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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.

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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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/genesis-6.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Genesis 6:4

Giants in the earth

Giants

Story of Jack the Giant Killer: written to teach children that they have got to fight giants.

I. The first giant you have to overcome is ILL-TEMPER. Look out for him when told to do something you don’t want to do. The time to beat him is right at the beginning.

II. The next giant you have to meet is SELFISHNESS. We have only one mouth because we don’t have to eat for anybody else; but two ears, eyes, hands, because we have to help other people. This giant has only one ear, eye, hand--just enough to do for himself and nothing more.

III. The third giant is UNTRUTHFULNESS. He is a big liar. The most dangerous of all the giants. Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.

IV. DISOBEDIENCE.

V. SELF-SUFFICIENCY. Whenever this giant moves you to sneer at the honest beliefs of others, or to set your opinion and wisdom against that of the world, there is but one thing that will suffice to conquer him, and that is faith. (J. M. Pullman.)

Giants of strength

In the early days of which we read in the Bible men seemed to have been stronger and taller, and to have lived to a greater age than now. But it is not of these giants of strength of whom I would speak to you, but of giants in character, in faith, in holiness, and endurance, who may serve us feeble folk as examples how to live and die. Let us take Noah as an example of a giant in faith. He believed God’s promise that He would destroy the world, though there were no signs of the coming flood. And when the flood came, Noah was saved and the laughers destroyed. Again, take Abraham as an example of a giant of faith. Take Job as an example of patience: he lost health and home, and money and children, at one stroke, and he said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” We, like them, may be giants of strength if we trust in Him whose grace is sufficient for us. Let me now tell you of some who have been giants of strength in their death, and let their dying words be a sermon to us. Let us hear Simeon, the old man who had grown grey waiting for the consolation of Israel; his dim eyes looked on the Son of God, his feeble arms held Him, and he went to his rest, saying, “Lord, now lettest,” etc. May we all likewise die the death of the righteous, and may our last end be like his! St. Stephen sank beneath the cruel stones, crying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”; etc. St. Paul, when his work was nearly over, said, “I have fought a good fight,” etc. Listen to Ignatius on his way to Rome to die for Jesus, “My Lord was crucified for me.” St. Polycarp, the white-haired bishop of Smyrna, is in the hands of his enemies, they bid him abjure the faith of Christ, or be cast to the lions, and the brave old man makes answer, “We Christians change no better for worse, but change from bad to better,” and so goes to the lions. John Huss is being bound to the stake and he cries, “Welcome this chain for Christ’s sake.” The dying Luther murmurs, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit, for Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.” When Melancthon was near his end, they asked him if he wanted aught, and he answered, “Nothing but heaven.” The poet Goethe said with his last breath, “Let the light enter,” and so passed away to where all things are made clear. When the learned Grotius was dying they brought young people to his bedside to hear his parting advice; he gave it in two words, “Be serious.” Beethoven, the great composer, was too deaf to hear his own sweet music, but on his death bed he said, smiling, “I shall hear in heaven.” Yes, the best music, the unending praises of the Lamb of God! From these giants let us learn how to die. Many of them were weak, and old, and sickly, some were women and tender children; only let us be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and the feeblest feet among us shall climb to heaven, the tiniest hands shall beat down the tempter, the sickliest bodies shall be glorified. (H. J.Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Genesis 6:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/genesis-6.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's 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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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/genesis-6.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

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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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/genesis-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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 f renown.

(f) Who usurped authority over others, and degenerated from that simplicity, in which their father's lived.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/genesis-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

giants — 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.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/genesis-6.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

There were giants, and men of renown — They carried all before them, 1. With their great bulk, as the sons of Anak, Numbers 13:33, and, 2. With their great name, as the king of Assyria, Isaiah 37:11. Thus armed, they daringly insulted the rights of all their neighbours, and trampled upon all that is just and sacred.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/genesis-6.html. 1765.

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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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/genesis-6.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

sons of God

Some hold that these "sons of God" were the "angels which kept not their first estate" Judges 1:6. It is asserted that the title is in the O.T. exclusively used of angels. But this is an error Isaiah 43:6. Angels are spoken of in a sexless way. No female angels are mentioned in Scripture, and we are expressly told that marriage is unknown among angels. Matthew 22:30.

The uniform Hebrew and Christian interpretation has been that verse Genesis 6:2 marks the breaking down of the separation between the godly line of Seth and the godless line of Cain, and so the failure of the testimony to Jehovah committed to the line of Seth Genesis 4:26. For apostasy there is no remedy but judgment; Isaiah 1:2-7; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 1:25; Hebrews 6:4-8; Hebrews 10:26-31. Noah, "a preacher of righteousness," is given 120 years, but he won no convert, and the judgment predicted by his great- grandfather fell; Judges 1:14; Judges 1:15; Genesis 7:11.


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Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Genesis 6:4". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/genesis-6.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 6:4 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.

