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Against World Powers
 



III. A Unique Nation

  
The Conquest of Canaan  
    A Divine Decree
    Descendents of the Nephilim
    The Defeat of the Giants
   



The Conquest of Canaan

    When Israel was on the verge of entering the Promised Land, in addition to the warnings about their future neighbors as mentioned above, the God of Israel also gave specific instructions concerning the nations that inhabited the land that the Israelites were to take over. This is an area of Hebrew history which secular commentators love to criticize because it involved an undeniable command from God for Israel to commit what is often viewed as an unpardonable crime: the crime of genocide.

However, despite the hysterical protests that come from secular historians, the episode can be viewed in an altogether different light, if viewed with the spiritual aspects taken into account. The instructions for finally taking possession of the land that God had given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all their descendents, were given to the Israelites by Moses in Deuteronomy 7,

 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you-- and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally.  Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire.

 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession...

You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear...

Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 

 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God. Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.”

These same instructions are repeated again in Deuteronomy 12, ending with a plea from Moses on behalf of God,

“Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

 The LORD your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.’

 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”

The seven nations that the Israelites were commanded to utterly destroy were all descendents of Canaan the son of Ham. Canaan’s brothers were Cush, who founded a nation south of Egypt, Mizraim who conquered and founded a dynasty in Egypt, and Put who established a nation west of Egypt. Canaan was the uncle of Nimrod the son of Cush, and Genesis 10:18-19 explains that the Canaanite clans scattered over and possessed an area encompassing the entire Levant.
 

A Divine Decree

From a spiritual standpoint, God’s decision to choose Israel as His unique nation, and His decision to give them a specific portion of land, was no secret to the rest of the “host of heaven” that had authority over the pagan nations. In fact, as Semitic languages expert Michael S. Heiser explains, when God reiterated his promise to give the land of Israel to Jacob and his descendents, he did so when Jacob was in vision standing within the Divine Council itself. At that time all of the pagan godsthe “sons of god” that had already been given their own nationsstood within the gathered Council and heard God’s decree and promise to Jacob.

Before we examine this event, which occurred in Genesis 28 when Jacob had the vision of the “ladder” to heaven, we must first learn about the “Mount of Assembly” where the meeting of the Divine Council was always held.

In the Old Testament the meeting place of the Divine Council, with God in a position of authority around whom the “sons of God” gathered, was always held on a high mountain, or similar structure. Heiser argues that the original meeting place was at a mountain within the primordial Garden of Eden, based on Ezekiel 28:13-14, “You were in Eden, the garden of God... You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God.” Heiser believes that it was after just such a Divine Council meeting when Satan appeared to Eve and tempted her, bringing about the original Fall of humanity.

The place of the Divine Council is also reiterated within a statement regarding Satan’s ambitions in Isaiah 14:13-14,

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”

The building of the original Tower of Babel was an attempt to build just this sort of “sacred mountain” for Nimrod’s god Enki. This plan was stopped by God, after which all of the nations were divided amongst the “sons of god,” and Satan was forced to work with, and compete with, the other national powers to achieve his ambitions. This is the period in Sumerian history that saw the rise of city-states and the building of lesser-scale ziggurats in each city dedicated to each city’s god. Even today, among secular historians and archaeologists the practical purpose of the ziggurats is not clearly understood because they were not temples, they were not palaces, and they were not tombs.

However, retaining for a moment the concept of the original sacred “mount of assembly,” one of the best theories regarding the purpose of the ziggurats comes from an article written by John H. Walton titled “Archaeological Evidence for the Tower of Babel,” from the Bulletin for Biblical Research, 1995,

“Although the function of the ziggurat cannot be identified with certainty, our study of the names, the use of the simmiltu in mythology, the use of mountain terminology, and the lack of reference to a function in the cultic practice of the people, leads us to put forth tentatively, as a working hypothesis, the following suggested function: The ziggurat was a structure that was built to support the stairway (simmiltu), which was believed to be used by the gods to travel from one realm to the other. It was solely for the convenience of the gods and was maintained in order to provide the deity with the amenities that would refresh him along the way (food, a place to lie and rest, etc.). The stairway led at the top to the gate of the gods, the entrance to the divine abode.”

