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Stratcat

Giants

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Do we all agree that there were giants or were they figurative or something other than literal giants, such as Og of Bashan.

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Do we all agree that there were giants or were they figurative or something other than literal giants, such as Og of Bashan.

 

How would we know whether to understand these things figuratively, literally, etc? I ask that you define literal, because I run into a lot of people that vary on the definition of literal meaning. Some mean for face value, and at times reject all context surrounding a particular verse. Others mean literalistic, where they reject what the author is doing in tending to their words in a certain way.

 

In Genesis 6:4 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.

 

Here are 3 popular perspectives of Genesis 6:4:

  1. Some think that they were so called because they exceeded the common stature.
  2. Others, because the countenance of men fell at the sight of them, on account of the enormous size of their body.
  3. Or, because all fell prostrate through terror of their magnitude.

Calvin writes of Jerome's interpretation after consideration:

 

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. 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.

 

Matthew Henry writes:

 

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.

 

The Geneva Bible's footnotes:

 

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.

 

Having considered the above, exactly which position do you hold, and what do you mean by "literal"?

 

God bless,

William

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