Ver. 4. There were giants.] Gigantes, quasi Gηγενεις, earth-sprung. They were "of the earth, they spake of the earth," [John 3:31] and the earth heard them; heard them, I say, and fell before them; as the beasts of the field do before the roaring lion. Hence they are called in Hebrew, Nephilim; such as being fallen from God, fell upon men, [Job 1:15] and by fear and force, made others fall before them. Thus they sought to renown and raise themselves, by depressing others, and doing violence. But this was not the way; for now they lie shrouded in the sheet of shame. To "do worthily in Ephrata," is to "be famous in Bethlehem". [Ruth 4:11] To be patiently perseverant "in well-doing," is to "seek for glory and honour"; yea, to attain "immortality and eternal life" [Romans 2:7]


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Genesis 6:4. There were giants in the earth, &c.— The grand question is, what is meant by these giants? were they really men of extraordinary size, or does the word refer solely to the enormity of their deeds? It is difficult, perhaps, to determine: but from the frequent mention of gigantic people in other parts of the scripture, from the general testimony of profane history, and from many proofs which we have had of bones of large dimensions, it seems most probable that the persons here spoken of were of extraordinary bulk, and famous not only for their crimes but their size.

You may observe, the produce of the marriages mentioned above was giants, and men of renown for their conquests and their power. But whenever a wicked man has great power, we may expect great oppression. The renown of such conquerors is their greatest dishonour, and the trumpet of fame the sound of infamy. We are apt to admire a Caesar, or an Alexander, and in the glare of conquest forget the pests of society, and the scourges of mankind.

But let us not forget the root of all this wickedness; the apostate nature of man. His inward parts are still worse than his ways; his heart is naught; all his thoughts perverse; yea, every rising imagination big with evil; and this determinedly and continually. Behold a lively picture of a fallen spirit! However great outward wickedness is, God sees greater abominations within.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/genesis-6.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

2469

Giants; men so called, partly from their high stature, but principally for their great strength and force, whereby they oppressed and tyrannized over others: for this is mentioned as another sin, and cause of the flood; and therefore they seem to be here noted, not for the height of their stature, which is no crime, but for their violence, which also is expressed beneath, Genesis 6:11, Genesis 6:13.

After that time there arose a new generation or succession of that sort of men, when the sons of God came in, were united and incorporated with them. A modest expression of the conjugal state and act, as Genesis 16:2, Genesis 35:3, Judges 15:2.

Which were of old, which were proper to the first ages of the world; for the succeeding generations were generally less in stature and strength of body, and therefore not so famous for personal exploits. Or these words may be thus joined with the following, which were of old, i.e. among the men of that first and wicked world,

men of renown, i.e. famous in their generations; when indeed they should have been infamous for the abuse of their stature and strength to tyranny and cruelty.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/genesis-6.html. 1685.

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". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/genesis-6.html. 2012.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Giants in the earth — Literally, The Nephilim were in the land in those days, and also after that, (or specially after that,) when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of man, and they bare children to them, these are the heroes (Gibborim) who from the olden time were the men of name — renowned, notorious men. There is no authority in the Hebrew for the translation giants. The word comes from the Sept., which renders Nephilim, γιγαντες, earth born, from which it has been supposed that the Nephilim were men of immense size and stature, Nephilim is derived from נפל, to fall, (fallo, σφαλλω,) and this fall may be understood physically or morally. Some (Kimchi) understand it to mean those who caused men to fall, (through fear;) others, (Aq., Symm., Ges., Keil,) understand those who fell upon men, ( επιπιπτοντες,) fierce and violent men. The word occurs in but one other passage, (Numbers 13:33,) where it is applied by the terrified spies to the sons of Anak. The word vividly pictures scenes of violence and bloodshed in the antediluvian world. Lewis supposes another derivation, making it mean famous men, corresponding to the Gibborim, who afterward arose from the marriage of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men,” and who, in the last clause of the verse, are called men of name.

Of old — That is, in the old or ancient time; applied to the warlike heroes of the antediluvian epoch.

It is noteworthy that no mention is made of kings, rulers, or civil government of any kind in this antediluvian era. In this respect the record presents a remarkable contrast to all profane histories. The eye of the author was upon the moral rather than upon the political condition of man; he surveys the world not from a political or scientific, but from a spiritual, point of view.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-6.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 6:4. There were giants — Men so called partly for their high stature, but principally for their great strength and force, whereby they oppressed and tyrannised over others. For this is mentioned as another sin and cause of the flood.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/genesis-6.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Giants. It is likely the generality of men before the flood were of a gigantic stature, in comparison with what men now are. But these here spoken of, are called giants, as being not only tall in stature, but violent and savage in their dispositions, and mere monsters of cruelty and lust. (Challoner) --- Yet we need not imagine, that they were such as the poets describe, tearing up mountains, and hurling them against heaven. Being offspring of men, who had lived hitherto with great temperance, but now gave full scope to their passions, and the love of the fair daughters whom they chose, we need not wonder that they should be amazingly strong and violent. Nephilim, rushing on, as Ag. translates. That there have been giants of an unusual size, all historians testify. Og, Goliah[Goliath], &c. are mentioned in Scripture, and the sons of Enac are represented as much above the common size, as the Hebrews were greater than grasshoppers, Numbers xiii. 34. If we should suppose they were four or five times our size, would that be more wonderful that they should live nine or ten times as long as we do? See St. Augustine, City of God xv. 9, 23; Calmet's Dissert. &c. Delrio affirms, that in 1572 he saw at Rouen, a native of Piedmont, above nine feet high. (Haydock) --- Of old. The corruption of morals had commenced many ages ago, and some of the sons of Seth had given way to their lusts; so that we are not to suppose, that these giants were all born within a hundred years of the flood, as some might suppose from their being mentioned here, after specifying the age of Noe, chap. v. 31. (Haydock)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/genesis-6.html. 1859.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘The Nephilim were on the earth (or “in the land”) in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, men of renown.’