The plains of Mesopotamia contained no mountains, and so in this area mountains had to be artificially created to facilitate the (inter-dimensional?) movement of the gods from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm. However, in other regions where mountains existed, the tops of the highest mountains were always viewed as sacred and as gateways to the home of the gods. For instance, Mount Hermon was the location where some of the fallen angels descended to mingle with humanity prior to the flood according to the Book of Enoch; Mount Olympus was the home of Zeus in Greece; and Mount Zaphon in Syria was the location of a major temple to Baal.

The situation was the same when it came to God’s dealings with Israel. After Abraham was called out to be the Father of God’s own nation he was blessed by one of the last remaining priests of the Most High God, Melchizedek, king of Salem. The city later built on his land, known as Jerusalem, occupied the peaks of three low mountains: Mount Zion, Mount Moria, and the Mount of Olives.

Other holy mountains that were used by God were Mount Sinai, of course, where God met with Moses and revealed His law for the Israelites, and also Mount Nebo, where Moses was laid to rest, after which Satan and the archangel Michael fought for possession of his body (Jude 1:9).

There was another holy place where God confirmed his relationship with Israel, and this place is described in Genesis 28:10-19,

“Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

There above it stood the LORD, and he said: ‘I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’

 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.’

 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.”

Jacob saw a vision of a ziggurat-type stairway on which the angels of God were traveling back and forth from heaven to earth. When he woke up Jacob realized what he had just seen, and that the place on which he stood was “the house of God” and also “the gate of heaven.” He promptly consecrated the stone on which he had slept and named the place “Bethel,” which simply means “House of God.”

This brings us to a quick study on the nature of the words used in Hebrew to denote “God” or “gods” in the text. Most of the controversy revolves around the word elohim, which is translated in the plural and singular in different places throughout the Bible. In recent years many researchers, such as Zechariah Sitchin, William Henry, Laurence Gardner, and others, have put forth the idea that because the shape of the word elohim is plural, this means that according to Genesis 1 mankind was not created by a singular all-powerful Creator, but rather by a group of extra-terrestrials! Consider these apparently plural statements from the early chapters of Genesis:

“In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth...”

“Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...’”

“So Elohim created man in his own image...”

“...in the image of Elohim he created him...”

Michael S. Heiser addresses this controversy by simply explaining the basic rules of Hebrew grammar. It is true that the word elohim is morphologically plural (its shape is plural), but this does not mean that its meaning should always be taken as plural. Heiser writes that...

“...as far as meaning, elohim can be either singular or plural depending on context. As anyone who has taken a language can testify, meaning is determined by context, not by a list of glosses in a dictionary (which are only OPTIONS—the translator must look to context for accuracy.)
 

More specifically, the meaning of any occurrence of elohim must be discerned in three ways:

    A. Grammatical indications elsewhere in the text that help to determine if a singular or plural meaning is meant.

    B. Grammatical rules in Hebrew that are true in the language as a whole.

    C. Historical/Logical context.
 

To illustrate, consider words in English such as: “deer,” “sheep,” “fish” – the point is you need other words to help you tell if one or more than one of these animals is meant. Sometimes these other words are verbs that help you tell. Compare the two examples:

    1) “The sheep is lost” – the word “is” is a singular verb (It goes with a singular subject; one wouldn’t say, for example, “I are lost” – you would use a verb that goes with the singular subject (“I am lost”).

    2) “The sheep are lost” – the word “are” is a plural verb (again, another word next to our noun “sheep” tells us in this case that plural sheep are meant).
 

All of this is just basic grammar—and every language has grammar. Biblical Hebrew has its own way of telling if elohim means ONE person or many gods. It matches the noun elohim to singular or plural verbs, or with singular or plural pronouns...
 

In the Hebrew Bible, there are roughly 2500 cases where elohim is used as a singular noun denoting the God of Israel (that figure is arrived at on the basis of grammar and logical context). It isn’t a guess.”

These rules are understood in the many English translations, but sometimes they are not always followed exactly. A case in point is Genesis 35:1-7 when, many years after Jacob had seen his vision of the stairway to heaven, God spoke to Jacob again, and told him to return to Bethel. The text of this event helps to give a further explanation of Jacob’s earlier stairway vision,

“1. Then God said to Jacob, ‘Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.’


