Nephilim. Again, because we are specifically told that the sons of Anak were the progeny of the fallen angels, but we are not told that the Amorites were progeny of the fallen angels; added to that the fact that David would not have appeased the progeny of fallen angels, I believe we must conclude that the Amorites, who were giants, did not inherit their “giantness” from the fallen angels.
Gen. 14:7, “And they (“Chedorlaomer and the kings with him”, vs. 5) …..smote… the Amorites....”.
Gen. 14:31, “….he (Abraham) dwelt in the plain of the Mamre, the Amorite….”.
Gen. 15:16, “But in the fourth generation (of the seed of Abraham, vs. 13) they shall come hither again (out of Egypt) for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full”.
Gen. 48:21-22, “Israel said to Joseph…..I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite..…”.
Ex. 33:1-2, “The Lord said to Moses……..I will drive out the ….Amorite“. See also, Ex. 3:8 and 17, 13:5, 34:11, Deut. 1:4 and 7, Deut. 3:2, Josh. 3:10. The same promise was made to Abraham in Gen. 15:21. The fulfillment is recorded in Num. 21:32 and 33. Also in Deut. 2:24. 3:9, 20:17, Deut. 31:4, Josh. 12:2, 8, 13:4, 10, 21, 24:8,11, 12, 18,
Num. 13:29 is, in part, a report given Moses from the spies he had sent out, “….and the Amorites dwell in the mountains….”.
Num. 21:13, “…..the wilderness that come out of the coast of the Amorites…..”.
Num. 21:21, “and Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites.….”.
Num. 21:25, “….and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites“. See also verse 31.
Num. 21:26, Heshbon was the city of …..the king of the Amorites“.
Num. 21:29, “…woe unto Sihon king of the Amorites“.
Numbers 32:39, “The children of Machir dispossessed the Amorite….”.
Deut. 1:19-20, “and when we (Israel out of Egypt) departed from Horeb we went through all that great terrible wilderness which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites.…..And I said unto you, ‘Ye are come unto the mountains of the Amorites“.
Deut. 1:27, “And ye murmured in your tents, and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us, He hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us”.
Deut. 1:44, “And the Amorites….came out against you and chased you…..”.
Deut. 4:45-47, “……after they came forth out of Egypt in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites....and they possessed his land and the land of …..the two kings of the Amorites….”.
Deut. 7:1, “When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land wither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, ……..the Amorites…..”.
Josh. 2:10, “for we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites…….”.
Josh. 5:1, “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites which were on the side of Jordan westward, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan…..”.
Josh. 7:7, “and Joshua said, ‘Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us….”.
Josh. 9:1-3, “and it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side of Jordan, …..the Amorite…..heard thereof; gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord”.
Josh. 9:9-10, “…..for we have heard the fame of Him and all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites.….”.
Josh. 10:5, “Therefore, the five kings of the Amorites.…..encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it”.
Josh. 10:6, “……all the kings of the Amorites are gathered against us” (Israel).
Josh. 10:12, “Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel….”.
Josh. 11:1-3, “And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to….the Amorite.…to fight against Israel”.
Josh. 24:15, “…..choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the God which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.
Judg. 1:34-36, “and the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain… . the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres….And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward”.
Judg. 3:5, “And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites....”.
Judg. 6:10, “And I said unto you, ‘I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell…'”.
Judg. 10:8, “And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years all the children of Israel that were on the other side of Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.” .
Judg. 10:11, “And the Lord said unto the children of Israel, ‘Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites….”.
Judg. 11:19, “And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites…..and said unto him, ‘let us pass, we pray thee through thy land into my place'”.
Judg. 11:2-23, “And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them, so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites...So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before His People Israel…..”.
I Kings 4:19, “Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites.…”.
I Kings 9:20-21, “And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites …..their children that were left after them in the land whom the children of Israel also were not able to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day”. See also II Chron. 8:7.
I Kings 21:26, “And he (Ahab) did very abominably in following idols, according to all the things as did the Amorites.……”.
Ezra 9:1, “Now when these things were done, the princes came to me (Ezra) saying, ‘The People of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites…..the Amorites.…..”.
Neh. 9:7-8, “Thou art the Lord God Who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees and gavest him the name of Abraham; and foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittities……the Amorites.….to give it I say to his seed…….”.
Ps. 135:10-11, “Who (the Lord) smote great nations, and slew might kings; Sihon king of the Amorites…”.
Ps. 136:1019, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good……….To Him which smote great kings….and slew famous kings…..Sihon king of the Amorites“.
Ezek. 16:3, “….thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem, ‘Thy birth and they nativity is of the land of Canaan, thy father was an Amorite….”.
I believe it is clear that there is nothing in the Word of God that connects the fallen angels to the Amorites. It is true that the Amorites were giants, but does that prove that they were offspring of fallen angels? I believe that the fact that Israel lived peaceably with the Amorites (I Sam. 7:14) and that David went to the remnant of the Amorites to appease them for what Saul had done (II Sam. 21:1-3), proves that the Amorites were not progeny of fallen angels as God would not have allowed a peaceful coexistence in the promised land between His people and Satan’s.
