On Genesis, Part 8: The Giants and the Sons of God

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On Genesis, Part 8: The Giants and the Sons of God

The opening verse of Genesis chapter 5 announces that “This is the book of the generations, or race, of Adam”, and here that book continues. However since there is no explicit break in the context, nor do we see any other reference which may indicate the start of another new book, then this book continues all the way through to the very end of Genesis. While it seems that there should be a logical break in the narrative between the enumeration of the families of the sons of Noah and the time of the call of Abraham, there is not any explicit indication that this book has any further divisions. So in spite of the brevity of the first two books of Genesis, the first being from chapter 1 verse 1 through chapter 2 verse 3, and the second being from chapter 2 verse 4 through to the end of chapter 4, this book is comparatively quite lengthy.

The very construction of this book is also a statement, as the description of the tribes of the sons of Noah is historically relevant to the time of the call of Abraham, and also to the time of Moses when this book was written, but soon after that description the focus of the narrative of the race of Adam quickly narrows to the family of Abraham, and then to the children of Jacob exclusively. From that time, and throughout the subsequent books of the Bible, other Adamic families are mentioned only when they come into contact with the children of Israel, or when they are subjects of prophecy in relation to Israel. In the meantime, here in Genesis chapter 6, there are explicit references to the presence of another race of people, who are not of Adam but who had evidently been on the earth for a long time.

The word for book in that opening verse of Genesis chapter 5 is ספר or sepher, a word which was borrowed into English in the form of the modern word cipher. A ספר or sepher (Strong’s # 5612) is a book, missive or document, but also, as it is used in Scripture as a verb in Genesis chapter 15, an accounting, counting or numbering. The English word account also has all of the same general uses, and to cipher in Medieval English was to do arithmetic, although that word now has different uses in modern English. So this is the account of the race of Adam, and beginning with this sixth chapter of Genesis, any other people who are mentioned in this book, who are not of Adam, are interlopers who are only mentioned in this book as it becomes necessary in order to give an account of Adam, because they had come into contact with and had some impact on the history of people of the race of Adam. They are interlopers because they are not mentioned in the creation account of Genesis, and therefore they must have some other origin. Then, by the end of this book of Genesis, it becomes wholly apparent that the only portion of the race of Adam which is the direct concern of Yahweh God and the subjects of his further promises are the children of Israel. The last promises made to the Adamic race in general are found in the account of Noah in Genesis chapter 9.

Now it is important to once again illustrate the methods underlying our claims to be able to understand this book. As we had discussed at length in the very first presentation of this commentary on Genesis, since one purpose of the ministry of Christ was to reveal things which had been kept secret from the foundation of the world, as Matthew explained in chapter 13 of his Gospel, then it is necessary for us to interpret the creation account through Christian eyes, as we had titled that presentation, which is through the words of Christ and His apostles, if Genesis is going to properly be understood. Paul of Tarsus also made a similar declaration to that of Matthew in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 where he wrote “6 Now we speak wisdom among the accomplished; but wisdom not of this age, nor of those governing this age, who are being done away with. 7 Rather we speak wisdom of Yahweh, that had been hidden in a mystery, which Yahweh had predetermined before the ages for our honor, 8 which not one of the governors of this age has known, (since if they had known, they would not have crucified the Authority of that honor,) 9 but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and came not into the heart of man, those things Yahweh has prepared for them that love Him’”. So on the other hand, we may only feign ignorance concerning the events of Genesis if we purposely refuse to consider them through the understanding which was imparted by Christ, and therefore that ignorance would be a willful ignorance and a willful disobedience to the Living God.

Although it is not revealed in Genesis, Adam is reckoned to be a son of Yahweh God, which is stated explicitly in Luke chapter 3 where we read, as the King James Version has it, that Seth “38… was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” While the words the son were marked as having been added by the translators throughout the genealogy which is presented in that chapter, it certainly is an aspect of the meaning of the constructions in the original Greek, and they need not have been italicized in the King James Version. The children of Israel are called the children of God in Deuteronomy chapter 14, which opens with the words “1 Ye are the children of the Lord your God…” and the concept is repeated in many places in the books of the prophets. The men of Israel are referred to as the “sons of God” in Job chapters 1 and 2 (1:6 and 2:1), in each of which passages state that “there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord”, which is a reference to the law requiring the men of Israel to appear before God three times each year, found in Exodus chapter 23 (23:17) and Deuteronomy chapter 16 (16:16). But while in the Old Testament the children of Israel are frequently described as the sons and daughters of God (i.e. Isaiah 43:6; 45:11; Hosea 1:10), because Adam was a son of God then the entire race of Adam are the children of God, as Paul of Tarsus had also addressed the Athenians informing them of that fact in the Book of Acts.

