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NEPHILIM : THE GIANTS OF GENESIS
Published On : April 23, 1997
Last Updated : December 7, 2010
Ongoing Conflicts With Philistines, God's "Vessels Of Wrath", Calling Out To God Only When We Need Him, Gath & Other Cities Are Returned To Israelites, Israelites Demand An Earthly King, Prophet Samuel Anoints King Saul, God Eventually Rejects Saul, Conflict Between House Of Saul And House Of David, Goliath Of Gath Challenges The Israelites, Goliath Descendant Of Anakim?, David Defeats Goliath, Saul's Hatred & Jealousy Motivates Him To Try To Murder David, David Flees To Gath, Death Of Saul, David And Amalekite, King Achish Of Gath And Conquest Of Gath, Goliath & His Giant Sons And Brothers Slain By David's Forces, King David Reigns In Hebron 430 Years After Egyptian Bondage, King David Displeases The Lord By Taking A Census, A Giant Angel With A Huge Sword Stands Over Jerusalem, The Nephilim, Philistines Demoralized But Not Defeated & The Wars Continued, Syrian King Hazael Conquers Gath, King Jehoash Bribes Hazael, Royal Assassinations In Israel, Judean King Uzziah Takes Gath, Anakim Decline, Goliath's Shield Bearer, Zamzummims And Horims
Let's continue our discussion from part four. Following this particular incident with the Philistines in Gath, we're told that there was about a twenty-year period during which time the Israelites again began to worship foreign gods. Thus, as had occurred before, the Lord sent the Philistines to fight against them. In other words, as I explain in other articles, God will often use our enemies as His "vessels of wrath" in order to punish us for our sins. He did this frequently with the ancient Jews, as is very evident by the Egyptian bondage, the Assyrian and the Babylonian invasions, the occupation by Rome, the utter destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by Roman forces in 70 AD, etc. Is it possible then that the modern Palestinians are likewise playing the role of God's thorn-in-the-flesh for the Jews today, due to their overall continued rejection of Christ?
Just like so many people today who only seem to call out to God when they are in trouble of some kind, fearing the worst, the Israelites sought the help of the Prophet Samuel, who then intervened for them before the Lord. This resulted in a great victory being wrought for the Israelites that day. The Bible does not go into great detail regarding this particular battle, but it appears that there was some kind of miraculous intervention. This resulted in the Philistines losing some of the cities which they had taken from the Israelites, as we see by this verse:
"And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites."
1 Samuel 7:14, KJV
You will notice that Gath -- one of the cities that belonged to the Anakim -- was included in the spoil. Please keep this point in mind, as it may be significant.
Following these events, the Bible informs us that there was a period of peace. However, once again the Israelites began to complain against the Lord, and they foolishly rejected Him as their only true and rightful King. They then made the serious mistake of demanding that the Lord set a human king over them, like other nations. Against his better judgment, the Bible records that the Prophet Samuel eventually anoints Saul as the first king over Israel, due to the hardness of their hearts. However, it isn't long before Saul likewise displeases the Lord, and he is rejected by the same, as we see here:
"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou."
1 Samuel 15:22-28, KJV
It is at this point in our story concerning Biblical giants that we come to the story of the power struggle between the house of Saul and the house of David, during which time the Philistines once again attack the Israelites. While Saul's house was slowly in decline, we are told that due to his military exploits and victories for King Saul -- which were obviously aided by the Lord -- the house of David was on the rise. As many of you will already know, young David's fame was cemented when he went against a Philistine giant by the name of Goliath.
While it is not stated plainly in the Bible, if we consider that upon being ousted from the Judean mountains, the Anakim migrated and settled in the coastal areas of Philistia, it's not too unreasonable to conclude that in addition to being a Philistine, Goliath was apparently also a descendant of the Anakim. Furthermore, Goliath was from Gath, which, as we saw earlier, was one of the Anakim strongholds. According to the description that is found in the Scriptures, we are led to believe that Goliath was somewhere between nine and eleven feet tall, depending on what lengths we accept for the cubit and the span.
As a result of David's bravery and faith, and the Lord's anointing which rested upon him, young David slew the Anakim giant, and the demoralized Philistine army fled before the forces of Israel, all the way back to Gath. Please consider the following verses:
"And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid . . . And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid . . . Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron."
1 Samuel 17:4-11, 23-24, 45-52, KJV
While young David's fame spread abroad as a result of slaying the Philistine giant, his victory only caused King Saul to hate him all the more; for in their delight, the women of Israel said "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Saul's hatred, jealousy and desire to kill David is made evident in the following verses:
"And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them."
