Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find the previous posts HERE. This post is a recap of the last few chapters in an FAQ form.
From The Flood Through Abram FAQ
FAQ is probably being generous. We’ll say “Occasionally Asked Questions.” This is not a definitive list. I reserve the right to add to this list and/or change my answers over time. I hope that this list of questions and answers will cover the ground we have traveled in this section:
- What happened with Ham, an uncovered Noah, and the curse on Canaan?
* Let’s start with the text: Gen. 9:21-25 “21 He ]Noah\ drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan;, a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”
* The meaning of Canaan: כְּנַעַן Kᵉnaʻan, ken-ah’-an; from H3665; humiliat0ed; Kenaan, a son a Ham; also the country inhabited by him:—Canaan, merchant, traffick.
* The text does not tell us outright, however, the name Canaan is suggestive of his origin. Was Canaan born prior to this humiliation or as a result of it?
* From GenesisGenetics.org:
(a) The term saw the “nakedness of his father” (Genesis 9:22) is the same term as used in the Levitical law when dealing with incest (e.g. Leviticus 20:11 “And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness:” – KJV). This clearly means having sexual relations.
(b) Noah knew that the result of this union would upset the balance between good and evil (1 John 3:12, Genesis 4:25).
* It seems clear that something more than what is stated in the text happened here. The evidence is suggestive of incest. Did Ham sleep with his mother and sire Canaan? Did Ham commit incest with his inebriated father – causing Noah to curse Ham’s son? We simply do not know enough about this incident to know for sure.
* If Ham slept with his father’s wife, it may be the case that Canaan was the offspring. If Noah’s wife – unnamed in the text – was of Nephilim origin, then Ham’s act with her may have reintroduced Nephilim characteristics into the world via Canaan.
* When Moses – the stated author of Genesis – leads his people from Egypt, who occupies The Promised Land? The Canaanites. A cynical person might view this story as a way for Moses and the Israelites to intentionally dishonor the Canaanites. Writing a history that attributes the origin of your enemy, as being rooted in incest, is dishonoring, right?
* Something else to consider in these events. When Moses leads the Israelites into the lands occupied by the Canaanites, the Israelites find… giants. Remember, The Flood is said to have been intended to wipe out the Nephilim giants. Is there a genetic lineage from this incident? Possibly. The text is at least suggestive of a link. Canaan might be the patriarch of a line of giants (or at a minimum, the text wishes to create that link in the mind of its readers.)
- What is the Table of Nations?
* Genesis Chapter 10 is an explanation/correlation between the descendants of Noah’s three sons and various nations of the world that resulted from those sons. It is commonly referred to as the Table of Nations.
* There is not universal academic agreement on the associations provided herein, nor even within religious scholars, however, there is a shared tradition within the Abrahamic religious scholars that the peoples of the world were/are descended from the sons of Noah.
- Does the Table of Nations account for the Americas and east Asia?
* Genesis 10 does not directly describe the peopling of the America and east Asia, though it is assumed by religious scholars that the Americas were likely settled by descendants who sailed from western Africa to South and Central America.
* Some speculate that Noah – separate of his sons – settled and peopled China and ultimately east Asia.
* It is therefore possible to believe that North America was settled from the south – through South and Central America, as well as from the west (via a route from Siberia through Alaska.) The total decimation of the Americas when the Europeans settled makes it difficult to know much though there are hints of a shared origin – including similar art, architecture, religious, and mythological traditions.
* One other possibility for the peopling of the Americas and east Asia occurs in the next chapter. Genesis 11:8: 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. We are told that God dispersed the people who were building the Tower of Babel “over the face of all the earth.”
- Did Nimrod spearhead the Tower of Babel project?
* In chapter 10, we are told Nimrod was our first great city-builder. His kingdom began in Babel, in the land of Shinar. It seems probable that Nimrod was responsible for building the Tower of Babel.
* Nimrod is described as a “mighty” man. The word mighty is translated from גִּבּוֹר gibbôwr, ghib-bore’; or גִּבֹּר gibbôr; (shortened) intensive from the same as H1397; powerful; by implication, warrior, tyrant:—champion, chief, × excel, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.