Generally speaking, the Athenians were a portion of the tribe of the Ionian Greeks, and therefore they descended from Javan the son of Japheth who is mentioned in Genesis chapter 10. In Persian inscriptions such as the Behistun Rock as well as in the Hebrew Scriptures, the name Javan is Yavana, and it was used by each of those nations to refer to the Ionian Greeks, as opposed to Danaan or Dorian Greeks, who were not Ionians. Paul did not preach to the Athenians concerning Christ, sin, redemption, or covenants, because ostensibly they were not Israelites and therefore there was no need for him to have done so. Rather, Paul addressed them in relation to God alone and using one of their own monuments as a rhetorical device, he said, as it was recorded in Acts chapter 17: “23 For passing through and considering your objects of worship I found even an altar upon which was inscribed ‘To The Unknown God’. So that which is unknown you reverence, this I declare to you: 24 God who made the order and all the things in it. He being Prince of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made by hand. 25 Neither is He attended by the hands of men, being in need of anything, Himself giving to all life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one every nation of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth, appointing the times ordained and the boundaries of their settlements, 27 to seek God. If surely then they would seek after Him then they would find Him, and indeed He being not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in Him we live and we move and we are, even as some of the poets have said concerning you, For we also are of His offspring.’” Where Paul referred to the divisions of the nations of men, he was making an allusion to Genesis chapters 10 and 11 and had paraphrased Deuteronomy 32:8 where we read: “When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” All of the nations of Genesis chapter 10 being descended from Adam, with the exception of those which had later become bastards through miscegenation, they are all sons of God, and that is the basis for Paul’s statements to the Athenians.

But here in Genesis chapter 6 we shall encounter the phrase “sons of God” in verses 2 and 4, which we must contest as being spurious. This is because first, Adam and his race are the children of Yahweh God, as the prophets had referred to Israel and as we have just seen that the apostles of Christ had also explained. John also mentioned the intent of Christ, in chapter 11 of his Gospel, “52 … that also He would gather into one the children of God who had been dispersed.” Then secondly, because this opening passage of Genesis chapter 6 describes an instance of miscegenation, a race-mixing event, which had brought death to nearly all of the descendants of Adam. If the “sons of God” were of the same race as the daughters of Adam, then this could not have been an issue, and there would have been no sin. Finally, because of the way in which these so-called “sons of God” are actually associated with the fallen angels in verse 4 of this chapter, it becomes evident that by mingling with them, the descendants of Adam in the time of Noah were once again committing the same sin which Adam and Eve had committed, and that is why their transgression was punishable with death. As we shall also see, the apostle Jude had also alluded to this very event where he mentioned “the angels which kept not their first estate” in his one short epistle.

In Romans chapter 5, Paul of Tarsus had explained that “13… for until the law sin was in the Society; but sin was not accounted, there not being law; 14 but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not committed a sin resembling the transgression of Adam…” So if sin was not accounted, the law not yet having been given, on what basis were the descendants of Adam punished for their miscegenation here in Genesis chapter 6? But there was one law which was given to Adam in Genesis chapter 2, and that was the law which Adam himself had transgressed, which is the commandment not to eat from of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So here in Genesis chapter 6, that must be the law which his descendants had also transgressed, for which they were liable to punishment. The punishment they received is worthy of the crime, according to that law, and therefore Yahweh God is justified as a righteous judge in His having sent the flood upon man.