1 Samuel 18:8-16, KJV
Saul's hatred for David and his desire to kill him continued to grow; particularly after Saul's daughter, Michal, fell in love with David. After several more failed murder attempts, in a strange twist of fate, with the help of King Saul's son, Jonathan, David fled from King Saul, who refused to give up his kingship, and sought refuge with Saul's enemies; that is, with Achish, who was the king of Gath and a Philistine, as we see here:
"And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath."
1 Samuel 21:10-12, KJV
"And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal's wife. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him."
1 Samuel 27:2-4, KJV
The Scriptures inform us that David dwelt several years with Achish, the king of Gath. Eventually, the Philistines warred again against Israel, and Saul and his three sons were killed during the course of the battle. While Achish participated in this particular battle against Saul and the Israelites, it is interesting to note that the Philistine lords did not trust David, so he was sent back to the land of the Philistines, and had no hand in the death of King Saul.
To be more specific, King Saul was seriously wounded during the battle, and chose to fall upon his own sword, being as his armourbearer refused to kill him. His armourbearer then also proceeded to take his own life. We later find out that an Amalekite came upon Saul who had fallen upon his sword, and was in great agony, but had not yet died. Upon Saul's request, the Amalekite finished the job for him. Eventually, the Philistines arrived and cut off the head of King Saul, and carried it throughout the Philistine cities in order to brag of their deeds.
While the Amalekite had performed a mercy killing for King Saul at Saul's request, we are told that King David had the Amalekite slain; because even though King Saul had turned against David, David still considered him to be the Lord's anointed leader. As far as Achish of Gath is concerned, there is no further mention of him in the Scriptures. We can only assume that peace remained between him and David as a result of the kindnesses which they had shown to each other, even though later, David in fact conquered the city of Gath, as we see by this verse:
"Now after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them, and took Gath and her towns out of the hand of the Philistines."
1 Chronicles 18:1, KJV
The account of David's encounter with the Philistine giant, Goliath of Gath, is also found in the Book of Second Samuel, and in the Book of First Chronicles. These two books provide us with more details concerning the death of Goliath, and his sons and brothers: Ishbibenob, Saph (or Sippai), Lahmi, and a fourth unnamed son, who were likewise giants. In these books, Goliath is referred to as Goliath the Gittite, because he was from Gath. You will notice that King David was in fact almost killed by Ishbibenob the giant, but one of David's men came to his rescue. Consider the following two verse groups:
"And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel. And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants."
2 Samuel 21:16-22, KJV
"And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued. And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver's beam. And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot: and he also was the son of the giant. But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David's brother slew him. These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants."
1 Chronicles 20:4-8, KJV
It is interesting to note that, just as the Israelites were required to spend 430 years under Egyptian bondage, another 430 years would pass before David would be anointed as the second king of Israel, and would set up his headquarters in Arba, or Hebron, which, as we have seen, had previously been the headquarters of the Anakim giants. The Scriptures inform us that King David ruled Israel for a period of forty years; seven and a half years from the city of Hebron, and later, thirty-three years from Jerusalem, as we see by these verses:
"Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah."
2 Samuel 5:1-5, KJV
It is interesting to note that in the Old Testament, there are only four Books where the Devil is mentioned by the name of Satan. They are the Books of I Chronicles, Job, Psalms, and the Prophet Zechariah. In other places, Satan is called Lucifer, or is referred to as a serpent or a dragon. What I find interesting is that this last mention of Satan is found exactly one verse after the four sons of Goliath are slain, as we see by this verse:
"And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."
1 Chronicles 21:1, KJV
Obviously, the Devil was rather upset that the seed of the giant Anak had been destroyed by David and his servants; so in the very next verse, having lost some of his best pawns, Lucifer then persuaded David to take a census of Israel. The Bible informs us that this greatly displeased the Lord; the reason being that David was trusting in the arm of the flesh; that is, he was trusting in his military might, instead of trusting in the Lord. You may recall from part four that the king eventually wrote the following:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:7, KJV
At any rate, because of David's sin of not trusting in the Lord, the Scriptures inform us that seventy thousand people were slain of the Israelites. But that isn't all. This same chapter informs us that the Lord sent an Angel to destroy Jerusalem because of David's sin. We read that David lifted up his eyes and actually beheld this Angel, as we see by the following verse:
"And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces."
1 Chronicles 21:16, KJV
As King David often wrote in the Psalms, the mercy of the Lord endures forever. Thus, David regretted his mistake, and we are told that the Lord refrained from destroying the city. Afterwards, David purchased some land from Ornan -- who had also seen the Angel, along with his four sons -- and made a burnt offering to the Lord, as we see by the following verses:
"And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to enquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD."