The position of this verse in the narrative (we might expect it before Genesis 6:3), and the fact that it is not connected by the usual ‘waw’ (‘and’) to the previous verse, suggests that this may be a word of explanation put in by the compiler (compare the explanatory note in Numbers 13:33). He knows his readers may be puzzled by the reference to the ‘sons of God’ so he explains, ‘the ‘nephilim’ were on the earth in those days’. He is thus connecting what is happening with the ‘nephilim’, a term which he knows his readers will recognise. The nephilim might mean ‘the fallen ones’ (from naphal - to fall), which would tie in with seeing the sons of God as ‘fallen angels’.

“In those days” refers to the time of the demonic ‘marriages’ and to God’s severe warning to mankind.

But worse is to follow, for ‘afterwards’, i.e. after God’s warning, the position deteriorated and these nephilim, these ‘sons of God’, with the connivance of the daughters of men, continued their unholy alliances and this resulted in children being born with special ‘fallen’ powers which enabled them to become famous. These also were seen as ‘nephilim’ (compare Numbers 13:33 ‘the nephilim which come of the nephilim’).

The idea here is probably that the women were married to humans, but that their occult practises resulted in the children born of these human marriages being somehow ‘infected’ by their demonic partners. The phrase ‘came into -’ regularly refers to intercourse, and this stresses the deeply personal depth of demonic experience into which these women threw themselves. It further explains why the destruction of all living beings was required.

Some who have connected with the occult in depth in modern days can testify to those who have gone through such experiences with their demon ‘lovers’. This was evil of an extreme kind and demonstrates why the flood was necessary. Indeed without this explanation we might have questioned whether it was not rather severe, given God’s earlier mercy to Cain. But the fact is that mankind, at least in this part of the world, had freely and willingly sunk to a depth of evil beyond our wildest imaginations.

As referred to already there is a further reference to the nephilim in Numbers 13:33, which demonstrates the awe with which the term was then viewed. This suggests that the word had by then gained the meaning of ‘mighty men’ or ‘giants’ and was thus applied to any excessively huge men (not necessarily connected with the original ‘nephilim), especially the sons of Anak, who clearly had gained a reputation and were seen as the product of special descent. We may surmise that by that time the word ‘nephilim’ had become a word which expressed superstitious fear, whereby any huge men were connected with other worldly powers, especially when they were opponents. The Genesis story was known to them and they assumed that something similar had caused these men to be ‘gigantic’, i.e. larger than normal, which increased their fear of them.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/genesis-6.html. 2013.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

giants = Nephilim. See App-25.

those days = "the days of Noah. "

also after that = after their destruction by the Flood, as well as before it. There was another irruption, the result being like those "of old". See notes on Genesis 12:6 with Genesis 13:7; also App-23 and App-25.

renown. Hebrew the men of name. The "heroes" of the Greek mythology. The remains of primitive truth, corrupted in transmission.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/genesis-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

There were giants in the earth in those days [Hebrew, ha-N


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/genesis-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Giants.—Heb., Nephilim, mentioned again in Numbers 13:33, and apparently a race of great physical strength and stature. Nothing is more probable than that, at a time when men lived for centuries, human vigour should also show itself in producing not merely individuals, but a race of more than ordinary height. They were apparently of the Cainite stock, and the text carefully distinguishes them from the offspring of the mixed marriages. The usual derivation of the name is from a root signifying to fall; but Lenormant (Origines de l’Histoire, p. 344) prefers pâlâ, which means “to be wonderful,” and compares the Assyrian naptû, “unique in size,” often found in the cuneiform inscriptions as the denomination of an ogre.

The same became mighty men.—Heb., They were the mighty men that were of old, men of name. “Gibborim,” mighty men (see Genesis 10:8), has nothing to do with stature, but means heroes, warriors. It is also generally used in a good sense. The children of these mixed marriages were a race of brave fighting men, who by their martial deeds won for themselves reputation.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/genesis-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
giants
Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:20,21; 3:11; 1 Samuel 17:4; 2 Samuel 21:15-22
after
men of
11:4; Numbers 16:2

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/genesis-6.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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