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The 2,000-year-old ancient manuscript mentions the existence of the Nephilim, and their fate in the Great Flood. This article offers some of the reconstructed texts.
Before continuing, I’d like to mention that there is extremely limited knowledge regarding the authorship of the book of Giants. According to some authors, there is a fascinating similarity between the book of Giants and the classic Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh.
The Qumran caves are considered by many historians as a treasure trove of history. Some 60 years ago, researchers discovered inside of the Qumran caves a fascinating ancient book that offers unprecedented details about the Nephilim and their eventual demise. This ancient manuscript is called the Book of Giants.
[Mahway] mounted up in the air like strong winds, and flew with his hands like eagles […he left behind] the inhabited world and passed over Desolation, the great desert […]and Enoch saw him and hailed him, and Mahway said to him […] hither and thither a second time to Mahway […]The Giants await your words and all the monsters of the earth. If […]has been carried […] from the days of […]their […] and they would be added […] we would know from you their meaning […] two hundred trees that from heaven came down…
Interestingly, even though many believe the Nephilim were the result of myth, reference to their existence can be traced back to many ancient texts, among them the Book of Genesis which makes several references to them.
Most of the details, however, come from the apocryphal book of Enoch, an ancient religious paper attributed to Noah’s great-grandfather. Enoch and Noah are two fascinating ancient characters. Enoch has fascinated authors and researchers for centuries.
For example, in the Book of Genesis, we find that Enoch lived on Earth for an incredible 365 years, after which he was taken by God: “he walked with God: and he was no more; for God took him.”
How was this possible? How could Enoch have lived for 365 years? Interestingly, if we take a look at the Sumerian King list, we find that in the distant past, when the history of Earth’s civilization was being composed, beings inhabited Earth and had a lifespan that ranged from a couple of hundred years, to even a thousand years.
During the time Enoch lived on Earth, we understand that our planet was inhabited by mortals, but also angels. These beings –referred to as angels— are said to have interacted with mortal humans, and eventually interbred with ‘the daughters of man,’ which ultimately gave rise to supernatural strong, giant beings referred to as the Nephilim.
However, there are some notorious historical differences between the Book of Giants and the Book of Enoch.
According to the Book of Giants, the hybrid beings called the Nephilim became aware that their deviant ways were leading them towards destruction. In fact, the Nephilim were ‘scared’ so much that they asked Enoch to intervene on their behalf and speak to God Almighty.
The Book of Giants explains how the Nephilim caused chaos on Earth and changed everything during that time.
A summary statement of the descent of the wicked angels, bringing both knowledge and havoc. Compare Genesis 6:1-2, 4.
1Q23 Frag. 9 + 14 + 15 2[ . . . ] they knew the secrets of [ . . . ] 3[ . . . si]n was great in the earth [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] and they killed manY [ . . ] 5[ . . . they begat] giants [ . . . ]
The angels exploit the fruifulness of the earth.
4Q531 Frag. 3 2[ . . . everything that the] earth produced [ . . . ] [ . . . ] the great fish [ . . . ] 14[ . . . ] the sky with all that grew [ . . . ] 15[ . . . fruit of] the earth and all kinds of grain and al1 the trees [ . . . ] 16[ . . . ] beasts and reptiles . . . [al]l creeping things of the earth and they observed all [ . . . ] |8[ . . . eve]ry harsh deed and [ . . . ] utterance [ . . . ] l9[ . . . ] male and female, and among humans [ . . . ]
The two hundred angels choose animals on which to perform unnatural acts, including, presumably, humans.
1Q23 Frag. 1 + 6 [ . . . two hundred] 2donkeys, two hundred asses, two hundred . . . rams of the] 3flock, two hundred goats, two hundred [ . . . beast of the] 4field from every animal, from every [bird . . . ] 5[ . . . ] for miscegenation [ . . . ]
The outcome of the demonic corruption was violence, perversion, and a brood of monstrous beings. Compare Genesis 6:4.
