Genesis 6:1
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
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(1) When men (the adam) began to multiply.—The multiplication of the race of Adam was probably comparatively slow, because of the great age to which each patriarch attained before his first-born was brought into the world: though, as the name given is not necessarily that of the eldest, but of the son who enjoyed the birthright, it does not follow that in every case the one named was absolutely the eldest son. There may have been other substitutions besides that of Seth for Cain; and Noah, born when his father was 182 years of age, seems a case in point. He was selected to be the restorer of mankind because of his piety, and may have had many brothers and sisters older than himself. Each patriarch, however, begat “sons and daughters,” and as we find Cain building a city, he must have seen, at all events, the possibility of a considerable population settling round him. It was probably, as we saw above, about the time of Enoch that the corruption of the family of Adam began to become general.

Genesis 6:1. For the glory of God’s justice, and for a warning to a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of the old world, we have a full account of its degeneracy, its apostacy from God, and rebellion against him. The destroying of it was an act, not of absolute sovereignty, but of necessary justice; for the maintaining of the honour of God’s government. When men began to multiply — This was the effect of the blessing, Genesis 1:28, and yet man’s corruption so abused this blessing that it was turned into a curse.

6:1-7 The most remarkable thing concerning the old world, is the destroying of it by the deluge, or flood. We are told of the abounding iniquity of that wicked world: God's just wrath, and his holy resolution to punish it. In all ages there has been a peculiar curse of God upon marriages between professors of true religion and its avowed enemies. The evil example of the ungodly party corrupts or greatly hurts the other. Family religion is put an end to, and the children are trained up according to the worldly maxims of that parent who is without the fear of God. If we profess to be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, we must not marry without his consent. He will never give his blessing, if we prefer beauty, wit, wealth, or worldly honours, to faith and holiness. The Spirit of God strove with men, by sending Enoch, Noah, and perhaps others, to preach to them; by waiting to be gracious, notwithstanding their rebellions; and by exciting alarm and convictions in their consciences. But the Lord declared that his Spirit should not thus strive with men always; he would leave them to be hardened in sin, and ripened for destruction. This he determined on, because man was flesh: not only frail and feeble, but carnal and depraved; having misused the noble powers of his soul to gratify his corrupt inclinations. God sees all the wickedness that is among the children of men; it cannot be hid from him now; and if it be not repented of, it shall be made known by him shortly. The wickedness of a people is great indeed, when noted sinners are men renowned among them. Very much sin was committed in all places, by all sorts of people. Any one might see that the wickedness of man was great: but God saw that every imagination, or purpose, of the thoughts of man's heart, was only evil continually. This was the bitter root, the corrupt spring. The heart was deceitful and desperately wicked; the principles were corrupt; the habits and dispositions evil. Their designs and devices were wicked. They did evil deliberately, contriving how to do mischief. There was no good among them. God saw man's wickedness as one injured and wronged by it. He saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which grieves him, and makes him wish he had been childless. The words here used are remarkable; they are used after the manner of men, and do not mean that God can change, or be unhappy. Does God thus hate our sin? And shall not we be grieved to the heart for it? Oh that we may look on Him whom we have grieved, and mourn! God repented that he had made man; but we never find him repent that he redeemed man. God resolves to destroy man: the original word is very striking, 'I will wipe off man from the earth,' as dirt or filth is wiped off from a place which should be clean, and is thrown to the dunghill, the proper place for it. God speaks of man as his own creature, when he resolves upon his punishment. Those forfeit their lives who do not answer the end of their living. God speaks of resolution concerning men, after his Spirit had been long striving with them in vain. None are punished by the justice of God, but those who hate to be reformed by the grace of God.There are two stages of evil set forth in Genesis 6:1-4 - the one contained in the present four verses, and the other in the following. The former refers to the apostasy of the descendants of Sheth, and the cause and consequences of it. When man began to multiply, the separate families of Cain and Sheth would come into contact. The daughters of the stirring Cainites, distinguished by the graces of nature, the embellishments of art, and the charms of music and song, even though destitute of the loftier qualities of likemindedness with God, would attract attention and prompt to unholy alliances. The phrase "sons of God," means an order of intelligent beings who "retain the purity of moral character" originally communicated, or subsequently restored, by their Creator. They are called the sons of God, because they have his spirit or disposition. The sons of God mentioned in Job 38:7, are an order of rational beings existing before the creation of man, and joining in the symphony of the universe, when the earth and all things were called into being. Then all were holy, for all are styled the sons of God. Such, however, are not meant in the present passage. For they were not created as a race, have no distinction of sex, and therefore no sexual desire; they "neither marry nor are given in marriage" Matthew 22:30. It is contrary to the law of nature for different species even on earth to cohabit in a carnal way; much more for those in the body, and those who have not a body of flesh. Moreover, we are here in the region of humanity, and not in the sphere of superhuman spirits; and the historian has not given the slightest intimation of the existence of spiritual beings different from man.

