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NEPHILIM : THE GIANTS OF GENESIS
Published On : April 23, 1997
Last Updated : December 7, 2010
Are We Trusting In God Or Trusting In Our Flesh, God Promises To Fight Before The Israelites, Older Unbelieving Generation Wanders For Forty Years, Theologian Adam Clarke Resists Truth Of Scriptures Regarding Nephilim Giants, Possession Of Anakim Giants Divided Amongst The Israelites, Arba Is Given To Caleb And Levites, Genealogy: Levi Kohath Hebron Amram Aaron Moses, Mamre = Machpelah = Kirjatharba = City Of Arba = Hebron, Heth, Abraham Isaac & Jacob Die & Are Buried In Mamre-Arba-Hebron, Modern Hebron And The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations, Like Zoan/Tanis In Egypt Hebron Is An Extremely Ancient City, Deeply-Rooted Jewish-Palestinian Sentiments Make Peace Hard, Anakim Giants Driven To Coastal Areas Of Gaza, Gath & Ashdod, Israelites Backslide During The Period Of The Judges & Kings, Philistines Steal Ark Of The Covenant & Suffer Consequences
Continuing our discussion from part three, as we know from the Scriptures, God was not very pleased by the Israelites' obvious lack of faith. When they beheld the giant sons of Anak in Canaan, they were trusting in their own arm of the flesh. They were thinking that they had to overcome these man-eating monsters alone, when in fact it would be God who would miraculously be doing it through them. Thus, as King David so wisely wrote many years later:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:7, KJV
In fact, when the Lord, through Moses, gave the Israelites the command to cross over the Jordan River in order to take possession of Canaan from the giants and other tribes which dwelt there, He clearly told them that He would go before them and fight. Furthermore, the Lord informed them that He wasn't going to do this because of their own righteousness, but rather because of the wickedness of the Anakim and the people who dwelt in Canaan. Consider the following verses:
"Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven, A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak! Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people."
Deuteronomy 9:1-6, KJV
As we know, the ancient Israelites had to pay a very stiff penalty as a result of their lack of faith. We are told that God forced them to wander about in the wilderness for forty years -- one year for each day that they had spent spying out Canaan -- until the doubting older generation had died off, as we see here:
"Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it . . . How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die."
Numbers 14:22-23, 27-35, KJV
Thus, while the Israelites marched the march of death in the Sinai for forty years due to the Lord's anger against them due to their unbelief, the sons of Anak -- and other giants -- continued to rule in Canaan. But in God's time, and as we shall soon see, their reign of terror was destined to come to an end.
Despite the obvious truth which is revealed by verses in the Book of Genesis, the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees and the Jerusalem Targum, British theologian Adam Clarke insists that we should not believe for a minute such tales concerning Angel-human offspring known as the Nephilim, towering giants in whose sight the Israelites were as grasshoppers, and the man-eating sons of Anak, or Anakim, as they're also known. In his "Commentary On The Bible" he writes the following notes for Numbers 22:33:
----- Begin Quote -----
"Tales of gigantic men are frequent in all countries, but they are generally of such as have lived in times very remote from those in which such tales are told. That there have been giants at different times, in various parts of the earth, there can be no doubt; but that there ever was a nation of men twelve and fourteen feet high, we cannot, should not believe. Goliath appears to have been at least nine feet high: this was very extraordinary. I knew three young men in my own neighbourhood, two of them brothers, each of whom was upwards of seven feet, the third was eight feet six inches, and these men were very well proportioned. Others I have seen of extraordinary stature, but they were generally disproportioned, especially in their limbs. These instances serve to prove the possibility of cases of this nature. The Anakim might appear to the Israelites as a very tall, robust nation; and in comparison of the latter it is very probable that they were so, as it is very likely that the growth of the Israelites had been greatly cramped with their long and severe servitude in Egypt. And this may in some measure account for their alarm. On this subject the reader is desired to turn back to the note on Ge 6:4."
-----End Quote -----
In my view, Clarke is attempting to downplay what God's Word clearly says, even going so far as to use the feeble excuse that the Israelites were diminutive in size due to having served under Egyptian bondage for four hundred years. Please notice that Clarke also refers the reader to the comments he made concerning Genesis 6:4, where he likewise downplays the true meaning of the verse, by insisting that the Nephilim weren't really giants in a physical sense, rather, they were giants in the sense of fame, notoriety, glory, deeds, etc. The truth is, in the previous verses, the word "giants" and the phrase "which come of the giants" are derived from the very same Hebrew word that is used in Genesis 6:4; that is, "n@phiyl". So there should be no misunderstanding regarding exactly what the spies meant.
