Saturday, September 22, 2007

Genesis 6:1-6: The Nephilim, man's wickedness, God's judgment, the book of Enoch

Genesis contains some stories that are fantastic by any measure. Genesis 6, contains the story of the Nephilim, who are the children of the “sons of God” and human women. The Nephilim were extraordinary: “they were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (v. 4).

It’s hard to know what to make of such a passage. Humorously, Matthew Henry’s commentary does not even refer to the Nephilim. He must have simply decided it was too bizarre to exegete.

The story of the Nephilim is more fully detailed in the Book of Enoch. Enoch is an interesting book because although it is not canonized, it is quoted in the NT book of Jude. Several early church fathers considered it inspired. Enoch says that 200 fallen angels came to earth, took human wives, and had children who were “giants.” The giants ultimately turn on mankind and begin killing humans and animal life.

God ultimately intervenes, sending angels Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel to earth. Michael and Raphael bind up the fallen angels and imprison them to await the judgment, and Gabriel destroys the Nephilim.

Apparently, the fallen angels had also been teaching mankind all sorts of warfare, magic, and corruption. And it appears that the earth must be destroyed because of all of this. Uriel is sent to Noah to warn him about a coming apocalypse.

Genesis 6:5 “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become…”

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