Noah meaning “perfect” in Genesis 6:9 is from the Hebrew word tamim means without blemish, and is the technical word for bodily and physical perfection, and not moral. Hence it is used of animals of sacrificial purity. It is rendered without blemish in Ex. 12. 5; 29. 1. Lev. 1. 3, 10; 3. 1, 6; 4. 3, 23, 28, 32; 5. 15, 18; 6. 6; 9. 2, 3; 14. 10; 22. 19; 23. 12, 18. Num. 6. 14; 28. 19, 31; 29. 2, 8, 13, 20, 23, 29, 32, 36. Ezek. 43. 22, 23, 25; 45. 18, 23; 46. 4, 6, 13.
Without spot. Num. 19. 2; 28. 3, 9, 11; 29. 17, 26.
Undefiled. Ps. 119. 1. This shows that Gen. 6. 9 does not speak of Noah’s moral perfection, but tells us that he and his family alone had preserved their pedigree and kept it pure, in spite of the prevailing corruption brought about by the fallen angels.
The condition of manking (excluding Noah and his family) that brought on the flood as judgement is expressed in Genesis 6:5 “and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. The foundation for this wickedness resides with the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2,4.
The “Sons of God” in Genesis 6:2,4 (from Appendix 23 of the Companion Bible). It is only by the Divine specific act of creation that any created being can be called “a son of God.” For that which is “born of the flesh is flesh.” God is spirit, and that which is “born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3. 6). Hence Adam is called a “son of God” in Luke 3. 38. Those “in Christ” having “the new nature” which is by the direct creation of God (2 Cor. 5. 17. Eph. 2. 10) can be, and are called “sons of God” (John 1. 13. Rom 8. 14, 15. 1 John 3. 1).* (*The word “offspring” in Acts 17. 28 is quite different. It is yevos (genos), which means merely kin of kind, our genus as being originated by God.)
This is why angels are called “sons of God” in every other place where the expression is used in the Old Testament. Job 1. 6; 2. 1; 38. 7. Ps. 29. 1; 89. 6. Dan. 3. 25 (no art).* (*In Hos. 1. 10, it is not beni-ha-Elohim, as here, but beniel-chai.).
We have no authority or right to take the expression in Gen. 6. 2, 4 in any other sense. Moreover, in Gen. 6. 2 the Sept. renders it “angels.”
Angels are called “spirits” (Ps. 104. 4. Heb. 1. 7, 14), for spirits are created by God.
That there was a fall of the angels is certain from Jude 6. The nature of their fall is clearly stated in the same verse. They left their own (oiketerion). This word occurs only in 2 Cor. 5. 2 and Jude 6, where it is used of the spiritual (or resurrection) body. The nature of their sin is stated to be “in like manner” to that of the subsequent sins of Sodom and Gomorrha, Jude 7.
The time of their fall is given as having taken place “in the days of Noah” (1 Pet. 3. 20. 2 Pet. 2. 7), though there may have been a prior fall which caused the end of “the world that then was” (Gen. 1. 1, 2. 2 Pet. 3. 6).
For this sin they are “reserved unto judgment,” 2 Pet. 2. 4, and are “in prison,” 1 Pet. 3. 19. (the prision is called in the greek Tartarus which means to thrust down).
Their progeny, called Nephilim (translated “giants), were monsters of iniquity; and, being superhuman in size and character, had to be destroyed. This was the one and only object of the Flood.
Only Noah and his family had preserved their pedigree pure from Adam (Gen. 6. 9, see note). All the rest had become “corrupt” (sh ichath) destroyed (as Adamites). The only remedy was to destroy it (defacto), as it had become destroyed (de jure). (It is the same word in v. 17 as in vv. 11, 12.
The Nephilim, or “giants” of Genesis 6, etc. (from Appendix 25 of the Companion Bible). The progeny of the fallen angels with the daughters of Adam are called in Gen. 6, Nephilim, which means fallen ones (from naphal, to fall). What these beings were can be gathered only from Scripture. They were evidently great in size, as well as great in wickedness. They were superhuman, abnormal beings; and their destruction was necessary for the preservation of the human race, and for the faithfulness of Jehovah’s Word (Gen. 3. 15).
This was why the Flood was brought “upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 2. 5) as prophesied by Enoch (Jude 14).
But we read of the Nephilim again in Num. 13. 33: “there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim.” How, it may be asked, could this be, if they were all destroyed in the Flood? The answer is contained in Gen. 6. 4, where we read: “There were Nephilim in the earth in those days (i.e. in the days of Noah); and also AFTER THAT, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became (the) mighty men (Heb. gibbor, the heroes) which were of old, men of renown” (lit. men of the name, i.e. who got a name and were renowned for their ungodliness). So that “after that,” i.e. after the Flood, there was a second irruption of these fallen angels, evidently smaller in number and more limited in area, for they were for the most part confined to Canaan, and were in fact known as “the nations of Canaan.”
