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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Genesis 6:4

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Giants;   Holy Spirit;   Ship;   Scofield Reference Index - Sons;   Thompson Chain Reference - Giants;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Deluge;   Giants;   Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Divorce;   Marriage;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Flood, the;   Messiah;   Spirits in Prison;   War, Holy War;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Anakim;   Giants;   Nephilim;   Rephaim;   Son of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Giants;   Lamech;   Nimrod;   Noah;   Son of God;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Anak, Anakim;   Archangel;   Children (Sons) of God;   Flood;   Genesis;   Giants;   Mighty Men;   Nephilim;   Son of God;   Spirits in Prison;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Children (Sons) of God;   Deluge;   Genealogy;   Giant;   Greek Versions of Ot;   Nephilim;   Shem;   Time;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Aeon;   Angels (2);   Colossians, Epistle to the;   Demon, Demoniacal Possession, Demoniacs;   Names and Titles of Christ;   Prison;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Giant;   Man;   Sons of God;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Giants;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Flood;   Giant;   Moreh;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Giants,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Giant;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Daughters of Men;   Apostasy, the;   Tabernacle, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Anakim;   Angel;   Antediluvians;   Children of God;   Day;   Giants;   Hell;   Heredity;   Name;   Nephilim;   Sons of God (Old Testament);   Woman;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Angelology;   Azazel;   Cain;   Demonology;   Enoch, Books of (Ethiopic and Slavonic);   Fall of Angels;   Giants;   Judaism;   Moon;   Philo Judæus;   Shamḥazai;   Son of God;   Witchcraft;  
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Adam Clarke Commentary

There were giants in the earth - נפלים nephilim, from נפל naphal, "he fell." Those who had apostatized or fallen from the true religion. The Septuagint translate the original word by γιγαντες, which literally signifies earth-born, and which we, following them, term giants, without having any reference to the meaning of the word, which we generally conceive to signify persons of enormous stature. But the word when properly understood makes a very just distinction between the sons of men and the sons of God; those were the nephilim, the fallen earth-born men, with the animal and devilish mind. These were the sons of God, who were born from above; children of the kingdom, because children of God. Hence we may suppose originated the different appellatives given to sinners and saints; the former were termed γιγαντες, earth-born, and the latter, ἁγιοι, i.e. saints, persons not of the earth, or separated from the earth.

The same became mighty men - men of renown - גברים gibborim, which we render mighty men, signifies properly conquerors, heroes, from גבר gabar, "he prevailed, was victorious." and השם אנשי anshey hashshem, "men of the name," ανθρωποι ονομαστοι, Septuagint; the same as we render men of renown, renominati, twice named, as the word implies, having one name which they derived from their fathers, and another which they acquired by their daring exploits and enterprises.

It may be necessary to remark here that our translators have rendered seven different Hebrew words by the one term giants, viz., nephilim, gibborim, enachim, rephaim, emim, and zamzummim ; by which appellatives are probably meant in general persons of great knowledge, piety, courage, wickedness, etc., and not men of enormous stature, as is generally conjectured.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


The wickedness of human society (6:1-8)

As the population grew and societies developed, people again showed the tendency to want to exist independently of God. Like their original ancestors, they wanted to be as God and live for ever (cf. 3:5,22).

It seems that certain angels (the probable meaning of 'sons of God' in this story; cf. Job 1:6; Job 38:7; Daniel 3:25) had, in rebellion against God, taken human form and co-operated with ambitious people in trying to produce a race of 'super-humans' who would be unconquerable and immortal. In response God reminded his human creatures that they were mortal, kept alive only by his spirit within them. In punishment he reduced the human life span from its former length to approximately 120 years (6:1-4). (God's punishment of the angels is possibly referred to in 1 Peter 3:19-20 and Jude_1:6.)

People, however, did not heed God's warning. Their wickedness continued to increase, till God decided that the only thing to do was to destroy them (5-8).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown."

"The Nephilim were in the earth in those days ..." This is a citation of the time when the unlawful marriages proliferated and represents those marriages as "an event that followed the appearance of the Nephilim."[7] We must therefore disagree with Willis who thought that the context here "suggests that the Nephilim were the children born to the sons of God and the daughters of men, and who became the mighty men of old."[8] On the other hand, the Nephilim existed before and after the sinful marriages came into view.

"The mighty men that were of old ..." Some of the older versions render this word as "giants" instead of mighty men. Although it is likely that the men in view were men of great physical stature, the thought appears to pertain more to their exploits of daring and violent deeds. This could be a reference to the Nephilim already mentioned, but Keil and others thought that the reference is to the sons of the mixed marriages. In neither case, is there any reference to angelic or superhuman progenitors of these mighty men. Such views are due solely to the error of "commentators who have been obliged to insert them here to save their angelic marriages!"[9] As to the meaning of "mighty men," the most probable interpretation "is that which understands them as men of violence, roving, lawless gallants."[10] "The term in Hebrew implies not so much the idea of great stature as of reckless ferocity, impious, and daring characters, who spread devastation and carnage far and wide."[11] The current century has witnessed the appearance of the same type of "mighty men": Kaiser Wilhelm, Benito Mussolini (Il Duce), Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, etc. Such men were referred to in this verse as "men of renown"! Some dependable exegetes believe that the teaching here indicates that these (or at least some of them) were posterity produced by the mixed marriages, but, if that is the understanding of the place, there could have been no connection between these "men of renown" and the Nephilim, already mentioned as existing when those marriages occurred. In any case, the alleged union between supernatural and human beings is absolutely foreign to everything in the Bible, and particularly to this passage.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

- The Growth of Sin

3. דון dı̂yn “be down, strive, subdue, judge.” בשׁגם bāshagām “inasmuch, as also.” The rendering “in their error” requires the pointing בשׁגם beshāgām and the plural form of the following pronoun. It is also unknown to the Septuagint.

4. נפילים nepı̂lı̂ym “assailants, fellers, men of violence, tyrants.”

Having traced the line of descent from Adam through Sheth, the seed of God, to Noah, the author proceeds to describe the general spread and growth of moral evil in the race of man, and the determination of the Lord to wipe it away from the face of the earth.