The sons of God, therefore, are those who are on the Lord's side, who approach him with duly significant offerings, who call upon him by his proper name, and who walk with God in their daily conversation. The figurative use of the word "son" to denote a variety of relations incidental, and moral as well as natural, was not unfamiliar to the early speaker. Thus, Noah is called "the son of five hundred years" Genesis 5:32. Abraham calls Eliezer בן־בותי ben-bēytı̂y, "son of my house" Genesis 15:3. The dying Rachel names her son Ben-oni, "son of my sorrow," while his father called him Benjamin, "son of thy right hand" Genesis 35:18. An obvious parallel to the moral application is presented in the phrases "the seed of the woman" and "the seed of the serpent." The word "generations" תולדות tôledot, Genesis 5:1) exhibits a similar freedom and elasticity of meaning, being applied to the whole doings of a rational being, and even to the physical changes of the material world Genesis 2:4. The occasion for the present designation is furnished in the remark of Eve on the birth of Sheth. God hath given me another seed instead of Habel. Her son Sheth she therefore regarded as the son of God. Accordingly, about the birth of his son Enosh, was begun the custom calling upon the name of the Lord, no doubt in the family circle of Adam, with whom Sheth continued to dwell. And Enok, the seventh from Adam in the same line, exhibited the first striking example of a true believer walking with God in all the intercourse of life. These descendants of Sheth, among whom were also Lamek who spoke of the Lord, and Noah who walked with God, are therefore by a natural transition called the sons of God, the godlike in a moral sense, being born of the Spirit, and walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit Psalm 82:6; Hosea 2:1.

Some take "the daughters of man" to be the daughters of the Cainites only. But it is sufficient to understand by this phrase, the daughters of man in general, without any distinction of a moral or spiritual kind, and therefore including both Cainite and Shethite females. "And they took them wives of all whom they chose." The evil here described is that of promiscuous intermarriage, without regard to spiritual character. The godly took them wives of all; that is, of the ungodly as well as the godly families, without any discrimination. "Whom they chose," not for the godliness of their lives, but for the goodliness of their looks. Ungodly mothers will not train up children in the way they should go; and husbands who have taken the wrong step of marrying ungodly wives cannot prove to be very exemplary or authoritative fathers. Up to this time they may have been consistent as the sons of God in their outward conduct. But a laxity of choice proves a corresponding laxity of principle. The first inlet of sin prepares the way for the flood-gates of iniquity. It is easy to see that now the degeneracy of the whole race will go on at a rapid pace.


Ge 6:1-22. Wickedness of the World.Unlawful matches of the sons of God with the daughters of men, Genesis 6:1-2, grieve the Spirit of God, who threatens their destruction, Genesis 6:3. Giants and mighty men born; a general degeneracy of mankind, Genesis 6:4-5. God repents that he had made man, and resolves to destroy that world, Genesis 6:6-7. Noah is excepted, and finds favour with God, Genesis 6:8. His character, Genesis 6:9. The earth corrupt, and filled with violence, Genesis 6:11-12. God declares to Noah his purpose to destroy it, Genesis 6:13. Directs him to make an ark, Genesis 6:14-16. Mentions a deluge, Genesis 6:17. His covenant with Noah to preserve a seed, Genesis 6:18-21. Noah’s obedience, Genesis 6:22.

Men, i.e. wicked men, the posterity of Cain, as appears from Genesis 6:2; who are here called men, and the sons of men, by way of contempt, and of distinction; mere men, such as had only the natures and qualities of corrupt men, without the image of God.

