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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
REPHAIM . A name given in several Biblical passages to some pre-Israelitish people. In Genesis 14:5 they are said to have dwelt in Ashteroth-karnaim. Genesis 15:20 classes them with Hittites and Perizzites (similarly Joshua 17:15 ). Deuteronomy 2:11; Deuteronomy 2:20 calls certain peoples ‘Rephaim’ whom the Moabites and Ammonites called respectively ‘ Emim ’ and ‘ Zamzummin .’ Deuteronomy 3:11 says that Og, king of Bashan, alone remained of the Rephaim (so also Joshua 12:4; Joshua 13:12 ), while Deuteronomy 3:13 says that Argob was a land of Rephaim. A valley near Jerusalem was also called the ‘ Vale of Rephaim ’ (see 2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22; 2Sa 23:13 , 1 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Chronicles 14:9 , Isaiah 17:5 ). Because Deuteronomy 2:11 counts them with the Anakim , who were giants, and 2 Samuel 21:18-22 says that the sons of a certain Rapha (see RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ) were giants, it has been supposed by some that Rephaim means ‘giants,’ and was given to a race as their name by their neighbours because of their stature. Cf. art. Giant.
The word rÄƒph Ã¢’Ã®m in Hebrew means also ‘shades’ or disembodied spirits. At least it is used to describe the dead, as in Psalms 88:10 . Schwally is probably right, therefore ( Leben nach dem Tode , 64 ff. and ZATW [Note: ATW Zeitschrift far die Alttest. Wissenschaft.] , xviii. 127 ff.), in holding that the word means ‘shades,’ and that it was applied by the Israelites to people who were dead and gone, and of whom they knew little.
George A. Barton.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Rephaim'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/r/rephaim.html. 1909.