Genesis 6:1-4

There are two stages of evil set forth in Genesis 6:1-4 - the one contained in the present four verses, and the other in the following. The former refers to the apostasy of the descendants of Sheth, and the cause and consequences of it. When man began to multiply, the separate families of Cain and Sheth would come into contact. The daughters of the stirring Cainites, distinguished by the graces of nature, the embellishments of art, and the charms of music and song, even though destitute of the loftier qualities of likemindedness with God, would attract attention and prompt to unholy alliances. The phrase “sons of God,” means an order of intelligent beings who “retain the purity of moral character” originally communicated, or subsequently restored, by their Creator. They are called the sons of God, because they have his spirit or disposition. The sons of God mentioned in Job 38:7, are an order of rational beings existing before the creation of man, and joining in the symphony of the universe, when the earth and all things were called into being. Then all were holy, for all are styled the sons of God. Such, however, are not meant in the present passage. For they were not created as a race, have no distinction of sex, and therefore no sexual desire; they “neither marry nor are given in marriage” Matthew 22:30. It is contrary to the law of nature for different species even on earth to cohabit in a carnal way; much more for those in the body, and those who have not a body of flesh. Moreover, we are here in the region of humanity, and not in the sphere of superhuman spirits; and the historian has not given the slightest intimation of the existence of spiritual beings different from man.

The sons of God, therefore, are those who are on the Lord‘s side, who approach him with duly significant offerings, who call upon him by his proper name, and who walk with God in their daily conversation. The figurative use of the word “son” to denote a variety of relations incidental, and moral as well as natural, was not unfamiliar to the early speaker. Thus, Noah is called “the son of five hundred years” Genesis 5:32. Abraham calls Eliezer בן־בותי ben -bēytı̂y “son of my house” Genesis 15:3. The dying Rachel names her son Ben-oni, “son of my sorrow,” while his father called him Benjamin, “son of thy right hand” Genesis 35:18. An obvious parallel to the moral application is presented in the phrases “the seed of the woman” and “the seed of the serpent.” The word “generations” תולדות tôledot Genesis 5:1) exhibits a similar freedom and elasticity of meaning, being applied to the whole doings of a rational being, and even to the physical changes of the material world Genesis 2:4. The occasion for the present designation is furnished in the remark of Eve on the birth of Sheth. God hath given me another seed instead of Habel. Her son Sheth she therefore regarded as the son of God. Accordingly, about the birth of his son Enosh, was begun the custom calling upon the name of the Lord, no doubt in the family circle of Adam, with whom Sheth continued to dwell. And Enok, the seventh from Adam in the same line, exhibited the first striking example of a true believer walking with God in all the intercourse of life. These descendants of Sheth, among whom were also Lamek who spoke of the Lord, and Noah who walked with God, are therefore by a natural transition called the sons of God, the godlike in a moral sense, being born of the Spirit, and walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit Psalm 82:6; Hosea 2:1.

Some take “the daughters of man” to be the daughters of the Cainites only. But it is sufficient to understand by this phrase, the daughters of man in general, without any distinction of a moral or spiritual kind, and therefore including both Cainite and Shethite females. “And they took them wives of all whom they chose.” The evil here described is that of promiscuous intermarriage, without regard to spiritual character. The godly took them wives of all; that is, of the ungodly as well as the godly families, without any discrimination. “Whom they chose,” not for the godliness of their lives, but for the goodliness of their looks. Ungodly mothers will not train up children in the way they should go; and husbands who have taken the wrong step of marrying ungodly wives cannot prove to be very exemplary or authoritative fathers. Up to this time they may have been consistent as the sons of God in their outward conduct. But a laxity of choice proves a corresponding laxity of principle. The first inlet of sin prepares the way for the flood-gates of iniquity. It is easy to see that now the degeneracy of the whole race will go on at a rapid pace.

Genesis 6:3

My Spirit - , in contradistinction to the spirit of disobedience which, by the fall, obtained entrance into the soul of man. “Shall not strive with man forever.” To strive דון dı̂yn is to keep down, rule, judge, or strive with a man by moral force. From this passage we learn that the Lord by his Spirit strives with man up to a certain point. In this little negative sentence streams out the bright light of God‘s free and tender mercy to the apostate race of man. He sends his Spirit to irradiate the darkened mind, to expostulate with the conscience, to prompt and strengthen holy resolve, and to bring back the heart, the confidence, the affection to God. He effects the blessed result of repentance toward God in some, who are thus proved to be born of God. But it is a solemn thought that with others he will not strive perpetually. There is a certain point beyond which he will not go, for sufficient reasons known fully to himself, partly to us. Two of these we are to notice for our instruction: First, he will not touch the free agency of his rational creatures. He can put no force on the volitions of men. An involuntary or compulsory faith, hope, love, obedience, is a contradiction in terms; and anything that could bear the name can have no moral validity whatsoever. Secondly, after giving ample warning, instruction, and invitation, he will, as a just judgment on the unbelieving and the impenitent, withdraw his Spirit and let them alone. The antediluvian world was fast approaching to this point of final perversity and abandonment.

Inasmuch as he is also flesh - , in contradistinction to spirit, the breath of life which the Almighty breathed Into his nostrils. These two parts of man‘s complex being were originally in true and happy adjustment, the corporeal being the fit organ and complement of the spiritual as it is in him. But now by the fall the flesh has gained the upper hand, and the spirit is in the bondage of corruption. The fact that he is flesh also as well as spirit, has therefore come out into sad prominence. The doctrine of the carnal mind in the Epistle to the Romans Genesis 6:4

Two classes of men, with strong hand and strong will, are here described. “The giants,” the well-known men of great stature, physical force, and violent will, who were enabled by these qualities to claim and secure the supremacy over their fellow-men. “Had been in the land in those days.” In the days when those intermarriages were beginning to take place, the warriors were asserting the claim of might. Violence and rapine were becoming rampant in the land. “And after that.” The progeny of the mixed marriages were the second and subsequent class of leading men. “The sons of God” are here contradistinguished from the “nephilim, or giants,” who appear therefore to have belonged to the Cainites. The offspring of these unhallowed unions were the heroes, the gallants, the mighty men, the men of renown. They were probably more refined in manners and exalted in thought than their predecessors of pure Cainite descent. “Men of name,” whose names are often in men‘s mouths, because they either deserved or required to be named frequently on account of their influential or representative character. Being distinguished from the common herd by prominent qualities or memorable exploits, they were also frequently marked out by a special name or surname, derived from such trait of character or deed of notoriety. “Of old” (מעולם mē'ôlām ). This has been sometimes explained “of the world,” in the sense of αἰών aiōn but the meaning is too late for the present passage. The phrase uniformly means “of old,” covering a more or less extensive length of time. This note of time implies a writer probably after the deluge, who could speak of antediluvian affairs, as happening of old.

