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Holman Bible Dictionary
(rehf' ay ihm) 1. Residents of Sheol, often translated, “shades” or the “dead” (Job 26:5
NRSV; Psalm 88:10
; Proverbs 9:18
; Proverbs 21:16
; Isaiah 14:9
; Isaiah 26:14
). See Deuteronomy 2:10-11
), and the Ammonite term Zanzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20-21
). Despite their reputation for might and height, the Rephaim were defeated by a coalition of eastern kings (Genesis 14:5
) and were later displaced by the Israelites (Deuteronomy 3:11
; compare Genesis 15:20
) and their distant kin, the Moabites (Deuteronomy 2:10-11
) and the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 2:20-21
). KJV regularly translated Rephaim as “giants” (except Genesis 14:5
; Genesis 15:20
and some references to the valley or land of the Rephaim). NAS and RSV used the translation “giants” only in reference to individual giants in 2Samuel and 1Chronicles. NIV avoided the translation “giant” completely, using “Rephaim” when referring to the valley or land, “Rephaites” when referring to the pre-Israelite inhabitants, and “descendant of Rapha” for individuals in 2Samuel and 1Chronicles. The artificial distinction between Rephaites and descendant of Rapha apparently attempts to ease the tension between the designation of King Og of Bashan as the last of the Rephaim ( Deuteronomy 3:11
; Joshua 12:4
) and the mention of later descendants in 2Samuel 21:16,2Samuel 21:18,2Samuel 21:20,2 Samuel 21:22
; 1Chronicles 20:6,1 Chronicles 20:8
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Rephaim'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/r/rephaim.html. 1991.