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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

REPHAIM . A name given in several Biblical passages to some pre-Israelitish people. In   Genesis 14:5 they are said to have dwelt in Ashteroth-karnaim.   Genesis 15:20 classes them with Hittites and Perizzites (similarly   Joshua 17:15 ).   Deuteronomy 2:11;   Deuteronomy 2:20 calls certain peoples ‘Rephaim’ whom the Moabites and Ammonites called respectively ‘ Emim ’ and ‘ Zamzummin .’   Deuteronomy 3:11 says that Og, king of Bashan, alone remained of the Rephaim (so also   Joshua 12:4;   Joshua 13:12 ), while   Deuteronomy 3:13 says that Argob was a land of Rephaim. A valley near Jerusalem was also called the ‘ Vale of Rephaim ’ (see   2 Samuel 5:18;   2 Samuel 5:22; 2Sa 23:13 ,   1 Chronicles 11:15;   1 Chronicles 14:9 ,   Isaiah 17:5 ). Because   Deuteronomy 2:11 counts them with the Anakim , who were giants, and   2 Samuel 21:18-22 says that the sons of a certain Rapha (see RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ) were giants, it has been supposed by some that Rephaim means ‘giants,’ and was given to a race as their name by their neighbours because of their stature. Cf. art. Giant.

The word răph â’îm in Hebrew means also ‘shades’ or disembodied spirits. At least it is used to describe the dead, as in   Psalms 88:10 . Schwally is probably right, therefore ( Leben nach dem Tode , 64 ff. and ZATW [Note: ATW Zeitschrift far die Alttest. Wissenschaft.] , xviii. 127 ff.), in holding that the word means ‘shades,’ and that it was applied by the Israelites to people who were dead and gone, and of whom they knew little.

George A. Barton.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

The Hebrew word is used in two distinct significations.

1.  Genesis 14:5; also some in the time of Moses. Og king of Bashan was of the Rephaim. In the time of Joshua, some of their descendants dwelt in the land of Canaan,  Joshua 12:4   17:15 , and we hear of them in David's time, in the city of Gath,  1 Chronicles 20:4-6 . The giant Goliath and others were the remains of the Rephaim, or of the kindred family of Anakim. Their magnitude and strength are often spoken of in Scripture. They appear to have excelled in violence and crime, and hence are monuments of divine justice.

2.  Job 26:5 );  Psalm 88:10;  Proverbs 2:18;  21:16 , etc.

THE Valley Of The Rephaim, Or Giants was famous in Joshua's time,  Joshua 15:8   17:15   18:16 , and in the time of David, who here defeated the Philistines,  2 Samuel 5:18,22   1 Chronicles 11:6   14:9 . It was a broad and fertile valley,  Isaiah 17:5 , beginning near the valley of Hinnom, and extending several miles south-west from Jerusalem, when it contracted to a narrow passage leading off towards the Mediterranean. It was in Judah, but near the border of Benjamin.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Rephaim ( Rĕph'A-Ĭm or Re-Phâ'Im ), Valley of.  Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16; and translated "the valley of the giants" in the A. V., but vale of "Rephaim" in the R. V. It was one of the landmarks of the land of Judah, named after the Rephaim, or "giants," who at an early period were found on both sides of the Jordan. Comp.  Genesis 14:5;  Deuteronomy 3:11-13;  Joshua 13:12;  Joshua 17:15. David twice defeated the Philistines in this valley.  2 Samuel 5:17-25;  2 Samuel 23:13;  1 Chronicles 11:15-16;  1 Chronicles 14:9-16. The valley was noted for its fertility.  Isaiah 17:5. Its position as a boundary of Judah would indicate it to have been south of the valley of Hinnom.

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

 Job 26:5  Psalm 88:10 Proverbs 9:18 Proverbs 21:16 Isaiah 14:9 Isaiah 26:14 26:19 Deuteronomy 2:10-11 Deuteronomy 2:20-21 Genesis 14:5 Deuteronomy 3:11 3:13 Genesis 15:20 Deuteronomy 2:10-11 Deuteronomy 2:20-21 Genesis 14:5 Genesis 15:20  Deuteronomy 3:11 Joshua 12:4 2 Samuel 21:22 1 Chronicles 20:8

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [5]

The Rephaim were the ancient giants of the land of Canaan. There were anciently several families of them in this country. It is commonly thought that they were descended from one called Rephah or Rapha; but others imagine that the word Rephaim properly signifies giants, in the ancient language of this people. There were some of the Rephaim beyond Jordan, at Ashteroth Karnaim, in the time of Abraham, when Chedorlaomer made war against them,  Genesis 14:5 . There were also some of them in the country in the days of Moses. Og, king of Bashan, was one of the posterity of the Rephaim,  Joshua 12:4 . Also in the time of Joshua there were some of their descendants in the land of Canaan, Joshua 17; Joshua 15. Lastly, we hear of them still in David's time, in the city of Gath,  1 Chronicles 20:4-6 . The giants Goliah, Sippai, Lahmi, and others, were some remains of the Rephaim; their magnitude and strength are known from Scripture. See Giants .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