It is remarkable that we have no hint of any kind of government in the antediluvian world. It is open to us to suppose that the patriarchal polity would make its appearance, as it is an order based upon natural relations. But it is possible that God himself, being still present and manifest, was recognized as the governor. To him offerings were brought, and he deals with Cain on his first and second transgression. In that case the lawless violence of the strong and willful is to be regarded as rebellion, not only against the patriarchal rule, but the divine supremacy. A notice of civil law and government would not of course affect the authority of the book. But the absence of such notice is in favor of its divine origin. It is obvious that higher things than these have the attention of the sacred writer.

Genesis 6:5-8

In these verse we are to conceive the 120 years of respite to be at an end. The iniquity of the race is now full, and the determination of the Lord is therefore announced, with a statement of the grounds on which it rests, and a glance at the individual to be excepted from the general destruction.

Genesis 6:5

And God saw. - The course of the primeval world was a great experiment going on before the eye of God, and of all intelligent observers, and manifesting the thorough depravity and full-grown degeneracy of the fallen race, when left to the bent of its perverted inclinations. “Every imagination” (יצר yētser ). Here the object of thought is distinguished from the thought itself. This is a distinction not generally or constantly recognized by the mental philosopher, though of essential importance in the theory of the mind. The thought itself is a real phase or attitude of mind; the form, idea, species, object of thought may have matter, real content, or it may not. “Only evil every day.” This is an unlimited condemnation of the state and process of the carnal man. The reason is obvious. Homage to God, to truth, to right, to love, does not reign in his heart; and the imaginations or purposes that are not regulated by this, however excellent and praiseworthy in other respects, are destitute of the first the essential principle of moral good. This is now made palpable to the eye of observation by the almost universal predominance of the ungodly spirit. This accordingly forms the ground of the divine procedure.

Genesis 6:6

And it repented the Lord - that he had made man. The Scripture is frank and unreserved; some people would say, imprudent or regardless of misconstruction, in its statements of truth. Repentance ascribed to the Lord seems to imply wavering or change of purpose in the Eternal Self-existent One. But the sublime dictate of the inspired word is, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19. In sooth, every act here recorded - the observation, the resolve, the exception - seems equally with the repentance to jar with the unchangeableness of God. To go to the root of the matter, every act of the divine will, of creative power, or of interference with the order of nature, seems at variance with inflexibility of purpose. But, in the first place, man has a finite mind and a limited sphere of observation, and therefore is not able to conceive or express thoughts or acts exactly as they are in God, but only as they are in himself. Secondly, God is a spirit, and therefore has the attributes of personality, freedom, and holiness; and the passage before us is designed to set forth these in all the reality of their action, and thereby to distinguish the freedom of the eternal mind from the fatalism of inert matter. Hence, thirdly, these statements represent real processes of the Divine Spirit, analogous at least to those of the human. And, lastly, to verify this representation, it is not necessary that we should be able to comprehend or construe to ourselves in all its practical detail that sublime harmony which subsists between the liberty and the immutability of God. That change of state which is essential to will, liberty, and activity, may be, for aught we know, and from what we know must be, in profound unison with the eternity of the divine purpose.

Genesis 6:7

I will wipe away man from the face of the soil. - The resolve is made to sweep away the existing race of man. Heretofore, individuals had departed this life. Adam himself had long since paid the debt of nature. These solemn testimonies to the universal doom had not made any salutary or lasting impression on the survivors. But now a general and violent destruction is to overtake the whole race - a standing monument of the divine wrath against sin, to all future generations of the only family saved.

From man to cattle, creeper and fowl of the sky. - These classes of animated nature being mingled up with man are involved in the same ruin with him. This is of a piece with the curse laid upon the serpent, which was the unconscious organ of the tempter. It is an instance of a law which runs through the whole course of nature, as we observe that it is the method of the divine government to allow for the time the suffering inflicted on an inferior animal, or even on a fellow-creature, by selfish passion. It has an appearance to some minds of harshness and unfairness. But we must remember that these animated creatures are not moral, and, therefore, the violent termination of their organic life is not a punishment; that the pain incidental to this, being apart from guilt, is in itself a beneficial provision for the conservation of life; and that it was not intended that the life of animals should be perpetual. The return of the land to a state of desolation by the destruction of animal and vegetable life, however, has its lesson for man, for whom ultimately all of this beauty and fertility were designed, and from whom it is now withdrawn, along with all the glories it foreshadows, as part of the punishment of his guilt. The tenant has become unworthy of the tabernacle, and accordingly he is dispossessed, and it is taken down and removed.

Genesis 6:8

And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. - Noah and his family are the only exceptions to this sweeping destruction. Hitherto we have met with distant and indirect intimations of the divine favor, and significant deeds of regard and acceptance. Now for the first time grace itself finds a tongue to express its name. Grace has its fountain in the divine breast. The stream has been flowing forth to Adam, Eve, Habel, Henok, and others, we hope, unknown to fame. By the time it reaches Noah it has found a name, by which it is recognized among people to this day. It is opposed to works as a source of blessing. Whither grace comes there merit cannot be. Hence, we learn even from the case of Noah that original sin asserts its presence in the whole race of Adam. This completes the circle of saving doctrine in regard to God that comes down from the antediluvian times. He intimates that the seed of the woman, an individual pre-eminently so called, will bruise the serpent‘s head. He clothes our first parents with coats of skin - an earnest and an emblem of the better, the moral clothing of the soul. He regards Habel and his offering. He accepts him that in faith does well. He translates Enok, who walked with him. His Spirit, we learn, has been striving with antediluvian man. Here are the Spirit of God and the seed of the woman. Here are clothing, regarding, accepting, translating. Here, then, is salvation provided and applied, begun, continued, and completed. And last, though not least, grace comes out to view, the eternal fountain of the whole. On the part of man, also, we have repenting, believing, confessing, offering, calling on the name of the Lord, and walking with God.

