Noah Facts #5: Yes, Virginia, There are Nephilim Giants. Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.

Noah-Fighting-Watcher-Russel-Crowe-Aronofsky-Film-e1359229778664Thanks to the Aronofsky movie about Noah, interest has been piqued in this critically important story of Primeval History. And there is so much more to the original Biblical story than we’ve been taught in Sunday School. In fact, in some ways, we’ve been taught wrong. Let’s talk about it.

I’ve written a Biblical fantasy novel called Noah Primeval. I’ve researched this topic extensively. Noah Primeval has been a category bestseller on Amazon for 3 years. It’s first in a series of novels called Chronicles of the Nephilim.

If You Think Aronofsky’s Nephilim/Watchers are Fantastical, Wait Until You Know What Really Happened.

Word on the street is that Aronofsky’s Noah has Watchers that fall from heaven, and are huge giants made of rock with multiple arms. And also that they came to earth to help mankind, but have become rejected either by man or by God. It sounds like he’s confused the Watchers and mixed them up with the Nephilim spoken of in Genesis 6, which are two different beings. We’ll see when the movie comes out.

But the interesting thing is that this was one fantasy element that Aronofsky did not have to make up because the truth is stranger than fiction. I don’t know why he didn’t follow the Enochian/Jude/Peter interpretation of the Bible. Maybe he didn’t know about it. I’ll explain.


In previous posts, I wrote that the Watchers, or Sons of God, came from heaven and mated with the daughters of men. These angelic rebels were seeking to pollute or corrupt the image of God in mankind as well as stop the promised Messiah from coming through a fully human bloodline.

But the text says that the offspring of this angelic/human union were the Nephilim. Who the heck are they? There are a lot of books and movies and TV shows that have played with the notion of Nephilim (remember the X-Files?). But so much of that is just made up entertainment. Let’s look at what the Bible actually says about the Nephilim.

Fun Facts About the Nephilim in the Bible

Genesis 6:4
The Nephilim were 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.

Numbers 13:32–33
“The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

The two passages quoted above are the only two places in the Bible where the Hebrew word Nephilim is used. The Genesis verse occurs before the Flood, and the Numbers verse occurs as Moses and the Israelites are in the Exodus standing on the verge of entering into the Promised Land. And it is very important that the Anakim in the Promised Land are direct descendants of the Nephilim before the Flood.

But the question remains, what does the Hebrew word Nephilim mean? Some scholars looking at the root word claim that it means “fallen ones” because that is what the Hebrew means, “to fall.” But there is a problem, and that is that the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Bible) which is sometimes quoted by the New Testament authors as authoritative, translates this word as “giants.” Did those ancient Hellenized Jews not know the true meaning of the word? Or did they know something we do not?

Indeed, most all the ancient Jewish sources before Christ understood this term to mean “giant.” Here is a list I compiled of the many ancient sources that understood these beings as giants.

Biblical scholar Michael S. Heiser has revealed a Biblical reference that virtually seals the proof that Nephilim are giants, not merely “fallen ones.” In his article “The Meaning of the Word Nephilim: Fact vs. Fantasy,”(1) he explains that Numbers 13:32-33 has the word “Nephilim” twice. And that in the original language, the first Nephilim is the Hebrew spelling that could mean “fallen ones,” but the spelling of the second Nephilim is in Aramaic, and that word definitely means “giants.” So the author is making an equivalency between the two words in Hebrew and Aramaic. Call them “fallen ones” or not, the Nephilim are not the fallen angels called Watchers, they are not ancient aliens and they are not Annunaki. The Nephilim are giants.


Let’s take a look at the Anakim who were the descendants of the Nephilim. The Anakim or “sons of Anak” are unquestionably defined as giants throughout the Bible because of their tall height (Num. 13:33; Deut. 1:28; 2:10, 21; 9:2). One of the most famous of all those Anakim giants was Goliath. He stood at 9 feet 9 inches tall. And his brother Lahmi was of the same titanic genetics (1 Chron. 20:5). Philistia had a big problem with these Anakim giants, as 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 and 11:23 attest to no less than five giants who seemed to be seeking King David out, and were killed by David’s warriors.

