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Dealing with the question: Why do Nephilims have 6 fingers?

The full question posted to the Quora site is: Why do Nephilims have 6 fingers? “If” they exists, what would such a creature have a purpose for these appendages?

Edward Smith commented

A. They didn’t have six fingers.

B. They were the hybrid offspring of angels and human women.

C. They all died in the Flood and never existed again.

D. Goliath was a freak, a mutant, if you like. A genetic aberration. Even today, people are born with six fingers, six toes or other mutations.

E. There have always been races of extra tall and extra short people.

I, Ken Ammi, replied

A. Agreed: that is stated about one single person and he was a Repha, not a Nephil.

B. Agreed.

C. Agreed.

D. I would not go that far. The Masoretic Text has Goliath at just shy of 10 ft. but the earlier LXX, and DDS, and Josephs have him at just shy of 7 ft. (and we’re not told he had extra digits). But yes, extra digits is just a simple mutation.

E. Indeed.

Edward Smith

1 Sam. 17:4 “Then a champion came out from the camps of the Phi·lisʹtines; his name was Go·liʹath, from Gath,+ and his height was six cubits and a span.”

“Goliath towered to the extraordinary height of six cubits and a span (9 feet 5.75 inches [c. 2.9 meters]). His copper coat of mail weighed 5,000 shekels (c. 126 pounds [c. 57 kilograms]) and the copper blade of his spear weighed 600 shekels (c. 15 pounds [c. 6.8 kilograms]). (1 Sam. 17:4, 5, 7) Goliath was one of the Rephaim; he may have been a mercenary soldier with the Philistine army.—”

Long cubit (7 handbreadths)51.8 cm / 20.4 in.

Cubit (2 spans / 6 handbreadths)44.5 cm / 17.5 in.

Short cubit38 cm / 15 in.

1 Roman stadium1 ⁄ 8 Roman mile=185 m / 606.95 ft

1Fingerbreadth (1 ⁄ 4 handbreadth)1.85 cm / 0.73 in.

2Handbreadth (4 fingerbreadths)7.4 cm / 2.9 in.

3Span (3 handbreadths)22.2 cm / 8.75 in.

Most scholars agree on roughly 9,1/2ft. based on the cubit measure used by the Philistines.

There were four more wars with the Philistines, and giants and it was the fourth and final one with the extra digits, so you are quite correct there.

“War broke out yet again at Gath, where there was a man of extraordinary size, with 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot, 24 in all; and he too was a descendant of the Rephʹa·im.+ 21 He kept taunting Israel.+ So Jonʹa·than the son of Shimʹe·i,+ David’s brother, struck him down.

22 These four were descendants of the Rephʹa·im in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” 2 Sam. 21:20–22. NWTST

Ken Ammi

I was just pointing out that some earlier sources have him as being shorter than a latter one.

But even if he was at the taller range, that has nothing to do with Nephilim and, again, he was a Repha.

His equipment doesn’t lend weight, pun intended, to option for the taller range however since you can watch strong-man or weightlifting competitions and see guys who are right around 6 ft. lifting 1,000 lbs. Also, Goliath had someone helping him with his equipment.

I would drop employing the English term “giants” since its modern usage is not the ancient meaning and since some English versions (following the LXX) render (not even translate) both “Nephilim” and “Rephaim” as such, it can cause confusion.

Indeed, one of Goliath’s sons had extra digits.

In any case, your “C.” point goes a long way of accrediting you since you may or may not be aware that 100% of the top-pop-researchers claim post-flood Nephilim. They do so after claiming that the flood God getting rid of them. Thus, they (consciously or not) imply that God failed.

Edward Smith

I think we agree Ken. I appreciate your research and we may meet again on other threads.

Ken Ammi

Shalom! BTW: I’ve written various books on these issues so if you want to stop by, I’ll cut you a deal:

Howard Aitchison chimed in with

A. How do you know?

B. It doesn’t say that.

C. Nope. Numbers 13:32–33, “And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

D. Supposition.

E. Finally we agree on something.

Ken Ammi

Most interesting.

A. “Agreed: that is stated about one single person and he was a Repha, not a Nephil”: which I know since that is stated about one single person and he was a Repha, not a Nephil, see 2 Samuel 21:20 wherein your English Bible might have “born to the giant” wherein “giant” is rendering “Repha” and someone born to a Reha is a Repha by definition.

B. “They were the hybrid offspring of angels and human women”: there are a lot of things not said that are still the case—anywhere, about anything—so perhaps we can begin with who the “sons of God” are in Job 38:7.

C. “They all died in the Flood”: Genesis 7:7, 23; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; and 2 Peter 2:5.

“and never existed again”: based on no reliable post-flood reference to them.

You’re basing your view on two un-contextual verses, the only ones to which you can appeal, from an “evil report” stated by unfaithful, disloyal, contradictory, embellishers whom God rebuked. Such is why I qualified my statement by noting, “NO RELIABLE post-flood reference to them.”

D. That’s the opposite of a supposition, it’s demonstrable: just check those sources wherein they refer to his height.

Well, that ended it as no more replies were forthcoming.

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