Did David Kill the Sons of Seth?

Of course not, but that’s what the Sethite thesis requires.  No matter ones view on Genesis 6, the offspring were the Nephilim who were giants.  Goliath descended from the Anakim/Nephilim.  Therefore, Goliath was a son of Seth!

It just doesn’t work.

11 thoughts on “Did David Kill the Sons of Seth?

  1. Why would it matter if Goliath were a son of Seth? If the thesis that they were the ‘sons of God’ were true, they broke covenant (or something binding) and mired themselves in wickedness. It’s like framing Israel’s Conquest as “Did God command Israel to kill the sons of Noah?!” Yes, but there was a divergence in the line, so it’s inconsequential.

    I’m not sure I have a position on this verse, but the idea that these were angels seems so odd in relation to larger canonical portrait. It never seems to come up again. Even Babel finds redress in Pentecost; where is redemptive recapitulation for this architectonic sin? However if the ‘sons of God’ were Seth’s children, it certainly fits themes about God’s people whoring after idols and the theft of blessings (which serve providential purposes in some way, shape, or form). But, I’m not well-versed in the debates.


    • 1. The Sethite thesis has to explain why *these* were Giants and none else.
      2. They weren’t angels. They were watchers. Angel isn’t a generic term for a spirit-realm being. Malakim simply means messengers. There are other spirit beings.


      • 1. I would suppose the answer would involve the particular nomenclature for the split in the covenantal community. And while this point can raise the legitimate specter of eisegesis, there is no clear cut explanation as to where Cain got his wife. We have to presuppose events that form the backdrop of Scripture’s point.

        But my main perplexity is 2. Ok, point taken, but what does it mean for a spiritual being to intermix with Humans? And how did they survive the flood? How does this point fit within the rest of Scripture? It seems like a strange loose end which just goes away.


      • Another possibility is that nephilim is not a taxonomical description, but a characteristic. Hence the ‘giants’ does not refer to a race of beings, but some social role or hierarchical posture.

        But just to be up front: I share frustration with a kind of de-facto posture against the spiritual realms that many bible commentators, especially Reformed, adhere to uncritically. But I am wary of how much we can know, and not terribly favorable to Medieval taxonomical charts.


      • 1. Presumably Cain married his sister. I don’t have a dog in that fight so I could be wrong.
        2. Same as the problem of divine action. How do my physical/spiritual actions affect my spiritual/physical self? In any case, Jude and Peter didn’t seem to have a problem with the idea.

        2.1. They take corporeal forms. These same angels “ate” food and “hit” people. How can a spiritual being do that?


  2. It’s more than just the problem of divine action. What is the progeny of such a union, and what does it mean for the rest of Scripture (i.e. federal union with Adam, the redemptive work of Christ, etc.)
    You’re kind of dodging the alienness of the proposition for the rest of canonical history.


    • 1. The progeny are Nephilim, Anakim, and probably Rephaim.
      2. Per Federal headship, Jesus has the kind-nature of humanity; he represents all of those who are humans. Nephilim, by contrast, aren’t represented. They are targeted for killing.
      3. What do you mean by “alienness?”


      • Those are name for entities, not telling me ‘what’ they are’. When I say ‘alienness’ I mean that this interpretation, along with the spiritual taxonomy of these entities, find little place in the arc of Scripture.

        At this point, I’m kind of spinning my wheels here. You’re presupposing an entire paradigm that is imported into reading a series of Scriptural texts, and I’m getting pat answers while trying to understand how the paradigm works.


      • We all import a paradigm when we read Scripture. I just try to make mine as close as possible. Here is what I am saying:

        Jude says that the fallen ones sinned in a similar manner as those in Sodom. Jude also says he is drawing off of Enoch. And Enoch is very clear on this. Genesis 6 says the offspring of this union were Nephilim. Numbers 13 says the Nephilim were giants.


  3. Long comment ahead. Apologies in advance.

    Is there a particular reason to hold corporeality/physicality and invisibility as mutually exclusive qualities? That is, it is clearly the case that angels, seraphim, cherubim, ophanim, etc., usually exceed or escape our (fallen) human perceptive capabilities. So do, however, infrasonic waves, which aren’t any less corporeal/physical for it. Might similar be said for ‘spirit beings’? (Granted my corporeality-physicality conflation may be a false one.)

    Also, the absolutist language–throughout both the OT/NT and 1 Enoch–glossing the Nephilim as abominable through and through, with no possibility of redemption whatsoever, seems to rule out their status as persons. My pet theory frames them as meat machines, i.e., human ova strangled and ‘reanimated’ by watcher seed. Something like zombies, but much, much worse. And if such a process is reproducible technologically, someone post-Flood could have tried to recommence the enterprise. Hence the Anakim and Rephaim. Hence Babel.

    As far as the arc of Scripture goes, God’s curses in Genesis 3 include the enmity instituted between the serpent and the woman, and between “your offspring and her offspring.” Nephilim, as well as later apostasies, are attempts to overturn this enmity. The fact that the demigod idea had widespread purchase throughout pagan myth and theology made ‘devil-human’ synthesis a genuine threat, at least as something accepted, even prized, by fallen men. With Jesus risen from the dead as 100% human, the enmity is made permanent, the serpent’s head crushed under Christ’s heel. Where Babel is recapitulated at Pentecost, the Nephilim are recapitulated at the Resurrection and Ascension: man is made partaker of the Divine Nature, and not of a counterfeit. And if ‘spirit beings’ are not necessarily incorporeal, then being ‘the devil’s offspring’ need not be just a ‘spiritual condition’ a la John 8:44; it could also be a physical, and thoroughly abominable, reality, one severe enough to warrant Flood, language fracturing, and extermination.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s