As it turns out, the Anakim were not the only giants in the land. Evidently the land in and around Canaan was crawling with giants that were called by different names in different locations. Deuteronomy 2:10-11, 20-23 says that there were giant clans, “great and many, and tall as the Anakim.” The names of the clans were the Emim, Rephaim, Zamzummim, Horim, Avvim and possibly Caphtorim.

But if we go back in time from David to Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land, we see that the giant Anakim that David was fighting were merely the leftovers from Joshua’s own campaign to wipe them out:

Josh. 11:21-22
Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained.

King Og of Bashan, who Moses defeated, is described as one of the last of “the remnant of the Rephaim” whose bed was over 13 feet long and made of iron (Deut. 3:11). That is no kingly bed alone; that was a large strong iron bed to hold a giant of about 11 feet tall.

I write about all this and more in my novels Joshua Valiant and Caleb Vigilant.

But it all starts with Noah Primeval.


List of Giants

The Bible reveals that there are many different clans that either were giants or had giants among them that were ultimately related in a line all the way back to the Nephilim of Genesis:

Nephilim (Gen. 6:1-4; Num. 13:33)
Anakim (Num. 13:28-33; Deut. 1:28; 2:10-11, 21; 9:2; Josh. 14:12)
Amorites (Amos 2:9-10)
Emim (Deut. 2:10-11)
Rephaim (Deut. 2:10-11, 20; 3:11)
Zamzummin (Deut. 2:20)
Zuzim (Gen. 14:5)
Perizzites (Gen. 15:20; Josh. 17:15)
Philistines (2 Sam. 21:18-22)
Horites/Horim (Deut. 2:21-22)
Avvim (Deut. 2:23)
Caphtorim (Deut. 2:23)

The following are implied as including giants by their connection to the descendants of Anak in Numbers 13:28-29:

Jebusites—The word means “Those who trample”
Amorites (Amos 2:9-10)

Here were the towns, cities or locations that were said to have had giants in them:

Gob (2 Sam. 21:18)
Hebron/Kiriath-arba (Num. 13:22; Josh. 14:15)
Ar (Deut. 2:9)
Seir (Deut. 2:21-22)
Debir/ Kiriath-sepher (Josh. 11:21-22)
Anab (Josh. 11:21-22)
Gaza (Josh. 11:21-22)
Gath (Josh. 11:21-22)
Ashdod (Josh. 11:21-22)
Bashan (Deut. 3:10-11)
Ashteroth-karnaim (Gen. 14:5)
Ham (Gen. 14:5)
Shaveh-kiriathaim (Gen. 14:5)
Valley of the Rephaim (Josh. 15:8)
Moab (1 Chron. 11:22)

Many significant individuals are described in the Bible implicitly or explicitly as giants being struck down in war against Israel:

Goliath (1 Sam. 17)
Lahmi, Goliath’s brother (1 Chron. 20:5; 2 Sam. 21:19)
Ishbi-benob (2 Sam. 21:16)
Saph/Sippai (2 Sam. 21:17; 1 Chron. 20:4)
Arba (Josh. 14:15)
Sheshai (Josh.15:14, Num. 13:22)
Ahiman (Josh. 15:14, Num. 13:22)
Talmai (Josh. 15:14, Num. 13:22)
An unnamed warrior giant (1 Chron. 20:6)
And unnamed Egyptian giant (1 Chron. 11:23)
Og of Bashan (Deut. 3:10-11)

The ubiquitous presence of giants throughout the narrative of the Old Testament is no small matter. When God commanded the people of Israel to enter Canaan and devote certain of those peoples to complete destruction (Deut. 20:16-17), it is no coincidence that these peoples we have already seen were connected in some way to the Anakim giants, and Joshua’s campaign explicitly included the elimination of the Anakim/Sons of Anak giants.

If you are like me, you’ve been troubled by God’s actions of having the Israelites kill every man, woman and child in Canaan. Our modern cultural bias makes us think that is mere genocide. But there’s more going on behind the scenes and it ties in with the fact that these cities all had Nephilim descendants in them. There was a genetic corruption (heavenly/earthly, not racial) taking place that was so heinous, God wanted it stricken from the earth.

The Anakim giants were clearly spoken of as coming from the Nephilim back in Genesis 6, and those were the genetic hybrids of angel and human sexual union. God destroyed mankind and imprisoned those angels who sought to violate God’s created order, corrupt God’s image in man, and stop the Messiah from being born who would whoop Satan’s butt. But their genetic offspring of giants continued on in the land of Canaan until they were wiped out by Joshua and ultimately the messiah king, David.