2. So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. (3) Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.’


4. So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. (5) Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them. (6) Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.


7. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.”

Verse 1 begins with a clear statement from Elohim (singular, with singular verbs), that God had appeared (literally “presented himself”) before Jacob at Bethel in his earlier vision. At that point Jacob had received a promise from God that he was to serve the Lord only and not any of the other gods. That is why in verse 2 Jacob makes sure that none among his entourage have anything to do with any other gods before he returns to Bethel.

Verse 7 is the key, and it proves that in the earlier vision Jacob had not merely viewed the stairway to heaven, but had actually stood in the presence of the Divine Council when God made His promises to Jacob concerning Jacob’s descendents and the land. The above translation of the verse from the NIV Bible is incorrect, and Heiser points out that the usage of the term elohim in this case is accompanied by plural verbs, and should therefore read, “because there the gods appeared [literally “presented themselves”] to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.” Heiser explains,

The interpretation/implication of this grammatical change is that BOTH God—the high God of Israel—and the gods of the divine council—the second tier—appeared to Jacob in the ladder vision... In effect, Jacob saw the entire council... at ‘heaven’s gate,’ the place where heaven and earth meet.”

And it was at this meeting when all of the heavenly host were present, when God reiterated to Jacob the promise that He was giving Jacob and his descendents the entire land of Canaan. It was a divine decree, and it was up to the independent spiritual rulers of the tribes of Canaan to lead their people away from a land that was not theirs. However, this they refused to do. Instead the land was fortified against the children of Israel, and the strongest and mightiest human beings on the earth, the giants that were descended from the mating that had occurred between “sons of God” and human women after the flood, were brought in to resist with force of arms the plans that God had decreed in the Council for His one small nation.
 

Descendents of the Nephilim

In the Old Testament there are several names for the giants that were descended from disobedient “sons of God.” The original term is Nephilim, but after the Exodus the children of Israel came primarily against two giant clans: the Rephaim, which refers to a group of giants who descended from a figure named Rapha—from the city of Gath (1 Chronicles 20:8), and the Anakim, who were descendents of Anak (Numbers 13:22), who was himself descended from a figure named Arba who originally possessed the area surrounding the city of Hebron (Joshua 15:13). All of these giants were descended from divinely-forbidden human/angelic sexual relationships.

As Moses and the children of Israel were getting ready to enter the Promised Land Moses put together a reconnaissance party of the best warriors from each tribe, and sent them out to explore the land. Here is what the Bible records as the result,

“At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.

They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.’

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’

And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.’” (Numbers 13:25-33)

This entire group of mighty warriors, except for Caleb and Joshua, was so dismayed at the strength of the land that they explored, and so untrusting of the Lord, that they caused the entire encampment of the children of Israel to rebel against Moses, and to refuse to enter the Promised Land. The story continues,

“That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to each other, ‘We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly,

‘The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.’

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.” (Numbers 14:1-10)

After viewing the faithlessness and rebellion that was coming from the children of Israel God spoke to Moses and threatened to destroy all of them entirely. At this point an unbelievable exchange took place in which Moses placed a guilt trip upon the Creator of the universe, and caused Him to change His mind,

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.’

Moses said to the LORD, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, ‘The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.’

‘Now may the Lord's strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion...’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.’

The LORD replied, ‘I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.’” (Numbers 14:11-25)

This was the moment when God decreed that the children of Israel would have to live in the desert for forty years, and the trip from Egypt to Canaan, which should have taken only a matter of months, lasted for an entire generation. Only Caleb and Joshua survived to lead the new generation into the Promised Land.

When the Israelites were finally allowed to begin their takeover of the Promised Land they traveled north on the east of the Dead Sea. This was the land of the Edomites, the descendents of Jacob’s twin brother Esau, and the land of the Moabites and the Ammonites, the descendents of Abraham’s nephew Lot. Deuteronomy 2 records that at one time the Emim, the Zamzummim and the Horites used to occupy these lands, but God had destroyed and driven them away, allowing the descendents of Lot and Esau to have their own lands. According to Heiser, in Hebrew Emim means “frightful ones,” and Zuzim, which was another name for the Zamzummim, means “mighty ones.” Deuteronomy 2 explains that both of these were tribes of giants, being Anakim and Rephaim.

