TJ Steadman on the mother of all Nephilim texts Num 13:33, 2 of 3

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

TJ Steadman also wrote:

But the most significant contribution that the LXX makes to our understanding here is the removal of ambiguity about perspective. Whereas the MT versions tell us that the Israelites “were grasshoppers in [their] own sight,” the LXX simply repeats for emphasis that the spies were seen as such by the giants.

This removes the possibility of interpreting the size of the giants as an exaggeration based on fearful self-doubt. Instead, it affirms that the Israelites were viewed as physically insignificant by comparison, in the eyes and minds of the giants themselves.

“But the ten spies were lying!” This is a common objection, but it struggles to gain traction against the Biblical consensus. The phrase “evil report” sounds like a deliberate deception until we consider the original text. The word dibbah is used, which is always negative, usually meaning “unfavorable report” or “infamy.”
The text does not require dishonesty or falsehood. It just means it wasn’t good. The spies didn’t like what they saw, and they freely expressed their disappointment and hopelessness. That’s okay. It’s not a sin to be discouraged. They weren’t lying.

He is still focused on the statement rather than on the prior question which is that if it is reliable—which is 100% is not for many reasons.

So, sure, it is emphasized that Israelites and Nephilim saw the situation as such but so what? If was not true then it matters not.

By the way, if we are going to use a comparison to grasshoppers as a means whereby to determine how tall Nephilim were then we have also figured out how tall God is.
Indeed, after all, in the LXX has Isaiah 40:22 as that “It is he” God, “that comprehends the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants in it are as grasshoppers.”

As for the claim that “But the ten spies were lying!” as “a common objection” that supposedly “struggles to gain traction” especially up “against the Biblical consensus,” during our debate he repeated the “phrase ‘evil report’ sounds like…” argument but I shortcut it by denying that I think it is a deception because it is called evil or bad but because of its contents and, actually, due to the Biblical consensus which knows of no such thing, beyond that one verse, of that 1) all the inhabitants of the land were of great height, that 2) there were post-flood Nephilim, that 3) Anakim are related to them, and that 4) Nephilim were very tall.
For those four claims one must rely exclusively on one single verse—and a verse recording statements by utterly unreliable people whom God rebuked.

True, “The text does not require dishonesty or falsehood” but while it does not require dishonesty or falsehood, it at the very least implies it in many ways.
As for that “it wasn’t good” due to that “The” ten, by the way, “spies didn’t like what they saw” so that it was called evil/bad due to that “they freely expressed their disappointment and hopelessness” and they were “discouraged” well, as I noted during the debate: disappointment, hopelessness, and discouragement were expressed by the ten before we are told they presented an evil/bad report and only thereafter are we told of that report.
Thus, it was not evil/bad for those reasons (even if it was premised upon them) but due to its contents.

TJ Steadman also noted:

Genesis and Numbers both make it clear that these giants had great strength, which means that they could not have been like the occasional “giant” people we see today. Modern “giants” are usually tall and thin, or people sufferring from a condition like gigantism, which renders the individual weak, lame and short-lived.

Such people are rare, and they do not breed more of the same – it is a freak condition that occurs randomly and spontaneously. The Israelite spies reported seeing no less than five nations of giant people inhabiting the land, who were both tall and strong.

Regarding both Genesis and Numbers making it clear that these Nephilim, by the way, had great strength: Gen 6:4 notes that Nephilim became “mighty men which were of old, men of renown” which tells us nothing about strength—and certainly nothing about height. As far as Num 13:33, he is commonsensically inferring that with great height comes great strength.

Note the claim that “The Israelite spies” only ten of them “reported seeing no less than five nations of giant people inhabiting the land, who were both tall and strong” but this is part of the embellishment.
The contextually relevant portions of the Num 13 narrative consists of the original accepted as is report, the interaction between Caleb (with whom Joshua sided) and the other ten spies), and the evil/bad report.
The original/as is report notes that the peoples are “strong.” During the interaction, the ten then reaffirm that they are “strong.” Yet, within their evil/bad report they suddenly claim that they are all “of great stature.”
Thus, TJ Steadman is just mashing everything together into a sentence that is meant to buttress his point—spiked by the term “giant.”

He also writes:

Amos 2:9 is noteworthy because Yahweh Himself speaks of the Amorites and says that they were as tall as cedar trees and strong as oaks. Cedars are often used as a metaphor for gods. Even allowing for hyperbole, it is clear as in the situation in Numbers 13, that these men were enormous and strong:

Amos 2:9 “Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.”

I have been over this text way too many times so here are the bare bones: the term “enormous” is subjective but yes, the point is that they were big (another subjective term) and strong just like when Moses later relates the Num 13 events and in Deut 1:28 were he has it that “our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven.”

Now, whether he is speaking of the first, second, or third heavens: those are some very, very, tall, tall, enormous walls. Rather, this is the stuff of which ANE hyperbole is made—just as is the description of the Tower of Babel “let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven” (Gen 11:4).

TJ Steadman then mentions the most well-known “giant”:

Goliath of Gath is arguably the best-known giant and stood roughly nine feet nine inches or 2.97 meters high according to the Masoretic Text.
Lesser-known giants include Goliath’s brothers Ishbibenob, Saph (also called Sippai) and Lahmi, together with an unnamed giant who is recorded as having six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot. These five were sons of a giant father…

Note that the massive size of their weapons (a three-hundred-shekel spearhead equates to 3.4 kilograms or 7.5 pounds) implies that there must have been enormous strength required to use them. Goliath’s spearhead weighed twice as much. How effectively could any modern man use a spear with a head weighing 15 pounds?

The father of these five brothers is referred to as “the giant” in many versions; in others, he is called “Rapha.” Some believe it is a proper name, others say it is a tribal name or line of descent, but most commonly it is believed to be simply a descriptor of his giant size.

It is commonly said that the Nephilim had six digits on each hand and foot, but that seems not to be the case, given that in this passage only one of the brothers was considered worthy of note as such. In fact, the point can be made that this particular giant was so unusual that his name was not even recorded.

TJ Steaman is well aware that the Masoretic Text is in the minority since the LXX, Dead Sea Scrolls, Flavius Josephus, and other manuscripts have him as being just shy of 7 ft.
Good point about “six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot” since many claim that such is a “Nephilim trait” yet, it is only stated about one single person and he was not a Nephil but was a Repha. TJ Steadman is one of the few (sort of) post-flood Nephilim believers who gets this.

“How effectively could any modern man use a spear with a head weighing 15 pounds?” I know not but I do not know that an average 5.0-5.3 used it just fine, thank you very much. The only other specific reference to height in the Bible is “an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high” who, just like Goliath had “a spear like a weaver’s beam.” Note that Benaiah “plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear” (1 Chronicles 11:23). Thus, valiant and yet, regular guy Benaiah used wielded it successfully in hand-to-hand combat.
As for the weaponry: Goliath had help since he had “one bearing a shield went before him” which implies an armor bearer who assisted with the equipment. Also, you can watch strong-man or power-lifting competitions wherein guys who are right about 6 ft lift 1,000 lbs.

As to “the giant” “is called ‘Rapha’” well, he is not just “called” that, he was a Repha with “the giant” being a problematic rendering, a pseudo-translation—Repha (Or, Rapha) is 100% a “tribal name or line of descent” and never a “descriptor of his giant size.”

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My well gone through copy of Steadman’s book

 

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