In the second part of her two-part study of Genesis 6:1-4 and the Kolbrin, Yvonne Whiteman investigates the possible historical origins of the Nephilim and Giants.
‘There were giants in the earth in those days; 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 mighty men which were of old, men of renown’.1
With these strange lines from Genesis 6, the Bible makes its first mention of giants in the world. The ancient Jewish Book of Enoch says much the same thing:
‘And they took wives for themselves… And they began to go into them and were promiscuous with them… And they became pregnant and bore large giants.’2
What is meant by the term ‘giant’? The Oxford English Dictionary definition says it is
‘one of the supposed beings in human form but of superhuman stature, who occur frequently in mythic or pseudo-historical traditions and in romantic fiction. In Greek mythology… the etymology of Greek γίγας, like that of many other mythological names, is obscure.’
In its patchwork collection of books, the Kolbrin contains no less than six references to what it terms ‘the race of giants‘. It states that the Land of the Giants (could this have been North America, where so many giant skeletons have been found?) was destroyed by cataclysmic flooding3 and that a few giants survived scattered around the world.4 Remnants of the race make their appearance in the Book of the Sons of Fire which tells of early Greek and Trojan immigration into Britain,5 of ‘the Harbour of Giants in Belharia’ and of Korin’s encounter with a giantess.6 This matches the strong tradition of giants in Britain and Ireland which has always existed in folklore,7 the Brut Chronicle,8 and in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of Britain.9
If the events in Genesis, Enoch and the Kolbrin are linked, one would expect to find giants mentioned in the Book of Gleanings as they are in Genesis and Enoch ̶ but there is nothing. Instead, a passage of Kolbrin text echoing Genesis 6:1-4 says:
‘It came about that the sons of the Children of God mated with the daughters of the Children of Men… strange women were taken into the households, some even as wives; but though the daughters were lesser women, the sons were wonderfully big and mighty fighting men.’
Wonderfully big and mighty fighting men are not the same as giants. However, the Book of Manuscripts says something which may clarify these ‘big and mighty fighting men’:
‘In the early days Egypt was bounded in the West by the green bitter waters… Out here was the city of Merow from whence came the mighty men who smote the giants in the days of yore.’
(Meroe was the latter-day capital of the ancient kingdom of Kush between c. 1069 BC-c.350 AD and was located at the crossroads of major trade routes.)10
The Kolbrin is describing a distant time and two distinct groups: ‘mighty men’ and ‘giants’ in conflict.11
Could it be that Hebrew scribes working from ancient sources confused their ‘mighty men’ with giants? It seems more likely that the mighty men were Sons of God.
The Kolbrin narrative
The Kolbrin’s Book of Gleanings contains a long narrative whose core events could well be the same events described in Genesis 6:1-4. The text below is a much-abridged version.
‘The people of those times [on ‘the plain of Shinara’]12 spurned all spiritual things and men lived only for pleasure… The princes and governors were corrupt and proper tribute was not paid … they spent their days in gluttony, drunkenness, fornication… Wives were unhonoured and only the women of pleasure commanded the attentions of men.
[There was] a tribe called the Sons of Nezirah, the Men of the Mountains… skilful in the chase and valiant in battle… their wives were faithful and their sons noble. The treasures in the cities of the plains and the weakness of the people … did not go unnoticed by the Sons of Nezirah… The Mountain Men chose leaders from among themselves and… went down and fell upon the people of the plain. The people of the plain bowed before the strength of the men of the mountains. They did not fight… The… men who had come down from the highlands took whatsoever they desired… They learned the ways of sensuality which goes with soft-living, and when sated with natural pleasures some lightened their boredom with unnatural ones. The Mountain Men saw that the women of the cities were beautiful but they were not modest, casting their charms before the masters, unashamed; so it followed they were taken… and treated as chattels. Their fighting strength and valour departed… they grew fat and slothful… Men arrayed their softening bodies in gaudy attire and bathed in scented waters. They rejected their own women for those of the cities whose hands and feet were stained with bright colours and whose faces were marked with blue.
