Numbers 13 – 15
The problem of giants
The descendants of Anak are said to be Giants in Numbers 13:33, so what? The Bible has mentioned giants before, and will mention them again (Goliath). Well, that apparently the problem.
Some versions, like the RSV, use the word Nephilim. This is a problem, since it’s just a case of Lazy translating, but it also supports the bias that the Nephilim (giants) in Genesis are something supernatural, when another explanation is available. With the popular view of the Nephilim being half angel, and all the mysticism and speculation that comes with it, we forget that this is just a transliteration of a Hebrew word that means giant, or even bully. So ignoring poor translation policies, let’s just talk about giants and see if the complaint that is raised makes any sense.
The complaint is that all the giants mentioned in Genesos 6 would have to have died in the flood, so how do we find their descendants in Numbers? Easy, we don’t. Without hiding behind the Nephilim as a special kind of giant, there is no reason to believe that these giants were related to the earlier ones. Just like there is no reason to believe that all dwarves that exists today had dwarves as parents and will have dwarves for children. The largest man in the Guinness Book of Records, unsurprisingly had normal sized parents. So perhaps a guy called Anak was big, and so were many of his descendants, there’s no reason to believe that this meant that some giants survived the flood.
I was a little surprised to see this complaint raised on a prominent site of Biblical criticism, but apparently even the supposedly good sites are struggling for real complaints.
There are a couple of interesting things, like Hosea son of Nun being the Joshua of the book by the same name, here Moses changes his name. Also, provision is made for sinning in ignorance. A sacrifice is still required, which follows the modern legal idea of, “ignorance is not an excuse.”
What are your thoughts?
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