This word choice is notable inasmuch as it is also used to describe the Nephilim in Genesis 6:4. Genesis 6 tells us that the Nephilim existed before the Flood, and also after, so is it possible that he was the first Nephilim on the earth after the Flood? It is possible. However, the text is not clear. In any case though, Nephilim or not, a return to Rebellion began in earnest via Nimrod.
* Attempts to match Nimrod with historically attested figures have failed. Nimrod may not represent any one personage known to history and various authors have identified him with several real and fictional figures of Mesopotamian antiquity, including the Mesopotamian god Ninurta or a conflation of two Akkadian kings Sargon, his grandson Naram-Sin (2254–2218 BCE), and Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243–1207 BCE).
- Where is Abram from?
* The Bible tells us that Abram is from “Ur of the Chaldees.” The predominant view of scholars is that this refers to the Sumerian city of Ur.
* An alternative view argues that Ur of the Chaldees was located in modern day Turkey. About an hour’s drive from Haran is the city of Urfa which was called Orhai in Syriac Christian literature. Local tradition still insists that Urfa is where Abraham was born. Whether “Orhai” is related to “Ur” phonetically and whether Abraham’s birthplace lies under some specific spot in or around Urfa need not be settled here. What is of interest is rather that the new Ebla reference to “Ur in Haran” is in keeping with the Biblical evidence that Abraham’s birthplace is to be sought somewhere in the Urfa-Haran region. Genesis 24:4, Genesis 24:7, Genesis 24:10, and Genesis 24:29 tells us that Abraham’s birthplace was in Aram-Naharayim where Laban lived. From there “The River” (= The Euphrates) had to be crossed before proceeding to Gilead (Genesis 31:21). Sumerian Ur is west of the Euphrates and does not have to be crossed to reach Gilead or any other part of Canaan. See link HERE.
- What is “Lech Leche“?
* These are the words used to tell Abram to get himself out.
- When/where does God promise to make Abram into a great nation with numerous descendants?
* Genesis 12:2-3
* Genesis 13:16
* Genesis 15:4
- When/where does God promise Abram the land of Canaan?
* Genesis 12:7
* Genesis 13:14-15
* Genesis 15:7
- Is there a basis for the legal claim of Abram to the land of Canaan beyond the above given promises?
* The non-canon Book of Jubilees argues that Canaan never had a legitimate claim to the land in the first place.
* And Canaan saw the land of Lebanon to the river of Egypt, that it was very good, and he went not into the land of his inheritance to the west (that is to) the sea, and he dwelt in the land of Lebanon, eastward and westward from the border of Jordan and from the border of the sea. And Ham, his father, and Cush and Mizraim his brothers said unto him: ‘Thou hast settled in a land which is not thine, and which did not fall to us by lot: do not do so; for if thou dost do so, thou and thy sons will fall in the land and (be) accursed through sedition; for by sedition ye have settled, and by sedition will thy children fall, and thou shalt be rooted out for ever. Dwell not in the dwelling of Shem; for to Shem and to his sons did it come by their lot. Cursed art thou, and cursed shalt thou be beyond all the sons of Noah, by the curse by which we bound ourselves by an oath in the presence of the holy judge, and in the presence of Noah our father.’ But he did not hearken unto them, and dwelt in the land of Lebanon from Hamath to the entering of Egypt, he and his sons until this day. And for this reason that land is named Canaan. —Jubilees 10:29-34
* The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work of 50 chapters, considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews), where it is known as the Book of Division (Ge’ez: መጽሐፈ ኩፋሌ Mets’hafe Kufale). Jubilees is considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. It is also not considered canonical within Judaism outside of Beta Israel.
It was well known to Early Christians, as evidenced by the writings of Epiphanius, Justin Martyr, Origen, Diodorus of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville, Eutychius of Alexandria, John Malalas, George Syncellus, and George Kedrenos. The text was also utilized by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. No complete Greek or Latin version is known to have survived, but the Ge’ez version has been shown to be an accurate translation of the versions found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Book of Jubilees claims to present “the history of the division of the days of the Law, of the events of the years, the year-weeks, and the jubilees of the world” as revealed to Moses (in addition to the Torah or “Instruction”) by angels while he was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights. The chronology given in Jubilees is based on multiples of seven; the jubilees are periods of 49 years (seven “year-weeks”), into which all of time has been divided.
- Did Abram acquire new wealth in Egypt? How?
