Giants [N] [S]

  • Heb. nephilim, meaning "violent" or "causing to fall" ( Genesis 6:4 ). These were the violent tyrants of those days, those who fell upon others. The word may also be derived from a root signifying "wonder," and hence "monsters" or "prodigies." In Numbers 13:33 this name is given to a Canaanitish tribe, a race of large stature, "the sons of Anak." The Revised Version, in these passages, simply transliterates the original, and reads "Nephilim."

  • Heb. rephaim, a race of giants ( Deuteronomy 3:11 ) who lived on the east of Jordan, from whom Og was descended. They were probably the original inhabitants of the land before the immigration of the Canaanites. They were conquered by Chedorlaomer ( Genesis 14:5 ), and their territories were promised as a possession to Abraham ( 15:20 ). The Anakim, Zuzim, and Emim were branches of this stock.

    In Job 26:5 (RSV, "they that are deceased;" marg., "the shades," the "Rephaim") and Isaiah 14:9 this Hebrew word is rendered (A.V.) "dead." It means here "the shades," the departed spirits in Sheol. In Sam Isaiah 21:16 Isaiah 21:18 Isaiah 21:20 Isaiah 21:33 , "the giant" is (A.V.) the rendering of the singular form ha raphah , which may possibly be the name of the father of the four giants referred to here, or of the founder of the Rephaim. The Vulgate here reads "Arapha," whence Milton (in Samson Agonistes) has borrowed the name "Harapha." (See also 1 Chronicles 20:5 1 Chronicles 20:6 1 Chronicles 20:8 ; Deuteronomy 2:11 Deuteronomy 2:20 ; 3:13 ; Joshua 15:8 , etc., where the word is similarly rendered "giant.") It is rendered "dead" in (A.V.) Psalms 88:10 ; Proverbs 2:18 ; 9:18 ; 21:16 : in all these places the Revised Version marg. has "the shades." (See also Isaiah 26:14 .)

  • Heb. 'Anakim ( Deuteronomy 2:10 Deuteronomy 2:11 Deuteronomy 2:21 ; Joshua 11:21 Joshua 11:22 ; Joshua 14:12 Joshua 14:15 ; called "sons of Anak," Numbers 13:33 ; "children of Anak," 13:22 ; Joshua 15:14 ), a nomad race of giants descended from Arba ( Joshua 14:15 ), the father of Anak, that dwelt in the south of Palestine near Hebron ( Genesis 23:2 ; Joshua 15:13 ). They were a Cushite tribe of the same race as the Philistines and the Egyptian shepherd kings. David on several occasions encountered them ( 2 Samuel 21:15-22 ). From this race sprung Goliath ( 1 Samuel 17:4 ).

  • Heb. 'emin, a warlike tribe of the ancient Canaanites. They were "great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims" ( Genesis 14:5 ; Deuteronomy 2:10 Deuteronomy 2:11 ).

  • Heb. Zamzummim (q.v.), Deuteronomy 2:20 so called by the Amorites.

  • Heb. gibbor ( Job 16:14 ), a mighty one, i.e., a champion or hero. In its plural form (gibborim) it is rendered "mighty men" ( 2 Samuel 23:8-39 ; 1 Kings 1:8 ; 1 Chronicles 11:9-47 ; 29:24 .) The band of six hundred whom David gathered around him when he was a fugitive were so designated. They were divided into three divisions of two hundred each, and thirty divisions of twenty each. The captians of the thirty divisions were called "the thirty," the captains of the two hundred "the three," and the captain over the whole was called "chief among the captains" ( 2 Samuel 23:8 ). The sons born of the marriages mentioned in Genesis 6:4 are also called by this Hebrew name.

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Giants". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Giants, [N] [E]

    men of extraordinary size or height.

    1. They are first spoken of in ( Genesis 6:4 ) under the name Nephilim. We are told in ( Genesis 6:1-4 ) that "there were Nephilim in the earth," and that afterwards the "sons of God" mingling with the beautiful "daughters of mens produced a race of violent and insolent Gibborim (Authorized Version "mighty men").
    2. The Rephalim, a name which frequently occurs. The earliest mention of them is the record of their defeat by Chedorlaomer and some allied kings at Ashteroth Karnaim. The "valley of Rephaim," ( 2 Samuel 5:18 ; 1 Chronicles 11:15 ; Isaiah 17:5 ) a rich valley southwest of Jerusalem, derived its name from them. They were probably an aboriginal people of which the EMIM, ANAKIM and ZUZIM [which see] were branches. [See also GOLIATH]

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Giants,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.


    ji'-ants The word appears in the King James Version as the translation of the Hebrew words nephilim (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33); repha'im (Deuteronomy 2:11,20; 3:11,13; Joshua 12:4, etc.); rapha' (1 Chronicles 20:4,6,8), or raphah (2 Samuel 21:16,18,20,22); in one instance of gibbor, literally, "mighty one" (Job 16:14).

    In the first two cases the Revised Version (British and American) changes "giants" into the Hebrew words "Nephilim," nephilim, and "Rephaim," repha'im, respectively (see these words). The "Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 are not to be confounded with the "mighty men" subsequently described as the offspring of the unlawful marriages, of "the sons of God" and "the daughters of men." It is told that they overspread the earth prior to these unhallowed unions. That the word, whatever its etymology, bears the sense of men of immense stature is evident from the later passages; Numbers 13:33. The same is true of the "Rephaim," as shown by the instance of Og (Deuteronomy 3:11; Joshua 12:4). There is no doubt about the meaning of the word in the ease of the giants mentioned in 2 Samuel 21 and 1 Chronicles 20.


    James Orr

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'GIANTS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.