“Compelling Truth” on “The Rephaim – Who were they?”

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The Compelling Truth website posted articles about Angles, Nephilim, Rephaim, giants, etc. and since that is right up my alley I decided to review them since they have some good points but also go astray on others. I parsed my review into one per article and you can find them all here.

Under review is The Rephaim – Who were they?


The Compelling Truth website posted articles about Angles, Nephilim, Rephaim, giants, etc. and since that is right up my alley I decided to review them since they have some good points but also go astray on others. I parsed my review into one per article and you can find them all here.

Under review is The Rephaim – Who were they?

This is the last of the articles I am reviewing and am doing so due to the aforementioned fact that the English word giant is unfortunately used by some to pseudo-translate both the pre-flood “Nephilim” and post-flood “Rephaim” which are not related whatsoever. Thus, the term causes confusion since it leads to people chasing an English term around a Hebrew Bible and connecting things that the text never connects—pop-research on Nephilim and giants is essentially based on this fallacy.

The article’s claim is that “The Rephaim were living in Canaan, and the Israelites were terrified of them—the Israelites didn’t want to go into the Promised Land because it was inhabited with ‘giants’ (Numbers 13:33), the sons of Anak.”
I will point out that as long as the article keeps the term Nephilim into this then all will be well—well, except for the generic term “giants.”

However, here we go, the article goes on to state, “The spies came back to Israel and told the people that…‘there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim)…The Promised Land, though beautiful (Numbers 13:27) was inhabited with giants—men so big that the Israelites felt like grasshoppers next to them. The Rephaim were of the same type…”
This claim is actually a wreck:
As I already noted in this series, “The spies” resented an evil/bad report for which they were rebuked thus, they only claimed to have seen the Nephilim that they are related to the Anakim and that they are very, very, very tall. However, the entire rest of the whole Bible knows absolutely nothing of any of this.
Moreover, to say that the land “was inhabited with giants” is to not specify what this means and that “The Rephaim were of the same type” is simply fallacious.

We are also told, “Og, king of Bashan (one of the last Rephaim) had a bed that was thirteen feet long (Deuteronomy 3:11). Was this just the grandiosity of a king, or did Og really need a bed that large?” good point as we are only told of his bed and there are a few reason why his bed would be larger than the man.

The follow up is “We know the ancient Jews believed them to be giants because the Greek word titanes, from which English derives the word titan, is used to translate the Hebrew word rephaim. Ancient folklore from many cultures features stories of giants. And there is biblical basis for their existence. The Nephilim (the word used synonymously with the Anakites) were the offspring of fallen angels and women (Genesis 6:1–4).”

To claim that they “believed them to be giants because the Greek word titanes…titan…rephaim” is myopic and complex. The English term giant comes from the Greek gigantes (gigas, etc.) which is use by the Septuagint/LXX for the Hebrew Nephilim. Now, gigantes literally means earth-born and that term is used to refer to the Titans of Greek mythology.

Two problems: 1) the Septuagint/LXX does not use gigantes for Rephaim (it uses Ραφαϊν #H7497) and 2) it is not as simple as claiming that the equation is Titans very, very tall therefore, Nephilim very, very tall—and Rephaim, Anakim, etc. very, very tall.

That is because 1) there are two main mythologies about Titans and in the earlier one they are not very, very tall and 2) there are at least four reasons why gigantes is used in the LXX: 1) both are hybrids, 2) both are tyrannical, 3) that which some would assert which is that both as very, very tall thus, the correlation could be based on one, two or three of these and to claim that is was only 3 would be myopic and to say that it was 1-3 is erroneous since, here we go again, we have no reliable biblical physical description of Nephilim. The fourth is that the LXX might have been using gigantes for Nephilim due to the classic error of taking Numbers 13:33 as an accurate description: which all indication are that it is not.

The article seeks to buttress its point by noting “Ancient folklore from many cultures features stories of giants. And there is biblical basis for their existence. The Nephilim (the word used synonymously with the Anakites) were the offspring of fallen angels and women (Genesis 6:1–4).”
I hope that you can see that to claim “Ancient folklore from many cultures features stories of giants” is vague as it covers a span of heights from, say, 8 ft. to many entire body lengths taller than average.
Also, the claim that Nephilim is a “word used synonymously with the Anakites” is utterly fallacious and only based on Numbers 13:33 which does not even use it synonymously but, falsely, claims that Nephilim and Anakim are related.

The article adds that “If we take these biblical accounts at face value, we see that the Nephilim, the Anakites, and the Rephaim all had three things in common: great strength, great height, and part-angelic parentage.” This entire claim is simply 100% erroneous.

The article ends with “Reliable extra-biblical historical books like the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jasher, and the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus all also mention the Nephilim, referring to them as mighty men, giants, the sons of an unnatural union between human beings and fallen angels.”
I am unsure what “Reliable” means (reliable in what way?) but since the article fallaciously correlates Nephilim, Rephaim and Anakim (and Titans and “giants”) then it is difficult to know how to take this claim. Yet, the fact is that we have the same issues with Josephus as we have with the LXX, see Flavius Josephus on the Nephilim

I hope that this review has been instructing and for some related info, see my books (on which I am offering a money saving deal:
What Does the Bible Say About Angels? A Styled Angelology
What Does the Bible Say About Demons? A Styled Demonology
What Does the Bible Say About the Devil Satan? A Styled Satanology
On the Genesis 6 Affair’s Sons of God: Angels or Not? A survey of early Jewish and Christian commentaries including notes on giants and the Nephilim
The Paranormal in Early Jewish and Christian Commentaries: Over a Millennia’s Worth of Comments on Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Satan, the Devil, Demons, the Serpent and the Dragon

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