The Book Of Giants – Nephilim and Rephaim
The Nephilim (Hebrew: נְפִילִים, sing. נָפִיל, Naphíl or Naphil) were offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” before the Deluge according to Genesis 6:4; they were said to later inhabit Canaan at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan according to Numbers 13:33. A similar biblical Hebrew word with different vowel-sounds is used in Ezekiel 32:27 to refer to dead Philistine warriors.
Rephaim;Phoenician: rpʼm) refers either to a people group of greater-than-average height and stature (possibly giants), or to dead ancestors who are residents of the Netherworld.
‘For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.’ Deuteronomy 3:11
Og according to The Torah, was an Amorite king of Bashan who, along with his army, was slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei. In Arabic literature he is referred to as ‘Uj ibn Anaq (‘Ûj ibn ‘Anâq عوج بن عنق).
Og is mentioned in Jewish literature as being one of the very few giants that survived the Flood.
Og is introduced in the Book of Numbers. Like his neighbor Sihon of Heshbon, whom Moses had previously conquered at the battle of Jahaz he was an Amorite king, the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth (probably modern Tell Ashareh, where there still exists a 70-foot mound).
The Book of Numbers, Chapter 21, and Deuteronomy, Chapter 3, continues:
- “Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei.” Moses speaks: “The LORD said to me, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon … So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors.” … “At that time we took all his cities, there was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan … destroying every city, men, women and children … But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.”
Og’s destruction is told in Psalms 135:11 and 136:20 as one of many great victories for the nation of Israel, and the Book of Amos 2:9 may refer to Og as “the Amorite” whose height was like the height of the cedars and whose strength was like that of the oaks.
The Book of Enoch
Is an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, although modern scholars estimate the older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) to date from about 300 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to the first century BC.
The Book of Giants is thought to have been based on the Book of Enoch, concerning the Nephilim, in the Enoch version the offspring of fallen angels. The angels saw the beauty of the daughters of men, married them, and thus fathered giants. The book concerns itself with filling in the details about the giants and their offspring that the Book of Enoch is lacking.
It is wholly extant only in the Ge’ez language, with Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments. For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian belief is that the original language of the work was Ge’ez, whereas non-Ethiopian scholars tend to assert that it was first written in either Aramaic or Hebrew, composed partially in Aramaic and partially in Hebrew.
No Hebrew version is known to have survived. It is asserted in the book itself that its author was Enoch, before the Biblical Flood. The text was also utilised by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Giants in Nordic Mythology – Jötunn
Jötunns are Giants in Nordic Mythology, a mythological race that live in Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology. They were banished there by the Æsir who refused them entry to their world, Asgard. The Jötnar frequently interact with the Æsir, as well as the Vanir. They are usually in opposition to, or in competition with them, but also interact with them in a non-hostile manner. Some Jötnar even intermarry with the Æsir and Vanir and many are named as parents or grandparents of Æsir such as Thor and Odin. This very complex relationship between these two comparable races develops most notably in the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, ultimately making it difficult to distinguish them from the more familiar Norse gods.What similarities there are between the Jötunn and the Book of Giants remains open to interpretation. But for interest, here is a partial reconstruction of the Book Of Giants from the Book of Enoch, reconstructed from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Its discovery at Qumran dates the text’s creation to before the 2nd century BCE.
|The jötnar Fafner and Fasolt seize Freyja in Arthur Rackham‘s illustration Wagner‘s Der Ring des Nibelungen|
Book of Giants — Reconstructed Texts:
A summary statement of the descent of the wicked angels, bringing both knowledge and havoc.
Compare Genesis 6:1-2, 4.
1Q23 Frag. 9 + 14 + 15 2[ . . . ] they knew the secrets of [ . . . ] 3[ . . . si]n was great in the earth [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] and they killed manY [ . . ] 5[ . . . they begat] giants [ . . . ]
The angels exploit the fruifulness of the earth.
4Q531 Frag. 3 2[ . . . everything that the] earth produced [ . . . ] [ . . . ] the great fish [ . . . ] 14[ . . . ] the sky with all that grew [ . . . ] 15[ . . . fruit of] the earth and all kinds of grain and al1 the trees [ . . . ] 16[ . . . ] beasts and reptiles . . . [al]l creeping things of the earth and they observed all [ . . . ] |8[ . . . eve]ry harsh deed and [ . . . ] utterance [ . . . ] l9[ . . . ] male and female, and among humans [ . . . ]
The two hundred angels choose animals on which to perform unnatural acts, including, presumably, humans.
