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The question I’ve asked is not centered on the identity of the benei ha’Elohim but on the text itself and whether the text has sufficient grammatical support to identify the subject with respect to “in those days בימים ההם and also afterwards וגם אחרי כן”. I am ok with the answer being it’s too ambiguous, or there is insufficient supporting documentation in the Tanakh to make a conclusive interpretation. But by no means is it a duplicate question.

הַנְּפִלִים הָיוּ בָאָרֶץ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וְגַם אַחֲרֵי־כֵן
אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל־בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם וְיָלְדוּ לָהֶם
הֵמָּה הַגִּבֹּרִים אֲשֶׁר מֵעוֹלָם אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם׃

It was then, and later too, that the Nephilim appeared on earth when the divine beings cohabited with the daughters of men, who bore them offspring. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.

Two-part question from the same verse, as it’s possibly related.

  1. Based on the Hebrew grammar, WHO were in those days and then afterward: the giants or the sons of G-d or another variant?

  2. Are the Nephilim being equated to the Gibborim in this verse? That is if indeed it’s the giants that were before and afterward?

  • Welcome to MiYodeya Efrayim and thanks for this first question. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us! – mbloch Sep 10 at 3:11
  • @mbloch I wish to comply, if I am not in compliance please bring it to my attention and afford me a short grace period to adjust. Also thank you for the link, the commentaries on this passage are at a minimum interesting. – Efrayim ben ha Yosef Sep 10 at 3:56
  • See the Ramban in particular - he has much to say on your question. – mbloch Sep 10 at 4:00
  • @AlBerko care to elaborate? – Efrayim ben ha Yosef Sep 10 at 13:31
  • Not interested in who the sons of G-d are, sorry you misread the question entirely. @AlBerko – Efrayim ben ha Yosef Sep 10 at 16:37
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Ibn Ezra offers four possible explanations. He explains Genesis 6, that (1) the b’nei haElohim are the children of nobles, (2) they were people of lofty character, (3) they were exalted descendants of Seth who married the inferior woman descended of Cain, or (4) they chose proper wives based on their knowledge of astrological planetary motion (ibn Ezra, like most contemporaries of his day relied on the efficacy of astrology).

The sage, ibn Ezra then rejects that they were the “sons of G-d,” because that would imply that they were either angles or giants. He opts for the more likely approach that they were men high of stature (the common definition of giants in the Bible).

  • If that be the case @Jonathan I’d be curious to see how he reads psalm 82 and 89. Aside from that I was interested if possible, on the grammatical breakdown rather the interpretation who the characters are believed to be. Who they are, is irrelevant to me in this question, I am more interested to find out who were “then and later too” based on the grammar. And also based on the grammar are the Nephilim being equated to the Gibborim. This passage must make sense and not read as a shopping list, unless it is a shopping list. – Efrayim ben ha Yosef Sep 10 at 12:32
  • @EfrayimbenhaYosef The common approach to ibn Ezra is that he does not read a literal interpretation to the Bible. No, I think the grammar indicates that they are not similar to Gibborim. – Jonathan Sep 10 at 13:21

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