Chronicles 21:26-30, KJV
What I find particularly interesting about this incident is the fact that we are told that this Angel was seen suspended between the Earth and the sky with his sword over Jerusalem. King David clearly saw him, as did the others, and perhaps the elders of Israel did as well. This description seems to suggest that this Angel was very large, as was his sword. In fact, he was so large, that David was even afraid to pass by him, in order that he might go to Gibeon in order to inquire of the Lord. In my view, this Angelic description adds even more support to the idea that beings in the Spiritual World are much larger than beings in the physical realm. Not only that, but this story also helps to explain why the Nephilim grew to such a large size. As we saw earlier in this series, the Nephilim had to obtain their large size from somewhere, and DNA from the Fallen Angels appears to be a plausible answer.
While the death of Goliath, the giant of Gath, and his family must have weakened and demoralized the Philistines, it didn't bring a complete end to the wars between the Israelites and their Philistine enemies. As we saw earlier, King David's men eventually retook Gath and other surrounding towns, but the Israelites did not hold on to them forever. At one point, we are also informed that a Syrian king by the name of Hazael also conquered Gath, as is made clear by the following verse that is found in the Second Book of the Kings:
"Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem."
2 Kings 12:17, KJV
Hazael made considerable war against Israel, and conquered much territory that was east of the Jordan River. He would have proceeded to take the city of Jerusalem as well, except that he was bribed into abandoning his war efforts by Judean king, Jehoash, who gave Hazael not only everything out of the royal treasury, but out of the House of the Lord as well. It was a very dark time for Israel and Judah, being as a number of assassinations of royalty were occurring at the time. This began with the murderous acts of Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah, who slew all of the royal seed, except for Jehoash, who was hidden from her evil clutches as a child.
Jehoash was eventually assassinated after reigning for forty years. His son and heir, Amaziah, was likewise assassinated after reigning for twenty-nine years. Amaziah was followed by his son and heir, Uzziah, who once again waged war with the Philistines, and reconquered Gath, and other coastal cities which belonged to the Philistines, as we see by the following verses. This occurred about two hundred and fifty years after King David's conquest of Gath:
"Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines. And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims."
2 Chronicles 26:3-7, KJV
So based upon all of the previous Scriptural evidence, it seems that beginning with the death of Goliath the giant of Gath, who was probably a descendant of the Anakim, and his immediate family, we have the beginning of the end of what was left of the Anakim giants. There are a few other brief mentions of Gath in the Bible, but there is no additional mention of the sons of Anak, or of any other giants, after that time, to my knowledge. Whether or not any of the other Philistine inhabitants of Gath, Ashdod, Jabneh, Arba or Gaza were giants is a matter of debate. Personally, I suspect at least some of them were, due to a certain place which the Philistines seemed to favor, which I'll discuss momentarily. Let's also not forget that the giant Goliath had a shield bearer who went before him. Obviously, it must have been a very large shield, much larger than normal men would use; so this suggests that the shield bearer may have been a giant as well.
While I have stated that there is no specific mention of the sons of Anak after these events, please note that the Bible does mention other giants, earlier in the Biblical timeline. For example, in the Book of Deuteronomy, while Moses gives an account of how the Lord gave him instructions regarding how the Israelites were to pass along the borders of Ammon and Moab on the eastern side of Canaan -- what is today modern Jordan -- he mentions that in "old time", the region had been the home of a great race of giants who were known as the Zamzummims, who were driven out by the Ammonites. As you may recall, Ammon and Moab were the sons of Abraham's nephew, Lot, which Lot fathered by his own daughters, while in a drunken state, following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Consider the following verses:
"That the LORD spake unto me, saying, Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day: And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead: As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day: And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)"
Deuteronomy 2:17-23, KJV
You will notice that a section of the previous verses is in parentheses. Depending on how one reads them, he may acquire the understanding that Moses may be saying that in addition to the Zamzummims -- who were tall like the Anakim giants -- the cave-dwelling Horims, as well as the Avims, may have also been giants. After all, Moses does refer to the area in those verses as "a land of giants". The Horims are also mentioned as being defeated by Esau's progeny in Mount Seir in verse twelve as well, as we see here:
"The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them."
Deuteronomy 2:12, KJV
Here again, let me mention that in his 1836 "Commentary On The Bible", British theologian Adam Clarke again blatantly attempts to downplay what is being said by Moses concerning the Zamzummim giants. While Moses clearly describes them as "A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims", in his attempt to disprove the existence of these ancient races of Biblical giants, Clarke goes to the exact opposite extreme and says "Of these ancient people we know very little; they were probably inconsiderable tribes or clans". In my view, "A people great and many" doesn't sound like Moses meant for us to understand "inconsiderable tribes". What do you think?
Please go to part six for the continuation of this series.
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