TJ Steadman on King Og, the Repha “giant” of Bashan

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You can find all of my articles regarding TJ Steadman here.

In his book Answers to Giant Questions, TJ Steadman wrote:

Og of Bashan…is remembered as a perpetual enemy, not so much in traditional Biblical texts (although his possession of the ritual bed of Marduk is certainly suggestive), but certainly in Ugaritic and rabbinic material…He is considered to be perpetually watching from the realm of the dead.

I am glad that he differentiates between “traditional Biblical texts” and “certainly in Ugaritic and” especially “rabbinic material” which contains utterly preposterous folklore.
And not subjectively preposterous as per an argument from incredulity but having him be very, very, very large, living pre-flood, surviving the flood by being allowed to hold on to the Ark, being fed by Noah, etc.
And he watches (what?) from the realm of the dead seems equally unsubstantiated.

He also wrote:

…taking into account the…Septuagint crossovers with Gog and Agag [or Magog], we may consider him a part of this matrix of underworld deities awaiting the final battle.
The strong ties with the imagery of Leviathan make him a definite inclusion in the all-time all-stars list of bad guys. Yahweh wants them ready to face their fate when that day comes…Og’s status as representative of “Rap`iu of Bashan” connects him with Leviathan.

Biblically, there is no correlation with a theo-sci-fi (or so it seems to me) correlation with “Gog and Agag” or “the imagery of Leviathan” since he was a human Rephaim king who died—end of story. Biblically, “Rap`iu of Bashan” would merely mean that he is of the Rephaim who lived in Bashan: he was that region’s Rephaim’s king.

TJ Steadman notes, “Og and Sihon were both kings of Amorite nations; these same nations were referred to in two ways, both as the land of the Amorites and as the land of the giants.” He has a pop-researcher-like habit of employing the vague, generic, and subjective English term giants in an undefined manner and actually using it to mean various things so that his readers are left to guess and wonder what he means at any given time and/or simply fill that term with their subjective understanding or misunderstanding of it.
Biblically, “land of the giants” means land of the Rephaim and, FYI and just in case, the term “Rephaim” implies nothing of unusual height.

TJ Steadman wrote:

“Bashan, land of the Rephaim” in Hebrew equates to “the place of the serpent.” It was considered to be the representation of Hell itself.

…the land of Bashan, or “land of the serpent” to the Canaanites, was regarded as the very gates of Hell.

…the Valley of the Rephaim, or as the LXX has it, the Valley of the Titans.
The English translation give us “Giants.” All three translations are in agreement that actual giants inspired the name of this place.

From all of the meanings of Rephaim, or rather its root word repha—which ranges from healing to dead—serpent is not one of them.
Neither, by the way, does a placed called and of the serpent need mean anything than that replies slithered around thereabouts.

So, was it “the representation of Hell itself” or “the very gates of Hell” which would be no mere representation.

Now, to say Rephaim, Titans, and Giants agree “that actual giants inspired the name of this place” is problem.
Firstly, how can actual giants inspire the name if we are left to guess what “giants” means much less “actual” ones?
Since Rephaim does not even hint at anything regrading height then we cannot say it agrees with any such thing.
Etymological definitions tend to begin with that Titan means “great strength,” “a person of exceptional importance and reputation,” etc. which is then also applied to some Greek characters of myth. However, it is myopic to conclude that “Titan” means or must imply very tall (with “very” and “tall” being subjective) since perhaps the Septuagint translators/renderers were employing the term to make another point and there were also more than one generation of Titans in Greek mythology—and varied mythology about Titans to begin with—so a one-to-one correlation to anything/anyone else is begging the question.
Also question begging is to claim that “Giants” assists us in concluding that “actual giants inspired the name.”

Now, he noted, “his possession of the ritual bed of Marduk is certainly suggestive” and elucidates thusly:

The most famous of these beds is that of Marduk of Babylon, described in line 34 of the ancient Esagila Tablet from Mesopotamia, as being nine cubits in length and four cubits wide, or roughly 13.5’ x 6’. That’s a big bed.

Thus, likewise:

Og’s bed measured 13.5 feet long, and six feet wide. It would obviously be safe to assume that Og himself was under these dimensions in the flesh. That does not negate by any means the notion that Og was actually a giant.

So Og is presumed to have been under 13.5×6 ft. yet, still a whatever “giant” means in this case.
See what happens when an author is unspecific?
In the previous quote he biblically means Repahim but perhaps also thought of unusual height (how unusual is unknown) and he now certainly means something else about an unspecified height that is under 13.5×6 ft.

Now, while Og is said to not have been 13.5×6 ft. on the dot—since everyone is a little smaller than their bed—TJ Steadman, at least in part, thinks Og was a “giant” due to the size of the bed.

Yet, he also, rightly, noted:

…the bed itself was significant because of its intended function. It was not for sleeping on. It was a bed or couch for the purpose of sexual rituals held in temple worship.

Thus, we have no idea how tall Og was, we are never told his height, we have no reason to think he was even one inch taller than average (with “tall” and “average” both being subjective), and his “bed” does not help matters since it was a ritual object, “not for sleeping on.”

See my various books on Nephilim related issues for more.

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My well gone over copy of TJ Steadman’s book


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