(nee' fihssh) Term probably derived from the root “to fall” and meaning either “the fallen ones” or else “ones who fall [violently] upon others.” At
Genesis 6:4 the term designates ancient heroes who, according to most interpreters, are the products of sexual union of heavenly beings (“sons of God”; compare
Psalms 82:6) and human women. The account illustrates the breakdown of the God-ordained order separating heaven and earth (Genesis 1:6-10) and specifying reproduction “each according to its kind” (Genesis 1:11-12,Genesis 1:21,Genesis 1:24-25). God intervened to reestablish limits inherent in creation (Genesis 6:3; compare
Genesis 3:22-23). At
Numbers 13:33 Nephilim designates a race of giants descended from Anak against whom the Israelites appeared as grasshoppers. See Sons of God; Rephaim.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'NEPHILIM'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".