Began to multiply, to wit, more than ordinarily; or more than the sons of God, because they practised polygamy, after the example of their predecessor, the ungodly Lamech, Genesis 4:19.

Daughters were born unto them; so doubtless were sons also; but their daughters are here mentioned as one principal occasion of the sin noted in Genesis 6:2, and of the following deluge.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply upon the face of the earth,.... Either mankind in general, or rather the posterity of Cain, who were mere natural men, such as they were when born into the world, and as brought up in it, destitute of the grace of God, and of the knowledge and fear of him; and who in proportion much more multiplied than the posterity of Seth, because of the practice of polygamy, which by the example of Lamech, one of that race, might prevail among them:

and daughters were born unto them; not daughters only, but sons also, though it may be more daughters than sons, or it may denote remarkable ones, for their beauty or immodesty, or both; and chiefly this is observed for the sake of what follows.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
1. men] Heb. ha-adam, i.e. “the man.” It is not the proper name “Adam”; nor is it “the man” as an individual as in Genesis 3:24, Genesis 4:1 : but “the man” collectively, in the sense of “the human race,” LXX οἱ ἄνθρωποι. This use of the word is different from anything in the Paradise Narrative: see Genesis 5:1.

began to multiply] No account is taken of (a) the description of the growth of the population, and of (b) the genealogies of Cainites and Sethites, which have occupied chaps. Genesis 4:17-25; Genesis 4:5.

Ch. Genesis 6:1 to Genesis 9:29. The Deluge

1–4. The sons of God and the daughters of men] This short strange passage serves as a kind of Preface to the Narrative of the Deluge. There is nothing to be found quite like it elsewhere in the O.T. It obviously is not a continuation of the previous chapter; and, except for a possible, though most disputable, allusion in the mention of the 120 years (Genesis 6:3), its contents do not presuppose the catastrophe of the Flood. In all probability, we should be right in regarding these four verses as a fragment from some quite independent source of early Hebrew tradition, most certainly distinct from the regular materials represented in J and P.

The mention of the marriages between “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men” is clearly a survival of early Hebrew mythology. It accounted for the existence of an Israelite tradition respecting a primitive race of giants. There are traces, in the literature of other countries, of a similar belief in fabulous giants, or semi-divine heroes, who lived in a far-remote age of antiquity.

The tradition preserved in this brief fragment is condensed, and the language is not free from obscurity. There are, however, allusions in other parts of the O.T. (see note on Genesis 6:4) to the race of giants which was believed not to have been extinct at the time of the occupation of Palestine by the Israelite tribes. Such a belief was incompatible with the tradition that all the primaeval dwellers in the world, except Noah and his family, perished in the waters of the Flood (Genesis 7:21-23). If, therefore, the impious unions of angels with the daughters of men were considered to account for the existence of a giant human race surviving in later times, the tradition which recorded them must have been quite distinct from, and independent of, the tradition of a universal Flood.

As an isolated survival of Hebrew mythology, it furnishes an instructive reminder, that the popular ideas of Israel concerning primaeval times may be presumed, at least originally, to have resembled those of other nations. They were pervaded by fanciful and legendary elements. We must realize that the spiritual teaching of the religion of Jehovah was responsible for an extensive purgation of the traditions which described the beginnings of the world and of the Israelite people. Polytheistic and unedifying materials were most successfully excluded in the compilation of the Hebrew sacred books. The result is simple, dignified, and elevating. We have in these four verses a glimpse of the material which for the most part was rigorously discarded.

Verses 1, 2. - And it came to pass. Literally, it was; not in immediate sequence to the preceding chapter, but at some earlier point in the antediluvian period; perhaps about the time of Enoch (corresponding to that of Lamech the Cainite), if not in the days of Enos. Havernick joins the passage with Genesis 4:26. When men - ha'adham, i.e. the human race in general, and not the posterity of Cain in particular (Ainsworth, Rosenmüller, Bush) - began to multiply - in virtue of the Divine blessing (Genesis 1:28) - on (or over) the face of the earth. "Alluding to the population spreading itself out as well as increasing" (Bonar). And daughters were born unto them. Not referring to any special increase of the female sex (Lange), but simply indicating the quarter whence the danger to the pious Sethites rose: "who became snares to the race of Seth" (Wordsworth). That the sons of God. Bene-ha Elohim.

