The next three posts will cover information on Nimrod, the tower of Babel, and Deuteronomy 4 and 32. These topics are found in chapter 14 of Heiser’s The Unseen Realm. Before that, chapters 12-13 cover what we’ve looked at previously, who and what the Nephilim are, where they came from, and (some) of their place in the story. Chapters 10-11 before that tell us about the serpent in Genesis 3 and some literary links found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. This something I won’t cover here, so you’ll have to read about it in The Unseen Realm. Nevertheless, Heiser gives some good (read: not wacky) sense on what the ancient Israelite would have thought of when they read about the serpent in Genesis 3.
So, to rehearse again, Genesis 6.4 says, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men [gibborim] who were of old, the men of renown [literally, “men of the name” (shem)].”
We’re told that the Nephilim were “might warriors” (or, “gibbor(im)”) and men of renown, or “men of the name.”
The next time a “mighty man” comes up is in Genesis 10.8-9, “Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.’”
This Nimrod “(whose name most likely means ‘rebellion’)”, a great hunter, a mighty warrior, gave birth to nations too (111). In verses 10-11 we see specifically two nations (and one city) that will play a major role in Israel’s story, “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah….”
Heiser reminds us, “Once again, as with Genesis 6, the Mesopotamian context is transparent. Assyria and Babylon are the two civilizations that will later destroy the dream of the earthly kingdom of God in Israel, dismantling, respectively, the northern kingdom (Israel) and southern kingdom (Judah)” (111).
As Heiser points out, the text of Nimrod makes connections with Genesis 6 by giving a few clue words:
- Both Nimrod and the Nephilim were mighty men (gibborim).
- Both have connections with rebellion (Nimrod’s name and the divine beings’ actions against Yahweh).
- Both have connections with Babylon.
“The Nimrod description in Genesis 10, in the so-called Table of Nations, is therefore a theological bridge between the violation of Genesis 6.1-4 and the next momentous event in the Torah that will frame the entire story of Israel” (111).
In our next post I’ll look at what happened at the tower of Babel. There’s more to it than we think.
- Who Were the Nephilim?
- Why This Topic?
- Three Interpretations on the Nephilim
- Why is Genesis 6.1-4 in the Bible?
- Weird Texts of the Bible
Dividing the Nations
The OT Trinity
- The Trinity in the Old Testament
- And He Struggled With the Angel
- He Rides the Clouds
- The Holy Spirit
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And also Heiser’s more condensed version,