Please also notice the subtlety that is employed in the first sentence of Clarke's previous explanation. While he does not say it outright, his inference appears to be that due to the great passage of time between when these "gigantic men" lived on the Earth and when the tales were actually told, there was sufficient time for exaggeration and embellishment to creep into the stories. While this may be true, it still does not change the truth of God's Word. Finally, please also be aware of the fact that the phrase "great stature" in the previous verses from the Book of Numbers, is derived in part from the Hebrew word "middah". This word means measurement, measured portion, size, or garment. In other words, the spies were in fact referring to the physical size of the giants and not to their level of greatness or notoriety.
Many years later, after the forty years of wandering had come to an end, and the younger generation of Israelites had the faith to cross over the Jordan River, and take the land of Canaan from the Anakim and other giants who dwelt there, when it came time to divide the land of Canaan amongst the tribes of Israel, we discover that Caleb was given the city of Arba, which belonged to Arba, who was the father of Anak the giant, as we see by these verses:
"And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak."
Judges 1:20, KJV
"And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak."
Joshua 15:13-14, KJV
However, later, the Levites -- who were the priestly tribe of Israel -- came to Joshua, Eleazar the priest, and the other tribal leaders, and reminded them that the Lord had told Moses that they should likewise receive an inheritance. As a result, each tribe was required to give a portion of their heritage to the Levites. Thus, the Levites were given the main part of the city of Arba -- or Hebron -- while we are told that Caleb retained the outer fields and villages, as we see by these verses:
"And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about it. But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession. Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs,"
Joshua 21:11-13, KJV
As the previous verses explain, after conquering Arba, we are told that the Israelites renamed it Hebron, or Hevron. Biblical research reveals that Hebron was the third son of Kohath, and the grandson of Levi, as we see here:
"And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years. The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families. And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years."
Exodus 6:16-18, KJV
It is quite probable then, that being as Hebron was of the priestly Levite tribe, and Arba was given to the Levites, that the city was named in his honor. Equally interesting is the fact that Hebron's brother -- Amram -- was the father of Aaron and Moses; which is why Aaron and Moses were likewise Levites; and Aaron thus become the high priest under Moses. So literally-speaking, Aaron's children did in fact receive Hebron for an inheritance. Following are a few more verses which confirm that Kirjatharba -- which in Hebrew literally means "city of Arba" -- was the same as Hebron:
"And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her."
Genesis 23:2, KJV
"And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war."
Joshua 14:15, KJV
"And Humtah, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, and Zior; nine cities with their villages:"
Joshua 15:54, KJV
"And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah."
Joshua 20:7, KJV
"And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai."
Judges 1:10, KJV
You will notice that the previous verses inform us that the father of Anak was Arba, and that the city of Arba was named after him. It was a common practice in those days to name a place after a person as a way to honor him, just as this same practice continues in our modern times as well. For example, many of you are familiar with St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as Saint Peter's Square and Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and Saint Petersburg in the nation of Russia, to name a few. I don't have any additional information concerning Arba, but it would be very interesting to find out how the sons of Anak, the Anakims, came to possess it to begin with; which I assume must have occurred sometime after Abraham's days. The reason why I say this will be explained shortly.
Aside from the fact that all of the previous verses are very important to our discussion of the Nephilim and the Biblical giants, there's a much deeper and more important significance to these historical and Biblical events. From reading the Old Testament Scriptures, one acquires the understanding that God deemed it very important that the Israelites gain control of Hebron; that is Arba, or Arbah, which was the headquarters of the Anakim. In fact, this city has been important to the Lord since the days of the Patriarch Abraham, as is revealed by the following verses, where we learn that following the death of his wife, Sarah, Abraham purchased the field of Ephron and the cave of Machpelah, which was next to the field of Mamre, for four hundred shekels of silver from Ephron the Hittite:
"And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth."
Genesis 23:1-20, KJV
As the previous verses suggest, additional Scriptures reveal that all three of the Patriarchs not only sojourned at Mamre at one time or another, but were in fact buried there, along with their wives, as we see here:
"And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife."
Genesis 25:7-10, KJV
"And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him."
Genesis 35:27-29, KJV
"And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head."
Genesis 47:28-31, KJV
"And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people."
Genesis 49:29-33, KJV
"And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again. And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear. And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre."
Genesis 50:1-13, KJV
From the following verse, we also learn that many years prior to these events, Arba -- a.k.a. Arbah, Mamre or Hebron -- was the very place where the Patriarch Abraham had chosen to move his tent and flocks, after he and his nephew Lot had divided the land between themselves, due to the fact that the land was no longer able to sustain them both:
"Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD."
