The Bible speaks of the Nephilim as the offspring of the “sons of God and daughters of men” in books such as: Genesis, Enoch, and a couple others. It does explain that they bred from evil beings, but it doesn’t specify if they themselves were evil or not, and even if they were supposed to be “evil”.

Were they all evil?

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    Can you provide the reference regarding they being "bred from evil beings"? it might support the question and help the answer.
    – luchonacho
    May 13, 2019 at 16:14

5 Answers 5


Were all Nephilim evil?

Impossible to say, but I doubt it.

Let us start by seeing who the Nephilim of the Scripture may truly be:

The Nephilim (Hebrew: נְפִילִים) were the offspring of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" before the Deluge, according to Genesis 6:1-4.

A similar or identical biblical Hebrew term, read as "Nephilim" by some scholars, or as the word "fallen" by others, appears in Ezekiel 32:27.1

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. Then the Lord said, "My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown. — Genesis 6:1–4, New Revised Standard Version

The word is loosely translated as giants in some Bibles and left untranslated in others. The "sons of God" have been interpreted as fallen angels in some traditional Jewish explanations.

According to Numbers 13:33, they later inhabited Canaan at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan.

The Lord said to Moses, "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites" ... So they went up and spied out the land ... And they told him: "... Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there." ... So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, "The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them." — Numbers 13:1–2; 21; 27–28; 32–33. New Revised Standard Version.

And now let us look at what the Sons of God may mean:

Sons of the God (Hebrew: בני האלהים‎) literally: "sons of the Gods") is a phrase used in the Hebrew Bible and apocrypha. The phrase is also used in Kabbalah where bene elohim are part of different Jewish angelic hierarchies.

Hebrew Bible

Genesis 6

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. — Genesis 6:1–4, KJV

The first mention of "sons of God" in the Hebrew Bible occurs at Genesis 6:1–4. In terms of literary-historical origin, this phrase is typically associated with the Jahwist tradition.3

This passage has had two interpretations in Judaism:

  • Offspring of Seth: The first references to the offspring of Seth rebelling from God and mingling with the daughters of Cain are found in Christian and rabbinic literature from the second century CE onwards e.g. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Augustine of Hippo, Julius Africanus, and the Letters attributed to St. Clement. It is also the view expressed in the modern canonical Amharic Ethiopian Orthodox Bible. In Judaism "Sons of God" usually refers to the righteous, i.e. the children of Seth.

  • Angels: All of the earliest sources interpret the "sons of God" as angels. From the third century BCE onwards, references are found in the Enochic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls the (Genesis Apocryphon, the Damascus Document, 4Q180), Jubilees, the Testament of Reuben, 2 Baruch, Josephus, and the book of Jude (compare with 2 Peter 2). This is also the meaning of the only two identical occurrences of bene ha elohim in the Hebrew Bible (Job 1:6 and 2:1), and of the most closely related expressions (refer to the list above). In the Septuagint, the interpretive reading "angels" is found in Codex Alexandrinus, one of four main witnesses to the Greek text.

Rabbinic Judaism traditionally adheres to the first interpretation, with some exceptions, and modern Jewish translations may translate bnei elohim as "sons of rulers" rather than "sons of God". Regardless, the second interpretation (sons of angels or other divine beings) is nonexistent in modern Judaism. This is reflected by the rejection of Enoch and other Apocrypha supporting the second interpretation from the Hebrew Bible Canon.

Using Scripture to interpret Scripture is a very common practice in our day and as such the New Testament in the person of St. Luke shows us that the Sons of God were the descendants of Adam.

According to Scripture “sons of God” means “persons who are begotten independently of any creature’s decision”. All angels can appropriately be called “sons of God”, but not all characters called “sons of God” in the Bible can appropriately be considered angels. The “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 are undoubtedly human, and it is fitting to consider that they were created directly by God through transformation of human-like animals into persons.

Who was the son of Enos, who was the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God. - Luke 3:38

Thus if the Nephilim were the descendants of the Sons of God (sons of Adam) and the "daughters of men" surely not all of them were evil. Some of them would have had good and upright souls.