* From Flavius Josephus: 2. For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one another’s sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry one with another on that account, Abram conferred with each of them, and, confuting the reasonings they made use of, every one for their own practices, demonstrated that such reasonings were vain and void of truth: whereupon he was admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, and one of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he undertook; and this not only in understanding it, but in persuading other men also to assent to him. He communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also.
* Abram may have acquired wealth in Egypt in exchange for sharing the aforementioned knowledge.
* Abram’s wealth was greater after leaving Egypt than it was before going. We can infer this confidently from the text itself. Following the return of Abram and Lot to the Promised Land, their combined assets were too great to share the land. Genesis 13:5-13 tells us the story of Abram and Lot mutually agreeing to separate so as to avoid a future conflict.
* A fringe theory regarding Abram’s Egypt-related wealth: The Annunaki Wars.
- Is Canaan peopled by giants during the time of Abram?
* The answer appears to be yes.
* In Genesis 14:1-7, we read about the Battle of Nine Kings that temporarily led to the capture of Abram’s nephew Lot. This section of verses describes several groups who participated in the battle. Giants appear to be listed among the combatants.
* Rephaim – רָפָא râphâʼ, raw-faw’; or רָפָה râphâh; from H7495 in the sense of invigorating; a giant:—giant, Rapha, Rephaim(-s). See also H1051.
* Zuzim – zu’-zim (zuzim; (ethne ischura, “strong nations.” So Jerome in Quaest. Hebr.: genres fortes): A people conquered by Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:5). They dwelt in Ham, a region not otherwise known but, from the connection, inferred to be East of the Jordan. It may also be inferred that they were a race of giants.
* Emim – Stated to have been the earlier inhabitants of Moab (Deuteronomy 2:10, 11), and to have been of tall stature, and hence, “accounted Rephaim (or giants) as the Anakim” or the Zamzummim of Ammon (Deuteronomy 2:20).
* Horites – חֹרִי Chôrîy, kho-ree’; from H2356; cave-dweller or troglodyte; a Chorite or aboriginal Idumaean:—Horims, Horites.
* Amorites – The term Amorites is used in the Bible to refer to certain highland mountaineers who inhabited the land of Canaan, described in Genesis as descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham (Gen. 10:16). They are described as a powerful people of great stature “like the height of the cedars” (Amos 2:9) who had occupied the land east and west of the Jordan. The height and strength mentioned in Amos 2:9 has led some Christian scholars, including Orville J. Nave, who wrote the Nave’s Topical Bible, to refer to the Amorites as “giants”.
In Deuteronomy, the Amorite king, Og, was described as the last “of the remnant of the Rephaim” (Deut 3:11). The terms Amorite and Canaanite seem to be used more or less interchangeably, Canaan being more general and Amorite a specific component among the Canaanites who inhabited the land.
* I go into more detail regarding giants HERE and HERE.
- Is there a connection between giants and demons?
* This is certainly not a topic where you will find scholarly agreement. However, there is an argument that demons are the disembodied souls of giants/nephilim.
* From WalkingChristian.com: Psalm 88:10 “Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise you?” What’s that you says? You didn’t see anything about the disembodied souls of a race of human angel hybrids in that verse? Well it is right there, we just need to put our Hebrew glasses on to find it. Let’s look again. Ta’aseh (Will you preform) pele (wonders) halam methim (for the dead) rephaim (will the spirits) yakumu (rise) yovducha (and praise) selah (You? Selah.)
* Continuing from the article: That’s right the word translated in Psalm 88 as “spirits” is the Hebrew word Rephaim. Now in Biblical Hebrew the normal word for a dead person is methim, this is the word you’d use for great grandma or Moses or Abraham Lincoln or anyone else who has passed on. But, then in several passages where it’s clear we’re talking about beings in the spiritual world, the word Rephaim is used instead. And this just one example of several uses of the word others include Isa 26:14 says “They are dead (methim), they will not live; they are shades (rephaim), they will not arise.” In Job 26:5–6 we find out that the Rephaim are in the underworld.
* Isaiah 14:9 says that the underworld is waiting for someone to die and the Rephaim are described there as “all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones” The same word for leaders in this passage literally means “goats” and it’s used to describe Gog and Magog (Ezek 39:18) who were both Rephaim.
* I encourage a thorough reading of the article. Make up your own mind, of course, but it presents a lot of text-based arguments. It also points out that the traditional view of where demons come from is not without its text-based issues, too.