The Codex Alexandrinus does not have “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2, but rather it has “angels of God” (see an image of the relevant portion of that manuscript which I have annotated). However even that source seems confused, as it does have “sons of God” in verse 4, where we may have also expected it to have angels. Likewise, in the Hexapla at verse 2 of this chapter, it is noted that one manuscript from the Greek translations is also said to have angels rather than sons. At that point Fridericus Field, in his edition of Origen’s Hexapla (Volume I, p. 22), had inserted a lengthy footnote illustrating well over a dozen instances in various ancient manuscripts and in the Patristic writings which have “angels of God” or phrases other than “sons of God” in this passage. Doing that he also cited Jerome, the 4th century translator of the Latin Vulgate whom he calls by the Greek form of his name, Hieronymus, where he was criticizing Aquila of Sinope and wrote, in Latin: “The Hebrew word ELOIM is a common number; and indeed God and the gods are addressed in the same way: because of what Aquila dared to call the sons of the gods in the plural number, the saint who understands the gods or the angels. For God stood in the assembly of the gods; but in the midst he discerns the gods (Psalm 81:1).” [1]

[Here we have provided an image of the relevant page from the Hexapla. All of Field’s notes and other statements in his volume of the Hexapla are in Latin. The Latin text reads: Verbum Hebraicum ELOIM communis est numeri; et Deus quippe et dii similiter apellantur: propter quad Aquilla plurali numero filios deorum ausus est dicere, deos intelligens sanctus sive angelos. Deos enim stetit in synagoga deorum; in medio autem deos discernit (Psalm lxxxi. 1). Our translation of the Latin text from Jerome is mostly from Google Translate. The reference to the 81st Psalm, evidently inserted by Field, is after the numbering of the Septuagint. The passage is found in the 82nd Psalm in the King James Version and others which are based on the Masoretic Text.]

[1 Origenis Hexaplorum, Fridericus Field, AA.M., E Typographeo Clarendoniano (The Clarendon Press), 1875, Volume 1 p. 22.]

There in that passage from Jerome, it seems evident that he was attempting to cross-reference the phrase “sons of god” here in his manuscripts of Genesis chapter 6 to what appears in the King James Version of the Bible as the 82nd Psalm, which he cited in the final clause of Field’s note. This reflects confusion on the part of Jerome, as Christ Himself did not interpret the 82nd Psalm in that manner. Rather, Christ professed that the gods of the 82nd Psalm were those to whom the Word of God was delivered, where Christ was addressing His adversaries and we read in John chapter 10: “34 … Is it not written in your law that ‘I have said, Ye are gods’? 35 If He spoke of them as gods to whom the Word of God had come, and the writing is not able to be broken, 36 He whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the Society, you tell that ‘You blaspheme’, because I said I am a son of God?” Those words of Christ make it plainly evident that since the Word of Yahweh had come to the children of Israel, then it is the children of Israel who are the “gods” of the 82nd Psalm, whereas it is evident in that passage from John that the religious leaders in Judaea were oblivious and even hostile to such a concept.

Rather than “sons of God” in verse 2 of Genesis chapter 6, another of the Greek versions included in the Hexapla, which is apparently that of Symmachus the Ebionite, has the phrase τῶν δυναστευόντων, but once again, it is only evident in relation to verse 2 and not verse 4. The phrase is a definite article with a plural masculine participle form of a Greek verb which means to hold power or lordship or to be powerful, according to Liddell & Scott. So it may be rendered as the powerful ones, among other possibilities. The same manuscript has οἱ βίαιοι, the violent ones, rather than giants in verse 4. Perhaps this is an interpretation, but in verse 2 the phrase τῶν δυναστευόντων was very likely not taken from any Hebrew phrase which may mean “sons of God”.

The Codex Alexandrinus is commonly esteemed to belong to the 5th century AD, the translations of both Aquila and Symmachus date to the 2nd century, and Origen dates to the first half of the 3rd century AD. Where Jerome had mentioned Aquila, as his words were reproduced in Field’s footnote, he must have meant Aquila of Sinope, who had translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek in the 2nd century AD. So in any event, this shows that there was a tradition in at least a portion of Greek manuscripts spanning four centuries of the Christian era which had retained a reading of angels of God, or at least something compatible with that reading, in the case of Symmachus, rather than sons of God, at least in part in Genesis 6:2. This also betrays the likelihood that once again, there may have been differences among the Hebrew manuscripts of the time.

This is fully evident in the writings of Flavius Josephus, in Antiquities of the Judaeans, Book 1 [1.72-73], where he wrote the following, as translated by William Whiston:

72 Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy. 73 For 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. But Noah was very uneasy at what they did; and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better: but seeing they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of that land.

It must be noted that Josephus was a Pharisee, and his interpretations of Scripture are at least somewhat representative of the doctrines of the Pharisees of his time, whom according to Christ had many things in error. So while there are things here which we may consider strange, it is nevertheless apparent that Josephus was basing his comments upon a Genesis manuscript which had “angels” rather than “sons of God” in what we now know as Genesis chapter 6.

