by Matt Slick The Nephilim are mentioned in Genesis 6. They are often identified with the Anakim of Numbers 13:33 and the Rephaim of Deut. 2:20. Let's take a look. •"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." 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," (Gen. 6:1-4). •“There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight," (Numbers 13:33). The word "Nephilim" is the untranslated pronunciation of the Hebrew נְפִילִים. It means giants and was translated in the Septuagint into the Greek γίγαντες, gigantes. The word is found in only two places, Genesis 6:4 (pre flood) and Numbers 13:33 (post flood).
There is debate over the identity of the Nephilim in Genesis 6. Some people believe that the Nephilim are the offspring of sexual relations between fallen angels and human women. In support of this view, Jude 6 is often referenced: "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day," (Jude 1:6). This would mean that the fallen angels (The Hebrew naphal means 'to fall') had sexual intercourse with women. Whether or not this is possible is not explicitly stated in Scripture. However, we do know that angels can appear as humans (Hebrews 13:2) and are exceedingly powerful (2 Peter 2:11), so it is conceivable that they can manifest with total biological capabilities as well. According to Harper's Bible Dictionary, the Nephilim are "people of the pre-Flood generation, the offspring of daughters of men and divine beings (Gen. 6:1-4). Their generation and their conduct seem to have provoked the Flood as punishment (Gen. 6:5-8:22). In Num. 13:33 the Israelite spies describe the inhabitants of Hebron as Nephilim--so large and powerful that 'we seemed like grasshoppers.' The name could mean 'fallen ones' and allude to stories in related cultures of rebellious giants defeated by the gods in olden times" (cf. Isaiah 14:12).2 Of course, a problem with this view is how did the Nephilim survive the flood? We see a post-flood account of them in Num. 13:33, "There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."