* Dr. Michael Heiser – (MA in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA and PhD in the Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a minor in Classical studies) has also written extensively on topics such as this. If you want a more thorough examination of this thought, regarding a connection between Biblical giants and modern day demons, I recommend reading his book Unseen Realm.
* If a race of giants – by their procreation, existence, and eventual deaths – creates demons on the earth, then it is understandable why God might emphasize their extermination. That contextualizes a lot of the God-ordained violence we see throughout the Old Testament. Of course, let me reiterate, this is not a universally agreed upon theological teaching. But this belief existed to some extent during the Second Temple period and in the time of Jesus.
- What is the origin of the word “Hebrew”?
* We first see the word used in Genesis 14:13. 13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram.
* Hebrew = עִבְרִי ʻIbrîy, ib-ree’; patronymic from H5677; an Eberite (i.e. Hebrew) or descendant of Eber:—Hebrew(-ess, woman).
* עֵבֵר ʻÊbêr, ay’-ber; the same as H5676; Eber, the name of two patriarchs and four Israelites:—Eber, Heber.
* Hebrew = “one from beyond”
* Eber or Heber = “the region beyond
* Genesis 10:21-22,24 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram[…]And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.
* 13th century Muslim historian Abu al-Fida relates a story, noting that the patriarch Eber (great-grandson of Shem) refused to help with the building of the Tower of Babel, so his language was not confused when it was abandoned. He and his family alone retained the original human language (a concept referred to as lingua humana in Latin), Hebrew, a language named after Eber.
- Who is Melchizedek?
* Genesis 14:18 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)
* מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק Malkîy-Tsedeq, mal-kee-tseh’-dek; from H4428 and H6664; king of right; Malki-Tsedek, an early king in Palestine:—Melchizedek.
* מֶלֶךְ melek, meh’-lek; from H4427; a king:—king, royal.
* צֶדֶק tsedeq, tseh’-dek; from H6663; the right (natural, moral or legal); also (abstractly) equity or (figuratively) prosperity:—× even, (× that which is altogether) just(-ice), (un-)right(-eous) (cause, -ly, -ness).
* King of Salem means King of Peace. Melchizedek means King of Righteousness.
* From chabad.org: The ancient Targumim (Aramaic interpretive translations) identify Melchizedek as Shem—son of Noah. Shem was one of the links in the chain who transmitted the G‑dly traditions that originated with Adam. These traditions were carefully handed down from generation to generation, and Shem—who headed an academy—was a key conductor of these teachings. The Midrash tells us that he was so perfect and so spiritually advanced that he was born circumcised>
* Christians have long identified Melchizedek with Jesus Christ instead of with Shem. From the New Testament’s Book of Hebrews Chapter 7:
7 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
- What is the nature of the translation dispute between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint?
* Many scholars believe that the Masoretic timeline of the patriarchs – among other things – was corrupted by Jewish scholars at Zippori in 160 CE in order to defend Judaism against adversaries. The Septuagint was translated from earlier Hebrew writing, between 325-350 BCE. The Greek translation from the ancient Hebrew is actually older than the oldest known Hebrew writings for the text. As a result, we have a situation where one side says “your translation into Greek was wrong” and the other side says “you changed the Hebrew text from which we translated.”
* Specifically, this dispute is relevant re: Melchizedek. Some scholars argue that the Masoretic timeline was corrupted, intentionally, so that the Christian argument for Melchizedek as Jesus could have a competing argument for an alternative to Jesus – namely Shem.
* Interestingly though, many Christian Bibles rely on the Masoretic text (disputed timelines and all) – rather than the Septuagint – as the source for for translations of the “Old Testament.”
- What is written regarding Hagar outside of the text of Genesis?