So with this, we shall present and comment further upon the opening verses of the chapter:

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

These men are אדם, or adam, and since this is still the “book of the race” of Adam, only the daughters of Adam, and not the daughters of any other race, are the subjects here. But if the sons of God are sons of Adam, who is the son of God, then there would be no sin. So the phrase “sons of God” here causes a conflict in the Scriptures which fully indicates that the phrase itself may indeed have been a corruption, and that Josephus and the other manuscripts which have “angels” are correct.

From Genesis 6:5 it is evident that these illicit unions between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” were evil, and had resulted in Yahweh’s destruction of that old society in the great flood. Yet Noah, who was “perfect in his generations”, was spared along with his family. The word rendered as “generations” in the first clause of Genesis 6:9 in the King James Version is toledah, and it means descent, or race as we had explained it in relation to Genesis 5:1. Noah being the exception to the sin described in this opening passage for the reason that he was perfect in his descent, or race, the only reason must be that the blood of Noah and his sons had not been tainted by the race-mixing described in these verses.

So the word translated as “generations” in the second clause of verse 9, which is דר or דור, dor or dowr (Strong’s # 1755), is a word with a wide range of meaning. In some contexts it may refer to an age or generation, as we use the term today, but it is more accurately the span of a man’s life in that sense. However it was also used to describe posterity, and therefore it was usually translated into Greek in the Septuagint as γενεά, which is a race or the generation of a particular race, and sometimes as γένεσις, which is an origin. The word dor was translated into Greek in verse 9 as γενεά, but the Codex Alexandrinus has γένεσις. In any event, Noah and his family were preserved because they were perfect in their race or origin. If Noah, one man, was perfect in his generations, as the word dor in Genesis 6:9 is plural, then that could only mean that all of his ancestors and his living children were all of the race of Adam which Yahweh God had created. Therefore none of them were mixed in the sin described here in the opening verses of the chapter, and that is why Noah was chosen for preservation.

Most of the words for man and men in verses 1 through 4 here are from the Hebrew word adam (Strong’s # 120), signifying those men of the Adamic race which had descended from Adam through Seth. The word for man in verses 5 through 7 is also adam, so it is they who would be held accountable and punished for these sins. Yet the Hebrew word rendered men in the phrase “men of renown” in verse 4 is enosh (# 582), which is a different, less specific word for man and merely refers to a mortal man, regardless of his race. Then in that same verse, the Hebrew word גבור or gibowr (# 1368), which describes a strong man without any connotation of race, is translated as “mighty men”, also being plural. While the word enosh is sometimes used of Adamic men, it is also often used disparagingly, or even in contrast to adam, where men of non-Adamic races are referred to. Examples of this are found in Daniel 2:43 (in the Aramaic equivalent enash (Strong’s # 606), and in the 90th Psalm where we read: “3 Thou turnest man [enosh] to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men [adam].” All mortal men, or enosh are destroyed since all men face death, but only the children of Adam are returned, which is to say, resurrected in the last day.

3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Sometimes this period of 120 years is interpreted out of context and quite childishly to mean that from the time of Noah, men should live only to the age of 120 years. But rather, here Yahweh is speaking collectively of the Adamic man, and making a statement that portends judgement 120 years from this time. Therefore, since Genesis chapter 9 (9:28-29), informs us that Noah lived for 350 years after the flood, and for a total of 950 years, the flood must have come in the 600th year of his life, and at this point of the narrative it must be the 480th year of his life. Therefore, since Noah began having sons in his 500th year, they have not yet been born at this time. So it is evident that Noah had 120 years to raise his sons and to build the ark before the flood would come.

4 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.

As we have noted, here where the children of Adam are the subjects in these verses, the word used to refer to them is adam. But where the others here are referred to here in verse 4, the so-called giants, the word employed is enosh, and therefore it makes no sense to imagine that these were either the angels of heaven or the sons of God. Rather, as they are described here, although they may have been of great stature they were nevertheless only mortal men who had done these things to the descendants of Adam.