The two parts of the document which is now closed are as distinct from each other as it is from the following one. They combine, in fact, to form the needful preliminary to the fourth document. The genealogy brings us to the leading agent in the succeeding narrative; the description of the corruption of the human race furnishes the occasion for his agency. The third is therefore the prologue, as the fifth is the epilogue, to the fourth document, in which the main action lies.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4.There were giants in the earth. Among the innumerable kinds of corruptions with which the earth was filled, Moses especially records one in this place; namely that giants practiced great violence and tyranny. I do not, however, suppose, that he speaks of all the men of this age; but of certain individuals, who, being stronger than the rest, and relying on their own might and power, exalted themselves unlawfully, and without measure. As to the Hebrew noun, נפלים (nefilim,) its origin is known to be from the verb נפל (naphal,) which is to fall; but grammarians do not agree concerning its etymology. Some think that they were so called because they exceeded the common stature; (264) others, because the countenance of men fell at the sight of them, on account of the enormous size of their body; or, because all fell prostrate through terror of their magnitude. To me there seems more truth in the opinion of those who say, that a similitude is taken from a torrent, or an impetuous tempest; for as a storm and torrent, violently falling, lays waste and destroys the fields, so these robbers brought destruction and desolation into the world. (265) Moses does not indeed say, that they were of extraordinary stature, but only that they were robust. Elsewhere, I acknowledge, the same word denotes vastness of stature, which was formidable to those who explored the land of Canaan, (Joshua 13:33.) But Moses does not distinguish those of whom he speaks in this place, from other men, so much by the size of their bodies, as by their robberies and their lust of dominion. In the context, the particle וגם (vegam,) which is interposed, is emphatical. Jerome, after whom certain other interpreters have blundered, has rendered this passage in the worst possible manner. (266) For it is literally rendered thus, ‘And even after the sons of God had gone in to the daughters of men;’ as if he had said, Moreover, or, ‘And at this time.’ For in the first place, Moses relates that there were giants; then he subjoins, that there were also others from among that promiscuous offspring, which was produced when the sons of God mingled themselves with the daughters of men. It would not have been wonderful if such outrage had prevailed among the posterity of Cain; but the universal pollution is more clearly evident from this, that the holy seed was defiled by the same corruption. That a contagion so great should have spread through the few families which ought to have constituted the sanctuary of God, is no slight aggravation of the evil. The giants, then, had a prior origin; but afterwards those who were born of promiscuous marriages imitated their example.

The same became mighty men which were of old (267) The word ‘age’ is commonly understood to mean antiquity: as if Moses had said, that they who first exercised tyranny or power in the world, together with an excessive licentiousness and an unbridled lust of dominion, had begun from this race. Yet there are those who expound the expression, ‘from the age,’ to mean, in the presence of the world: for the Hebrew word עולם (olam,) has also this signification. (268) Some think that this was spoken proverbially; because the age immediately posterior to the deluge had produced none like them. The first exposition is the more simple; the sum of the whole, however, is, that they were ferocious tyrants, who separated themselves from the common rank. Their first fault was pride; because, relying on their own strength, they arrogated to themselves more than was due. Pride produced contempt of God, because, being inflated by arrogance, they began to shake off every yoke. At the same time, they were also disdainful and cruel towards men; because it is not possible that they, who would not bear to yield obedience to God, should have acted with moderation towards men. Moses adds they were “men of renown;” by which he intimates that they boasted of their wickedness, and were what are called, honorable robbers. Nor is it to be doubted, that they had something more excellent than the common people, which procured for them favor and glory in the world. Nevertheless, under the magnificent title of heroes, they cruelly exercised dominion, and acquired power and fame for themselves, by injuring and oppressing their brethren. And this was the first nobility of the world. Lest any one should too greatly delight himself in a long and dingy line of ancestry; this, I repeat, was the nobility, which raised itself on high, by pouring contempt and disgrace on others. Celebrity of name is not in itself condemned; since it is necessary that they whom the Lord has adorned with peculiar gifts should be preeminent among others; and it is advantageous that there should be distinction of ranks in the world. But as ambition is always vicious and more especially so when joined with a tyrannical ferocity, which causes the more powerful to insult the weak, the evil becomes intolerable. It is, however, much worse, when wicked men gain honor by their crimes; and when, the more audacious any one is in doing injury, the more insolently he boasts of the empty smoke of titles. Moreover, as Satan is an ingenious contriver of falsehoods, by which he would corrupt the truth of God, and in this manner render it suspected, the poets have invented many fables concerning the giants; who are called by them the sons of the Earth, for this reason, as it appears to me, because they rushed forward to acquire dominions without any example of their ancestors.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

It came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took unto them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit will not always strive with man, in that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years ( Genesis 6:1-3 ).

So we"re coming now to a time in which God is going to drastically alter man"s lifespan. By the time they were getting nine hundred years old they were getting so wicked. God says I"m not going to leave them around that long; cut them down to a hundred and twenty years. So drastic altering after the flood of man"s lifespan which could easily be explained by the loss of the protective blanket around the earth, allowing much greater cosmic radiation which causes the mutations of the cells which causes the aging process in man. There"s no way by which you can protect yourself from these little neutrinos, these little cosmic rays that bombard the earth and pass right through the thing like it wasn"t even there. The earth is under this constant bombardment.

Actually, we are protected much by our atmosphere. There is a certain danger to too much high-altitude flying. You get up above the protective blanket and your ultra-violet ray radiation gets much greater, in that the airlines have found that they can only -you can say pilots really have it made, you know, they only fly once a week. All that"s because of the fact that it is a hazardous thing you"re getting up above much of our protective blanket when you get up thirty-eight to thirty-nine thousand feet. And so they limit their exposure. We"re learning more and more about that.

Who are the sons of God? Now there are those who will make the sons of God the descendants of Shem. So they are Shemites, say some. The daughters of men were the Cainites, the descendants of Cain, according to the theory. And that the godly line of Shem began to intermarry with the ungodly line of Cain. And the product -it"s hard to explain how it was giants, but that"s the theory.

