Truth about Nephilim

Pre-flood giants had always been an interesting topic to study in the book of Genesis.

Gen 6:4 There were giants on the earth 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.

When sons of God came into daughters of men, giants (or Nephilim) were born. This creates more questions than answers.

  • Who are the sons of God?
  • Who are the daughters of men?
  • Who are the Nephilim?

Sons of God

Hos 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Hos 1:10 “Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’

The children of Israel is generally referred as sons of God. However, there were no Israel during pre-flood days. Hence, we can safely ignore Israel being sons of God.

Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

Luke 20:34-36 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Jesus in His beatitudes referred that peace makers shall be called sons of God. He also referred to those who are worthy to attain next age are sons of God, being sons of resurrection. Both these verses are referring to good people who obey Jesus and attained eternal life.

John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 8:34-35 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

Sons of God being referred to those who attain eternal life during their resurrection is consistent with other teachings of Jesus. Hence, according to Jesus, sons of God is a reference to the future state of those who are worthy to attain eternal life and they will be equal to angels who do not marry or die.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 1:6 And it came to pass on a day, that behold, the angels of God came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came with them. (LXX)

In the old testament, even Satan is mentioned as one of the a son of God who came to present themselves before God. Septuagint, a translation from Hebrew to Greek two centuries before Christ walked on this earth translates sons of God as angels. Hence, Jews in third century interpreted sons of God as ‘angels’. This is somewhat consistent to what Jesus told about sons of God being equal to angels.

Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

This is also consistent with Jude who refers sons of God in Genesis as angels in his letter. Hence, sons of God are a reference to angels. Since garden of Eden is allegorical, we must consider the possibility of hidden meaning in Genesis 6.

Daughters of men

Gen 6:1-2 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

The daughters of men is self explanatory. It refers to the pre-flood females. The word used for ‘men’ is same for ‘mankind’ or ‘Adam’. For example, in Num 31:35, the same word is even used exclusively for women.

Ezek 16:7-8 “I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare. When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD.

Ezek 23:2-4 “Son of man, there were two women, The daughters of one mother. They committed harlotry in Egypt, They committed harlotry in their youth; Their breasts were there embraced, Their virgin bosom was there pressed. Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; They were Mine, And they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.

Females or daughters can also refer to people groups or tribes when the information is allegorical.

Jer 3:1 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him And becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says the LORD.

Daughters can also be used to refer nations or people groups or inhabitants of a city. Daughters of mankind could represent the different people groups. A woman growing, maturing and becoming very beautiful is compared to group of people multiplying in number. Committing harlotry or becoming another man’s wife is repeatedly compared to idolatry by God through the prophets. Hence, when a group of people becoming a wife means entering into a covenant to worship. While there is no reference of God creating any covenant with any group of people before the flood, but God did say worshiping idols or demons is becoming another man’s wife.

Hence, daughters of men could mean people groups, becoming beautiful means being multiplied and taken as wife refers to entering into a covenant to worship angels.


Num 13:32-33 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Nephilims, which is translated as “giants” in the above passages clearly mention that ‘the descendants of Anak came from the giants’. The account in the book of Numbers where Anak being descendants of Nephilims contradict the account in Genesis where only Noah and his family survived the flood. Since the information that contradicts Genesis is mentioned in brackets, it seems to be a later scribe trying to add additional information since the verse could otherwise mean Nephilims still living during the exodus. The verse literally says the spies saw Nephilims. However, a later scribe is trying to add additional information that they were not Nephilims but their descendants, creating more contradiction to Genesis account. In my opinion, the verse was told by faithless spies who created rebellion against God (Num 14:3-4) and rejected Moses as their leader. Why would anyone trust their words?  What we need to trust is words of Moses as recorded in Deuteronomy.

Deut 2:11 They were also regarded as giants [H7497 רָפָא rapha‘], like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim.

Deut 2:20 (That was also regarded as a land of giants [H7497 רָפָא rapha‘]; giants formerly dwelt there. But the Ammonites call them Zamzummim,

Deut 3:11 “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants [H7497 רָפָא rapha‘]. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.

Deut 3:13 “The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to half the tribe of Manasseh. (All the region of Argob, with all Bashan, was called the land of the giants [H7497 רָפָא rapha‘].

The speech of Moses (or Deuteronomy) contains the word “giant” but none was translated from Nephilim but Rapha.

Gen 14:5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim [H7497 רָפָא rapha‘] in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,

Gen 15:18-21 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates– the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim [H7497 רָפָא rapha‘], the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

Rapha or Rephaim is a reference to a Canaanite tribe of great stature living in the region during the Exodus. They are not Nephilim as the faithless spies exaggerated but just normal people.

Deuteronomy even gives the dimensions of the bed used by one of the remnant of Rephaim. which is 9 x 4 cubits. The length for a king size bed for normal humans is 203 cm   (4.4 cubits since 1 cubit is 45.72 cms). If the average height of human male is 1.7 m and he requires 4.44 cubits, what is the height of the Rephaim, if he requires 9 cubits? 3.4 meters.

Hence, the height of the last remnant of Rephaim is around 3+ meters. It seems to be a case of a king affected by gigantism as in the case of Goliath1. Hence, Rephaim is not the same as Nephilim as Moses explains us rejecting the faithless spies’ claims.

Gen 6:4 There were giants on the earth 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.

Matt 13:38 “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

The verse itself gives some explanation about Nephilim that these were mighty men in pre-flood days who were famous and had a name for themselves. This is strikingly identical to what Satan tempted Jesus with and how Jesus refers to those who disobey God as children of the devil.

Matt 4:8-9 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Just as Satan tempted Jesus with the kingdoms of this world and their glory in return to worship him, it seems men who worship those fallen angels were made mighty and given a name and glory in this fallen world.


It seems that the faithless spies were exaggerating the tribe of Rephaim as Nephilim where Moses comes to rescue in Deuteronomy to clarify they are Rephaim, a tribe from a descendant of Noah. The sons of God are undoubtedly fallen angels. While a literal interpretation provides a union of angels and women, with giant offspring, a more allegorical interpretation is identical to how God uses the terms to explain the spiritual adultery of Israel. Is it possible that fallen angels lead people groups into worshipping them in return of earthly power and demonic wisdom? You decide.

1 Forrai G.. “Hereditary Gigantism-the biblical giant Goliath and his brothers.” PubMed Central (PMC), Accessed 26 Feb. 2018.