But it is not until Jesus, the Messiah, that the full victory over the spiritual powers and principalities in the heavenly places would be accomplished. That is for the next posts.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on in Kindle or paperback. The website has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

(1) Michael S. Heiser, “The Meaning of the Word Nephilim: Fact vs. Fantasy”

15 comments on “Noah Facts #5: Yes, Virginia, There are Nephilim Giants. Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.

  • Fred Ramos says:

    HI Brian,

    Very, very interesting insights. One detail has troubled me for many years, though. If the flood was supposed to have destroyed all of mankind (except for Noah’s family), how do you explain the existence of these descendants of Anak AFTER the flood?

    • Brian_Godawa says:

      Well, you have a few options: Either the Flood was not global (and there are many godly Christian scholars who believe this, so it isn’t heresy), or one of the three wives of Noah’s sons had recessive Nephilim genes. The Bible doesn’t say that they were physically pure, only that Noah was. Or thirdly, that the Sons of God mated again with humans after the Flood. WHile this is surely possible and not against the text, there does not seem to be any other Scripture that says they did so after that judgement. My own thoughts are that the main culprit angels were bound in Tartarus so the others were afraid to do the same thing after the flood. However, Sodom and Gomorrah and it’s overkill destruction hints to me that some may have been doing it again there. But that is speculation. But the fact remains the Text clearly says they come from the Nephilim, and the only Nephilim spoken of are before the Flood, so I think that is deliberate on the Bible writer’s part.

      • I’m more inclined to believe more Fallen Angels were continuing what their “brethren” started after the Flood. Remember, Sodomites were demanding that Lot hand over his Angelic guests to be raped. Why else would he be willing to hand over his daughters (as vile as that sounds)? Lot was afraid of the end result of the Sodomites raping fully Angelic beings, as opposed to two fully human beings.

  • Fred Ramos says:

    Interesting. I tend to that the flood was not global…Additionally, how angels – believed to be non-corporeal beings – would assume corporeal bodies and have sex with humans is crazy, but as you say, the truth can be stranger than fiction. Blessings!

  • The Nephilim were those called “Noldor elves” (etymology N-ph-L-dior) by Tolkien. I’ve written a book about the Nephilim… find excerpts and the book in the source attached below.

    Who were the biblically-mentioned Nephelim, “the men of old, men of renown”? What was so renowned about the Nephelim?

    Were they the Noldor, who are mentioned as the politically most important of the “awakened” elves?

    Indeed, that is what we find!

    In Aramaic culture, “niyphelah” refers to Orion [the constellation of the 7 stars – correlated to the seven sons of the Noldo Feanor, see], and so nephilim seems related to Noldor. Niyphelah is obviously related to the term Nephele – In Greek myth: “Athamas [Adam] took as first wife the cloud goddess Nephele [related to the term Nephele, the Noldor was the leading reigning house], by whom he had 2 children, the boy Phrixus and the girl Helle [p1s of hell]. The Noldor i.e. Nephel-Dior – related to the root NBL (Nebel = Mist e.g.: nebelwerfer; cognate to novelty as well… indeed the term “nobility” as well – from here sprang; that is why men of renown) – a most ancient nobility created out of Atlantean remnants – were, with some exceptions – allies of Melkor, as Tolkien uses the term “misty mountains” to depict Melkor’s base, which proves that the political plan of creation became pro-logic! This resulted in the Noldor being led by Cain/Melkor… so deeply associated with the elven legacy was Cain that the language of the elves, for Tolkien, is Quendi (Cain-dio)! And here we even find the etymology of Noldor (Nephele-Dior i.e. Nol-Dor) – the emerging nobility… who, after “the creation” – would, by and large, defect, desisting from serving the sublogical commissions of the p0s, and thus become known in bibles as “mighty warriors, men of renown”, “heroes of old, men of renown” etc. – the Nephilim!

    The people of Feanor1, since they had defected from the Creationist p0s, would be called “The fallen angels”…


  • Please excuse my ignorance, and perhaps you touch on this topic elsewhere – but I thought that the Angels were ‘asexual’ that is, that they were masculine in form but could neither marry nor be given in marriage, according to Mark chapter 12. Can you help me understand?