The term "sons of God" in the Old Testament is used elsewhere but only of angels, never of man. In Job, the sons of God were presenting themselves to God and Satan also came with them, angels. It would appear that these are angels here in Genesis, that they actually began to intermingle and intermarry. You say but wait a minute. Jesus said the angels neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven. That is true. But Jesus did not say that they were sexless; He just said there was no marriage nor given in marriage. And it is interesting that always angels are referred to in a masculine form.

There are difficulties with this verse, if you try to make it the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain. There are also difficulties if you try to make it angels intermarrying with man. But in verse four.

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown ( Genesis 6:4 ).

Some kind of a super race of giant men as a result of this.

In the New Testament, we read that those angels, which kept not their first estate are reserved in the chains of Tartarus awaiting the day of judgment ( Jude 1:6 ). It seems that there were certain angels, perhaps, that did not keep the first principle or first estate. Maybe they were these angels who came down and began to intermingle and intermarry with men. There are a lot of interesting things that we don"t know all of the answers to, this being one of them.

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and the eyes and that every imagination and the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them ( Genesis 6:5-7 ).

Now whenever we get to this statement that it repented God, we find that it is again a difficult statement to handle because the Scripture clearly teaches that "God is not a man, that he should repent, or that He should lie; nor the son of man, that he should repent" ( Numbers 23:19 ). In other words, God being omniscient knew from the beginning what was going to be. Then what does this scripture mean? "It repented God" and God said, I, you know, "I"m sorry that I"ve made man." That it repented God that He had made man.

It is extremely difficult to talk about God in human terms because we are limited to human terminology. Therefore, there are certain actions of God that I must describe but how am I going to describe them except with language that we understand? So this is one of those areas where you run into the difficulty, because you"re trying to explain an action of God, but the only words that you have to explain, that action, are words that are significant to man but not at all in the category of God. So trying to explain it in a way that man would understand from the human level this action of God, I am bound to the human terms. And thus, I attribute unto God a human capacity, though in reality, the repentance of God is not at all as I would repent or I would be sorry for a thing. But I cannot understand the action of God because "His ways are above my ways and beyond my finding out" ( Romans 11:33 ).

So God knew from the beginning all things. God knew that men would be corrupted. God knew that there would be violence. God knew that men would bring self-destruction upon himself. And so we describe the action of God in human terms. But yet the Scripture declares that "God is not a man that he should lie nor the son of man that he should repent." But I have no other words to describe the action of God, so I describe it in human terms. Though it is not at all repentance as man would turn or man would change.

God said, "Behold, I am the Lord God, I change not" ( Malachi 3:6 ). He doesn"t have to change. He is God. So God declares His destruction of the earth.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. And these are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God ( Genesis 6:8-9 ).

In the midst of an evil and corrupt world, with the wickedness and the corruption and every imagination of the thoughts of man"s heart evil continually, there is one man down on earth walking in harmony with God, in fellowship with God. Noah walked with God. What a testimony and what a witness.

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked upon the earth, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it or cover it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits ( Genesis 6:11-15 ).

Now a cubit is about eighteen inches long which means that this ark was four hundred and fifty feet long, one hundred and fifty feet wide, and forty-five feet tall. It was to be three stories, fifteen feet each. Pretty big boat, really, it has a cubit footage of about one million, four hundred thousand cubit feet, equivalent to about five hundred and twenty-two cattle cars of a train. So if you had a train with five hundred and twenty-two cattle cars, you could carry quite a few animals. The ark was no just little boat. It was something like man had never seen up to that point.

It is interesting that it is six times as long as it is wide, which, of course, we have discovered today as the ideal ratio for a ship its length to its width. And most of our Navy ships are just about the same ratio, about six times to our, four hundred and fifty by seventy-five, about six to one.

Now a lot of times people have difficulty with this story of the flood, the story of the ark, the story of the animals coming in, the story of the preservation of man and animals, but there have been some excellent books written on the subject. Dr. Whitcam and Dr. Morris have combined together in a book called "The Genesis Flood" which is perhaps one of the most scholarly of all of the books that have been written on the subject. But there has been of late recent interest in the flood and in the ark because there are continuing reports of a large ship up encased in the ice on Mount Ararat. And these go back to the time of Marco Polo who reports this great boat up there in the ice as the people in the area talk about it.

In1917 there was a report of a Russian flyer who spotted, in a particularly hot summer and long summer, as he was flying in the area of Mount Ararat, he spotted this great boat down there in the ice. According to his story, an expedition was formed and at the time that they were coming out with the evidence was when the Bolshevik revolution took over, and all, and the evidence was destroyed. This flyer later came to Canada and told his story which caused others to try to find or locate this boat. And one of these being a French explorer by the name of Navarro, who has brought back wood from this object, that he found high above the timberline encased in the ice and described it in his book, "Noah"s Ark, I Touched It", by Francis Navarro.

There are attempts at expeditions now, but the Turkish government being Moslem controlled, has really not allowed any recent kind of expeditions. There are men of science who would like to go up and settle the issue once and for all but the Turkish government right now is opposed to it.

Even as the government of Syria has been reluctant to allow any more excavations where they found the Ebla Tablets. Because if the Ebla Tablets, proving the fact that Abraham did exist, David did exist, and so forth, and they"re upset with this because it does give to the Israeli a claim and a right to the land. And so the Syrian government has asked them not to do anymore excavations in the area of the Ebla Tablets and are cutting off any further scientific expeditions there because of the adverse effect upon it, also a Moslem state.

And if the ark could be discovered, then of course, it would create an interesting problem for the scientist is how did that boat get up there so high? How did they carry the lumber up there to build that thing? And the whole thing, it would be, of course, very interesting. Jesus said, "Blessed are they who see and believe; more blessed are they who believe without seeing" ( John 20:29 ). And if it would take the ark"s discovery to make a believer out of you, I feel sorry for you. But I hope that they will discover it so you will become a believer.

But there is other interesting evidence that the world did experience a worldwide flood. Of course, the idea of a worldwide flood is opposed to the Uniformitarian theory upon which evolution is based, and it is interesting that scientists are not always honest. In fact, there"s a lot of dishonesty in the scientific field. They like to come off as men of science, but most of them have certain theories that they have sworn by and thus to change would be to discredit themselves, and their pride won"t allow them to do it. And anyone who says anything other than what they have already accepted as fact, any evidence that is brought forth that would destroy one of their theories that they accept as scientific fact, they immediately reject, crucify the individual, reject his work.

