If you haven’t heard this word, you’re probably better off.
If you have, there is probably all kinds of “fantastic” theories including these ‘beings’ are fallen angels, or aliens and more.
This is going to be a sort of soap box rant, but it is done with the heart of edification, to perhaps bless someone, anyone out there with the gift of a freedom from what I believe these fantastic theories are- distractions.
My belief is based in scripture, language, in depth research and NOT theory. 🙂
First of all, if accuracy in translation matters to you at all you have to go to the Hebrew words the text of your bible are written in. Second, you should look first to the root of the word because there you will find its essence and meaning. Look at the contexts of these roots and then the words in question- ALL of them. Then go to your context. But for context you can’t just look a verse before or after. What is the OVERALL picture and theme that Hashem is trying to give us through His living word. Then look at ALL the other contexts your word is found… again, not just a verse before or after…sometimes this means reading the entire book. Seriously. I know many are not willing to do this… yet they are willing to stand by their “theories”.
So a number of ‘learners’ and also scholars have done it for you and I am going to attempt to summarize what makes biblically founded sense to me, for you- as a blessing to be freed from this distraction.
The root of the Hebrew word for Nephillim is Naphal. It’s sense is a fall, a descent, and when you look at in context it is seen as a physical thing but ALSO perhaps more predominantly and meaningfully as a MORAL descent.
(I have given you a screen shot above of the contextual uses. There are MANY. Therefore to choose just one out at random to support your theory… is, forgive me, completely irresponsible.)
Just for an interesting “sidenote” a related word with the same root Naphal is Nephel- נֶפֶל #5309
it means a premature birth/stillborn (which falls from the womb), or an abortion. It is found only three times in all of scripture and I have shown you those below: Job 3, Psalm 58 and Ecclesiastes 6. Indeed, at Creation Hashem had ‘given birth’ to a beautiful perfect world with all the potential parts put in their proper and defined places. Mankind came in and corrupted their purpose… so all of His efforts, and theirs were like a child that came forth for naught. Mankind’s corruption is an abortion of God’s plan.
There are only TWO times in the Torah the word Nephil (the plural of which is Nephillim) is found. How many??
Two. We literally have two contexts with which to scripturally base our theories upon and my question is, how could it have become so distorted with so little to work with? That being said, there is plenty to draw maturely from. Let me try and give you a logical application.
First, my belief, again based on scripture, language and in depth research= Nephillim were human. Human beings who perhaps believed themselves divine (we see it all the time in the ANE- ancient near east; Pharaoh believed himself god of the Nile, how many pagan kings claimed divinity?) but these are men who at one point had understanding of Hashem and the potential to live out the title “sons of God” (this is a topic you will have to trust me on, look it up, this term b’niy elohim overwhelmingly predominantly repeatedly refers to humans living out their mission on this planet in faith- to be in the image of Hashem, living His light, walking in His ways. This is the task of the Sons of God which these fallen men rejected. Here’s a few references just to get you started there are many many more: Galatians 3;26-27/1 John 3;1-2/Phillipians 2;14-15/John 1;12)…so I believe these were men who DID have an understanding of Hashem and their mission in this place (the height from which to fall from) and their power and might made way for their fall into pride, sin and violence. I think it is accurate to call them the Rebels.
The first context of Nephillim that is the entire basis for these many “fantastic” theories:
Genesis 6;1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth
(…hold it right there. That translation makes it sound as if there were a time that these ‘beings’ weren’t on the earth- ah ha! They must have been aliens. Not very much evidence there. The word eretz means LAND and could have easily have been translated- these rebels were (living) in the land at that time and also afterward.)
… in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
HERE COMES THE IMPORTANT PART (one of them):
IF God were displeased with some perverted union with a celestial being and humankind wouldn’t it follow that there would be something, anything, any sort of reference to their inclusion in His summary of what went wrong and following inevitable consequence? There is not. However the Torah text DOES indicate over and over and over emphasizing WHO was responsible for the corruption and over and over and over God is mentioning mankind. Nothing whatsoever about celesital beings incumbance.. just MAN.
…5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of MAN was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6The Lord was sorry that He had made MAN on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7The LORD said, “I will blot out MAN whom I have created from the face of the land, from MAN to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Why, oh why, didn’t Yeshua mention anything about celestial beings? Yeshua- known well by getting straight to the heart of the matter directly expresses what the problems were before the flood. No mention whatsoever of celestial beings, the issue here (as a running theme THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE) is FALLEN MAN.
Matthew 24; 37“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Furthermore, scripture does prove that if these were celestial beings they certainly would not be behaving like those described by Yeshua.
Mark 12; 25“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Matthew 22; 30“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
These are men, men who became so full of themselves they perhaps really did think they were immortal and untouchable. It follows that Hashem tells us there may have been an issue here with the verse which opens this section. The Lord seems to indicate that the lifespan of man is adding to their dellisions of grandeur.
look: Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”… The Nephilim….
If you’re still with me- Baruch Hashem and God bless you.
Three more things:
I didn’t mention the book of Enoch.
Nope. No I didn’t. Enoch is not scripture and whatever translation we have at this point has been so manipulated by the Catholic church that at best, I would recommend it as a sort of “legend” for entertainment side reading. Don’t hang your hat on Enoch.
I will mention the book of Yasher (why? Because the bible does- see 2 Samuel 1:18, Joshua 10:13, and 2 Timothy 3:8- pointing us with the “behold is it not written in the book of ____” to check it out, I think just as side reading but to perhaps give a sort of richness to our perspective on the biblical text. The translator of the version of Yasher that I have records this section of text precisely the way I believe the Hebrew language intended it to be read and interpreted:
Yasher 4;16-18 And all the sons of men departed from the ways of the Lord in those days as they multiplied upon the face of the earth with sons and daughters, and they taught one another their evil practices and they continued sinning against the Lord. Every man made unto himself a god, and they robbed and plundered every man his neighbor as well as his relative, and they corrupted the earth and the earth was filled with violence. And their judges and rulers went to the daughters of men and took their wives by force from their husbands according to their choice…
The last point will be just to suggest, from what you know about the enemy, the destroyer, the devil (whatever you want to call him)… does he tend to work openly in the largescale obvious look at me ways? Like Giants, like aliens, like fallen angels making some race of demon humans? OR does he tend to work undercover, masked as an angel of light, always inserting some element of the truth into his deception?
I pray that you will no longer be distracted by “fantastic” theories on these corrupted men of old and realize that this is the real story, fallen mankind and our job is to figure out how to heal the world with the light and the truth…
sticking with the scripture and what we have been told. Hashem has been very clear in His word what points He’d like us to meditate on… these disctractions are not condusive to a focus on His living word and the HOPE and healing it provides.
I pray a blessing over you and all that is yours.
I’d like to thank my husband for his extensive research and the few knowledgable scholars who have deigned to tackle this somehow touchy subject.
All my resources are found on the My Resources entry on the homepage of this blog.