1Q23 Frag. 1 + 6 [ . . . two hundred] 2donkeys, two hundred asses, two hundred . . . rams of the] 3flock, two hundred goats, two hundred [ . . . beast of the] 4field from every animal, from every [bird . . . ] 5[ . . . ] for miscegenation [ . . . ]
The outcome of the demonic corruption was violence, perversion, and a brood of monstrous beings. Compare Genesis 6:4.
4Q531 Frag. 2 [ . . . ] they defiled [ . . . ] 2[ . . . they begot] giants and monsters [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] they begot, and, behold, all [the earth was corrupted . . . ] 4[ . . . ] with its blood and by the hand of [ . . . ] 5[giant’s] which did not suffice for them and [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] and they were seeking to devour many [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] the monsters attacked it.4Q532 Col. 2 Frags. 1 – 6 2[ . . . ] flesh [ . . . ] 3al[l . . . ] monsters [ . . . ] will be [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] they would arise [ . . . ] lacking in true knowledge [ . . . ] because [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] the earth [grew corrupt . . . ] mighty [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] they were considering [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] from the angels upon [ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] in the end it will perish and die [ . . . ] 9[ . . . ] they caused great corruption in the [earth . . . ] [ . . . this did not] suffice to [ . . . ] “they will be [ . . . ]
The giants begin to be troubled by a series of dreams and visions. Mahway, the titan son of the angel Barakel, reports the first of these dreams to his fellow giants. He sees a tablet being immersed in water. When it emerges, all but three names have been washed away. The dream evidently symbolizes the destruction of all but Noah and his sons by the Flood.
2Q26 [ . . . ] they drenched the tablet in the wa[ter . . . ] 2[ . . . ] the waters went up over the [tablet . . . ] 3[ . . . ] they lifted out the tablet from the water of [ . . . ]
The giant goes to the others and they discuss the dream.
4Q530 Frag.7 [ . . . this vision] is for cursing and sorrow. I am the one who confessed 2[ . . . ] the whole group of the castaways that I shall go to [ . . . ] 3[ . . . the spirits of the sl]ain complaining about their killers and crying out 4[ . . . ] that we shall die together and be made an end of [ . . . ] much and I will be sleeping, and bread 6[ . . . ] for my dwelling; the vision and also [ . . . ] entered into the gathering of the giants 8[ . . . ]6Q8 [ . . . ] Ohya and he said to Mahway [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] without trembling. Who showed you all this vision, [my] brother? 3[ . . . ] Barakel, my father, was with me. 4[ . . . ] Before Mahway had finished telling what [he had seen . . . ] 5[ . . . said] to him, Now I have heard wonders! If a barren woman gives birth [ . . . ]4Q530 Frag. 4 3[There]upon Ohya said to Ha[hya . . . ] 4[ . . . to be destroyed] from upon the earth and [ . . . ] 5[ . . . the ea]rth. When 6[ . . . ] they wept before [the giants . . . ]4Q530 Frag. 7 3[ . . . ] your strength [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] 5Thereupon Ohya [said] to Hahya [ . . . ] Then he answered, It is not for 6us, but for Azaiel, for he did [ . . . the children of] angels 7are the giants, and they would not let all their poved ones] be neglected [. . . we have] not been cast down; you have strength [ . . . ]
The giants realize the futility of fighting against the forces of heaven. The first speaker may be Gilgamesh.
4Q531 Frag. 1 3[ . . . I am a] giant, and by the mighty strength of my arm and my own great strength 4[ . . . any]one mortal, and I have made war against them; but I am not [ . . . ] able to stand against them, for my opponents 6[ . . . ] reside in [Heav]en, and they dwell in the holy places. And not 7[ . . . they] are stronger than I. 8[ . . . ] of the wild beast has come, and the wild man they call [me].9[ . . . ] Then Ohya said to him, I have been forced to have a dream [ . . . ] the sleep of my eyes [vanished], to let me see a vision. Now I know that on [ . . . ] 11-12[ . . . ] Gilgamesh [ . . . ]
Ohya’s dream vision is of a tree that is uprooted except for three of its roots; the vision’s import is the same as that of the first dream.