Prior to Israel’s conquest of Canaan, the Rephaim were scattered over a wide area on both sides of the Jordan. They were one of many groups who were to be destroyed when Israel took possession of Canaan ( Genesis 14:5;  Genesis 15:20;  Deuteronomy 2:9-11;  Deuteronomy 2:19-21). They were of large stature (comparable in size to the Anakim; see Anak ), and were feared by other peoples of the region ( Deuteronomy 2:10-11;  Deuteronomy 2:20-21;  Joshua 12:4). There was a valley west of Jerusalem known as the Valley of Rephaim ( Joshua 15:8;  2 Samuel 5:18).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [7]

 Genesis 14:5 2 Samuel 21:16,18 Deuteronomy 3:13 Deuteronomy 2:11 Genesis 6:4Giants

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Reph'a-im. See Giants .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

See Giant

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

[many Reph'aim] (Heb. usually with the art. ha-Rephaim', הָרְפָאַים [see below]), a name which frequently occurs, and in some remarkable passages, as that of a race of unusual stature, who originally dwelt in the country east of the Jordan. The earliest mention of them is the record of their defeat by Chedorlsaomer and some allied kings at Ashteroth Karnaim;  Genesis 14:5). They are again mentioned (15:20); their dispersion recorded ( Deuteronomy 2:10;  Deuteronomy 2:20), and Og the giant king of Bashan said to be "the only remnant of them" (3:11;  Joshua 12:4;  Joshua 13:12;  Joshua 17:15). Extirpated, however, from the east of Palestine, they long found a home in the West; and in connection with the Philistines, under whose protection the small remnant of them may have lived, they still employed their arms against the Hebrews ( 2 Samuel 21:18 sq.;  1 Chronicles 20:4). In the latter passage there seems, however, to be some confusion between the Rephaim and the sons of a particular giant of Gath, named Rapha. Such a name may have been conjectured as that of a founder of the race, like the names Ion, Dorus, Teut, etc. (Bottcher, De Inferis, p. 96, note); Rapha occurs also as a proper name ( 1 Chronicles 7:25;  1 Chronicles 8:2;  1 Chronicles 8:37). It is probable that they had possessed districts west of the Jordan in early times, since the "valley of Rephaim" ( Κοιλὰς Τῶν Τιτάνων ,  2 Samuel 5:18;  1 Chronicles 11:15;  Isaiah 17:5; Κ . Τῶν Γιγάντων , Joseph. Ant. 7:4, 1), a rich valley south-west of Jerusalem, derived its name from them. That they were not Canaanites is clear from there being no allusion to them in  Genesis 10:15-19. They were probably one of those aboriginal peoples to whose existence the traditions of many nations testify, and of whose genealogy the Bible gives us no information. The few names recorded have, as Ewald remarks, a Shemitic aspect ( Gesch. Des Volkes Isr. i, 311); but from the hatred existing between them and both the Canaanites and Hebrews, some suppose them to be Japhethites, "who comprised especially the inhabitants of the coasts and islands" (Kalisch, on Genesis p. 351). (See Canaanite).

