Nephilim in Canaan

This entry is part 386 of 485 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

If the Canaanites were the last of the Nephilim, how did they survive the flood?

This is one of the most unanswered questions of all of Scripture. The first time theNephilim appear in Scripture is in Genesis 6:1-4. This can be a very hard piece of Scripture to interpret. It is hard to completely define exactly what’s going on.

Basically, the “Sons of God” have sexual relations with the “daughters of men” and end up marrying them. At the very least, if the “Sons of God” are angels, this violates God’s intended role for marriage in the Bible.

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24). So when the “Sons of God” marry the daughters of men, they violate this principle. The reason I put the “Sons of God”” is because there are at least four different interpretations of who they really are as a group.

The most popular and probably correct view is that the “Sons of God” are angels that most people consider fallen angels. The best reason for this is that “Sons of God” is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to angels, especially in poetic literature like the Psalms.

Most people postulate that the Nephilim mentioned just a verse or two later in the passage are their offspring, giants that are living in the land. Supposedly the angels mating with the daughters of men produced these giants. They would have introduced the “giant Jean” into the human population.

However, the Bible is clear that only Noah and seven other people go on to the art. These are the only humans that God saves in the flood. So how would the Nephilim appear later in the Bible, and the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:33).

The usage of Nephilim in this part of Scripture probably has the same meaning as it did in Genesis 6. The Nephilim are talked about when the twelve spies of Israel go into the land to see how good it is before they decide whether or not to go to war to conquer it.

These Nephilim used in the original language are giants in the land that make the spies tell Israel they are like grasshoppers compared to the inhabitants of the land. So where did these giants come from?

As far as I can understand, it’s not that these Nephilim giants living in the land of Canaan are the direct descendents of the Nephilim of Genesis 6. It is more likely that the language of the Bible uses the word Nephilim to describe both groups because they are giants, or at least taller and bigger than all of the other humans.

So it probably is more of a comparison than the genetic descendents of the Giants back in Genesis 6. It would be like me, a person who’s only five feet tall, referring to people who are six and one half to seven feet tall, calling them giants no matter who they are.

From my perspective as a shorter person, just about anybody taller than me can be a giant. So I may use the word “giant” (Nephilim in the Hebrew language) to describe groups that are similar in nature compared to my own people or nation.

The less likely scenario is that Noah or his sons, or his wife and his daughters-in-law, carried the Nephilim giant Jean and it reappeared through the descendents of Noah. The problem with this theory is that the giants, or Nephilim, are only mentioned in this one other place in the land of Canaan.

If they came through the line of Noah from the prehistoric times of the beginning of Genesis, we probably would’ve heard of giants way before we hear about them from the Israelites in the land of Canaan. It’s more likely that the language of giants is used in reporting about the land of Canaan by the twelve spies.

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