WERE THE REPHAIM PROGENY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
The only thing that the Rephaim had in common with the progeny of fallen angels, was that the progeny of the fallen angels were giants and the Rephaim were also giants. But as we have seen in the sections above, there were other nations of giants beside the Rephaim, i.e. the Emim and the Amorites. In the case of the Amorites there is evidence to conclude that the Amorites were not progeny of the fallen angels. And in the case of the Emim there is no evidence to suggest that the Emim were connected to the fallen angels in any way. In fact, in the case of the Anakim, who were progeny of the fallen angels, there is evidence leading to the conclusion that their “giantness” was due to Anak, and had nothing at all to do with the fact that they were progeny of the fallen angels.
We want to be thorough in our search of the Scriptures, so we will need to look at every time the Rephaim are mentioned in the Bible in order to determine if there is any connection between the Rephaim to the Nephilim, i.e. to the fallen angels.
Let us first consider the passage that tells us the most about the Rephaim in terms of our question as to whether the Rephaim were progeny of the fallen angels. Only the following verse is relevant:
“Rephaim dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; a people great, and many, and tall as the Anakims; but the Lord destroyed them”. (Deut. 2:21). We know from this verse that the Rephaim were giants and that they were conquered.
The other verses that speak of “Rephaim” are listed below.
Gen. 14:5, “And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim.”
Gen. 15:18-21, “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaim, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites”.
Deut. 2:10-11, “The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; which also were accounted giants (Heb. is “rephaim”) as Anakim; but the Moabites call them Emim”.
Deut. 2:19-21, “And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them; for I will not give thee possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. (That also was accounted a land of giants (rephaim): Rephaim dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; a people great, and many, and tall as the Anakims; but the Lord destroyed them before them and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead.” (This is the only occurrence of “Zamzummims”.)
Deut. 3:11, “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of Rephaim….”
Deut. 3:13, “And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants” (Heb. “Rephaim”).
Josh. 12:1-4, “Now these are the kings of the Land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their Land on the other side Jordan……….and the coast of Og king of Bashan (which was of the remnant of the giants [Heb. “Rephaim”])………”. See also Josh. 13:12.
Josh. 15:8, “………and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants (Heb. “Rephaim”) northward”. See also Joh. 18:16.
Josh. 17:15, “And Joshua answered them, ‘If thou be a great People then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee”.
II Sam. 5:18, “The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim“. See also II Sam. 5:22 and I Chron. 14:9.
II Sam. 23:13, …….and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of the Rephaim“. See also I Chron. 11:15.
I Chron. 20:4, “And it came to pass after this that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giants (Heb. “Rephaim“) and they were subdued”.
I Chron. 20:6, “And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot; and he also was the son of the giant” (Heb. “Rephaim”). Many have jumped to the conclusion that because the number of the beast is 666 and that this person had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot that he was a progeny of the Nephilim. I suggest that we cannot draw that conclusion without further evidence, and as the reader will see, there is none.
I Chron. 20:8, “These were born unto the giant (Heb. “Rephaim“) in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David……”.
Is. 17:5, “And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim“.
CONSIDERATION OF “REPHAIM” WHERE THE WORD IS NOT USED LITERALLY OF A TRIBE OF GIANTS
In the verses quoted in the previous section the reader will note that “rephaim” is always rendered either “Rephaim” or “giants”. In the verses quoted in this section the word is always translated “dead” or “deceased”. The translation of the word in this list is a matter of interpretation.
The Hebrew word most often used for the dead is “methim”. When the Holy Spirit used the word “rephaim” for the dead, it was obviously to make a point that is not inherent in the word “methim”. I believe therefore, that “rephaim” is better transliterated (i.e. “Rephaim”) , rather than translated “dead” or “deceased”.
Again, there are some passages that are more relevant to our question than others and we will consider those first.
Ps. 88:10, “Wilt Thou shew wonders to the dead? (Heb. “methim”) Shall the dead (Heb. “rephaim”) arise and praise Thee?”. The Hebrew word translated “dead” in the first phrase is “methim” and, as mentioned above, is the word used most of the time for the dead. The word translated “dead” in the second phrase is “rephaim”. The question is: does “rephaim” in this verse refer to the nation of giants, i.e. the Rephaim, or to something else? The Psalms and Proverbs use the couplet form so that each phrase of the couplet enhances the other. That form is of great help in coming to a correct understanding of the meaning of each phrase of the couplet. So to best understand this verse we will consider the context and both phrases of the couplet.
