The Book of Giants
It is fair to say that the patriarch
Enoch was as well known to the ancients as he is
obscure to modern Bible reaclers. Besides giving his
age (365 years), the book of Genesis says of him
only that he "walked with God," and afterward "he
was not, because God had taken him" (Gen. 5:24).
This exalted way of life and mysterious demise made
Enoch into a figure of considerable fascination, and
a cycle of legends grew up around him.
Many of the legends about Enoch were
collected already in ancient times in several long
anthologies. The most important such anthology, and
the oldest, is known simply as The Book of Enoch,
comprising over one hundred chapters. It still
survives in its entirety (although only in the
Ethiopic language) and forms an important source for
the thought of Judaism in the last few centuries
B.C.E. Significantly, the remnants of several almost
complete copies of The Book of Enoch in Aramaic were
found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it is clear
that whoever collected the scrolls considered it a
vitally important text. All but one of the five
major components of the Ethiopic anthology have
turned up among the scrolls. But even more
intriguing is the fact that additional, previously
unknown or little-known texts about Enoch were
discovered at Qumran. The most important of these is
The Book of Giants.
Enoch lived before the Flood, during
a time when the world, in ancient imagination, was
very different. Human beings lived much longer, for
one thing; Enoch's son Methuselah, for instance,
attained the age of 969 years. Another difference
was that angels and humans interacted freely -- so
freely, in fact, that some of the angels begot
children with human females. This fact is neutrally
reported in Genesis (6:1-4), but other stories view
this episode as the source of the corruption that
made the punishing flood necessary. According to The
Book of Enoch, the mingling of angel and human was
actually the idea of Shernihaza, the leader of the
evil angels, who lured 200 others to cohabit with
women. The offspring of these unnatural unions were
giants 450 feet high. The wicked angels and the
giants began to oppress the human population and to
teach them to do evil. For this reason God
determined to imprison the angels until the final
judgment and to destroy the earth with a flood.
Enoch's efforts to intercede with heaven for the
fallen angels were unsuccessful (1 Enoch 6-16).
The Book of Giants retells part of
this story and elaborates on the exploits of the
giants, especially the two children of Shemihaza,
Ohya and Hahya. Since no complete manuscript exists
of Giants, its exact contents and their order remain
a matter of guesswork. Most of the content of the
present fragments concerns the giants' ominous
dreams and Enoch's efforts to interpret them and to
intercede with God on the giants' behalf.
Unfortunately, little remains of the independent
adventures of the giants, but it is likely that
these tales were at least partially derived from
ancient Near Eastern mythology. Thus the name of one
of the giants is Gilgamesh, the Babylonian hero and
subject of a great epic written in the third
millennium B.C.E. A summary statement of the descent
of the wicked angels, bringing both knowledge and
havoc. Compare Genesis 6:1-2, 4.
What's left over of the tablets
1Q23 Frag. 9 + 14 + 15 2( . . . )
they knew the secrets of ( . . . ) 3( . . . si)n was
great in the earth ( . . . ) 4( . . . ) and they
killed manY ( . . ) 5( . . . they begat) giants ( .
. . ) The angels exploit the fruifulness of the
earth. 4Q531 Frag. 3 2( . . . everything that the)
earth produced ( . . . ) ( . . . ) the great fish (
. . . ) 14( . . . ) the sky with all that grew ( . .
. ) 15( . . . fruit of) the earth and all kinds of
grain and al1 the trees ( . . . ) 16( . . . ) beasts
and reptiles . . . (al)l creeping things of the
earth and they observed all ( . . . ) |8( . . .
eve)ry harsh deed and ( . . . ) utterance ( . . . )
l9( . . . ) male and female, and among humans ( . .
. ) The two hundred angels choose animals on which
to perform unnatural acts, including, presumably,
humans. 1Q23 Frag. 1 + 6 ( . . . two hundred) 2
donkeys, two hundred asses, two hundred . . . rams
of the) 3 flock, two hundred goats, two hundred ( .
. . beast of the) 4 field from every animal, from
every (bird . . . ) 5( . . . ) for miscegenation ( .