רְפָאַים is rendered by the Greek versions very variously (Sept. ῾Ραφαείμ , Γίγαντες , Γηγενεῖς , Θεόμαχοι , Τιτᾶνες , and Ἰατροί [Psalm 87:10;  Isaiah 26:14, where it is confused with רֹפְאַים ; comp. Genesis 1, 2], and sometimes Νεκροί , Τεθνηκότες , especially in the Later versions). In the A.V. the words used for it are "Rephaim," "giants," and "the dead." That it has the latter meaning in many certain ( Psalms 88:10;  Proverbs 2:18;  Proverbs 9:18;  Proverbs 21:16;  Isaiah 26:14;  Isaiah 26:19). The question arises, how are these meanings to be reconciled? Gesenius gives no derivation for the national name, and derives ר =mortui, from רָפָא , Sanavit, and the proper name Rapha from an Arabic root signifying "tall," thus seeming to sever All connection between the meanings of the word, which is surely most unlikely. Masius, Simon, etc., suppose the second meaning to come from the fact that both spectres and giants strike terror (accepting the derivation from רָפָה , Remisit, "unstrung with fear," R. Bechai, On Deuteronomy 2 ) ; Vitringa and Hiller from the notion of Length involved in stretching out a corpse, or from the fancy that spirits appear in more than human size (Hiller, Syntagn. Hermen. p. 205; Virg. Aen. ii , 772, etc.). J. D. Michaelis ( Ad Lowth S. Poes. p. 466) endeavored to prove that the Rephaim, etc., were troglodytes, and that hence they came to be identified with the dead. Passing over other conjectures, Bottcher sees in רָפָא and רָפָה a double root, and thinks that the giants were called רְפָאַים ( Languefacti ) by a euphemism; and that the dead were'so called by a title which will thus exactly parallel the Greek Καμόντες , Κεκμηκότες (comp. Buttmann, Lexil. ii, 237 sq.). An attentive consideration seems to leave little room for doubt that the dead were called Rephaim (as Gesenius also hints) tfrom some notion of Sheol being the residence of the fallen spirits or buried giants. The passages which seem most strongly to prove this are  Proverbs 21:16 (where obviously something more than mere physical death is meant, since that is the common lot of all),  Isaiah 26:14;  Isaiah 26:19, which are difficult to explain without some such supposition,  Isaiah 14:9, where the word עִתּוּדַים (Sept. Οἱ Ἄρξαντες Τῆς Γῆς ) , if taken in its literal meaning of goats, may mean evil spirits represented in that form (comp.  Leviticus 17:7), and especially  Job 26:5-6. "Behold the gyantes (A.V. "dead things") grown under the waters" (Douay version), where there seems to be clear allusion to some subaqueous prison of rebellious spirits like that in which (according to the Hindui legend) Vishnu the water-god confines a race of giants (comp. Πυλάρχος , as a title of Neptune, Hesiod, Theog. 732; Nork, Brammin. Und Rabb. p. 319 sq.). (See Giant). Branches of this great unknown people were the following

1. EMIM ( אֵימַים ; Septt. Ο᾿Μμίν , Ι᾿Μμαῖοι ) , smitten by Chedorlaomer at Shaveh Kiriathaim ( Genesis 14:5), and occupying the country afterwards held by the Moabites ( Deuteronomy 2:10), who gave them the name אֵימים , "terrors." The word rendered "tall" may perhaps be merely "haughty" ( Ἰσχύοντες ) . (See Emim).

2. ANAKIM ( עֲנָקַים ). The imbecile terror of the spies exaggerated their proportions into something superhuman ( Numbers 13:28;  Numbers 13:33), and their name became proverbial ( Deuteronomy 2:10;  Deuteronomy 9:2). (See Anakim).

3. ZUZIM ( זוּזַים ), whose principal town was Ham ( Genesis 14:5), and who lived between the Arnon and the Jabbok, being a northern tribe of Rephaim. The Ammonites who defeated them called them Zamzunzim, זִמְזֻמַּים ( Deuteronomy 2:20 sq., which is, however, probably an early gloss). See Jour. Sac. Lit. Oct. 1851, p. 151 sq.; Jan. 1852, p. 363 sq.; April, 1852, p. 55 sq.; July, 1852, p. 302 sq.; Oct. 1852, p. 87 sq.; Jan. 1853, p. 279 sq. (See Zuzim).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

ref´ā́ - im , rḗ - fā´im ( רפאים , rephā'ı̄m , from רפא , rāphā' , "a terrible one "hence "giant," in   1 Chronicles 20:4 , הרפא ילידי , yelı̄dhē ha - rāphā' , "sons of the giant"; the King James Version, Rephaims ): A race of aboriginal or early inhabitants East of the Jordan in Ashterothkarnaim ( Genesis 14:5 ) and in the valley of Rephaim Southwest of Jerusalem ( Joshua 15:8 ). They associated with other giant races, as the Emim and Anakim ( Deuteronomy 2:10 ,  Deuteronomy 2:11 ) and the Zamzummim ( Deuteronomy 2:20 ). It is probable that they were all of the same stock, being given different names by the different tribes who came in contact with them. The same Hebrew word is rendered "the dead," or "the shades" in various passages ( Job 26:5 margin;   Psalm 88:10 margin;   Proverbs 2:18 margin;   Proverbs 9:18 margin;   Proverbs 21:16 margin;   Isaiah 14:9 margin;   Isaiah 26:14 ,  Isaiah 26:19 margin). In these instances the word is derived from רפה , rāpheh , "weak," "powerless," "a shadow" or "shade."

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

Reph´aim, an ancient people of unusual stature, who, in the time of Abraham, dwelt in the country beyond the Jordan, in and about Ashtoreth-Karnaim . There seems reason to think that the Rephaim were the most ancient or aboriginal inhabitants of Palestine prior to the Canaanites, by whom they were gradually dispossessed of the regions west of the Jordan, and driven beyond that river. Only a remnant of the race remained at the time of the ingress of the Israelites under Joshua.