6Q8 Frag. 2 1three of its roots [ . . . ] [while] I was [watching,] there came [ . . . they moved the roots into] 3this garden, all of them, and not [ . . . ]
Ohya tries to avoid the implications of the visions. Above he stated that it referred only to the demon Azazel; here he suggests that the destruction isfor the earthly rulers alone.
4Q530 Col. 2 1concerns the death of our souls [ . . . ] and all his comrades, [and Oh]ya told them what Gilgamesh said to him 2[ . . . ] and it was said [ . . . ] “concerning [ . . . ] the leader has cursed the potentates” 3and the giants were glad at his words. Then he turned and left [ . . . ]
More dreams afflict the giants. The details of this vision are obscure, but it bodes ill for the giants. The dreamers speak first to the monsters, then to the giants.
Thereupon two of them had dreams 4and the sleep of their eye, fled from them, and they arose and came to [ . . . and told] their dreams, and said in the assembly of [their comrades] the monsters 6[ . . . In] my dream I was watching this very night 7[and there was a garden . . . ] gardeners and they were watering 8[ . . . two hundred trees and] large shoots came out of their root 9[ . . . ] all the water, and the fire burned all 10[the garden . . . ] They found the giants to tell them 11[the dream . . . ]
Someone suggests that Enoch be found to interpret the vision.
[ . . . to Enoch] the noted scribe, and he will interpret for us 12the dream. Thereupon his fellow Ohya declared and said to the giants, 13I too had a dream this night, O giants, and, behold, the Ruler of Heaven came down to earth 14[ . . . ] and such is the end of the dream. [Thereupon] all th e giants [and monsters! grew afraid 15and called Mahway. He came to them and the giants pleaded with him and sent him to Enoch 16[the noted scribe]. They said to him, Go [ . . . ] to you that 17[ . . . ] you have heard his voice. And he said to him, He wil1 [ . . . and] interpret the dreams [ . . . ] Col. 3 3[ . . . ] how long the giants have to live. [ . . . ]
After a cosmic journey Mahway comes to Enoch and makes his request.
[ . . . he mounted up in the air] 41ike strong winds, and flew with his hands like ea[gles . . . he left behind] 5the inhabited world and passed over Desolation, the great desert [ . . . ] 6and Enoch saw him and hailed him, and Mahway said to him [ . . . ] 7hither and thither a second time to Mahway [ . . . The giants awaig 8your words, and all the monsters of the earth. If [ . . . ] has been carried [ . . . ] 9from the days of [ . . . ] their [ . . . ] and they will be added [ . . . ] 10[ . . . ] we would know from you their meaning [ . . . ] 11[ . . . two hundred tr]ees that from heaven [came down . . . ]
Enoch sends back a tablet with its grim message of judgment, but with hope for repentance.
4Q530 Frag. 2 The scribe [Enoch . . . ] 2[ . . . ] 3a copy of the second tablet that [Epoch] se[nt . . . ] 4in the very handwriting of Enoch the noted scribe [ . . . In the name of God the great] 5and holy one, to Shemihaza and all [his companions . . . ] 61et it be known to you that not [ . . . ] 7and the things you have done, and that your wives [ . . . ] 8they and their sons and the wives of [their sons . . . ] 9by your licentiousness on the earth, and there has been upon you [ . . . and the land is crying out] 10and complaining about you and the deeds of your children [ . . . ] 11the harm that you have done to it. [ . . . ] 12until Raphael arrives, behold, destruction [is coming, a great flood, and it will destroy all living things] 13and whatever is in the deserts and the seas. And the meaning of the matter [ . . . ] 14upon you for evil. But now, loosen the bonds bi[nding you to evil . . . ] l5and pray.
A fragment apparently detailing a vision that Enoch saw.
4Q531 Frag. 7 3[ . . . great fear] seized me and I fell on my face; I heard his voice [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] he dwelt among human beings but he did not learn from them [ . . . ]
The Fall of the Rebel Angels byHieronymus Bosch is based on Genesis 6:1–4