In those days men knew the art of working clay and making linen in bright colours, and also the use of eye paint. They had knowledge of herbs and magic, of enchantment, and the wisdom of the Book of Heaven; the knowledge of signs and omens, the secrets of the seasons, of the moon and the coming of the waters.
One day, from afar off came three men of Ardis, their country having been stricken by a mountain burst. They were worshippers of the One God whose light shines within men, and when they had lived in the two cities for a number of days they were stirred up … because of the things they saw. So they called upon their God to see these evil things.
The remnants of the Sons of Nezirah remained upon the mountains which are against Ardis… In Ardis there were wise men… who read the Book of Heaven with understanding and knew the signs. They saw that the deeds of men in all the lands about the mountains had brought them to their hour. Then the day came when the Lady of the Night [the Moon] changed her garment for one of a different hue, and her form swept more swiftly across the skies. Her tresses streamed out behind in gold and copper, and she rode in a chariot of fire. The people in those days were a great multitude and a loud cry ascended into Heaven… Their God sent down a curse upon the men of the cities, and there came a strange light and a smoky mist which caught at the throats of men. All things became still and apprehensive, there were strange clouds in the skies and the nights were hung with heaviness. Many days passed before a north wind came and the skies cleared; but then, when women conceived they bore devils. Monstrosities came forth from their wombs, whose faces were terrible and whose limbs were unproportioned.’13
The Kolbrin speaks of ‘a strange light and a smoky mist which caught at the throats of men… strange clouds in the skies… nights… hung with heaviness’. This atmosphere ̶ which was clearly so unusual and unpleasant as to be noteworthy ̶ lasted for many days, and women who conceived during this time gave birth to babies ‘whose faces were terrible and whose limbs were unproportioned’. The text indicates that even at the time there was thought to be a connection between the climatic phenomenon and the subsequent strange births.
Who or what were the Nephilim?
The word ‘Nephilim’ only occurs twice in the Old Testament ̶ in Genesis 6: 1-4, and later in the Book of Numbers:
‘And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan… and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many… And they told him… surely it floweth with milk and honey … And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it… But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up… for… the land… eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants [Nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants [Nephilim]: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.’14
Intriguingly, the term ‘Neflin’ appears in the Kolbrin too, in the Book of the Sons of Fire as part of a set of life rules compiled by Amos. This is not the Old Testament prophet Amos, but an Egyptian who led the persecuted followers of the Old Religion out of Egypt with their sacred records to find a better life elsewhere. He decreed that the ‘Children of Light’, as the followers were called,
‘shall not deny their servants or their slaves… their own gods, for they have no better light… The gods Teloth, Yole, Yahwelwa, Bel, Behalim, Elim and all the lesser gods of light may have a shrine in the city and lands about it… Negil, Mudu, Ilani, Neflim and the gods of darkness shall not be permitted to the servants and to the slaves and to the ignorant.‘15
This suggests that at one time the Nephilim came to be seen as gods of darkness.
Biblical scholars have never been able to decide what ‘Nephilim’ means; they have suggested ‘giants’ / ‘one who is bound’ / ‘the violent ones’ / ‘the fallen ones’ / ‘the ones falling’ [upon their enemies]. The philologist E.A. Wallis Budge includes in his Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary the word Nefi, meaning ‘foe, enemy, evil-doer’ which is close to these definitions.16
Some Hebrew scholars, however, think the word has another meaning:
‘At issue … is whether the root of nephilim is nepel meaning “untimely birth or miscarriage” (resulting in the production of superhuman monstrosities), or the more likely from the root napal, which relates to other Hebrew words meaning ‘be wonderful, strong or mighty.”
‘…the word nephilim is a plural and the single form, נפל (npl), does not occur in the Bible… In another context, however, the word נפל (nepel), which is spelled identical but pronounced slightly different [sic], means untimely birth or abortion. It comes from the verb נפל (napal), to fall or be cast down.’