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    Philo of Alexandria, as well as early Christians such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, also had something to say about this. May 19, 2019 at 20:53
  • This was a very thorough and Biblical answer until the last presumption: "were created directly by God through transformation of human-like animals into persons", which is a clear denial of the federal headship of Adam (and thereby of original sin). And a denial of Christ being the 2nd man 1 Cor.15:47 - meaning that he was the 2nd man (after first Adam) to be created without the will/seed of a man (male) see John 1:13, which is why He did not have a sinful nature - see 2 Cor. 5:21.
    – Redeemed
    May 20, 2019 at 14:56
  • He totally left out any Ancient Near Eastern context as well, such as stories like the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was part divine and a giant as well. His name was also found among the Dead Sea scrolls. May 22, 2019 at 15:53
  • What made the children who came from mixed Sethite and Cainite lineages so special that they were called Nephilim? Jul 1, 2019 at 11:11

Yes, they were evil as explained in Book of Enoch

This results in the creation of the Nephilim (Genesis) or Anakim/Anak (Giants) as they are described in the book:

And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three hundred ells:[70] Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood.

Thats when flood was sent by God to destroy nephilim giants and Noah built the Ark. It also discusses the teaching of humans by the fallen angels, chiefly goat-headed horned Azâzêl / Iblis / Dragon:

And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl, taught astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Ezêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon.

But clearly, not all giants perished in the flood, and there are mentions of Goliath, the giant and other Babylonians confronting David, king of Jews.

  • The Book of Enoch is apocryphal at best.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 1, 2019 at 11:03

Genesis 6:12 KJB "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth."

Yet we know that Noah and his family were righteous before God. Therefore we must conclude that in verse 12 "all" is speaking in general terms of the majority of the world.

It is possible that Noah and his family were the only ones uncorrupted in their ways.

It is possible that not all the "nephilim" were corrupt. But very unlikely. As they were very possibly the offspring of demons (fallen angels). Thus having demonic DNA, being inherently corrupt and wicked from birth.

Were all Nephilim evil? Maybe, I lean on the side of yes 100% as I believe them to be the offspring of demons.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Autodidact
    May 12, 2019 at 11:09
  • "Yet we know that Noah and his family were righteous before God." How do you know that Noah's family were righteous before God? It could have just been Noah alone?
    – curiousdannii
    May 14, 2019 at 22:09
  • "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." 1 John 2:27 May 14, 2019 at 22:16

The suggestion is that Fallen Angels are alluded to as "the sons of God", came down to earth and procreated with the daughters of men.

Jesus made it clear this is an impossibility, when He stated:

In the kingdom of heaven they, the redeemed, neither marry, not are they given in marriage, but they are like the Angel's!

Therefore Jesus made it clear angels cannot reproduce. The Sons of God, referred to here refers to the godly line, the sons of Shem who began to marry the ungodly daughters of men. The giants referred to here does not describe their physical stature but their gross immorality. Their offspring became giants in sin!

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    Angels don’t reproduce in heaven but in materialized human form what would prevent them from reproducing with human women on earth?
    – Kris
    May 12, 2019 at 3:15
  • The passage you are quoting does not exclude the possibility of “angels” having seed @JamesMacinnes. You are inferring something the text does not exclude. Genesis 3:15 makes it clear that this serpent of old as Revelation 20:2 calls him satan or the devil has seed. So do therefore all his comrades or fellow “angels”. The Shem interpretation breaks down very quickly when details are explored. As difficult as it is to believe, “angels” can abandon their abode Jude 1:6. The explanatory power of the elohim is the key that opens up the Scriptures and makes sense of the full picture.
    – Autodidact
    May 12, 2019 at 3:59
  • Nephilim can be noticed in several ancient texts. Why, I believe most of the Hindu gods belonged to the half-angel half-man club.
    – user45369
    May 12, 2019 at 8:45
  • They are like the angels of God in heaven. But when such beings rebelled and "kept not their first estate" Jude 1:6, then there was catastrophe on earth.
    – Nigel J
    May 12, 2019 at 14:13
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    Jesus told the scribes and Pharasies"you are of your father the devil...." He was reffering to them in a spiritual context because they did the works of the devil!The seed of the woman is the household of faith, Jesus, the church and the Godly Jewish Remnant who walk by faith! May 13, 2019 at 14:53

Whilst I won't go into detail, the simple answer is yes.

That's why God had to wipe all of humanity (excluding Noah and his family) with a flood and exterminate certain Canaanite tribes/clans, who the Nephilim dwelt amongst. Something really, really bad had to be going on.

(Find it quite ironic that the initial poster's first name is Canaan).

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