Book of Giants — Reconstructed Texts: Translation by: Michael Wise, Martin Abegg (Jr.), and Edward Cook.

DEAD SEA SCROLLS TEXTS

The Book of Giants

• 4Q203, 37 images available

• 1Q23, 11 images available

• 2Q26, 2 images available

• 4Q530, 46 images available

• 4Q531, 66 images available

• 4Q532, 7 images available

• 6Q8, 3 images available


Translation by: Michael Wise, Martin Abegg (Jr.), and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, (p246-250).1)Amazon Books: Paperback: 688 pages | Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Revised edition (October 25, 2005) | Language: English | ISBN-10: 006076662X | ISBN-13: 978-0060766627 | Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches | Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds

It is fair to say that the patriarch Enoch was as well known to the ancients as he is obscure to modern Bible readers. 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 Chap 6: vs.1 – 2, vs.4.

vs.1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, vs.2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. …  vs.4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

1Q23 Frag. 9 + 14 + 15

vs.2 [ . . . ] they knew the secrets of [ . . . ] vs.3 [ . . . si]n was great in the earth [ . . . ] vs.4 [ . . . ] and they killed manY [ . . ] vs.5 [ . . . they begat] giants [ . . . ]

The angels exploit the fruitfulness of the earth.

4Q531 Frag. 3

vs.2 [ . . . everything that the] earth produced [ . . . ] [ . . . ] the great fish [ . . . ] vs.14 [ . . . ] the sky with all that grew [ . . . ] vs.15 [ . . . fruit of] the earth and all kinds of grain and all the trees [ . . . ] vs.16 [ . . . ] beasts and reptiles . . . [al]l creeping things of the earth and they observed all [ . . . ] vs.18 [ . . . eve]ry harsh deed and [ . . . ] utterance [ . . . ] vs.19 [ . . . ] 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] vs.2 donkeys, two hundred asses, two hundred . . . rams of the] vs.3 flock, two hundred goats, two hundred [ . . . beast of the] vs.4 field from every animal, from every [bird . . . ] vs.5 [ . . . ] for miscegenation [ . . . ]

The outcome of the demonic corruption was violence, perversion, and a brood of monstrous beings.

Compare Genesis 6:4.

vs.4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

4Q531 Frag. 2

[ . . . ] they defiled [ . . . ] vs.2 [ . . . they begot] giants and monsters [ . . . ] vs.3 [ . . . ] they begot, and, behold, all [the earth was corrupted . . . ] vs.4 [ . . . ] with its blood and by the hand of [ . . . ] vs.5 [giant’s] which did not suffice for them and [ . . . ] vs.6 [ . . . ] and they were seeking to devour many [ . . . ] vs.7 [ . . . ] vs.8 [ . . . ] the monsters attacked it.

4Q532 ‘Col. 2’ Frags. 1 – 6

vs.2 [ . . . ] flesh [ . . . ] vs.3 al[l . . . ] monsters [ . . . ] will be [ . . . ] vs.4 [ . . . ] they would arise [ . . . ] lacking in true knowledge [ . . . ] because [ . . . ] vs.5 [ . . . ] the earth [grew corrupt . . . ] mighty [ . . . ] vs.6 [ . . . ] they were considering [ . . . ] vs.7 [ . . . ] from the angels upon [ . . . ] vs.8 [ . . . ] in the end it will perish and die [ . . . ] vs.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 . . . ] vs.2 [ . . . ] the waters went up over the [tablet . . . ] vs.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 vs.2 [ . . . ] the whole group of the castaways that I shall go to [ . . . ] vs.3 [ . . . the spirits of the sl]ain complaining about their killers and crying out vs.4 [ . . . ] that we shall die together and be made an end of [ . . . ] much and I will be sleeping, and bread vs.6 [ . . . ] for my dwelling; the vision and also [ . . . ] entered into the gathering of the giants vs.8 [ . . . ]

6Q8

[ . . . ] Ohya and he said to Mahway [ . . . ] vs.2 [ . . . ] without trembling. Who showed you all this vision, [my] brother? vs.3 [ . . . ] Barakel, my father, was with me. vs.4 [ . . . ] Before Mahway had finished telling what [he had seen . . . ] vs.5 [ . . . said] to him, Now I have heard wonders! If a barren woman gives birth [ . . . ]

4Q530 Frag. 4

vs.3 [There]upon Ohya said to Ha[hya . . . ] vs.4 [ . . . to be destroyed] from upon the earth and [ . . . ] vs.5 [ . . . the ea]rth. When vs.6 [ . . . ] they wept before [the giants . . . ]

