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Nephilim are beings who appear in the Hebrew Bible, specifically in the Book of Genesis, and are also mentioned in other Biblical texts and in some non-canonical Jewish writings. Genesis Chapter 6, verses 1 through 4 describe the origin of the Nephilim:
"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also after-ward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
According to the New American Bible, the Nephilim appear as part of the "increasing wickedness of mankind". Their mention does account for the "giants" of Canaan, whom the Israelites also called the Nephilim, since according to Genesis 6:4 "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also after-ward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them." (NIV translation). This verse, which precedes and introduces the passage of the Great Flood thus implies that the fallen angels, the Nephilim, actually came to the earth at least twice. The first of which were destroyed in the flood, and the second succeeding the flood. Thus it is possible the the "giants of Canaan" were the direct result of the Nephilim. The reference introduces the story of the flood with a moral orientation.
Also, the commentary suggests that the phrase "(as well as later)" stated above is a reference to the Book of Numbers 13:33, how the Israelites likened the tall aborigines ("Anakim") to the Nephilim, possibly due to seeing the very tall structures of Canaan that appeared to have been built by a race of giants.
The New American Bible commentary draws a parallel to the Letter of Jude and the statements set forth in Genesis, suggesting that the Epistle refers implicitly to the paternity of Nephilim as heavenly beings who came to earth and had sexual intercourse with women.
“ The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgement of the great day. Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practised unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. ”
The author does not present this episode as a myth nor, on the other hand, does he deliver judgement on its actual occurrence; he records the anecdote of a superhuman race simply to serve as an example of the increase in human wickedness which was to provoke the Flood. Later Judaism and almost all the earliest ecclesiastical writers identify the "sons of God" with the fallen angels; but from the fourth century onwards, as the idea of angelic natures becomes less material, the Fathers commonly take the "sons of God" to be Seth's descendants and the "daughters of men" those of Cain.