Emmanuel Villakoski first came out with his book, Ages or "Worlds in Collision" and it was first published by McMillan. Now McMillan publishes a lot of school textbooks. And the professors were so angry at the fact that Emmanuel Villakoski came out with in his book, "Worlds in Collision", showing the impossibility of Uniformitarianism, disproving it, that they raised such a ruckus that McMillan Company had to quit publishing the book. And Doubleday picked up the rights and began to publish it, but they were determined to not allow the book to come to the public. And when it was delivered to the public, there was a great furor and a quick retraction of the things that he said before the book was ever published. Before people had full copies of the book, they were already writing rebuttals, not even knowing for sure what he said.

Scientists are not dishonest. I mean, they are not honest. When it comes to a destroying of one of their pet little theories, there they will lie, they will connive and everything else in order to keep their theory alive, and their pet theory is that man exists by an evolutionary process. And the reason why they love that theory so much is because it is able to exclude God from the system. And anxious to exclude God from their system, they tenaciously, religiously hold to the evolutionary theory. Though much evidence is being uncovered that would really make the theory quite incredible.

Emmanuel Villakoski has written a new book, "Earth in Upheaval". Now let me say this concerning Emmanuel Villakoski. Number one, he doesn"t really believe that the Bible is the Word of God. In fact, there are parts of the Bible that he completely rejects. He"s not a Christian; he"s a Jewish scientist. But he looks at the Bible as a history book, and he takes the things that happened or that the Bible declares happens.

And he seeks to use them as historic facts to prove his theory which is that the planet Venus was introduced to our solar system and became fixed in its own orbit at about the time of Joshua. And the long day of Joshua is explained by this near pass of the planet Venus. That the plagues in Egypt at the time of Moses are explained by an earlier pass of the planet Venus. That there were several passes until it became fixed in its own orbit around the sun. There were several near misses. And that there was a change in the orbital pattern of Mars and Venus, and that Venus was introduced actually into our planetary solar system within the last five thousand years causing major upheavals upon the earth. Now that"s his theory and he seeks to prove his theory. But in so doing, he amasses a great deal of evidence.

But some of this evidence that he has amassed is very interesting to me. For instance, in this book "Earth"s in Upheaval", he tells about the bones of whales that have been found four hundred and forty feet above sea level north of Lake Ontario. A skeleton of another whale was discovered in Vermont more than five hundred feet above sea level and still another in Montreal, Quebec area about six hundred feet above sea level; the skeletons of whales. Now people don"t carry the carcass of a whale five hundred feet up the mountain and several miles from the ocean. So the question is how did the whales get there?

Now he has his own theory of the upper, you know, the thrusting upward of mountain ranges and that is what he is seeking to prove in this book "Earth"s in Upheaval" that the mountain ranges have all been thrust upward in very recent history. I mean, you talk about recent history, you"re talking about in something less than seven thousand years.

But rather than the mountains being thrust upwards, what about the water being thrust upwards and covering the area and the whales swimming there, until the waters receded and happened to get caught and was left floundering as the waters receded off of the face of the earth? That"s just as plausible as his upward thrust theory, a little more scriptural.

He also points out that Joseph Prestwich, the professor of geology at Oxford, 1874-1888, an acknowledged authority in the quantinery glaciate. Recent age in England was struck by a numerous phenomena, all of which led him to the belief that south of England, the south of England had been submerged to a depth of not less than a thousand feet between the glacial and post-glacial, or in the recent Neolithic late stone period. In a spasmodic movement of terrain, the coast in the land masses in southern England were submerged to such a depth that points to a thousand feet high were below sea level in England.

And then they show, or they talk about how that they found these cliffs in the various strata, various widths, and with the bones of animals-mammoth, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, horse, polar bear, bison-the bones are broken into innumerable fragments. No skeleton is found entire. The separate bones, in fact, have been dispersed in the most irregular manner and without any bearing to their relative position in the skeleton. Neither did they show any wear nor have they been gnawed by beast of prey, though they occur with the bones of hyena, wolf, bear and lion.

In other places in Devonshire, and Pembrook in Wales, the ossiferous breccia or conglomerates of broken bones and stones in the fissures and limestones consist of angular rock fragments and broken and splintered bones with sharp fractured edges and a fresh state and in splendid conditions showing no traces of gnawing.

And it tells about in there are so many areas around the world where in caves or in cliffs, in fissures, they have found these bones like they have been thrown in the various animals, which are actually predatory to each other but thrown in at the same time smashed and then covered with silt, as if by some violent tidal wave action or force submerged to a thousand feet. Now you might again use that to prove an upward thrust theory but it would also provide very interesting proof of a violent flood, which I opt for.

Now it goes on to tell about the covered Cumberland cavern in Maine or Maryland, when workmen were cutting the way for a railroad with dynamite and a steam shovel came upon a cavern or a closed fissure, with a peculiar assemblage of animals. Many of the species are comparable to forms now living in the vicinity of the cave, but others are distinctly northern in their affinities and some are related to species peculiar to the southern or lower astral region.

Thus wrote J.W. Gidley and C.L. Gaston of the United States National Museum: A crocodile and taper are representative of the southern climate. A wolf or lemming are distinctly northern. It seems highly improbable that they co-existed in one place. The usual assumption was made that the cave received the animal remains in a glacial and interglacial period. However, the scientists to explore the cavern for the Smithsonian Institute, as soon as it was discovered and to return there the following years for closer investigation, J.W. Gidley contended that the animals were contemporaneous; that is, they lived at the same time. The position of the bones excluded any other explanation. This strange assemblage of fossil remains occurs hopelessly intermingled.

Now of course, the climactic condition prior to the flood was different around the earth. The animals could have been co-mingling and existing together in the same area, thrown in by the violent force of the flood. The great waters of the deep being broken and thrown in and broken the bones, broken and then covered there in the cavern with silt.

Now one further thing in the book is he talks about the Himalayas. Scientists of the nineteenth century were dismayed to find that as high as they climbed in the Himalayas, the rocks of the mass sifts yield skeletons of marine animals, fish that swim in the ocean and the shells of mollusks. This was evidence that the Himalayas had risen from beneath the sea or evidence that the Himalayas were covered by water. Same thing down in South America there in the Andean Mountains, and so forth. All evidence that at one time covered by water.