The authors of Genesis decided to use the term ‘giants’, but ‘Nephilim’ could equally well mean ‘monstrosities’. Looking at the Kolbrin description, could the Nephilim have been these malformed, overgrown babies it describes? And if so, could they have been human beings suffering from extreme Gigantism?
Gigantism – its medical name Arcomegaly – is almost always caused by a pituitary gland tumour. The pea-sized pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain, producing hormones to control temperature, sexual development, growth, metabolism and urine. When a tumour grows on the pituitary gland, the gland makes far more growth hormone than the body needs.
Common symptoms of gigantism, apart from unusual height and size, include very large hands and feet, thick toes and fingers, a prominent jaw and forehead and coarse facial features. Children with gigantism may also have flat noses and large heads, lips, or tongues. This sounds suspiciously close to the Kolbrin’s ‘monstrosities… whose faces were terrible and whose limbs were unproportioned.’
Why would a strange atmospheric event cause women to give birth to extreme monstrosities? One possibility might be a heavy dose of radiation from space affecting the human pituitary gland. In their ground-breaking book Diseases from Space the maverick astronomer Fred Hoyle and astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe advance several instances where outbreaks of illnesses on Earth have been brought about by cometary dust, including the 1918 flu pandemic and certain outbreaks of polio and mad cow disease.17 They point out that the more virulent the attack of a pathogen, the greater is our immune response to it, thanks to the long evolution of animals on the Earth. But Genesis, Enoch and the Kolbrin are recording a time early on in human evolution with different species mixing and mating, so there would have been little established immunity to the effects of radiation.
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about radiation,
‘The possibility of severe health effects depends on the gestational age of the fetus at the time of exposure and the amount of radiation it is exposed to… fetuses are particularly sensitive to radiation during their early development, between weeks 2 and 18 of pregnancy. The health consequences can be severe… Such consequences can include stunted growth, deformities, abnormal brain function, or cancer that may develop sometime later in life.’
Sai-Ching ‘Jim’ Yeung, Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine, Ambulatory Treatment and Emergency Care at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, comments:
‘Growth hormone secretion is most likely to be affected among all the posterior pituitary hormones. And at about five years after the radiation exposure, practically all the patients would have growth hormone dysfunction if the radiation is aimed at the pituitary.’
Another atmospheric possibility is a cloud of radiation from an earthly source. Several Sumerian laments – The Lament of Urug, the Lament for Nippur, the Lament for Sumer and Urim and the Lament of Eridug – describe a phenomenon which seems to have encompassed the whole of southern Mesopotamia at one and the same time, described as an ‘evil-bearing storm’ and a destructive ‘evil wind’. Zecharia Sitchin, among others, speculates in The Wars of Gods and Men (Earth Chronicles) that this cloud was caused by a nuclear explosion which they believe destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The incident of the Nephilim took place at a time leading up to the Deluge, at a time when, according to Immanuel Velikovsky, the planets in our Solar System were experiencing dramatic turbulence;18 our ancestors must have spent much of their time looking up fearfully at the heavens and wondering what might happen next.
Why is the Genesis 6:1-4 text so puzzling?