4Q531 Frag. 2 [ . . . ] they defiled [ . . . ] 2[ . . . they begot] giants and monsters [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] they begot, and, behold, all [the earth was corrupted . . . ] 4[ . . . ] with its blood and by the hand of [ . . . ] 5[giant’s] which did not suffice for them and [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] and they were seeking to devour many [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] the monsters attacked it.
4Q532 Col. 2 Frags. 1 – 6 2[ . . . ] flesh [ . . . ] 3al[l . . . ] monsters [ . . . ] will be [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] they would arise [ . . . ] lacking in true knowledge [ . . . ] because [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] the earth [grew corrupt . . . ] mighty [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] they were considering [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] from the angels upon [ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] in the end it will perish and die [ . . . ] 9[ . . . ] they caused great corruption in the [earth . . . ] [ . . . this did not] suffice to [ . . . ] “they will be [ . . . ]
The giants begin to be troubled by a series of dreams and visions. Mahway, the titan son of the angel Barakel, reports the first of these dreams to his fellow giants. He sees a tablet being immersed in water. When it emerges, all but three names have been washed away. The dream evidently symbolizes the destruction of all but Noah and his sons by the Flood.
2Q26 [ . . . ] they drenched the tablet in the wa[ter . . . ] 2[ . . . ] the waters went up over the [tablet . . . ] 3[ . . . ] they lifted out the tablet from the water of [ . . . ]
The giant goes to the others and they discuss the dream.
4Q530 Frag.7 [ . . . this vision] is for cursing and sorrow. I am the one who confessed 2[ . . . ] the whole group of the castaways that I shall go to [ . . . ] 3[ . . . the spirits of the sl]ain complaining about their killers and crying out 4[ . . . ] that we shall die together and be made an end of [ . . . ] much and I will be sleeping, and bread 6[ . . . ] for my dwelling; the vision and also [ . . . ] entered into the gathering of the Giants 8[ . . . ]
6Q8 [ . . . ] Ohya and he said to Mahway [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] without trembling. Who showed you all this vision, [my] brother? 3[ . . . ] Barakel, my father, was with me. 4[ . . . ] Before Mahway had finished telling what [he had seen . . . ] 5[ . . . said] to him, Now I have heard wonders! If a barren woman gives birth [ . . . ]
4Q530 Frag. 4 3[There]upon Ohya said to Ha[hya . . . ] 4[ . . . to be destroyed] from upon the earth and [ . . . ] 5[ . . . the ea]rth. When 6[ . . . ] they wept before [the Giants . . . ]
4Q530 Frag. 7 3[ . . . ] your strength [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] 5Thereupon Ohya [said] to Hahya [ . . . ] Then he answered, It is not for 6us, but for Azaiel, for he did [ . . . the children of] angels 7are the Giants, and they would not let all their poved ones] be neglected [. . . we have] not been cast down; you have strength [ . . . ]
The Giants realize the futility of fighting against the forces of heaven. The first speaker may be Gilgamesh.
4Q531 Frag. 1 3[ . . . I am a] giant, and by the mighty strength of my arm and my own great strength 4[ . . . any]one mortal, and I have made war against them; but I am not [ . . . ] able to stand against them, for my opponents 6[ . . . ] reside in [Heav]en, and they dwell in the holy places. And not 7[ . . . they] are stronger than I. 8[ . . . ] of the wild beast has come, and the wild man they call [me].
9[ . . . ] Then Ohya said to him, I have been forced to have a dream [ . . . ] the sleep of my eyes [vanished], to let me see a vision. Now I know that on [ . . . ] 11-12[ . . . ] Gilgamesh [ . . . ]
Ohya’s dream vision is of a tree that is uprooted except for three of its roots; the vision’s import is the same as that of the first dream.