So God has left evidence. Men are misinterpreting quite often the evidence that God has left. But there is not one good reason to believe other than these remains were left by a great flood. That these areas were indeed covered with water that covered the earth unto fifteen feet above the highest mountains, just like the Scriptures declared.

You might pick up this little book, "Earth in Upheaval", or "Earth in Upheaval" by Villakoski. It certainly destroys the theory of Uniformitarianism and shows the real documentation of cataclysmic changes in the earth. Also I was intrigued by his books, "World in Collision", his book, "World in Collision", too. I find it very interesting.

There are many evidences of a great flood. There are some areas where the silt deposits are so thick, hundreds of feet thick, and for silt to be deposited in such a thick deposit would necessitate several thousand feet of water for silt deposits that large.

Now the evolutionists seek to use the geological column as the basis of proof for the evolutionary theory. There are many problems with the use of the geological column as the basis of proof for the evolutionary theory, not the least of being the fact that the geological columns are totally lacking in any evidence of any transition forms from one species to another; not one single evidence of a transitional form of species, which of course is a vital part of the evolutionary theory.

But this total lack of evidence in the geological column of any transitory form of species caused a professor at Stanford University to come up with the Hopeful Monster Theory to prove the change or to explain the changes of species for which the geological column is so absolutely silent. And so according to the Hopeful Monster Theory, the snake laid its eggs in the sand and when they hatched the birds flew out. He may call it the Hopeful Monster Theory but as far as I"m concerned, it"s for the birds. Because you"ve had to have two birds flying out in order the thing might continue a new chain, develop a new species.

The geological column is interesting. Of course, it"s a thing that is involved in circular reasoning. For how do they age, how do they date the various geological formations? They age them by the type of fossil found in it. Now how do they age the fossils found in the various formations? The fossils are aged by the type of formation they are found in.

In other words, there is no accurate way of aging. They are dated upon the assumption of the truth of the evolutionary theory that all things have evolved from a lesser form to a higher form. But there are areas where there is a total reversal of the geological column, where some of the older columns are over the top of the new for several hundred, and in some places several thousand square miles.

And so they have developed, of course, they"re never lost for an idea or a theory and they develop this whole flip-flop pancake theory that somehow the whole thing got flipped over several thousand miles, just square miles flipped over, inverting the columns. Of course, how one tree was able to grow through several of the various forms of these, of the geological column rocks and so forth covering several millions of years is a little bit harder for them to explain. But if you believe in the flood, you have no problem with the geological column at all. Everything was made after its own species just like God said.

Now it would stand to reason that the low order form of life would be the first that would just be lost in the flood and drowned at the lower levels. And as the sediment would build up, you would have the higher forms of life, some that would be able to get higher in the -on the cliff or be able to swim maybe a bit and would be planted higher, so the more complex forms would be higher in the geological column, but all of them being placed there by the flood.

And the flood really is a far more plausible explanation of the geological column and is in total harmony with the model that you would set by creation by God of species after their own kind and all, because then you would not expect to have any transitional forms between species. So the flood itself gives to us a very plausible explanation of the whole geological column, and the geological column actually again a proof that the flood did exist.

But Peter, though he wrote two thousand years ago, seemed to nail the thing right on the head. For he said, "In the last days scoffers would come saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For all things continue as from the beginning since our fathers have fallen asleep" ( 2 Peter 3:3 ). That"s the doctrine or the theory of Uniformitarianism. Everything is continuing as it was from the beginning.

So Peter foresaw this theory of Uniformitarianism by the scoffers who would be mocking at the Bible and the promises of the coming of Jesus Christ. All things continue as they were from the beginning, Peter said they would be saying or the doctrine or the theory of Uniformitarianism. But Peter said, "Of these they are willingly ignorant, that God destroyed the world with a flood" ( 2 Peter 3:5 ). The one thing that would account for all of the evidences, they are willingly ignorant of that fact. Peter nailed it way in advance, foreseeing it by the Spirit of God. So again the Bible is well ahead of man.

So God gave to Noah the dimensions of the ark. Now it was to have a window of about eighteen inches, and I feel that this window was all the way around the top. In other words, there was this opening all the way around the top to give air and ventilation. Of course, man with all those animals for that much time, you"d really want to ventilate it to some extent. And so eighteen inches,

A cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side; with the lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons" wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of the fowls after their kind, the cattle after their kind, the creeping things of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he ( Genesis 6:16-22 ).

Now, of course, when Noah brought them in it was all after their kind. In other words, he didn"t have to bring in dachshund and collies and spaniels and Samoyeds and all different kinds, he could bring in one pair of dogs. And there are mutant strains that do exist. And there"s definitely evolutionary processes that take place on a horizontal plane within a family, within a species. There are the changes, the mutant changes that can take place within species. So he didn"t have to bring in all kinds of cats, Persian, Siamese, et cetera. Just one pair of cats would do. And so the variations that have come within species, there"s no problem with that.

So the ark, you know, wouldn"t have to bring one of every variety within a species, just the major species head for each species that he brought in and allowing evolutionary changes within a species. Where you cannot find evidence for evolutionary changes is in the vertical, the transition from one species to another. That"s where the evidence is lacking.

Sure you can show that a monkey at one period had, you know, eighteen teeth and another and during the different periods, you know, there were mutant strains and so forth and more teeth and less teeth, et cetera, changes of facial parts and so forth. Sure, you can have mutants in a horizontal change, but you don"t have vertical changes from one species to another. And this, of course, is where the theory of evolution fails in proof of any transitional forms in the changing from one species to another species.


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Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The sins of the sons of God6:1-4

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2. God"s sorrow over man"s wickedness6:1-8

As wickedness increased on the earth God determined to destroy the human race with the exception of those few people to whom He extended grace.

"Stories of a great flood sent in primeval times by gods to destroy mankind followed by some form of new creation are so common to so many peoples in different parts of the world, between whom no kind of historical contact seems possible, that the notion seems almost to be a universal feature of the human imagination." [Note: Whybray, p45.]

