A little discussion with Dr. Michael Heiser

I term it “A little discussion” since I posted a comment on his website, he replied, and that was the end of it since he was too succinct and ignored the bulk of my point—and I do not blame him for not writing an essay as a reply to every comment he gets.

To his article, The Myth of Double-Row Teeth and Elongated-Skull Nephilim, I commented as follows:

“Dr. Heiser, you asked for ‘the chapter and verse of the Bible that either requires or says nephilim lived on after the biblical time period’ and I would ask anyone for ‘the chapter and verse of the Bible that either requires or says nephilim lived on after the flood.’”

I will pause here to elucidate that there a few views on Nephilim regarding them living on:

1) My view, which is the biblically supported view, is that they came to a full and final end via the flood: they did not survive nor did they return in any way, shape, or form—period, full stop.

2) Some will claim that they were temporary thwarted before the flood and others that the temp thwarting was via the flood and both will assert that they somehow returned (they have to literally invent tall tales to seek to support this).

3) Based on text written millennia after the Torah was written (Jubilees and 1 Enoch/Ethiopic Enoch) some assert that Nephilim survived (in a manner of speaking) but only in spirit form as unclean spirits aka demons.

4) Heiser’s view is that they managed to live on post-flood but did the conquering of the land of Canaan brought them to an end. FYI: Jubilees actually has them living on until the time of Noah’s grandsons.

5) Some assert that Nephilim are still amongst us—and hide behind lacking evidence by very dangerously asserting that they now look like us (because they invent that they used to be very, very, very tall yet, no more). This is shockingly dangerous because they are actually asserting that some humans are not actually fully human—see chapter “Nephil Kampf” in my book Nephilim and Giants As Per Pop-Researchers.

Such is why he implies there is no evidence, chapter and verse, to back the assertion that Nephilim lived on after the biblical time period.

My request was evidence, chapter and verse, that Nephilim lived on after the flood.

Continuing with my comment:

“If I may, in The Unseen Realm chap 23 you wrote, ‘Genesis 6:4 pointedly informs readers that the Nephilim were on earth before the flood ‘and also afterward.’’ The phrase looks forward to Numbers 13:33…’

May I note that the text does not state ‘before the flood ‘and also afterward’’ but states ‘in those days, and also after that’ which, indeed, is commonly taken to mean pre-flood and post-flood.

However, one can just as easily, and more in keeping with immediate as well as greater context, to take is to mean ‘in those days’ with a timeline beginning point which verse 1 has as ‘when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto them’ which could be as early as when Adam and Eve’s offspring first started having offspring, and ‘also after that’ being just that: after that beginning point and yet, still pre-flood.”

I will pause here to elucidate that he did not comment on this point. Yet, I can discern that by my extensive experience with such issues and by his writing in terms of “Genesis 6:4 pointedly informs,” which it does not do pointedly or dully, which “looks forward to Numbers 13:33” that he is reading up to Numbers 13:33 and is then looping back to re and mis interpret Genesis 6:4.

Genesis 6 told us exactly, pointedly informs, to which days it was referring: both those and also afterward.

Yet, Heiser was long critiqued for consistently failing to interact with the narrative of Numbers chap. 13: he would merely pick up v. 33, run with it, misuse it to misinterpret other texts, and attempt to pull them all together into a grand narrative.

Thus, he needed to have Genesis somehow tell us that only eight people and some animals survived but that Nephilim still managed to be around during the Numbers 13 timeframe.

Heiser was so long critiqued for consistently failing to interact with the narrative of Numbers chap. 13 that he eventually felt compelled to write an article about it and well, you can now read my paper Rebuttal to Dr. Michael Heiser’s “All I Want for Christmas is Another Flawed Nephilim Rebuttal.”

One thing is demonstrably certain, it is simply inaccurate that “Genesis 6:4 pointedly informs readers that the Nephilim were on earth before the flood ‘and also afterward’” for various reasons including that the flood is not even mentioned for the very first time until a full 13 verse later: v. 17 (that is another case of reading ahead: ahead to v. 17 and then looping back to v. 4).

The rest of my comment was about Numbers 13:

“I will note that the majority of spies are the ones who reference the Anakim in relation to the Nephilim within their bad/evil report.

However, God references this event in Numbers 14:24-25 and affirms the presence of the Anakim (and Canaanites) in the land but states nothing of the Nephilim.

Moses references this event in Deuteronomy 1:28 and affirms the presence of the Anakim in the land but states nothing of the Nephilim.

Caleb references this event in Joshua 14 and affirms the presence of the Anakim in the land but states nothing of the Nephilim.

Now, I grant that perhaps that they did not mention the Nephilim (or, mention the Anakim’s relation to them) means just that: that they simply did not mention it.

However, the Numbers 13 context is that the spies mention the Anakim, Caleb chimes in to encourage the people and the spies take their fear mongering up a notch by, only then, tying the Anakim to the Nephilim within their bad/evil report (note also that the Anakim come from Anak whose father is Arba—sadly, we do not seem to have a genealogy for him).

In short, I would side with Caleb, Moses and God and against the spies and thus, see no post-flood Nephilim at all with the ‘giant’ tribes simply being that which giant means: taller than the average.

What thinkest thou?”

These are merely some of the problems with that verse, with actually accepting it as accurate, with picking it up and running with it, with making it the basis upon which one then builds an entire all-encompassing theories.

Now, I will note that now-a-days I would no longer write in terms of “‘giant’ tribes simply being that which giant means: taller than the average” since when English Bibles employ the vague, generic, subjective, and undefined English word giants they are not in any way implying anything about height whatsoever. Rather, they are either rendering Nephilim or Rephaim. Yet, sure, some Rephaim, such as the Anakim subgroup, were subjectively taller than average: and that average is that Israelite males of those days were 5.0-5.3 ft.

This is the entirety of Heiser’s reply:

“After the flood: Num 13:32-33. The spies weren’t lying. They are condemned for faithlessness, not lying. And the Num 13:32-33 passage is just one of a whole matrix.

What do I think? You apparently haven’t read a good bit of my material, either here or Unseen Realm. I agree that the giants of OT times were of the same uncommon height as today. I’ve blogged that before and it’s in my book.”

Well sure, “Num 13:32-33” does cover an “After the flood” timeframe but he is stating this because he actually thinks that “The spies weren’t lying.”

Then why did they make five assertions about which the whole entire rest of the Bible knows nothing? Why did they contradict and also embellish the original report in the chapter? Why did they also contradict Moses, Caleb, Joshua, God, and the rest of the Bible?

Well, Heiser simplified it to that “They are condemned for faithlessness, not lying.” Yet, their faithlessness is exposed in v. 31, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we,” it is in the next verse that the narration specifically informs us that “they brought up an evil report” and the rest of that verse and the following one are the contents of that report. Thus, their faithlessness was the premise for their evil report and the evil report is shown to have been a scare-tactic fear-mongering “Don’t go in the woods” type of tall tale by what I just noted about it.

The assertion that “the Num 13:32-33 passage is just one of a whole matrix” is what I meant about picking it up, running with it, and turning it into a hermeneutic: he attempts to support the “whole matrix” assertion in the article about which I wrote a rebuttal.

At least we agree on the issue of heights in the Bible.

For more of my interaction with Heiser’s teachings, many of which are very good and solid, see my articles and especially my book The Scholarly Academic Nephilim and Giants: What do Scholarly Academics Say About Nephilim Giants? since I feature him therein.

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