1. Not young men of the upper ranks, as distinguished from maidens of humble birth (Onk., Jon., Sym., Aben Ezra); an opinion which "may now be regarded as exploded" (Lange).

2. Still less the angels (LXX., - some MSS. having ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ, - Philo, Josephus, Justin Martyr, Clement, Tertullian, Luther, Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Von Bohlen, Ewald, Baumgarten, Delitzsch, Kurtz, Hengstenberg, Alford); for

(1) they are either good angels, in which case they might be rightly styled sons of God (Psalm 29:1; Psalm 89:7; Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7; Daniel 3:25), though it is doubtful if this expression does not denote their official rather than natural relationship to God, but it is certain they would not be guilty of the sin here referred to; or they are bad angels, in which ease they might readily enough commit the sin, if it were possible, but certainly they would not be called "the sons of God."

(2) The statement of Jude (vers. 6, 7), though seemingly in favor of this interpretation, does not necessarily require it; since (α) it is uncertain Whether the phrase "τὸν ὅμοιον τούτοις τρόπον ἐκπορνεύσασαι καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας refers to the angels or to "αἱ περὶ αὐτὰς πόλεις," in which case the antecedent of τούτοις will not be the ἀγγέλοι of ver. 6, but Σόδομα καὶ Γόμοῥῤα of ver. 7; (β) if even it refers to the angels it does not follow that the parallel between the cities and the angels consisted in the "going after strange flesh," and not rather in the fact that both departed from God, "the sin of the apostate angels being in God s view a sin of like kind spiritually with Sodom's going away from God's order of nature after strange flesh" (Fausset); (γ) again, granting that Jude's language describes the sin of the angels as one of carnal fornication with the daughters of men, the sin of which the sons of Elohim are represented as guilty is not πορνεία, but the forming of unhallowed matrimonial alliances. Hence

(3) the assertion of our Lord in Luke 20:35 is inconsistent with the hypothesis that by the sons of God are meant the angels; and

(4) consistent exegesis requires that only extreme urgency, in fact absolute necessity (neither of which can be alleged here), should cause the sons of God to be looked for elsewhere than among the members of the human race.

3. The third interpretation, therefore, which regards the sons of God as the pious Sethites (Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, Augustine, Jerome, Calvin, Keil, Havernick, Lange, Murphy, Wordsworth, Quarry, 'Speaker's Commentary'), though not without its difficulties, has the most to recommend it.

(1) It is natural, and not monstrous.

(2) It is Scriptural, and not mythical (cf. Numbers 25; Judges 3; 1 Kings 11, 16; Revelation 2, for sins of a similar description).

(3) It accords with the designation subsequently given to the pious followers of God (cf. Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 32:5; Psalm 73:15; Proverbs 14:26; Luke 3:38; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26).

(4) It has a historical basis in the fact that Seth was regarded by his mother as a son from God (Genesis 4:25), and in the circumstance that already the Sethites had begun to call themselves by the name of Jehovah (Genesis 4:26). Dathius translates, "qui de nomine Dei vocabantur."