It was for the destruction of these, that the sword of Israel was necessary, as the Flood had been before. As to the date of this second irruption, it was evidently soon after it became known that the seed was to come through Abraham; for, when he came out from Haran (Gen. 12. 6) and entered Canaan, the significant fact is stated: “The Canaanite was then (i.e. already) in the land.”
And in Gen. 14. 5 they were already known as “Rephaim” and “Emim,” and had established themselves at Ashteroth Karnaim and Shaveh Kiriathaim. In ch. 15. 18-21 they are enumerated and named among Canaanite Peoples: “Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Gen. 15. 19-21; cp. Ex. 3. 8, 17; 23. 23. Deut. 7; 20. 17. Josh. 12. 8). These were to be cut off, and driven out, and utterly destroyed (Deut. 20. 17. Josh. 3. 10). But Israel failed in this (Josh. 13. 13; 15. 63; 16. 10; 17. 18. Judg. 1. 19, 20, 28, 29, 30-36; 2. 1-5; 3. 1-7); and we know not how many got away to other countries to escape the general destruction. If this were recognized, it would go far to solve many problems connected with Anthropology.
As to their other names, they were called Anakim, from one Anak which came of the Nephilim (Num. 13. 23), and Rephaim, from Rapha, another notable one among them. From Deut. 2. 10, they were known by some as Emim, and Horim, and Zamzummim (v. 20, 21) and Avim, etc. As Rephaim they were well known, and are often mentioned: but, unfortunately, instead of this, their proper name, being preserved, it is variously translated as “dead,” “deceased,” or “giants.” These Rephaim are to have no resurrection. This fact is stated in Isa. 26. 14 (where the proper name is rendered “deceased,” and v. 19, where it is rendered “the dead”). It is rendered “dead” seven times (Job 26. 5. Ps. 88. 10. Prov. 2. 18; 9. 18; 21. 16. Isa. 14. 8; 26. 19). It is rendered “deceased” in Isa. 26. 14. It is retained as a proper name “Rephaim” ten times (two being in the margin). Gen. 14. 5; 15. 20. Josh. 12. 15 (Margin). 2 Sam. 5. 18, 22; 23. 13. 1 Chron. 11. 15; 14. 9; 20. 4 (marg.). Isa. 17. 5. In all other places it is rendered “giants,” Gen. 6. 4. Num. 23. 33, where it is Nephilim; and Job 16. 14, where it is gibbor (Ap. 14. iv).
By reading all these passages the Bible student may know all that can be known about these beings. It is certain that the second irruption took place before Gen. 14, for there the Rephaim were mixed up with the five nations or peoples, which included Sodom and Gomorrha, and were defeated by the four kings under Chedorlaomer. Their principal locality was evidently “Ashtaroth Karnaim;” while the Emim were in the plain of Kiriathaim (Gen. 14. 5). Anak was a noted descendant of the Nephilim; and Rapha was another, giving their names respectively to different clans. Anak’s father was Arba, the original builder of Hebron (Gen. 35. 27. Josh. 15. 13; 21. 11); and this Palestine branch of the Anakim was not called Arbahim after him, but Anakim after Anak.
They were great, mighty, and tall (Deut. 2. 10, 11, 21, 22, 23; 9. 2), evidently inspiring the ten spies with great fear (Num. 13. 33). Og king of Bashan is described in Deut. 3. 11. Their strength is seen in “the giant cities of Bashan” today; and we know not how far they may have been utilized by Egypt in the construction of buildings, which is still an unsolved problem. Arba was rebuilt by the Khabiri or confederates seven years before Zoan was built by the Egyptian Pharoahs of the nineteenth dynasty. See note on Num. 13. 22.
If these Nephilim, and their branch of Rephaim, were associated with Egypt, we have an explanation of the problem which has for ages perplexed all engineers, as to how those huge stones and monuments were brought together. Why not in Egypt as well as in “the giant cities of Bashan” which exist, as such, to this day?
Moreover, we have in these mighty men, the “men of renown,” the explanation of the origin of the Greek mythology. That mythology was no mere invention of the human brain, but it grew out of the traditions, and memories, and legends of the doings of that mighty race of beings; and was gradually evolved out of the “heroes” of Gen. 6. 4. The fact that they were supernatural in their origin formed an easy step to their being regarded as the demi-gods of the Greeks. Thus the Babylonian “Creation Tablets,” the Egyptian “Book of the dead,” the Greek mythology, and heathen Cosmogonies, which by some are set on an equality with Scripture, or by others adduced in support of it, are all the corruption and perversion of primitive truths, distorted in proportion as their origin was forgotten, and their memories faded away.