* From Chabad.org: According to the Midrash, Hagar was the daughter of King Pharaoh of Egypt. When she saw the miracle which G‑d performed for the sake of Sarah, to save her from the hands of the Egyptian king during Abraham’s visit there, she said: “It is better to be a slave in Sarah’s house than a princess in my own.” […] Our Sages give Hagar much credit for not being frightened at having seen the divine angel, while even Manoah, as the T’nach tells us, feared that he would die because he had seen an angel of G‑d. This, say our Sages, shows how pious Hagar was, and how she had become adjusted to the saintly life of Abraham’s house, where angels came and went as constant guests. […] Many of our ancient Sages speak favorably of Hagar who never remarried. She lived together with her son who had built his home on the edge of the wilderness and became a famous hunter. The Sages say that he possessed Adam’s coat which he had taken from King Nimrod. (This coat gave the wearer power over animals). […] The Midrash tells us that not only was Hagar reunited with Abraham, but her son, too, became a penitent and returned to the G‑d whom he had served in his father’s house, and whom he had forsaken during his wild life as a hunter and ruler of nations. Abraham thus lived to see Ishmael become his true son.
* Gen. 25:1 tells that Abraham took an additional wife named Keturah. The Tannaim disagree regarding the identity of this woman (see Gen. Rabbah 61:4). In most of the midrashim Keturah is identified with Hagar. The Rabbis maintain that this marriage took place only after Sarah’s death (Genesis Rabbah 60:16, Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer loc. cit.). One midrash relates that God was revealed to Abraham after the death of Sarah and commanded him to return his divorced wife Hagar (Gen. Rabbah 61:4), while another tradition has Isaac initiating his father’s marriage (Tanhuma, Hayyei Sarah 8).
* According to the Baháʼí Faith, the Báb was a descendant of Abraham and Hagar, and God made a promise to spread Abraham’s seed. The Baháʼí Publishing House released a text on the wives and concubines of Abraham and traces their lineage to five different religion
- What do we know about The Angel of the Lord?
* The first appearance is in Genesis 16:7: 7 The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
* “angel” = מֲלְאָךְ mălʼâk, mal-awk’; from an unused root meaning to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically, of God, i.e. an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher):—ambassador, angel, king, messenger.
* “Lord” = יְהֹוָה Yᵉhôvâh, yeh-ho-vaw’; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:—Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.
* Most appearances of the “angel of the Lord” leave the reader with the question of whether it was an angel or YHWH who appeared. Apart from the view that “the angel of the Lord is just that—an angel“, a wide array of solutions have been offered, such as making the angel an earthly manifestation (avatar) of the God of Israel or of Christ.
* In the Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) Hugh Pope writes: “The earlier Fathers, going by the letter of the text in the Septuagint, maintained that it was God Himself who appeared as the Giver of the Law to Moses. It was not unnatural then for Tertullian […] to regard such manifestations in the light of preludes to the Incarnation, and most of the Eastern Fathers followed the same line of thought.” Pope quotes the view of Theodoret that this angel was probably Christ, “the Only-begotten Son, the Angel of great Counsel”, and contrasts Theodoret’s view with the opposite view of the Latin Fathers Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great that it was no more than an angel, a view that, he says, “was destined to live in the Church, and the Scholastics reduced it to a system”. As an exponent of this view he quotes Augustine, who declared that “the angel is correctly termed an angel if we consider him himself, but equally correctly is he termed ‘the Lord’ because God dwells in him.” He indicates, however, that within the Catholic Church the opposite view was also upheld.
* The appearances of the “angel of the Lord” are in fact often presented as theophanies, appearances of YHWH himself rather than a separate entity acting on his behalf. In Genesis 31:11–13, “the angel of God” says, “I am the God of Beth-el”. In Exodus 3:2–6 “the angel of Yahweh” (מלאך יהוה) appeared to Moses in the flame of fire, and then “Yahweh” (יהוה) says to him: “I am the God of thy father”. Compare also Genesis 22:11; Judges 6:11–22. At times the angel of the Lord speaks in such a way as to assume authority over previous promises (see Gen. 16:11 and 21:17). According to the New American Bible, the visual form under which God appeared and spoke to men is referred to indifferently in some Old Testament texts either as God’s angel or as God himself.
* Another interpretation builds on the usage by which ancient spokesmen, after an introductory phrase, used the grammatically first person in proclaiming the point of view of the one they represent.
* Another proposal is Samuel A. Meier’s interpolation theory, which holds that, originally, stories in which there is ambiguity between Yahweh and the “angel of Yahweh” were written with Yahweh himself delivering the message. Later, copyists inserted the term mal’akh before the divine name to modify the narratives, in order to meet the standards of a changing theology which more strongly emphasized a transcendent God. If the term mal’akh is removed from these passages, the remaining story fits neatly with a “default” format in Near Eastern literature in which the deity appears directly to humans without an intermediary. The addition of mal’akh does not require any change in the form of the verbs connected to it, since both mal’akh and a deity such as Yahweh or Elohim are of masculine grammatical gender and since the noun before which mal’akh is introduced remains unaffected on the consonantal level. On the other hand, the removal of the word mal’akh from the narration usually makes it more coherent and in line with its Ancient Near East literary context.
