Chapter 3. Nephilim, Gibborim, and Rephaim

The word “giant” in Genesis 6:4 derives from the Hebrew word nphiyl, meaning bully, tyrant, giant, and giants, as in the latter as Nphiylim/Nephilim. The word `Im, when deployed as a suffix, is generally understood as applied to pluralize the root word, and to convey “to be from” and/or as “in ones”—in this case, giant ones.

In antiquity, `im was a suffix to communicate the plural male majesty of angels, gods, and their male progeny. Majesty is defined as the greatness of God, gods, lofty, regal, supreme greatness, supreme authority, the royals (roy-els), and the titles of monarchs. The `im is an important suffix with respect to description and definition of Nephilim giants recorded in Genesis 6:4, and other eponymously named tribes giant tribes that will become self-evident as this tome unfolds. Further, Ellicott’s An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers annotated that Nephilim were deemed by some historians of antiquity as beings akin to hairy beasts of “unique size,” as recorded in Assyrian cuneiform texts as the Naptu.

Nephilim were described in Genesis 6:4 as mighty men; the Hebrew gibbowr transliterated as gibborim, meaning strong, brave, powerful, tyrant, and often used in describing giants. One muses whether gibbowr is connected to the word “gibberish.” Conversely, gibborim does not always mean giant(s), as with David’s mighty men as one example. Further, gibbowr is only translated once as “giant” (Job 16:15), indicating gibborim may only be a descriptive title versus a distinct race. Similarly, Nephilim were depicted as “men of renown,” deriving equally from two Hebrew words: shem meaning famous and/or infamous, as dictated by their deeds of reputation, glory, or evil, and from Shamayim (singular shameh) meaning lofty, sky, heaven, and heavens. Hence, Nephilim giants were powerful, strong tyrants who acquired reputations for glory, fame, and infamy; and Nephilim were of or from the heavenly ones, the fallen angels.

Linking the meaning of “renowned” to the heavenly ones/Shamayim helps confirm nphiyl’s etymological link to the fallen angels.

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