A fine-tuned understanding of Biblical Hebrew reveals a deeper level of the flood story, attributing God’s need to destroy the world to the interference of fallen angels.
The enigmatic Nephilim reappear many times throughout the Bible in many guises: giants, fallen angels, the Bnei Elohim (children of God). They first appear in Genesis, preceding the story of the flood. The text intimates an unnatural relationship between the Nephilim and human women.
The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. Genesis 6:4
Julia Blum, Associate professor of Biblical studies at eTeacher, an online language academy specializing in Biblical Hebrew, explained how the study of Hebrew reveals an unexpected reason for the divine wrath leading to the global flood.
“The word Nephilim comes from the word נפל (na-fahl), fall. The suffix ‘im’ simply adds plurality, hence they were the ‘fallen ones’,” Blum explained. “Having been born of corrupted, fallen, Satanic angels, Nephilim dominated the Earth.”
By mating with human women, the Nephilim passed on their corruption, creating an unnatural race of beings which had to be wiped out for the human race to survive, she continued.
“The flood was God’s way of preserving the ‘the seed of the woman’, the human race and its bloodline, before it became completely corrupted by the Nephilim giants,” Blum explained.
Though not appearing in classical Jewish sources, this understanding of the flood has its roots in ancient apocryphal texts. The Book of Enoch, referred to in the Dead Sea Scrolls and attributed to the great-grandfather of Noah, described the sin of the Nephilim and the perversion and lust which eventually caused God to condemn the entire generation.
And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: “Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.”
Blum’s linguistically-inspired explanation of the flood is also found in scholarly literature. In his 1906 book “Legends of the Jews”, Professor Louis Ginzberg wrote that the Bnei Elohim, another Biblical name for the Nephilim, caused all of humanity to fall – hence their name.
“The Bnei Elohim mated with the daughters of Cain, and the Anakim (giants) were born. These became the people known for their great sins,” Professor Ginzberg postulated. “They caused all the world to fall and [the Bnei Elohim] fell with it.”
Roni Segal, academic adviser for eTeacher, told Breaking Israel News that revelations of this kind happen all the time with their students.
“Studying the Bible in the original Hebrew, while fully understanding the intricacies of grammar and the roots of the words, opens up a new world of understanding,” said Segal. “There is so much more meaning just below the surface.”