I will stop here for now. I also maintain my right to add to or change these answers as I learn more later. I hope you enjoyed reading it.
3 thoughts on “Genesis (Part 67): From the Flood through Abram”
Good day, it seems we have a lot in common since I also write movie reviews and on theological issues.
I wanted to note that it seems like a non sequitur to claim that because Nephilim were mighty and Nimrod became mighty ergo, it is “possible that he was the first Nephilim on the earth after the Flood.”
Only eight people and some animals survived which is why there has never been nor will ever be post-flood Nephilim—I am do not mean “giants” in general but Nephilim in particular. In fact, sorry but I have not had occasion to read your entire series but did you ever define the term “giants”?
Also, you wrote, “Genesis 6 tells us that the Nephilim existed before the Flood” but you will be unable to quote such a statement because it is not there.
And you correlate Nephilim with “giant skeletons” but I am unsure how since we have no reliable physical description of them so we cannot say if they were even on inch taller than average.
Do you think that Nephilim had anything to do with the reason for the flood?
I appreciate your comment and I would encourage you to actually read the series. I think I address a lot of this throughout when it comes up. But I’ll attempt a short summary here.
Genesis 6:4 – “4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them… ”
I do not know how to reply to you fully. Your comment says, “you wrote, “Genesis 6 tells us that the Nephilim existed before the Flood” but you will be unable to quote such a statement because it is not there.” The Gen. 6:4 passage – which I quoted and is, in fact, there – about the Nephilim occurs in the narrative immediately prior to the Flood story.
The ESV translation of this passage (Gen. 6:4) even offers a note beside the word Nephilim offering “giants” as a translation alternative. https://www.esv.org/Genesis+6/
From Strong’s Dictionary:
נְפִיל nᵉphîyl, nef-eel’; or נְפִל nᵉphil; from H5307; properly, a feller, i.e. a bully or tyrant:—giant.
In addition to what is in the Bible itself some of the outside context for the correlation between Nephilim and the Flood is in books that are now non-Canon in some places (The Book of Enoch, The Book of Giants, The Book of Jashar, The Book of Jubilees, etc.) as well as ancient Jewish rabbinical writings.
Regarding specific descriptions of height? Other than the passage and the use of the word Nephilim which translates “giants,” the Bible does not give specific heights for giants “pre-Flood.” You can find that in other ancient writings, though, including books which were at one time read seriously by religious scholars (mentioned several of them above.) Giants after the Flood though? We do get descriptions in the Bible.
Deut. 3:11 – 11 (Og king of Bashan was the last of the Rephaites. His bed was decorated with iron and was more than nine cubits long and four cubits wide.
*Rephaites translates “giants.” 9 cubits here would be about 14 feet long.
Amos 2:9 – “Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them, though they were tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks.
2 Sam. 21:20 – And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants.
There’s more if you look for it.
If the Bible and surrounding text read by ancient Jews makes reference to giants, then the logical place to look next is for evidence of giant skeletons. We find some evidence of that as well – which is why I include that in my notes here.
I also want to emphasize that none of these are *my* ideas. I’m just making notes about what the text says and I’m making notes about other ancient writings regarding these texts.
Appreciate the reply–I did not get a notification so just saw it when I looped back here.
Sorry, the “’Genesis 6 tells us that the Nephilim existed before the Flood’ but you will be unable to quote such a statement because it is not there” was the result of what I term my conceptual dyslexia: I read “before” as “after.”
Nephilim didn’t make it past the flood in any way, shape, or form.
“Nephilim” does not translate “giants,” it’s merely rendered as such–and that, based on the LXX’s “gigantes” which means “earth-born” and implies nothing about height.
But you then switch from “Nephilim” to “giants.”
Indeed, Og was a Repha, not a Nephil.
Amorites were just that, not Nephilim.
The man with extra digits was also a Repha, not a Nephil.
See my 7+ books on Nephilim and “giants”: https://truefreethinker.com/no-end-books-publications
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