The word for giants in this passage is נפלים or nephilim, and it is accompanied by a Hebrew article by which it is distinguished as a definite noun. In the various Greek versions found in the Hexapla it was translated as οἱ ἐπιπίπτοντες, which is a plural definite article and active plural participle meaning those who fall upon, or perhaps the assailants as a Substantive, οἱ βίαιοι, which is the violent ones, or οἱ δυνατοί, which is the powerful or mighty ones. But in the Septuagint itself the word was translated as οἱ γίγαντες, the giants, and certain ancient Greek myths concerning giants parallel the Hebrew Scriptures in reference to them, for which they certainly seem to be paganized embellishments of this account in the Scriptures.

Much of what follows has been adapted from our May, 18th, 2020 presentation Addressing Charles Weisman’s What About the Seedline Doctrine? Part 8, Fallen Angels and Giants:

Yet we cannot agree with any of these ancient Greek translations of this word נפלים, or nephilim (# 5303), and therefore we must discuss it further, beginning with the entry for the word in Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, on page 556, to which we shall add some bracketed notes of our own:

נפיל [nephil] only in plural נפילים [nephilim] masculine giants, Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33. So all the ancient versions (Chaldaean נפילא [nephila] the giant in the sky, i.e. the constellation Orion, plural the greater constellations). The etymology of this word is uncertain. Some have compared [a certain Arabic word or words which we cannot read] which Gigg. and Cast. [unknown linguists or lexicographers, Gesenius supplied no table of abbreviations] render, great, large in body [referring to the Arabic words being compared to nephilim]; but this is incorrect; for it [the Arabic word or words] means, excellent, noble, skillful. [Now Gesenius gives his own opinion:] I prefer with the Hebrew interpreters [evidently the Jewish Masoretes] and Aquilla [who translated the Old Testament about 140 AD and rendered ha nephilim as οἱ ἐπιπίπτοντες (epipiptontes), commonly interpreted as those who fall on something] falling on, attacking, so that נפיל [nephil] is of intransitive signification. Those who used to interpret the passage in Genesis of the fall of angels, were accustomed to render נפילים [nephilim] fallers, rebels, apostates.

[Here one may find both an excerpt and a full-page scan of page 556 from my copy of this lexicon.]

A verb can be described as transitive or intransitive based on whether or not it requires an object to express a complete thought. The true question is whether the original meaning is active or passive, in spite of the fact that Aquilla had translated it as an active Greek participle, and in the actual ancient Hebrew the two are not distinguished, as the word form of the word here is a noun. Other commentators I have seen attempt to derive נפיל [nephil] from פלא [phela], to distinguish, or to be great or extraordinary or something wonderful or admirable (Strong’s # 6381). This hardly describes the despised nephilim, or the reason why they were called by that name. An example of this interpretation is found in Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scripture.

According to Strong’s Hebrew lexicon, the primary meaning of the root word of nephil is a verb, נפל [naphal] which is “to fall, lie, be cast down,” and it is therefore passive although it can also mean “to cause to fall”, however the Hebrew vowel points being added by later men, the only accurate way to distinguish the meaning is in the context. It is a real stretch even on the part of Gesenius to insist that the primary sense is fellers, meaning those who make others to fall.

Where in his definition for nephilim Gesenius said “I prefer the Hebrew interpreters”, meaning the Medieval Jewish Masoretes and rabbis, as opposed to “Those who used to interpret the passage in Genesis of the fall of angels” who therefore translated the word as fallers, for which we would write fallen ones, he is nevertheless admitting that our interpretation of the term is indeed legitimate, that it was once recognized by more than one interpreter, but that his preference was to go along with the Jewish rabbis. That is not our preference.

Now much of what follows has been adapted from my own essay, The Problem With Genesis 6:1-4, which was evidently written in 2007:

Now in order to further examine this phrase “sons of God” in these passages, before we reach a final conclusion on the conflict which he appearance of the phrase in this context causes with the balance of Scripture, we shall discuss these first four verses of Genesis chapter 6 from other apocryphal sources. These are found in The Dead Sea Scrolls by Florentino G. Martinez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible by Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich, and once again, 1 Enoch, in the form of the edition of the Book of Enoch translated by R.H. Charles, first published in 1912. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible is a translation of all of the Dead Sea Scrolls which are ancient copies of Biblical books. The Dead Sea Scrolls by Martinez and Tigchelaar is a translation of all of the Dead Sea Scrolls which are peculiar to the Qumran sect which produced the scrolls, not known from other sources or clearly sectarian in nature, in addition to books found among the scrolls which are known from other sources but which are considered to be apocryphal, such as fragments from copies of the Book of Enoch.

