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Without a doubt, giants are one of the most interesting and controversial subjects in the Bible, but many people don’t know that the Bible actually has a very detailed account of one particular family of giants. These giants caused an entire generation of Israelites to perish in the wilderness because of the stories that had been spread about them. Let’s lay a little bit of foundation before we jump right into the Anakim.
The Sons of God – A Quick Review
In Genesis 6 the sons of God took human women of their choosing and started to produce offspring with them. Those children grew into violent giants that were the main reason for God sending the flood in Noah’s time.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” – Genesis 6:1-4
The origin of giants is given in Genesis in order for us to have a source of reference when the Israelites suddenly encounter giants after leaving Egypt. Understanding the conditions under which the giants were created gives us some insight as to why ancient peoples were terrified of them.
Arba – The Father of Anak
Arba, mentioned only three times, is unique because his lineage is the only lineage of giants to be traced in scripture. While the Bible doesn’t give us the origin of Arba, it is possible that he was a first generation post-flood giant offspring conceived by a human woman and an angel. Arba’s birth may remain a mystery forever, but we do know other details about him.
“And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.” – Joshua 14:15
Arba’s son Anak was the father of the Anakim, which would make Arba the grandfather of the Anakim. This verse indicates that his family had a very high level of respect for him. His level of importance in general is reflected in the fact that he had a city named after him (Kirjath-Arba).
“And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.” – Joshua 15:13
“And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about it.” – Joshua 21:11
These are the only two places in scripture that refer to Arba as the father of Anak. There are some Bible teachers that have proposed that Biblical hybrid giants were sterile because some hybrid animals are sterile. According to scripture, neither Arba nor his offspring were sterile.
Anak – Father of The Anakim
Anak is mentioned nine times in the Old Testament. We are first introduced to him in Numbers 13 after the spies return with their report from Canaan (The Promised Land).
“And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)” – Numbers 13:22
Even though he’s mentioned three times more than his father Arba, we know less about Anak that we do about Arba. All we know about him is who his father was and that he had three sons that struck fear in the hearts of their enemies.
Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai – The Sons of Anak
These were the three giants that caused an entire generation of Hebrews to not make it into the Promised Land. After the spies returned from Canaan to give their report, they said the following about these three nephilim giants:
“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” – Numbers 13:33
“Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.” – Deuteronomy 1:28
These three giants were so large that the Israelite spies compared themselves to grasshoppers in their sight. Even Moses himself seemed a little hesitant about the idea of fighting giants.
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.” – Numbers 14:1-5
The entire nation of Israel were so fearful of the Anakim that they considered returning to slavery to avoid fighting them. The familiarity of them with the names of the giants and the fear they had points to pre-existing stories, rumors, and legends surrounding this particular family of giants. In the end, it was Joshua and Caleb that stood alone in their zeal to conquer The Valley of The Giants.
“And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – Numbers 14:6-9
Joshua, the minister of Moses, and Caleb stood up when Moses and Aaron submitted in fear to the crowd. This is the very first time we see Joshua fully step into a leadership role. It is this decision that leads to him becoming the leader of Israel after the death of Moses.
Deuteronomy 1:28 seems to indicate that the three sons of Anak may have had children as well, but we’re not told outright. However, there is another verse that does seem to lean strongly toward the fact that one famous giant may have been a descendant of the Anakim.
Was Goliath One of The Anakim?
“There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.” – Joshua 11:22
Later on, when we encounter Goliath in scripture, we encounter several verses that seem to indicate that there was at least one surviving giant in Gath, and he had four giant sons, one of whom was Goliath:
“These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.” – 2 Samuel 21:22
Again, nothing concrete but it seems like much more than a coincidence. If you want to know more about Goliath and his four brothers, check out the following link:
How Tall Were The Anakim?
While many people think that the spies’ description of the giants may be an exaggeration, an outright lie, or that people were just smaller back then and just mistook tall people for giants, when we look at the entirety of scripture, over exaggeration doesn’t seem to be the case:
“The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.” – Deuteronomy 2:10-11
“A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:” – Deuteronomy 2:21
“A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!” – Deuteronomy 9:2
Over and over again, we’re told that they’re “tall” and “giants” but it isn’t until the story of David and Goliath that we get a concrete measurement of 9’9″ for Goliath (1 Samuel 17:4). An important point to consider is that if Goliath the son of one of the surviving Anakim, he’d have been a fourth generation giant.
What Happened To The Anakim?
When the Hebrews began conquering The Valley of Giants it was Moses that was still in charge. After the passing of Moses, Joshua is placed in charge, and it is he and Caleb that defeat the Anakim, except for those that fled to the following areas (Joshua 11:22):
By the time David became king, there were at least five surviving giants in Gath. Eventually, he and his mighty men manage to kill all of them except one. We’re never told what happened to the giant father of Goliath and his four brothers.
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