Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Mysterious Nephilim

I took off on another of those rabbit-hole excursions into Google the other day. This time I had a bee in my bonnet (from whence it came I know not) about the Nephilim, as documented in translations of the Old Testament, and some of the Dead Sea Scrolls or Qumran Texts, Book of Enoch, Jubilees, and others.

Genesis 6:1-4
When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterward - when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
Genesis 7:23
Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
Numbers 13:33
"We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
Much may have been lost in translation, including a clear description of the characteristics of Nephilim. Translated as "giants" in some Bible versions, the word is nervously left as "Nephilim" in others. "Giant" could refer to either physical stature or mental prowess; some translators believe it meant "those who fell"(as in fallen angels) but, whatever it truly meant, it indicated a clear difference of Nephilim from the average human abroad on Earth at the time.

The Bible story goes that the "sons of God" or "Watchers" sent by God to watch over events on earth, on seeing beautiful female humans desired them, mated with them. Resulting offspring = Nephilim....beings who were in some way "giant", mentally or physically. Some commentators see this reported inter-breeding as representing some tribal inter-breeding - between the "sons of God" (sons of the godly Seth's line) and (ungodly) daughters of Cain. Others surmise that it might refer to the interbreeding of a more highly developed human species with primitive Neanderthals. It depends how the word Nephilim is translated and understood, and, of course, whether one believes in the existence of angels - or indeed, God. The story could be looked on as an allegory of sorts, recorded to preserve the core of some ancient knowledge, not even properly understood by the scribes who recorded it.

"The rout of the fallen angels", illustration to Milton's "Paradise Lost" by William Blake
We'll never know the true significance of this mystery.

Enter Astrology?
Earlier mystical Hebrew sects organized the 'watchers' into an archangel hierarchy. According to this system the 'watchers' were ruled over by four great 'watchers' known as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Auriel. In the Apocryphal Books of Enoch and Jubilees, the 'watchers' were sent to Earth to teach law and justice to humankind. The most common associations found in various texts on medieval magic regarding the 'watchers' are as follows:

1. Araqiel: taught the signs of the earth.
2. Armaros: taught the resolving of enchantments.
3. Azazel: taught the making of weapons of war.
4. Barqel: taught astrology.
5. Ezequeel: taught the knowledge of the clouds.
6. Gadreel: taught the art of cosmetics.
7. Kokabiel: taught the mystery of the Stars.
8. Penemue: taught writing.
9. Sariel: taught the knowledge of the Moon.
10. Semjaza: taught Herbal enchantments.
11. Shamshiel: taught the signs of the Sun.According to Christian belief their sins filled the Earth with violence and the world was destroyed as a result of their intervention. (See here).

Now this is eerily similar to another myth:
The Apkallu (Akkadian) or Abgal, (Sumerian) are seven Sumerian demigods said to have been created by the god Enki (Akkadian: Ea) to give civilization to mankind. They served as priests of Enki and as advisors or sages to the earliest "kings" or rulers of Sumeria before the flood. They are credited with giving mankind the Me (moral code), the crafts, and the arts. They were seen as fish-like men who emerged from the sweet water Apsu. They are commonly represented as having the lower torso of a fish, or dressed as a fish. They have also been depicted with wings, having either a human head or an eagle's head.

One begins to wonder whether some scribes, in an attempt to fill in the blanks in antediluvian history, borrowed and embroidered existing myths of the area.

Enterprising writers have tried hard to link what's to be found in parts of the Old Testament, and in myth, to potential scenarios in the far far distant history of humans. Some myth does indeed have a core of fact, well disguised. Some parts of the Old Testament, written before there was any tradition of fiction writing, are probably garbled attempts by scribes, who came along much later, to explain the inexplicable and incomprehensible.

It's not entirely out of the question, is it, that what is described in ancient texts is a visitation from beings from another planet?

Erich von Daniken fired my interest in this topic long ago and far away. I read his first book, Chariot of the Gods soon after it was publishsed in the 1960s. His later books were never as good. I suspect he realised he was on to a money-making subject and tried to extend it for as long as possible. Likewise in the case of Zechariah Sitchen, whose approach is more that of a novelist, using what he considers to be facts as his material.

Life would be less interesting, and much less profitable for some, without such mysteries as these.


Anonymous said...

Not unlike Castaneda, von Daeniken had one handicap: He wanted people to believe all he was writing, and then also to make some money. But that came along, anyway. So poorly fed are Westen readers (in contrast to Hindus and other Orientals).

Paulo Coelho here in Brazil is treading a similar path, more subtle though. His "gods and spirits" are more of the interior kind. Presumably that's why the Pope invited him to go and see him. According to Coelho that audience did not even last 15 minutes as the supreme Pontif was half asleep. GP

Anon and Ever said...

You are right in this, that even serious searches can be deviated by the thirst for money. But another deviation is the fact that the searcher does not present his ideas or hypotheses as they are, hypotheses that may have a part of truth as a part of not complete truth: On the contray, they want to be believed in all...

So there may be many right observations in the authors you quoted but, on the other side, we cannot say the resolved the knotted issue...

On the part of Sitchin it is important to underline that he really knew many languages, though after a certian period, having finished things to offer, he appeared to continue to repeat the same basic theses, and became increaingly obsessed by the Nibiru issue...

Nibiru cannot explain all...

I cannot share this real **obsession** of “explaining” all...

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~

I hadn't heard about Coelho, GP. Looked him up on Wiki and see that he wrote a novel called "Alchemy" which is being made into a movie
with a budget of $60 million!!
Jackpot time!

While nobody expects authors to write books for free, it does make one cynical when they insist on writing sequels, prequels, re-hashes, and son on which descend further and further from, what was originally material based on fact, into pure fiction without defining a line between.
Reader beware! ;-)

Twilight said...

Anon and Ever ~~~ I suppose thirst for $$$$$$ is understandable, up to a point. Authors have to eat - but they don't need to be eating caviar, travelling first class and driving Porches. ;-)

I agree that these types of authors ought to make it clearer that what they are doing, really, is fantacising, using a few facts as a starting point.

For every story they weave around scanty facts, another author could write an equally viable and entertaining, but quite different, scenario.

Nibiru ? I'm not convinced - yet.