(5) It is sufficient as an hypothesis, and therefore is entitled to the preference. Saw the daughters of men (not of the Cainitic race exclusively, but of men generally) that they were fair, and had regard to this alone in contracting marriages. "Instead of looking at the spiritual kinsmanship, they had an eye only to the pleasure of sense" (Lange). "What the historian condemns is not that regard was had to beauty, but that mera libido regnaverit in the choice of wives" (Calvin). And they took them wives. Lakachisha," a standing expression throughout the Old Testament for the marriage relationship established by God at the creation, is never applied to πορνεία, or the simple act of physical connection, which is sufficient of itself to exclude any reference to angels" (Keil; cf. Genesis 4:19; Genesis 12:19; Genesis 19:14; Exodus 6:25; 1 Samuel 25:43). Of all whom they chose. The emphasis on טִכֹּל (of all) signifies that, guided by a love of merely sensual attractions, they did not confine themselves to the beautiful daughters of the Sethite race, but selected their brides from the fair women of the Cainites, and perhaps with a preference for these. The opinion that they selected "both virgins and wives, they cared, not, whom," and "took them by violence (Willet), is not warranted by the language of the historian. The sons of God were neither the Nephilim nor the Gibborim afterwards described, but the parents of the latter. The evil indicated is simply that of promiscuous marriages without regard to spiritual character. Genesis 6:1Genesis 6:1-2 relates to the increase of men generally (האדם, without any restriction), i.e., of the whole human race; and whilst the moral corruption is represented as universal, the whole human race, with the exception of Noah, who found grace before God (Genesis 6:8), is described as ripe for destruction (Genesis 6:3 and Genesis 6:5-8). To understand this section, and appreciate the causes of this complete degeneracy of the race, we must first obtain a correct interpretation of the expressions "sons of God" (האלהים בני) and "daughters of men" (האדם בנות). Three different views have been entertained from the very earliest times: the "sons of God" being regarded as (a) the sons of princes, (b) angels, (c) the Sethites or godly men; and the "daughters of men," as the daughters (a) of people of the lower orders, (b) of mankind generally, (c) of the Cainites, or of the rest of mankind as contrasted with the godly or the children of God. Of these three views, the first, although it has become the traditional one in orthodox rabbinical Judaism, may be dismissed at once as not warranted by the usages of the language, and as altogether unscriptural. The second, on the contrary, may be defended on two plausible grounds: first, the fact that the "sons of God," in Job 1:6; Job 2:1, and Job 38:7, and in Daniel 3:25, are unquestionably angels (also אלים בּני in Psalm 29:1 and Psalm 89:7); and secondly, the antithesis, "sons of God" and "daughters of men." Apart from the context and tenor of the passage, these two points would lead us most naturally to regard the "sons of God" as angels, in distinction from men and the daughters of men. But this explanation, though the first to suggest itself, can only lay claim to be received as the correct one, provided the language itself admits of no other. Now that is not the case. For it is not to angels only that the term "sons of Elohim," or "sons of Elim," is applied; but in Psalm 73:15, in an address to Elohim, the godly are called "the generation of Thy sons," i.e., sons of Elohim; in Deuteronomy 32:5 the Israelites are called His (God's) sons, and in Hosea 1:10, "sons of the living God;" and in Psalm 80:17, Israel is spoken of as the son, whom Elohim has made strong. These passages show that the expression "sons of God" cannot be elucidated by philological means, but must be interpreted by theology alone. Moreover, even when it is applied to the angels, it is questionable whether it is to be understood in a physical or ethical sense. The notion that "it is employed in a physical sense as nomen naturae, instead of angels as nomen officii, and presupposes generation of a physical kind," we must reject as an unscriptural and gnostic error. According to the scriptural view, the heavenly spirits are creatures of God, and not begotten from the divine essence. Moreover, all the other terms applied to the angels are ethical in their character. But if the title "sons of God" cannot involve the notion of physical generation, it cannot be restricted to celestial spirits, but is applicable to all beings which bear the image of God, or by virtue of their likeness to God participate in the glory, power, and blessedness of the divine life, - to men therefore as well as angels, since God has caused man to "want but little of Elohim," or to stand but a little behind Elohim (Psalm 8:5), so that even magistrates are designated "Elohim, and sons of the Most High" (Psalm 82:6). When Delitzsch objects to the application of the expression "sons of Elohim" to pious men, because, "although the idea of a child of God may indeed have pointed, even in the O.T., beyond its theocratic limitation to Israel (Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 14:1) towards a wider ethical signification (Psalm 73:15; Proverbs 14:26), yet this extension and expansion were not so completed, that in historical prose the terms 'sons of God' (for which 'sons of Jehovah' should have been used to prevent mistake), and 'sons (or daughters) of men,' could be used to distinguish the children of God and the children of the world," - this argument rests upon the erroneous supposition, that the expression "sons of God" was introduced by Jehovah for the first time when He selected Israel to be the covenant nation. So much is true, indeed, that before the adoption of Israel as the first-born son of Jehovah (Exodus 4:22), it would have been out of place to speak of sons of Jehovah; but the notion is false, or at least incapable of proof, that there were not children of God in the olden time, long before Abraham's call, and that, if there were, they could not have been called "sons of Elohim." The idea was not first introduced in connection with the theocracy, and extended thence to a more universal signification. It had its roots in the divine image, and therefore was general in its application from the very first; and it was not till God in the character of Jehovah chose Abraham and his seed to be the vehicles of salvation, and left the heathen nations to go their own way, that the expression received the specifically theocratic signification of "son of Jehovah," to be again liberated and expanded into the more comprehensive idea of νἱοθεσία τοῦ Θεοῦ (i.e., Elohim, not τοῦ κυρίου equals Jehovah), at the coming of Christ, the Saviour of all nations. If in the olden time there were pious men who, like Enoch and Noah, walked with Elohim, or who, even if they did not stand in this close priestly relation to God, made the divine image a reality through their piety and fear of God, then there were sons (children) of God, for whom the only correct appellation was "sons of Elohim," since sonship to Jehovah was introduced with the call of Israel, so that it could only have been proleptically that the children of God in the old world could be called "sons of Jehovah." But if it be still argued, that in mere prose the term "sons of God" could not have been applied to children of God, or pious men, this would be equally applicable to "sons of Jehovah." On the other hand, there is this objection to our applying it to angels, that the pious, who walked with God and called upon the name of the Lord, had been mentioned just before, whereas no allusion had been made to angels, not even to their creation.

