From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

NEPHILIM. A Heb. word, of uncertain etymology, retained by B.V in the only two places where it occurs in OT (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘giants’). In   Genesis 6:4 we read: ‘The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God went in to the daughters of men and they hare to them; these are the heroes which were of old, the men of renown.’ The verse has the appearance of an explanatory gloss to the obscure mythological fragment which precedes, and is very difficult to understand. But we can hardly be wrong in supposing that it bears witness to a current belief (to which there are many heathen parallels) in a race of heroes or demigods, produced by the union of divine beings (‘sons of God’) with mortal women. The other notice is   Numbers 13:33 , where the name is applied to men of gigaotic stature seen by the spies among the natives of Canaan. That these giants were popularly identified with the demigods of   Genesis 6:4 , there is no reason to doubt. See also art. Giant.

J. Skinner.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

 Genesis 6:4 Numbers 13:33 raphah RephaimSons Of God

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

 Genesis 6:4 Numbers 13:33 Genesis 6:4

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

(See Noah .)

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(n. pl.) Giants.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [6]

( נְפַילַים ) occurs only in the plural form, and in the two passages ( Genesis 6:4;  Numbers 13:33) where it is rendered in the English version "giants." This meaning is given by all the old versions (Sept. Γίγαντες ; Aquila, Ἐπιπίπτοντες ; Symm. Βιαῖοι ; Vulg. Gigantes; Onk. גָּבְרִיָּא ; Luther, Tyrannen), and is demanded by the latter passage. "The word is derived either from פָּלָה br פָּלָא (=-'marvelous'), or, as is generally believed, from נָפִל , either in the sense to throw down, or To Fall (= fallen angels [Jarchi]; comp.  Isaiah 14:12;  Luke 10:18), or meaning Ἣρωες , irruentes (Gesen.), or Collapsi (by euphemism, Bottcher, De Inferis, page 92); but certainly not because men fell from terror of them (as R. Kimnchi). That the word means giant is clear from  Numbers 13:32-33, and is confirmed by נַפְלָא , the Chaldee name for 'the aery giant' Orion ( Job 9:9;  Job 38:31;  Isaiah 13:10; Targ.) unless this name arise from the Obliquity of the constellation (Genesis Of Earth, page 35). We now come to the remarkable conjectures about the origin of these Nephilim in  Genesis 6:1-4. (An immense amount has been written on this passage. See Kurz, Die Ehen Der Sohne Gottes, etc. [Berlin, 1857]; Ewald. Jahrb. 1854, page 126; Govett's Isaiah Unfufi1Lled; Faber's Many Mansions [J. Of Sac. Lit. October 1858], etc.) We are told that 'there Were Nephilim in the earth,' and that afterwards (Sept. Καὶ Μέτ᾿ Ἐκεῖνο ) the 'sons of God' mingling with the beautiful 'daughters of men' produced a race of violent and insolent Gibborim ( גַּבֹּרַים ). This latter word is also rendered by the Sept. Γίγαντες , but its meaning is more general. It is clear, however, that No Statement is made that the Nephilim themselves sprang from this unhallowed union. Who, then, were they? Taking the usual derivation ( נָפִל ), and explaining it to mean 'fallen spirits,' the Nephilim seem to be identical with the 'sons of God;' but the verse before us militates against this notion' as much as against that which makes the Nephilim the same as the Gibborim, viz. the Offspring of wicked marriages. This latter supposition can only be accepted if we admit either (I) that there were two kinds of Nephilim those who existed before the unequal intercourse, and those produced by it (Heidegger, Hist. Patt. 11), or (2) by following the Vulgate rendering, postquam enim ingressi sunt, etc. But the common rendering seems to be correct, for is there much probability in Aben-Ezra's explanation that אִחֲרֵיאּכֵן ('after that') means אחר המבול (i.e., 'after the deluge'), and is an allusion to the Anakims." We may remark, however, that the Hebrew word Nephilimi may rather be taken in an active sense =Those Who Fell upon others, i.e., the violent tyrants of those days (Aquila, Ἐπιπίπτοντες ); and this agrees with the evident lawlessness of the times. (See Antediluvians).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

nef´i - lim ( נפילים , nephı̄lı̄m ): This word, translated "giants" in the King James Version, but retained in the Revised Version (British and American), is found in two passages of the Old Testament - one in   Genesis 6:4 , relating to the antediluvians; the other in  Numbers 13:33 , relating to the sons of Anak in Canaan. In the former place the Nephilim are not necessarily to be identified with the children said to be borne "the daughters of men" to "the sons of God" ( Genesis 6:2 ,  Genesis 6:4 ); indeed, they seem to be distinguished from the latter as upon the earth before this unholy commingling took place (see Sons Of God ). But it is not easy to be certain as to the interpretation of this strange passage. In the second case they clearly represent men of gigantic stature, in comparison with whom the Israelites felt as if they were "grasshopers." This agrees with  Genesis 6:4 , "the mighty men that were of old, the men of renow." Septuagint, therefore, was warranted in translating by gı́gantes .