When passing through the lands of the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites, Israel was warned not to “harass them or provoke them to war” because they were living on the lands that their gods possessed, and these lands were not to be taken by Israel. Israel was even ordered to pay these tribes in silver for the water and food they consumed while in their lands.

The first battles for Israel began after they crossed the River Arnon that empties into the east side of the Dead Sea. They were entering the land of the Amorite king Sihon who ruled from the city of Heshbon. As they crossed the river’s gorge God told them, “This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.”

At first Israel was directed to send messengers asking for peace with King Sihon, asking for safe passage and offering to buy food and water with silver. King Sihon refused this peace offer and instead his army came out to meet the Israelites at Jahaz. The Bible records, “the LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors.” (Deuteronomy 2:33-34)

After this triumph the army of Israel continued north and faced another Amorite king, Og of the land of Bashan, who ruled a vast area from the Canaanite city of Ashtaroth, due east of the Sea of Galilee. According to Deuteronomy 3:11 he was a giant, a Rephaim, and his bed measured over thirteen feet in length.

“Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei... So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them... We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city—men, women and children... So at that time we took from these two kings of the Amorites the territory east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge as far as Mount Hermon.” (Deuteronomy 3:1-8)

After this great victory that gave Israel access to lands as far north as Mount Hermon, Moses died and was laid to rest on Mount Nebo. After this Joshua took command of the Israelites and led them across the Jordan River to conquer the city of Jericho.

The book of Joshua records that after Jericho there were three major battles before the Israelites were able to enjoy a time of peace: The battle of Ai/Bethel that took two campaigns because of the sin of Achan, which gave Israel a large portion of the central Judean highlands; the battle of Gibeon in which the sun stood still, which gave Israel the highlands west of the Dead Sea except for Jerusalem; and lastly the battle of Hazor that gave Israel the entire region of Galilee up to the borders of Tyre and Sidon.

The battle of Hazor was the greatest and most crucial battle because Israel faced a united Canaanite alliance composed of many kings from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Hivites. Joshua 11 says that the opposing army included cavalry and chariots and was “a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” However, Israel’s victory was predetermined,

“All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.’

So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left...

At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself. Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded.” (Joshua 11:5-12)

 

The Defeat of the Giants

After this major victory over the Canaanites Joshua turned against the Anakim, the giants that remained in the land,

“At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakim from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. No Anakim were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive. So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.” (Joshua 11:21-23)

The only major city that was left for Israel to take, despite their repeated assaults, was the holy city of Jerusalem that had been ruled previously by the holy King Melchizedek. However, Melchizedek’s nation had long lost control of the area and it was controlled by the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites. A hint of the source of the Jebusites’ power comes from the name of the long valley west of Jerusalem: it was called the Valley of Rephaim, meaning the “Valley of the Giants.”

King David was the leader who was finally able to capture Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and immediately afterwards the Philistines gathered a large force in the Valley of Rephaim to recapture the divinely-contested city. The chief Philistine cities were Gaza, Gath and Ashdod, the cities of the giants, and David had earlier killed the giant Goliath of Gath in his youth.

After the first attack from the Philistines was repulsed they came again a second time to gather in the Valley of Rephaim to attack David. This is where a hint of angelic intervention surfaces in the text that records this battle,

“Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, ‘Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.’ So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.” (2 Samuel 5:22-25)

Altogether David and his soldiers slew five descendents of Rapha the giant of Gath, one was Goliath killed by David; another was named Soph, killed at a battle in Gob; a third carried a spear with a head that weighed seven and a half pounds; another named Lahmi, Goliath’s brother, carried a spear with a shaft “the size of a weaver’s beam;” and the fifth was described as “a huge man” having twelve fingers and twelve toes, who died at the hands of David’s nephew in Gath after taunting Israel.

It was the last time that Israel was ever troubled by super-human giants descended from illicit intercourse between human women and fallen angels.

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Peter Goodgame
November 27, 2004