4Q530 Frag. 7

vs.3 [ . . . ] your strength [ . . . ] vs.4 [ . . . ] vs.5 Thereupon Ohya [said] to Hahya [ . . . ] Then he answered, It is not for vs.6 us, but for Azaiel, for he did [ . . . the children of] angels vs.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

vs.3 [ . . . I am a] giant, and by the mighty strength of my arm and my own great strength vs.4 [ . . . any]one mortal, and I have made war against them; but I am not [ . . . ] able to stand against them, for my opponents vs.6 [ . . . ] reside in [Heav]en, and they dwell in the holy places. And not vs.7 [ . . . they] are stronger than I. vs.8 [ . . . ] of the wild beast has come, and the wild man they call [me].

vs.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 [ . . . ] vs.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

vs.1 three of its roots [ . . . ] [while] I was [watching,] there came [ . . . they moved the roots into] vs.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 isfor the earthly rulers alone.

4Q530 ‘Col. 2’

vs.1 concerns the death of our souls [ . . . ] and all his comrades, [and Oh]ya told them what Gilgamesh said to him vs.2 [ . . . ] and it was said [ . . . ] “concerning [ . . . ] the leader has cursed the potentates” vs.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 vs.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 vs.6 [ . . . In] my dream I was watching this very night vs.7 [and there was a garden . . . ] gardeners and they were watering vs.8 [ . . . two hundred trees and] large shoots came out of their root vs.9 [ . . . ] all the water, and the fire burned all vs.10 [the garden . . . ] They found the giants to tell them vs.11 [the dream . . . ]

Someone suggests that Enoch be found to interpret the vision.

[ . . . to Enoch] the noted scribe, and he will interpret for us vs.12 the dream. Thereupon his fellow Ohya declared and said to the giants, vs.13 I too had a dream this night, O giants, and, behold, the Ruler of Heaven came down to earth vs.14 [ . . . ] and such is the end of the dream. [Thereupon] all the giants [and monsters! grew afraid vs.15 and called Mahway. He came to them and the giants pleaded with him and sent him to Enoch vs.16 [the noted scribe]. They said to him, Go [ . . . ] to you that vs.17 [ . . . ] you have heard his voice. And he said to him, He will [ . . . and] interpret the dreams [ . . . ]

‘Col. 3’

vs.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] vs.4 like strong winds, and flew with his hands like ea[gles . . . he left behind] vs.5 the inhabited world and passed over Desolation, the great desert [ . . . ] vs.6 and Enoch saw him and hailed him, and Mahway said to him [ . . . ] vs.7 hither and thither a second time to Mahway [ . . . The giants awaig vs.8 your words, and all the monsters of the earth. If [ . . . ] has been carried [ . . . ] vs.9 from the days of [ . . . ] their [ . . . ] and they will be added [ . . . ] vs.10 [ . . . ] we would know from you their meaning [ . . . ] vs.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 . . . ] vs.2 [ . . . ] vs.3 a copy of the second tablet that [Epoch] se[nt . . . ] vs.4 in the very handwriting of Enoch the noted scribe [ . . . In the name of God the great] vs.5 and holy one, to Shemihaza and all [his companions . . . ] vs.6 let it be known to you that not [ . . . ] vs.7 and the things you have done, and that your wives [ . . . ] vs.8 they and their sons and the wives of [their sons . . . ] vs.9 by your licentiousness on the earth, and there has been upon you [ . . . and the land is crying out] vs.10 and complaining about you and the deeds of your children [ . . . ] vs.11 the harm that you have done to it. [ . . . ] vs.12 until Raphael arrives, behold, destruction [is coming, a great flood, and it will destroy all living things] vs.13 and whatever is in the deserts and the seas. And the meaning of the matter [ . . . ] vs.14 upon you for evil. But now, loosen the bonds bi[nding you to evil . . . ] vs.15 and pray.

A fragment apparently detailing a vision that Enoch saw.

4Q531 Frag. 7

vs.3 [ . . . great fear] seized me and I fell on my face; I heard his voice [ . . . ] vs.4 [ . . . ] he dwelt among human beings but he did not learn from them [ . . . ]

Original Source: gnosis.org

References   [ + ]

1. Amazon Books: Paperback: 688 pages | Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Revised edition (October 25, 2005) | Language: English | ISBN-10: 006076662X | ISBN-13: 978-0060766627 | Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches | Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds

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