The Israel Biblical Studies blog posted a multi-part commentary by Julia Blum beginning with The Story Of Flood You Did Not Know (i)—therefrom, one part followed, then another, and another, but eventually the articles seem unrelated to the original context and so I am not aware if she ever reached a conclusion.
In any case, I will work with what I have. She notes:
The Hebrew words translated “the sons of God” are b‘nai ha Elohim. Does the Torah mean angels, or just “the sons of rulers”, or “the sons of the nobles”, as some Jewish translations translate b‘nai ha Elohim here?
We have “the sons of the princes” in Targumim, and “the sons of the Judges” in Midrashim – in fact, the “angelic interpretation” (that they were angels, or some kind of divine beings) is almost non-existent in Judaism.
One issue is that the only text she Julia Blum actually cites is “Gen. Rabbah 26:5” which, being a Midrash, refers to a homiletic commentary: this one dates to circa 450 AD which is many centuries after we Jews first commented on this issue.
As I prove in my book On the Genesis 6 Affair’s Sons of God: Angels or Not?, the Angel view is the original, traditional, and majority view among the earliest Jews (and Christians alike) from BC days and on into many (many) centuries.
Now, Julia Blum wrote that the view “is almost non-existent in Judaism” but then qualifies that statement:
I already mentioned that this “angelic interpretation” (the idea that the “sons of God” were angels, or some kind of divine beings) is almost non-existent in modern Judaism. [emphasis added for emphasis]
In any case, she recognizes that:
…for a long time, “the angel view” had been predominant in many extra-biblical Jewish writings (the book of Enoch for example: 1 Enoch 6-11, usually dated c. 200 B.C.
Julia Blum argues for that view via Job 1:6 which is also mirrored in the following chapter, as she quotes and comments:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. We have the same expression again in Job 2:1
…these verses describe the Divine Council – a meeting in Heaven – therefore, the “sons of God” here are obviously not humans, but angels.
That they are Angels in those verses is not actually stated in the Hebrew (it is in the Greek Septuagint/LXX however, which has Angelos). Yet, that they are Angels is a fair enough guestimate which actually gains more weight from what Julia Blum notes thusly:
Job, in chapter 38. Speaking about the creation of the universe, God is saying: I laid the foundations of the earth…When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy…the sons of God existed even before the earth itself was created.
This indicates that every use of the term: b‘nai ha Elohim or b‘nai Elohim in the Old Testament, is, in fact, a reference to angelic beings. Thus, we can conclude that “the sons of God” in Genesis 6 also refers to angels.
Again, they are not specified to be Angels in Hebrew (they are in the LXX in this verse as well) but since they, at least, witnessed the creation of the Earth then, at least, they are not human.
Julia Blum asked, “Does Nephilim mean ‘Giants’?” which brought us a typical error made by many (many) people who write about Nephilim, questions such as these are asked and answered without ever defining the vague, generic, subjective, and multi-usage English word “Giants.”
About Genesis 6:4, she notes, “Remarkably, some translations have here the word ‘giants’, instead of ‘Nephilim’” and “in Numbers 13, where Moses sent twelve spies to scout out the land, and all the spies, except Caleb and Joshua, brought up an evil report of the land” yet, there is no indication as to why that is remarkable.
She actually claims (asserts):
The Hebrew word “Anak”– simply transliterated as “Anak” in the English text – means “giant”. So, our Hebrew text literally says: “We saw giants from the Nephilim”.
Not only is there no linguistic indication that Anak means giant (it actually refer to the neck and may imply long neck) but we are told it means giant without being told what giant means. And no, it is not so simple since the strictly modern usage of that English word implies something about subjectively unusual height but the ancient meaning (coming as it does form the Greek gigantes—which the LXX uses in Gen 6:4, et al.) is “earth-born.”
Now, her claims get a bit odd at this point since, sure, “our Hebrew text literally says: ‘We saw giants from the Nephilim’” but recall that our Hebrew text is literally merely recording an “evil report.”
Julia Blum makes this point about it:
…it is quite remarkable that, even though several parts of the “bad report” were challenged by Joshua and Caleb, they did not challenge the information about giants. They didn’t say: ‘what are you talking about? There were no giants there, we haven’t seen any giants!’ It seems that these “giants from the Nephilim” were indeed in the Land, if Joshua and Caleb didn’t dispute the fact.
Now, she has left us to understand what the “information about giants” is as that she means information about Anakim. Well, of course they did not challenge the claim of Anakim in the land since Anakim were in the land.
Yet, she had left the question “Does Nephilim mean ‘Giants’” open ended at this point so perhaps she means that they did not challenge the claim of Nephilim in the land.
One issue is that Num chaps 13-14 are providing succinct points of interest, not entire discussions, and it was also not a formal point-by-point debate.
Thus, when she said, “There were no giants there, we haven’t seen any giants!” she may be referring to Nephilim but when she writes, “giants from the Nephilim” she is clearly referring to Anakim—such unspecific writing is part of why Nephilology is the cesspool which is it.
Now, I noted that she wrote, “As Michael Heiser wrote in his wonderful book” and “As Dr. Michael Heiser writes…” which to me is very telling of why she admits that Num 13:33 is an evil/bad report but she just believes it anyhow since Heiser also just picks up one single verse, actually believes it, runs with it, and turns it into the mother of all Nephilim verses which he then turns into a grand narrative about post-flood Nephilim which is something that is not a biblical teaching—it is only part of a deception recorded in the Bible (see my book The Scholarly Academic Nephilim and Giants wherein I feature Heiser).
At one point, Julia Blum writes:
If we compare these two scriptures (Genesis 6 and Numbers 13-14), we discover that they actually support one another – the verses from Numbers validate non-human heritage…
By now, we know that the Nephilim were giants and not humans.
The only manner whereby the latter supports the former is that the unfaithful, disloyal, contradictory, embellishing spies whom God rebuked clearly made up a “Don’t go in the woods!” style of fear-mongering, scare-tactic tall tale by concocting some mythology based on the history recorded in Gen 6.
Now, since Nephilim were fathered by Angels then, granted, they are of “non-human heritage” but that “Nephilim were giants,” and especially “giants and not humans,” can only be based on actually believing an evil/bad report and equivocating on the term giants (again) since it was not defined but was said to be what Anak means and well, round and round we go attempting to guess what imprecise authors mean by undefined terminology at any given time, with any given usage. This is typical of many authors who write on Nephiliology: they use the term giants to mean various things but do not alert their readers to that fact.
And so, Julia Blum somehow has post-flood Nephilim actually existing—not merely being referenced which is the biblical point—and/but also has it that:
Satan’s plot: to corrupt the human bloodline, so that the one who is destined to defeat him – the one promised from the seed of woman, not from some angelic seed – could not be born. Thus, was the plan unfolded…the time came when almost everyone had demonic DNA in their blood.
So, in spite of what many may think, the flood was not a cruel and terrible punishment from an angry and vengeful God – rather, it was a merciful and protective act to leave hope for His creation, and not throw humanity into an abyss of wicked demonic hopelessness.
And yet, she falls victim of her own assertions—as do all such post-flood Nephilim proponents—since she has it that “the flood was” a “protective act to…not throw humanity into an abyss of wicked demonic hopelessness” but that is actually exactly what she is claiming since for some un-eludicated reason Nephilim just reappeared post-flood. This seems to (surely subconsciously) imply that God failed, the flood was essentially a waste, they may have thought of a loophole that God missed—or, something.
For more details, see my relevant books since such is the stuff of which the neo-theo-sci-fi Nephilology of pop-researchers is made.
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