. . ) The outcome of the demonic corruption was
violence, perversion, and a brood of monstrous
beings. Compare Genesis 6:4. 4Q531 Frag. 2 ( . . . )
they defiled ( . . . ) 2( . . . they begot) giants
and monsters ( . . . ) 3( . . . ) they begot, and,
behold, all (the earth was corrupted . . . ) 4( . .
. ) with its blood and by the hand of ( . . . )
5(giant's) which did not suffice for them and ( . .
. ) 6( . . . ) and they were seeking to devour many
( . . . ) 7( . . . ) 8( . . . ) the monsters
attacked it. 4Q532 Col. 2 Frags. 1 - 6 2( . . . )
flesh ( . . . ) 3 al(l . . . ) monsters ( . . . )
will be ( . . . ) 4( . . . ) they would arise ( . .
. ) lacking in true knowledge ( . . . ) because ( .
. . ) 5( . . . ) the earth (grew corrupt . . . )
mighty ( . . . ) 6( . . . ) they were considering (
. . . ) 7( . . . ) from the angels upon ( . . . ) 8(
. . . ) in the end it will perish and die ( . . . )
9( . . . ) they caused great corruption in the
(earth . . . ) ( . . . this did not) suffice to ( .
. . ) "they will be ( . . . ) The giants begin to be
troubled by a series of dreams and visions. Mahway,
the titan son of the angel Barakel, reports the
first of these dreams to his fellow giants. He sees
a tablet being immersed in water. When it emerges,
all but three names have been washed away. The dream
evidently symbolizes the destruction of all but Noah
and his sons by the Flood. 2Q26 ( . . . ) they
drenched the tablet in the wa(ter . . . ) 2( . . . )
the waters went up over the (tablet . . . ) 3( . . .
) they lifted out the tablet from the water of ( . .
. ) The giant goes to the others and they discuss
the dream. 4Q530 Frag.7 ( . . . this vision) is for
cursing and sorrow. I am the one who confessed 2( .
. . ) the whole group of the castaways that I shall
go to ( . . . ) 3( . . . the spirits of the sl)ain
complaining about their killers and crying out 4( .
. . ) that we shall die together and be made an end
of ( . . . ) much and I will be sleeping, and bread
6( . . . ) for my dwelling; the vision and also ( .
. . ) entered into the gathering of the giants 8( .
. . ) 6Q8 ( . . . ) Ohya and he said to Mahway ( . .
. ) 2( . . . ) without trembling. Who showed you all
this vision, (my) brother? 3( . . . ) Barakel, my
father, was with me. 4( . . . ) Before Mahway had
finished telling what (he had seen . . . ) 5( . . .
said) to him, Now I have heard wonders! If a barren
woman gives birth ( . . . ) 4Q530 Frag. 4
3(There)upon Ohya said to Ha(hya . . . ) 4( . . . to
be destroyed) from upon the earth and ( . . . ) 5( .
. . the ea)rth. When 6( . . . ) they wept before
(the giants . . . ) 4Q530 Frag. 7 3( . . . ) your
strength ( . . . ) 4( . . . ) 5 Thereupon Ohya
(said) to Hahya ( . . . ) Then he answered, It is
not for 6us, but for Azaiel, for he did ( . . . the
children of) angels 7 are the giants, and they would
not let all their poved ones) be neglected (. . . we
have) not been cast down; you have strength ( . . .
) The giants realize the futility of fighting
against the forces of heaven. The first speaker may
be Gilgamesh. 4Q531 Frag. 1 3( . . . I am a) giant,
and by the mighty strength of my arm and my own
great strength 4( . . . any)one mortal, and I have
made war against them; but I am not ( . . . ) able
to stand against them, for my opponents 6( . . . )
reside in (Heav)en, and they dwell in the holy
places. And not 7( . . . they) are stronger than I.