Let us first establish by the context what is the point of this Psalm. Note verse 9, “Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon Thee, I have stretched out my hand unto Thee”. David is afflicted, he does not want to die. One of the reasons he gives for his not wanting to die is found in verses 10-12, “Wilt Thou shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise Thee? Shall Thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave: Or Thy faithfulness in destruction: Shall Thy wonder be known in the dark: And Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?”. There would be no point in saying that the dead (methim) will not see the things mentioned in these verses and then add that the dead (rephaim) of a particular nation of giants will not see it either. I do not believe that is what is intended.
To determine what was intended. let us skip for the moment to Is. 14:9 where the Hebrew word “rephaim” is explained. “Hell from beneath is moved for thee (the king of Babylon, vs. 4) to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead (Heb. “rephaim“) for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations“. This verse describes the rephaim as “chief ones of the earth ” and “kings of the nations”. In this verse “rephaim” cannot refer to the literal nation of giants because not every person of that nation was a “chief one of the earth” or a ” king of the nations”. If the word “rephaim” does not refer to the literal nation of giants, it must therefore be used figuratively. That is to say, a word can be taken only one of two ways, i.e. literally or figuratively. In this case, because not every person of the nation of the Rephaim were “chief ones of the earth” or “kings of the nations”, obviously it must be taken figuratively.”Rephaim” is used here as a metaphor. The context tells us that it is used as a metaphor for important men.
Let us come back to Ps. 88:10 to see what we may learn from the couplet and from the context as to why David says the same of the dead as he does of the Rephaim. If we take the description of the Rephaim from Is. 14:9 as a metaphor for important men, then we may understand David to be saying that the dead will not see the wonders of God, not even the important dead. In my opinion, that interpretation makes more sense than the interpretation that says that the dead will not see the wonders of God, not even a particular nation of giants.
Let us now consider Prov. 2:18. Verses 10-11 speak of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. These things will “deliver thee from the way of the evil man” (vs. 12). Verse 16 goes on to include the things from which wisdom, knowledge and understanding will deliver one. “To deliver thee from the strange woman…. which forsake the guide of her youth and forgetteth the covenant of her God. Verse 18 continues about this woman, “Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead” (Heb. “rephaim“). Again, we must determine from the couplet and from the context whether the dead in this verse refers to a literal nation of giants or to important men, as described in Is. 14:9.
In my opinion, the interpretation that the rephaim are important men makes more sense. That is to say, the interpretation that the rephaim are a particular nation of giants does not enhance the thought that the woman may influence those giants if they lack wisdom, knowledge and understanding. But to say that the woman may influence even the important men who lack wisdom, knowledge and understanding does enhance the thought expressed in this passage. Therefore, I believe that this passage also uses the word “rephaim” as a metaphor for important men.
Is. 26:14, “They are dead, (Heb. “methim”) they shall not live; they are deceased, (Heb. “rephaim“) they shall not rise; therefore hast Thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish”. Once again we must ask ourselves if the “rephaim” in this verse speaks of a literal nation or is it used as a metaphor for important men.
Let us begin by considering the context. Who are those referred to at the beginning of this verse as “they” (“they are dead”)? The previous verse answers that question. Verse 13 reads, “O Lord our God, other lords (Heb. “adon”) beside Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name”. The Hebrew word “adon” translated “lords” is almost always used of God, and where it is not used of God it is used of important men. The “they” of verse 14 refers to the “other lords” who had dominion over Israel. That connects us to the description given in Is. 14:9 of “rephaim” being “chief ones of the earth” and “kings of the nations”.
To interpret “rephaim” as one nation of giants adds nothing to the meaning and does not fit the context. I believe therefore that the interpretation that makes the most sense in the context is that “rephaim” is used as a metaphor for important men and tells us that even they shall not rise.
Is. 26:19, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Heb. “rephaim“). With the phrase “together with my dead body” this verse contrasts the believers who shall awake with Isaiah with those who will be cast out.
The question again is, are those who will be cast out one literal nation of giants or important men of the earth. It does not make sense to contrast believers with one literal nation of giants. On the other hand if we understand “rephaim” as a metaphor for important men of the earth as described in Is. 14:9, we learn that even they, i.e. the important ones, are put in contrast to Isaiah and all believers.
Job 26:5 does not help us much in our question, but it reads, “Dead (Heb. “rephaim”) things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof”.
I have tried to present the reasons for my belief that the “Rephaim” were not progeny of fallen angels. I have given the Scriptural evidence for the following truths:
The only nation of giants that we are told were the progeny of the fallen angels were the Nephilimor, i.e. Anakim.
There is more evidence to conclude that the Nephilim got their “giantness” from Anak than from the fallen angels.
There is nothing to connect the other nations of giants to the fallen angels and we may not, therefore, assume that their “giantness” came from anyone but their own human progenitors.
Therefore, I believe that the Word of God gives us the answer to the question, are the Rephaim progeny of the fallen angels, and the answer is no, they are not.The Nephilim are progeny of fallen angels, but the Bible does not tell us that any other tribe, giants or not, were progeny of fallen angels.
* In the Hebrew language the suffix “im” denotes plural. I have chosen to use the “im”, rather than the English “s” to denote the plural.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please write to me at: email@example.com