According to The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, fragments of twenty-four ancient manuscripts of Genesis have been found, twenty of them at Qumran and four elsewhere in the Judaean desert. Disappointingly, none of these have preserved for us any portion of the passages found in the Bible at Genesis 3:15 through 4:1 or 6:1 through 12. Yet among the Dead Sea Scrolls is found the Genesis Apocryphon, of which The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible says on p. 4: “Retelling portions of Genesis was a popular business in the Qumran community. The Genesis Apocryphon, preserved to a length of twenty-three somewhat fragmentary columns, is an Aramaic work that rehearses the lives of Enoch, Lamech, Noah and his sons, and Abraham. The creation, the flood, and events in the life of Abraham were extremely popular with the writers of the Second Temple period. Theological issues found their beginnings in Genesis as well. Discussions concerning the pollution of humans and divine beings by sin were centered on the mysterious union of ‘the sons of God and the daughters of men’ in Genesis 6:1-4, and messianic musings were founded on the blessings to the tribe of Judah in Genesis 49:10.”

It is apparent here that these The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible commentators have not distinguished one very important fact: that the Septuagint and later Hebrew Masoretic texts as we know them are the products of the respective priestly establishments of their days; the former is Judaean, of the Second Temple period, the latter is Jewish, of the early Medieval Age. Examining the Genesis Apocryphon, 1 Enoch, and the fragments of Enoch literature among the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with other sources both official and apocryphal, it is evident that there is a tradition concerning the opening verses of Genesis chapter 6 which is contrary to the one that has been preserved by the religious establishment at Jerusalem and the later Masoretic rabbis. We believe that some of those Greek translations in the Hexapla also reflect this tradition. This alternate tradition helps to resolve the conflict found in Genesis 6 which we have already described. All of these so-called apocryphal works are representative of the understanding of religious people of the time who were independent of both the later Second Temple priesthood and the Jewish rabbis. Even if some of the details of the Genesis Apocryphon were contrived, and at least some of them apparently had been, the general theme nevertheless represents an understanding of the Biblical account by certain early writers, which when put together with other independent ancient sources cannot be discarded. The same is true even if the original portions Book of Enoch weren’t actually written by the patriarch Enoch. Evidence may demonstrate that it actually consists of several books later combined into one, which were written at various times, and that it contains many embellishments and interpolations. This alternate tradition shall now be presented here.

In all of the sources which we shall exhibit in this presentation, the possibility that there were differences among the Hebrew manuscripts in the reading of this opening passage of Genesis chapter 6 cannot be summarily dismissed, and in light of so many statements in the New Testament, it really cannot be dismissed at all.

First, there is another related tradition which we will not repeat fully until we are introduced to Noah later in this chapter. In 1 Enoch chapter 106 (106:1-6) there is a fragment of the apocryphal Book of Noah which is esteemed to have originally been a separate work that was incorporated into the Book of Enoch, as Charles explains in his introduction to the book, on pp. 46-47. In that work, wherever the so-called “sons of God” of Genesis chapter 6 were mentioned, the word for angels is found, although the same are also described as the “sons of the God of heaven”. Elsewhere in 1 Enoch, in chapter 6 (6:1-2) we read: “1. And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. 2. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children’.”