Genesis 13:18, KJV
It seems to me that all of the previous events which concern Abraham and his descendants could not have taken place if the sons of Anak -- or other giants -- were already in control of Mamre, a.k.a., Arba or Hebron. In fact, these verses make it very plain that this area of Canaan was under the control of the sons of Heth; that is, the Hittites, whose empire at one time extended throughout what is now modern Turkey.
If you are one who regularly follows the news, then you will already know that in our current time, Arba/Hebron continues to make the headlines on a regular basis. While Hebron is a part of the West Bank, and is controlled by the Palestinians, there is an enclave of several hundred Jewish settlers living there amongst the 165,000 Palestinians at this current time. Hebron -- which is known in Arabic as al-Halil -- is in fact the largest city in the West Bank. It's located about twenty miles to the south of Jerusalem. As we have seen, Hebron is an extremely old city, like many of the cities of Israel and Palestine. In fact, according to the following verse, Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt:
"And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)"
Numbers 13:22, KJV
Zoan was an ancient city of Lower Egypt -- meaning the area surrounding the Nile Delta -- which was known to the Greeks as Tanis. It was located on the eastern bank of the Tanitic branch of the Nile River, and was the capital of the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, dynasty. These were foreign rulers not of Egyptian descent. Some scholars believe that Zoan was also the dwelling place of the Pharaoh at the time the Biblical Exodus occurred. According to the Hebrew lexicon, Zoan was built well before the time of the Patriarch Abraham. Today, Zoan is known as San al-Hagar. If Hebron -- then known as Kirjatharba or Arba -- was built seven years before Zoan, then it is truly a very ancient city. Please understand that when I say ancient, I am not referring to the modern city itself, but rather to the ancient ruins and tells upon which many of the modern cities of the Middle East are built. The spiritual aura which envelops some of these places must be profound.
Given the lengthy history behind this ancient city, it's easy to understand why it remains so important to both Israelis and Palestinians. While we often hear how Jerusalem is at the center of the troublesome Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, I can't help but wonder what will happen to Hebron once all is said and done. Just as many Jews and Palestinians have some very deep-rooted sentiments regarding Jerusalem, there exist the very same feelings for Hebron as well, which explains why the Jewish settlers have staked their claim in Hebron. It is feelings like these which make peace negotiations extremely difficult for both parties. Jacob and Esau still don't see eye-to-eye.
If there's one thing that the Bible makes very clear, and if there is one thing that all of this historical data should impress upon you, it's that since the very beginning of time, Israel, Jerusalem and Hebron have played extremely important roles; not only in world history, but also in God's Ultimate Plan to reconcile the world to Himself. It is important that we understand that the spiritual war that was revealed in the Garden of Eden, and which was later heightened by the arrival of the Nephilim, has been going on ever since; and the Bible seems to indicate that it will end in the very area of the world where it first began. In short, the conflict between the Jews, the Palestinians and other Arabs, is not a modern development; it has been waged for millennia without end.
Contrary to what one may be led to believe, in spite of the conquest of Arba -- later to be known as Hebron -- this isn't the last time that we hear of these evil giants. Even after this victory by Joshua, Caleb and the younger generation, the sons of Anak -- the Anakims -- still maintained strongholds in the land of Canaan. While the Israelites drove them from the high mountains of Judah, as the following verse reveals, the Anakim giants migrated to the Mediterranean coastal areas of Gaza, Gath and Ashdod:
"There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained."
Joshua 11:22, KJV
As I explain in such series as "The Fruits Of Disobedience", once the obedient generation of Joshua, Caleb and their peers had passed on -- and even before that time -- the Israelites began to backslide into their old ways, just as they had done soon after being liberated from Egypt bondage. During the era of the Judges, and the kings which followed afterwards, they repeatedly fell in and out of favor with the Lord as a result of their disobediences and hardness of heart. Each time this would happen, the Lord would punish them by allowing their enemies to conquer them.
Let me share with you one example that's directly related to our story concerning the Nephilim and giants. In the verses that follow, the Philistines have conquered the Israelites, and have stolen the Ark of the Covenant, which contained all of the holy items, such as Aaron's rod, the Books of the Law, etc. Little did the Philistines realize their grave mistake until it was too late. Each town that the Ark of the Covenant was taken to -- which included Gath, which, as we saw earlier was a stronghold of the Anakim giants -- the Lord would smite the inhabitants; until finally, absolutely no one wanted it anymore. Finding themselves in quite a predicament, the Bible states that the Philistines consulted their high priests, who decided that their best option was to return the Ark to the Israelites. In fact, they included a few gifts, just to make sure that they were back on good terms with the God of the Israelites. Consider these key verses:
"They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither."
1 Samuel 5:8, KJV
"And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;"
1 Samuel 6:17, KJV
Please go to part five for the continuation of this series.
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