6Q8 Frag. 2 1three of its roots [ . . . ] [while] I was [watching,] there came [ . . . they moved the roots into] 3this garden, all of them, and not [ . . . ]
Ohya tries to avoid the implications of the visions. Above he stated that it referred only to the demon Azazel; here he suggests that the destruction isfor the earthly rulers alone.
4Q530 Col. 2 1concerns the death of our souls [ . . . ] and all his comrades, [and Oh]ya told them what Gilgamesh said to him 2[ . . . ] and it was said [ . . . ] “concerning [ . . . ] the leader has cursed the potentates” 3and the giants were glad at his words. Then he turned and left [ . . . ]
More dreams afflict the giants. The details of this vision are obscure, but it bodes ill for the giants. The dreamers speak first to the monsters, then to the giants.
Thereupon two of them had dreams 4and the sleep of their eye, fled from them, and they arose and came to [ . . . and told] their dreams, and said in the assembly of [their comrades] the monsters 6[ . . . In] my dream I was watching this very night 7[and there was a garden . . . ] gardeners and they were watering 8[ . . . two hundred trees and] large shoots came out of their root 9[ . . . ] all the water, and the fire burned all 10[the garden . . . ] They found the giants to tell them 11[the dream . . . ]
Someone suggests that Enoch be found to interpret the vision.
[ . . . to Enoch] the noted scribe, and he will interpret for us 12the dream. Thereupon his fellow Ohya declared and said to the giants, 13I too had a dream this night, O giants, and, behold, the Ruler of Heaven came down to earth 14[ . . . ] and such is the end of the dream. [Thereupon] all th e giants [and monsters! grew afraid 15and called Mahway. He came to them and the giants pleaded with him and sent him to Enoch 16[the noted scribe]. They said to him, Go [ . . . ] to you that 17[ . . . ] you have heard his voice. And he said to him, He wil1 [ . . . and] interpret the dreams [ . . . ] Col. 3 3[ . . . ] how long the giants have to live. [ . . . ]
After a cosmic journey Mahway comes to Enoch and makes his request.
[ . . . he mounted up in the air] 41ike strong winds, and flew with his hands like ea[gles . . . he left behind] 5the inhabited world and passed over Desolation, the great desert [ . . . ] 6and Enoch saw him and hailed him, and Mahway said to him [ . . . ] 7hither and thither a second time to Mahway [ . . . The giants awaig 8your words, and all the monsters of the earth. If [ . . . ] has been carried [ . . . ] 9from the days of [ . . . ] their [ . . . ] and they will be added [ . . . ] 10[ . . . ] we would know from you their meaning [ . . . ] 11[ . . . two hundred tr]ees that from heaven [came down . . . ]
Enoch sends back a tablet with its grim message of judgment, but with hope for repentance.
4Q530 Frag. 2 The scribe [Enoch . . . ] 2[ . . . ] 3a copy of the second tablet that [Epoch] se[nt . . . ] 4in the very handwriting of Enoch the noted scribe [ . . . In the name of God the great] 5and holy one, to Shemihaza and all [his companions . . . ] 61et it be known to you that not [ . . . ] 7and the things you have done, and that your wives [ . . . ] 8they and their sons and the wives of [their sons . . . ] 9by your licentiousness on the earth, and there has been upon you [ . . . and the land is crying out] 10and complaining about you and the deeds of your children [ . . . ] 11the harm that you have done to it. [ . . . ] 12until Raphael arrives, behold, destruction [is coming, a great flood, and it will destroy all living things] 13and whatever is in the deserts and the seas. And the meaning of the matter [ . . . ] 14upon you for evil. But now, loosen the bonds bi[nding you to evil . . . ] l5and pray.
A fragment apparently detailing a vision that Enoch saw.
4Q531 Frag. 7 3[ . . . great fear] seized me and I fell on my face; I heard his voice [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] he dwelt among human beings but he did not learn from them [ . . . ]