Who Were the Legendary Giants? (Part 2) - by Gary Stearman
The Giants of the Ancient World
And here, the story begins to get interesting, because some of those sinning angels mentioned by Peter and Jude are also implicated in the horrific
perversions that led to the destruction of the world in the great Flood of Noah's day. Their story is told in Genesis 6:4-5:
"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.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Here, the "sons of God" are the b'nai elohim. Over the years, it has been greatly debated whether or not these are human beings. Many have said
they are the sons of Seth. But in the final analysis, we find that the term b'nai elohim is used elsewhere in the Old Testament. In virtually all of
its usages, the obvious reference is to God's angelic creation. (See Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; Psalms 29:1 and 89:6.) Most expositors conclude
that these are fallen angels, the same as those whom Jude mentions as having left their first estate.
More importantly, when we look at the result of their infraction, it becomes more than obvious that they were those corrupted angels. They literally
took human women as mates, resulting in a monstrous progeny that was totally committed to wicked behavior. Their offspring are called "giants." But
this word is translated from the Hebrew nephilim, meaning "the fallen ones."
Why then, are they called "giants"? Most likely, it is because the ancient Greek translations of the Hebrew Torah translated this and other
references to these monstrous perversions of humanity as "giants," from the Greek gigantes (giganteV).
In fact, the evidence is strong that they really were giants. More than that, they seem to have displayed the superhuman powers that gave rise to the
ancient legends of demigods. In the first century, Josephus wrote (Antiquities I, III, 1) that "… many angels of God accompanied with women, and
begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength, for the tradition is
that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants."
Those even slightly familiar with ancient Greek mythology will shudder at the implications of this statement. Those ancient tales are fraught with
perverse combinations of men and beasts. They tell of demigods whose powers were used capriciously to torture and enslave humanity. They reek of
incestuous, occultic and twisted stories of power gone awry — of "gods" who took lives at a whim. They were characterized by evil thoughts acted
out in an orgiastic nightmare of abused power. Greek mythology is one continuous horror story, peopled with beasts and monsters of every description.
But Genesis refers to them simply as "giants." A giant then, is some kind of perversion of that which is natural, originally designed by God to live
in peace upon the earth. In fact, the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament — called the Septuagint — refers not only to the nephilim,
but also to the Rephaim, as "giants." But in English translations, this connection is, for the most part, lost. Instead, we find the use of the
proper name, Rephaim.
The Rephaim Were Giants
It is remarkable that the Rephaim are also mentioned in the Bible as real, living, historical beings. In fact, they were residents in the territory of
modern Jordan and Syria, in the land that lies generally east of the Sea of Galilee. They lived in proximity with two other groups of giants, called
"Emim" and "Zamzummim," or "Zuzim." In the ancient world, all of them were referred to generically as "giants." Genesis 14:5 mentions them in
conjunction with Abraham's move to the Promise Land:
"And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham,
and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim" (Gen. 14:5).
To this day, ruins may be found in this region that are of gigantic proportion. Here, and northward into Syria and Lebanon, there are the remains of
ancient buildings and temples that stagger the imagination. For example, the ruins of Baalbek, in Lebanon's Beqa'a Valley are so massive that some
have suggested they could not be duplicated, even using modern building techniques. On the Acropolis of Baalbek, stood a temple dedicated to the storm
god Hadad. It was 60 feet wide and 290 feet long, surrounded by 19 columns, each 62 feet high and over seven feet in diameter. But its flooring stones
— still intact — are each larger than a modern railroad boxcar! No one can imagine how they were moved into place.
And there are many other ancient examples of outsized ancient structures in the Middle East. We should not be surprised by their existence. Many times
the early Israelites encountered people that they called "giants." Even later, when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt into the
Promise Land, giants were seen. Perhaps the most famous incident is in Numbers 13, in which a twelve-man reconnaissance party is sent to spy out the
land. Ten of the twelve men were so frightened by the presence of giants that they declined to enter the land again:
"And they brought an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying The land, through which we have gone to
search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
"And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight"
In early Hebrew manuscripts, these giants are called the Nephilim, and were apparently thought by the spies to be descendants of a long line of these
creatures, whom we first read about in the days before the Flood. But if the pre-Flood world, with the exception of Noah's family, was entirely
destroyed, how did the evil giants survive? Here, we can only speculate. But it seems likely that the lineage of the Nephilim, Emim, Zamzummim, and
Rephaim were somehow restarted even in the days after the Flood. One thing we know: after the Flood their behavior was continually evil, just like
that of the pre-Flood Nephilim. The strong suggestion is that humanity's interaction with the evil spirits of ancient paganism is capable of
disrupting man's genetic heritage. The result seems to be a monstrous offspring.
Still another branch of the Rephaim went by the name of "Anakim." We see them in Deuteronomy 2:10-11, where Moab is described as their area of
"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."
Here, the word "giants" is once again the Hebrew word Rephaim. They were an abnormal race. All of them seem to have been hated and feared by normal
men. God sanctioned their destruction and eventually their lineage entirely disappeared. Even the Zamzummims were a subclass of the Rephaim.
Deuteronomy 2:20-21 mentions their destruction from the land of Ammon, while at the same time, designating their origins:
"(That also was accounted a land of giants: [Rephaim] giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zam-zummims;
"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"
As can be seen from the various Scriptures we have quoted, the Rephaim existed in Moses' day. The Lord even commissioned him to wipe out the last of