Setting the Kolbrin narrative against the Genesis story, it’s as if the Genesis scribes were writing about the same subject, but with only a hazy grasp of what they were writing about. Could they have been working from a fragmented source and/or at a much later time when memories of the events were dimmed? Could some of the Genesis records have been lost and the narrative been conflated? More and more, investigators suspect that something like this might have happened. Andrew Collins writes:
‘Memories of these monumental and quite horrendous events would appear to have been distorted and mythologised across the passage of time, until they became simply moralistic folk-tales in a slowly evolving religious history adopted by the Jewish race during Old Testament times.’19
The strange events of Genesis 6:1-4 and Enoch only start to make sense when read side by side with the Kolbrin. According to Genesis and the Books of Enoch, interbreeding between the Sons of God and Daughters of men produced giants,
‘And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood… And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven…’.20
The Kolbrin does not speak specifically about the subsequent behaviour of these ‘monstrosities’; it says of the period leading up to the Great Flood,
‘Then the day came when The Lady of the Night [the Moon] changed her garment for one of a different hue, and her form swept more swiftly across the skies. Her tresses streamed out behind in gold and copper, and she rode in a chariot of fire. The people in those days were a great multitude and a loud cry ascended into Heaven… wise men lamented that “the deeds of men in all the lands about the mountains had brought them to their hour”‘.21
In other words, it speaks of a period of barbarism and human weakness taking place at a time when signs of coming global catastrophe were appearing in the heavens, with wise men of the time shaking their heads and lamenting that human behaviour had brought about judgement from on high. The Kolbrin even names the scribe who first linked mankind’s conduct with the Great Flood; he was called Beltshera, and his record could well have been the source of both the Genesis and Enoch accounts.22
So, according to the Kolbrin, things were far more complicated than the simple Genesis/Enoch equation ‘Sons of God + Daughters of Mean = Giants’. As described in Part 1 of this article, carefully-intentioned breeding over a long period between the advanced, otherworldly Fanvar and Aruah who ‘followed the ways of the cradleland, not the ways of Earth‘ was high-jacked by inter-species mating, first with Yoslings, then with their mixed-species descendants the Sons of Men, then with the savage Sons of Zumat and the ‘beasts of the forest’ (suggesting that DNA was once far more flexible than it is now), and eventually resulting in a single species which today we call Homo Sapiens. ‘Nephilim’ or monstrosities were a genetic offshoot which either disappeared in the Great Flood or became absorbed into our genetic make-up. All in all, says the Kolbrin, human beings are an extremely complex genetic mix – far more complex than is even dreamt by scientists of our time.
The Kolbrin also says that an extreme radiation-type event affected human pregnancies at a time just before the Deluge and their offspring were affected by extreme gigantism, a phenomenon which has not been recorded on such a scale before or since, and so theirs is a unique name given to them by the authors of Genesis and recorded in the Kolbrin: ‘Nephilim’.
1 Genesis 6:4.
3 Kolbrin, Creation 4:14.
4 Kolbrin, Manuscripts 31:6; 33:11.
6 Kolbrin, Sons of Fire 12:15-19.
7 A strong folk memory of giants lingers on in a traditional British children’s rhyme that first appeared in Thomas Nashe’s pamphlet ‘Haue with You to Saffron-Walden‘ and then in the folktale Jack and the Beanstalk. Writing in 1596, Nashe said that the rhyme was ancient and its origins obscure. It goes:
Fee, fau, fum, I smell the blood of an English man, Be alive, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.
According to the etymologist Charles Mackay, ‘Fy, Fa and fum’/’Fa, fe, fi, fo, fum’ is an ancient Gaelic phrase which translates as, ‘Behold food, good to eat, sufficient for my hunger!’ The next line, ‘I smell the blood of an English man’, not only places the giant in Britain but also records the legendary penchant of giants for drinking human blood. Incidentally, drinking blood, according to the Kolbrin, was customary among the ancient British at their religious feasts ̶ a practice which appalled the Trojan Korin (Corineus) and his men when first they witnessed the custom in Cornwall.
11 It is possible that the Greek poet Hesiod’s 7th-century BC poem Gigantomachia, in which the Olympian gods fight against the Titans, commemorates this event.
13 Kolbrin, Gleanings 4:2-13
14 Numbers 13.
15 Kolbrin, Sons of Fire 5:86.
16 An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Vol. 1, page 369.
17 Diseases from Space, Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1979).
21 Kolbrin, Gleanings 4: 15.
22 Kolbrin, Gleanings 3:6 records Beltshera’s own wording, which describes ‘the odour of wickedness arising from the Earth’ and how ‘the hastening Spirit became stirred up’.