Now turning to The Dead Sea Scrolls, in the Qumran scroll labeled 1QapGen ar, or 1QGenesis Apocryphon, Column II, the following words attributed to the patriarch Lamech, who, as in the Book of Noah, was portrayed as having grieved at the appearance of Noah: “1 Behold, then, I thought in my heart that the conception was (the work) of the Watchers, and the pregnancy of the Holy Ones, and it belonged to the Nephil[in] [the same word nephilim of Genesis 6:4 - WRF] 2 and my heart within me was upset on account of this boy. Blank 3 Then I, Lamech, was frightened and turned to Bitenosh, my wife, [and said:] 4 [Behold,] I adjure you by the Most High, by the Great Lord, by the King of all A[ges, ...] 5 [...] the sons of heaven, that you tell me in truth everything, whether [...] 6 [...] Tell me without lies whether this ... [...] 7 by the King of all Ages that you are speaking to me frankly and without lies [...] 8 Then Bitenosh, my wife, spoke to me very harshly, and ... [...] 9 and said: Oh my brother and lord! Remember my sexual pleasure ... [...] 10 in the heat of intercourse, and the gasping of my breath in my breast. I shall tell you everything accurately [...] 11 [...] ... very much my heart within me and I was still upset. Blank 12 When Bitenosh, my wife, realized that my countenance had altered ... [...] 13 then she suppressed her anger, speaking to me and saying to me: O my lord and brother! [Remember] 14 my sexual pleasure. I swear to you by the Great Holy One, by the King of the hea[ven]s ... [...] 15 that this seed comes from you, that this pregnancy comes from you, that the planting of [this] fruit comes from you, [...] 16 and not from any foreigner nor from any of the watchers or sons of heav[en. Why is the expression] 17 of your face so changed and distorted, and your spirit so depressed?” Lamech is then portrayed as having sent to Methusaleh, and even to Enoch, in order to help verify the words of his wife. But what is important to note here is that Lamech is portrayed as having wanted to make certain that his son was not of the “watchers of sons of heaven”, and not “sons of God”, so the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls may well have had a copy of Genesis chapter 6 which differed from the Masoretic Text or the majority of the manuscripts of the Septuagint.

In Column V of the same scroll from The Dead Sea Scrolls, there is another reference to these angels as “the sons of heaven”. Several other fragments of the Book of Enoch found among the Dead Sea Scrolls agree to a great extent with Charles’ Book of Enoch which was translated from an entirely different source, the texts found in Ethiopia which had been maintained there for many centuries. While they shall not all be cited here, representative of the Enoch literature relating to the evetns of Genesis chapter 6 is 4Q202 or 4QEnochb ar, Column II, a text which corresponds to portions of 1 Enoch chapters 5 through 8 (5:9-6:4 and 6:7-8:1), and which reads in part: “1 [al]l the [d]ays [of their life ...] 2 It happened that wh[en in those days the sons of men increased,] 3 pretty and [attractive daughters were born to them. The Watchers, sons of the sky, saw them and lusted for them] 4 and sa[id to each other: « Let’s go and choose out women from among the daughters of men and sire for ourselves] 5 [sons »….” The reconstructions in this translation were corroborated from other scrolls, such as 4Q201 and 4Q204. The offspring which resulted from these unions are later called bastards, for instance in 4Q204 where we read: “Exterminate all the spirits of the bastards and the sons of the Watchers”, which seems to have been speaking prophetically.

That Watchers is a word used of certain angels, at least, is evident in Scripture in Daniel chapter 4 (4:13, 17 and 23), where it is without doubt used of angels. The word also appears in a similar context in a very unlikely place (to the casual observer), in the Greek poet Hesiod’s Works And Days where we read: “For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep watch on judgments and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in mist, all over the earth.” [2]

[1 Hesiod, Works and Days, lines 252-255, published in Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White for the Loeb Classical Library, volume 57, Harvard University Press, 1914-2000, p. 21.]

Examining the epistle of Jude found in our Bibles, it is readily evident that the apostle drew heavily from the Book of Enoch for this one short letter, even quoting it directly (cf. Jude 14; 1 Enoch 1:9), and from those same sections of the Book of Enoch cited here, where he discusses “the angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 6). So for example, in 1 Enoch 15:1-3 we read: “1. And He answered and said to me, and I heard His voice: ‘Fear not, Enoch, thou righteous man and scribe of righteousness: approach hither and hear my voice. 2. And go, say to the Watchers of heaven, who have sent thee to intercede for them: ‘You should intercede for men, and not men for you: 3. Wherefore have ye left the high, holy and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children of earth, and begotten giants (as your) sons…’” Whatever we may think of this partial account, these are what Jude had called “the angels which kept not their first estate”.

Speaking of His own adversaries, whom he had also in other places had accused of being descendants of Cain, Yahshua Christ Himself informs His disciples in Luke chapter 10 that: “18… I beheld the Adversary [or Satan] falling as lightning from heaven”, and then He related this adversary, to serpents and scorpions where He continued and said: “19 Behold! I have given to you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and no one shall by any means do you injustice. ” An illustration of this same phenomenon was provided to us by Christ in Revelation chapter 12: “7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” This explanation in the Revelation of Yahshua Christ explains the origin both of the serpent of Genesis chapter 3, and the Nephilim, or Fallen Ones, of Genesis chapter 6, the “angels which kept not their first estate” in the epistle of Jude.