    • Brian_Godawa says:

      Some respond that angelic beings cannot have sex with humans because of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 22 (or Mark 12 as you indicate). But context is a priority when determining meaning. Here is the context as I understand it: Jesus is confronted by Sadducees who are trying to force Jesus to deny the future Resurrection of the dead. They construct a hypothetical of a man with multiple wives due to their multiple deaths, and then ask him which wife is his at the Resurrection, hoping to stump Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. Jesus replies, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven (Matt. 22:29-30).” Because of this, it is alleged by some interpreters that angels cannot have sexual intercourse with humans.

      But this is not at all what Jesus is concluding. Firstly, Jesus is not talking about sexual intercourse, but the religious law of marriage connections between husband and wife. Secondly, he is not talking about what angels cannot do, but what they do not do. Angels in heaven who obey God do not marry. This is a legal question and has no implication on what a fallen angel is capable of sexually doing when coming to earth. Thirdly, Jesus is talking about angels in heaven, their natural abode, not angels on earth who left that abode to engage in unnatural liaisons with human flesh (as we see in 2 Peter 2 and Jude). The angels in heaven that Jesus is talking about are not the angelic sons of God who left heaven, came to earth, and violated God’s separation of those domains by having intercourse with human women. The act of marrying and having sex that the fallen angelic Sons of God did in Genesis 6 was sin, that’s why it was so heinous. It violated God’s creation separation of the heavenly and earthly flesh. 2 Peter 2:4-9 and Jude 6-8 affirm this sexual reality of angels.

  • 1] “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men…”

    Isn’t this verse stating that the Nephilim were already on Earth, existing contemporaneously with the Sons of God, before and after they came to the daughters of men? Could you help me on that?

    • Brian_Godawa says:

      Whoops, I posted a “comment” to answer this instead of hitting reply, so you’ll have to go read me “comment” below on the page to get my response.

  • Brian_Godawa says:

    Hi Cristiano.
    The grammar of the Hebrew in that paragraph is somewhat imprecise, so scholars are divided on its interpretation. But one of the strongest ones to me is what Gordon Wenham writes in his Genesis commentary: “In those days” refers to the pre-flood period when the events described in vv 1–3 took place. “And also afterwards” is a parenthetic comment reminding the reader that giants were still around in the post-diluvian period.” (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1–15, vol. 1, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 143.).

    The reason for concluding that they are not merely “around” but are rather the fruit of the Sons of God mating with women is the “sandwiching effect” of referring to the Nephilim being around “in those days of intermarriage” and then concluding that the Nephilim were the “gibborim” or mighty men of old.” Since the Nephilim were an oddity that the readers were curious about, the context seems to be explaining their origins, or where they came from, namely, from the union of angels and humans. Since Nephilim are giants, then it would not make sense to be simply saying that giants were around in the days when angels mated with women, without it having some explanatory function or connection.

    So Genesis 6 starts by describing the angel/human union, then talks about the Nephilim, and then bookends the discussion by referring back to those sexual unions. The context indicates that the Nephilim are connected to those unions as the purpose or result of them, rather than a mere contemporaneous accident. So I think context links them, otherwise the passage is listing oddities without connection that makes it almost non-sensical.

  • You gotta know the real story of that period to comment beyond the type of speculation that has become typical in this subject.

    Here I show how Tolkien generally is encrypted history, not mere mythology:

    Here i show the specific situation that you’re interested in, the history of the Nephilim:

  • Brian – on Steve Quayle’s site he notes that some were actually 36 ft tall – and 1 Enoch seems to say as tall as the cedars of Lebanon (the initial progeny hybrids were likely the largest). I’ve seen some interesting, almost fantastical explanations of Nimrod becoming gibborim / giant / possibly hybrid but have yet to see evidence of this. It certainly makes Sunday School / most church teaching insipid and boring by comparison.

    • Paul, Thanks for your comments. I would be careful not to believe everything people say about this. There is no biblical evidence of 36 feet tall. That is absurd. At most the Bible suggests 9 feet for the tallest. Most of them were around 7 feet tall. And that Enoch reference (1Enoch 7:3-6) is like over 450 feet tall. That is absurd. We must be careful not to give up our discernment.

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