8( . . . ) of the wild beast has come, and the wild
man they call (me). 9( . . . ) Then Ohya said to
him, I have been forced to have a dream ( . . . )
the sleep of my eyes (vanished), to let me see a
vision. Now I know that on ( . . . ) 11-12( . . . )
Gilgamesh ( . . . ) Ohya's dream vision is of a tree
that is uprooted except for three of its roots; the
vision's import is the same as that of the first
dream. 6Q8 Frag. 2 1three of its roots ( . . . )
(while) I was (watching,) there came ( . . . they
moved the roots into) 3 this garden, all of them,
and not ( . . . ) Ohya tries to avoid the
implications of the visions. Above he stated that it
referred only to the demon Azazel; here he suggests
that the destruction is for the earthly rulers
alone. 4Q530 Col. 2 1 concerns the death of our
souls ( . . . ) and all his comrades, (and Oh)ya
told them what Gilgamesh said to him 2( . . . ) and
it was said ( . . . ) "concerning ( . . . ) the
leader has cursed the potentates" 3 and the giants
were glad at his words. Then he turned and left ( .
. . ) More dreams afflict the giants. The details of
this vision are obscure, but it bodes ill for the
giants. The dreamers speak first to the monsters,
then to the giants. Thereupon two of them had dreams
4 and the sleep of their eye, fled from them, and
they arose and came to ( . . . and told) their
dreams, and said in the assembly of (their comrades)
the monsters 6( . . . In) my dream I was watching
this very night 7(and there was a garden . . . )
gardeners and they were watering 8( . . . two
hundred trees and) large shoots came out of their
root 9( . . . ) all the water, and the fire burned
all 10(the garden . . . ) They found the giants to
tell them 11(the dream . . . ) Someone suggests that
Enoch be found to interpret the vision. ( . . . to
Enoch) the noted scribe, and he will interpret for
us 12 the dream. Thereupon his fellow Ohya declared
and said to the giants, 13 I too had a dream this
night, O giants, and, behold, the Ruler of Heaven
came down to earth 14( . . . ) and such is the end
of the dream. (Thereupon) all the giants (and
monsters! grew afraid 15 and called Mahway. He came
to them and the giants pleaded with him and sent him
to Enoch 16(the noted scribe). They said to him, Go
( . . . ) to you that 17( . . . ) you have heard his
voice. And he said to him, He wil 1 ( . . . and)
interpret the dreams ( . . . ) Col. 3 3( . . . ) how
long the giants have to live. ( . . . ) After a
cosmic journey Mahway comes to Enoch and makes his
request. ( . . . he mounted up in the air) 4 like
strong winds, and flew with his hands like ea(gles .
. . he left behind) 5 the inhabited world and passed
over Desolation, the great desert ( . . . ) 6 and
Enoch saw him and hailed him, and Mahway said to him
( . . . ) 7 hither and thither a second time to
Mahway ( . . . The giants awaig 8 your words, and
all the monsters of the earth. If ( . . . ) has been
carried ( . . . ) 9 from the days of ( . . . ) their
( . . . ) and they will be added ( . . . ) 10( . . .
) we would know from you their meaning ( . . . ) 11(
. . . two hundred tr)ees that from heaven (came
down. . . ) Enoch sends back a tablet with its grim
message of judgment, but with hope for repentance.
4Q530 Frag. 2 The scribe (Enoch . . . ) 2( . . . ) 3
a copy of the second tablet that (Epoch) se(nt . . .
) 4 in the very handwriting of Enoch the noted
scribe ( . . . In the name of God the great) 5 and
holy one, to Shemihaza and all (his companions . . .
) 6 let it be known to you that not ( . . . ) 7 and
the things you have done, and that your wives ( . .
. ) 8 they and their sons and the wives of (their
sons . . . ) 9 by your licentiousness on the earth,
and there has been upon you ( . . . and the land is
crying out) 10 and complaining about you and the
deeds of your children ( . . . ) 11 the harm that
you have done to it. ( . . . ) 12 until Raphael
arrives, behold, destruction (is coming, a great
flood, and it will destroy all living things) 13 and
whatever is in the deserts and the seas. And the
meaning of the matter ( . . . ) 14 upon you for
evil. But now, loosen the bonds bi(nding you to evil
. . . ) l5 and pray. A fragment apparently detailing
a vision that Enoch saw. 4Q531 Frag. 7 3( . . .
great fear) seized me and I fell on my face; I heard
his voice ( . . . ) 4( . . . ) he dwelt among human
beings but he did not learn from them ( . . . )