For another related New Testament witness, it is evident that in his epistle to the Colossians, Paul of Tarsus had blamed angels, ostensibly fallen angels, for the false religions of the pagan world. This is found in Colossians chapter 2, which reads in part: “... Whereas the body is of the Anointed, 18 let no one find you unworthy of reward, being willing with humiliation even in worship of the angels; stepping into things which one sees, heedlessly inflated by the mind of one’s flesh, 19 and not grasping the Head…” Within the context of Paul’s ministry, the “worship of angels” can only refer to the pagan religions which the Colossian Christians had all at one time followed.

But in his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul made a statement equating those same pagan religions to the worship of demons. For this, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 we read: “18 Behold Israel down through the flesh: are not those who are eating the sacrifices partners of the altar? 19 What then do I say? That that which is sacrificed to an idol is anything? Or that an idol is anything? 20 Rather, that whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh. Now I do not wish for you to be partners with demons.” Now, parallel to this statement, from 1 Enoch chapter 19 we read: “1. And Uriel said to me: ‘Here shall stand the angels who have connected themselves with women, and their spirits assuming many different forms are defiling mankind and shall lead them astray into sacrificing to demons as gods, (here shall they stand), till the day of the great judgement in which they shall be judged till they are made an end of’.” The Greek word rendered as demons, or devils in the King James Version in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, is δαιμόνιον, a diminutive form of δαίμων (Strong’s # 1140), for which Joseph Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament has: “2. a spirit, a being inferior to God, superior to men … elsewhere in the Scripture used, without an adjunct, of evil spirits …” Thayer’s defines δαίμων, (# 1142) to mean: “1. In Greek authors a god, a goddess; an inferior deity … 2. In the New Testament an evil spirit…” So while these are opposing views, they also describe one and the same entities.

In conclusion, if we consider the testimony of the Book of Enoch from 1 Enoch and from the fragments of Enoch in the Dead Sea Scrolls, from the Genesis Apocryphon, from the Greek text of the Codex Alexandrinus, from the reading of “angels” in reference to Genesis chapter 6 in the Antiquities of Flavius Josephus, from the evidence in the Hexapla and the manuscripts cited by Fridericus Field, from the translation of Symmachus, from the confusion of Jerome, from the remarks of Gesenius in reference to the word nephilim, and from the New Testament passages cited here from Luke chapter 10, Revelation chapter 12, Paul of Tarsus and the Epistle of Jude, all together, to be in this one place an authority of greater weight than the versions of Genesis 6:1-4 found in the other Septuagint manuscripts and in the Masoretic texts of the Old Testament, which are known to contain errors and to have suffered emendations in other places, then we can allow ourselves to correct the phrase “sons of God” at Genesis 6:2 and 6:4 to instead read “sons of heaven”, referring to those rebellious angels which are described in the New Testament passages which we have just cited.

This would also explain some of the wording of verse 4 of this chapter of Genesis, which we shall now repeat: “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God [the angels, or sons of Heaven] 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.” So the Nephilim, or fallen ones called giants in the King James Version, were in the earth “in those days” and also after that. Here it is fully evident that the Nephilim were in the earth all along, as the Revelation informs us that they had been cast out of heaven, and that must have happened even before Adam was created, since “that old serpent” along with the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” were already in the garden as soon as Adam had been created. Where it says “and after that” we see that they survived the flood of Noah, and they appear again as the Rephaim of Genesis chapter 15 and the Anakim of Numbers chapter 13, where the word nephilim is once again translated as giants in the King James Version on two occasions in the final verse of the chapter. Both the Rephaim and the Anakim are only later divisions of the Nephilim, named for certain of their own patriarchs.

Reading “sons of heaven” in these verses of Genesis chapter 6, the narrative clearly becomes a rather consistent account of the first sins of men which agrees with all of the related New Testament scriptures and the words of Yahshua Christ and His apostles. But if we insist on reading “sons of God” in spite of the later Scriptures which describe the sons of Adam as sons of God, then we shall all remain as confused as Jerome had evidently been by his own copies of the rabbinical manuscripts. As Christians we cannot understand Scripture through Jewish eyes, but rather, we can only understand it through the eyes of Christ, which is through His Word.

Yahweh willing, we shall return to Genesis chapter 6 next week.

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