Giants in the Zohar

The souls of the Antediluvians (ereb rah) emanated from those to whom Scripture refers. “For the heavens shall disappear like smoke and the earth wax old as a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner” (Is. li. 6). They are also those for whom Noah was unwilling to intercede, and therefore it is written of them, “And they were destroyed from the earth” (Gen. vii. 23). They were the same souls of whom it is also written, “Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Deuter. xxv. 19).

“The hand of God upon his throne shall be raised against Amalek, the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. xvii. 16), “yod al cas Jah milehamah la Jehovah beamalek.”

After the deluge the souls of the antediluvians incarnated in five different races or nations, viz., the Nephilim (fallen or degraded), Giborim (mighty ones), Anakim (tall ones), Rephaim (the giants), and Amalekim (Amalekites).

These five races survived till the time of the fourth captivity of Israel, whose chief enemies they were, and therefore called instruments of iniquity. They are denoted in Scripture by the words, “And the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. vi. 11). Of these, the first race was the Amalekites. Of the Nephilim it is recorded, “And the sons of God beheld the daughters of men that they were fair” (Gen. vi. 2). They were also the second in rank of the angel hosts that were cast out of heaven and became incarnated.

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WHEN the Holy One wished to form man and said: “Let us make man in our image. ” He intended to set him over the angelic hosts who should be subject to his commands. The revolting angels, however, protested and said: “What is man that he merits Thy regards? (Ps. viii. 5); he will most certainly sin against Thee and disobey Thy commandments.” Said the Holy One unto them: “If ye were on earth below you would become more wicked and culpable than he.25a-26b And so it happened, for as it is written, as soon as “they beheld the daughters of men that they were fair, they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen. vi. 2). Therefore, the Holy One hurled them into the abysmal darkness, where they abide unto this day.

Such was the doom of Asa and Azael, from whom originated and were engendered those angelic beings who, through sexual intercourse with their fair and beautiful human wives, became the fallen ones and thus forfeited the joys of the heavenly world, exchanging its eternal happiness for the fleeting pleasures and delights of earthly existence, as it is written, “He repayeth them that hate him, to their faces to destroy them” (Deuter. vii. 10).

The Giborim (mighty ones) formed the third race, and were they whom Scripture describes as “mighty men which were of old, men of great renown” (Gen. vi. 4). They it was who, at the building of the tower of Babel, said: “Go to and let us build us a city and tower whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name” (Gen. xi. 4). Becoming incarnated, they were those who built mansions, colleges, and founded oracles and temples, not for the worship and glory of the Divine Being, but for their own self-exaltation, and then tyrannized over Israel as though they were dust of the earth, by plundering and robbing them of every thing they possessed. Concerning them the Scripture states, “And the waters prevailed and were increased greatly upon the earth” (Gen. vii. 19).

The fourth race was that of the Rephaim or Giants, who, whenever they beheld the children of Israel in sore straits or distress and afflictions, scoffed and derided them and treated with contempt the good law and its students and followers, but regarded with favor and indulgence the idolatrous and ungodly. Of them it is written, “The Rephaim (giants) shall not rise again” (Is. xxvi. 14), and when the redemption and deliverance of Israel shall appear, then will be accomplished the words of scripture respecting them, “Their memory shall perish.”25b

The fifth race was the Anakim (tall ones), a despicable people, of whom it is said: “The Rephaim were like unto them” (Deuter. xi. 11).

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