There were two major reasons for the flood: the sins of the sons of God ( Genesis 6:1-4) and the sins of humankind generally ( Genesis 6:5-8).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The "nephilim" were on the earth before and after the marriages of the "sons of God" with the "daughters of men." They were literally "fallen ones" or "tyrants." They were "mighty . . . men of renown." That Isaiah, they were powerful individuals, probably military leaders. Moses later described the giants in Canaan as "nephilim" ( Numbers 13:33).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

There were giants in the earth in those days,.... That is, in the days before the sons of God took the daughters of men for wives, in such a general manner as before declared, or before the declension and apostasy became so universal; even in the times of Jared, as the Arabic writersF14Elmacinus & Patricides apud Hottinger, p. 235, 236. understand it, who say that these giants were begotten on the daughters of Cain by the children of Seth, who went down from the mountain to them in the days of Jared, see Genesis 5:20 the word "Nephilim" comes from a word which signifies to fall; and these might be so called, either because they made their fear to fall upon men, or men, through fear, to fall before them, because of their height and strength; or rather because they fell and rushed on men with great violence, and oppressed them in a cruel and tyrannical manner; or, as some think, because they fell off and were apostates from the true religion, which is much better than to understand them of apostate angels, whom the Targum of Jonathan mentions by name, and calls them Schanchazai and Uziel, who fell from heaven, and were in the earth in those days:

and also after that, which shows that the preceding clause respects giants in former times:

when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, came into their houses and chambers, and lay with them:

and they bare children unto them, or giants unto them, as may be supplied from the former clause; for the sense is, as there were giants before this general defection, so there were at this time, when there was a mixture of the Cainites and Sethites; which were the offspring of the sons of God, or posterity of Seth, mixing with the daughters of men, or the posterity of Cain; for this is not to be understood after the flood, as Aben Ezra, Ben Melech; and so they are described in the following words:

the same became mighty men; for tallness and strength, for power and dominion, for tyranny and oppression:

which were of old: like those that were of old before; or who in after times were spoken of, as in the days of old:

men of renown, or "of name"F15אנשי השם "viri nominis", Montanus. ; whose names were often made mention of, both for their size and for their wickedness; they were much talked of, and extolled for their exploits, and even wicked ones: they were famous men, or rather infamous; for some men get a name in the world, not for their goodness, but for their greatness, and sometimes for their great wickedness; which sense is countenanced by what follows: that there were giants in these early times is confirmed by the testimony of many Heathen writers; such were the Titans that made war against Saturn, begotten by Ouranus, who were not only of bulky bodies, but of invincible strength, as ApollodorusF16De Origine Deorum, l. 1. p. 14. relates, and BerosusF17Antiqu. l. 1. fol. 5. 2. vid. Horat. Carmin, l. 2. Ode. 19. Ovid Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 1. speaks of a city about Lebanon, called Enos, which was a city of giants, who were men of vast bodies, and of great strength, inventors of arms and music, were cannibals, and exceedingly debauched.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

We have here a further account of the corruption of the old world. When the sons of God had matched with the daughters of men, though it was very displeasing to God, yet he did not immediately cut them off, but waited to see what would be the issue of these marriages, and which side the children would take after; and it proved (as usually it does), that they took after the worst side. Here is,

I. The temptation they were under to oppress and do violence. They were giants, and they were men of renown; they became too hard for all about them, and carried all before them, 1. With their great bulk, as the sons of Anak, Numbers 13:33. 2. With their great name, as the king of Assyria, Isaiah 37:11. These made them the terror of the mighty in the land of the living; and, thus armed, they daringly insulted the rights of all their neighbours and trampled upon all that is just and sacred. Note, Those that have so much power over others as to be able to oppress them have seldom so much power over themselves as not to oppress; great might is a very great snare to many. This degenerate race slighted the honour their ancestors had obtained by virtue and religion, and made themselves a great name by that which was the perpetual ruin of their good name.

II. The charge exhibited and proved against them, Genesis 6:5. The evidence produced was incontestable. God saw it, and that was instead of a thousand witnesses. God sees all the wickedness that is among the children of men; it cannot be concealed from him now, and, if it be not repented of, it shall not be concealed by him shortly. Now what did God take notice of? 1. He observed that the streams of sin that flowed along in men's lives, and the breadth and depth of those streams: He saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth. Observe the connection of this with what goes before: the oppressors were mighty men and men of renown; and, then, God saw that the wickedness of man was great. Note, The wickedness of a people is great indeed when the most notorious sinners are men of renown among them. Things are bad when bad men are not only honoured notwithstanding their wickedness, but honoured for their wickedness, and the vilest men exalted. Wickedness is then great when great men are wicked. Their wickedness was great, that is, abundance of sin was committed in all places, by all sorts of people; and such sin as was in its own nature most gross, and heinous, and provoking; it was committed daringly, and with a defiance of heaven, nor was any care taken by those that had power in their hands to restrain and punish it. This God saw. Note, All the sins of sinners are known to God the Judge. Those that are most conversant in the world, though they see much wickedness in it, yet they see but little of that which is; but God sees all, and judges aright concerning it, how great it is, nor can he be deceived in his judgment. 2. He observed the fountain of sin that was in men's hearts. Any one might see that the wickedness of man was great, for they declared their sin as Sodom; but God's eye went further: He saw that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually - a sad sight, and very offensive to God's holy eye! This was the bitter root, the corrupt spring: all the violence and oppression, all the luxury and wantonness, that were in the world, proceeded from the corruption of nature; lust conceived them, James 1:15. See Matthew 15:19. (1.) The heart was naught; it was deceitful and desperately wicked. The principles were corrupt, and the habits and dispositions evil. (2.) The thoughts of the heart were so. Thought is sometimes taken for the settled judgment or opinion, and this was bribed, and biased, and misled; sometimes it signifies the workings of the fancy, and these were always either vain or vile, either weaving the spider's web or hatching the cockatrice's egg. (3.) The imagination of the thoughts of the heart was so, that is, their designs and devices were wicked. They did not do evil through mere carelessness, as those that walk at all adventures, not heeding what they do; but they did evil deliberately and designedly, contriving how to do mischief. It was bad indeed; for it was only evil, continually evil, and every imagination was so. There was no good to be found among them, no, not at any time: the stream of sin was full, and strong, and constant; and God saw it; see Psalm 14:1-3.

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Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.