Again, the antithesis "sons of God" and "daughters of men" does not prove that the former were angels. It by no means follows, that because in Genesis 6:1 האדם denotes man as a genus, i.e., the whole human race, it must do the same in Genesis 6:2, where the expression "daughters of men" is determined by the antithesis "sons of God." And with reasons existing for understanding by the sons of God and the daughters of men two species of the genus האדם, mentioned in Genesis 6:1, no valid objection can be offered to the restriction of האדם, through the antithesis Elohim, to all men with the exception of the sons of God; since this mode of expression is by no means unusual in Hebrew. "From the expression 'daughters of men," as Dettinger observes, "it by no means follows that the sons of God were not men; any more than it follows from Jeremiah 32:20, where it is said that God had done miracles 'in Israel, and among men,' or from Isaiah 43:4, where God says He will give men for the Israelites, or from Judges 16:7, where Samson says, that if he is bound with seven green withs he shall be as weak as a man, for from Psalm 73:5, where it is said of the ungodly they are not in trouble as men, that the Israelites, or Samson, or the ungodly, were not men at all. In all these passages אדם (men) denotes the remainder of mankind in distinction from those who are especially named." Cases occur, too, even in simple prose, in which the same term is used, first in a general, and then directly afterwards in a more restricted sense. We need cite only one, which occurs in Judg. In Judges 19:30 reference is made to the coming of the children of Israel (i.e., of the twelve tribes) out of Egypt; and directly afterwards (Judges 20:1-2) it is related that "all the children of Israel," "all the tribes of Israel," assembled together (to make war, as we learn from Judges 20:3., upon Benjamin); and in the whole account of the war, Judges 20 and 21, the tribes of Israel are distinguished from the tribe of Benjamin: so that the expression "tribes of Israel" really means the rest of the tribes with the exception of Benjamin. And yet the Benjamites were Israelites. Why then should the fact that the sons of God are distinguished from the daughters of men prove that the former could not be men? There is not force enough in these two objections to compel us to adopt the conclusion that the sons of God were angels.

The question whether the "sons of Elohim" were celestial or terrestrial sons of God (angels or pious men of the family of Seth) can only be determined from the context, and from the substance of the passage itself, that is to say, from what is related respecting the conduct of the sons of God and its results. That the connection does not favour the idea of their being angels, is acknowledged even by those who adopt this view. "It cannot be denied," says Delitzsch, "that the connection of Genesis 6:1-8 with Genesis 4 necessitates the assumption, that such intermarriages (of the Sethite and Cainite families) did take place about the time of the flood (cf. Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:27); and the prohibition of mixed marriages under the law (Exodus 34:16; cf. Genesis 27:46; Genesis 28:1.) also favours the same idea." But this "assumption" is placed beyond all doubt, by what is here related of the sons of God. In Genesis 6:2 it is stated that "the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose," i.e., of any with whose beauty they were charmed; and these wives bare children to them (Genesis 6:4). Now אשּׁה לקח (to take a wife) is a standing expression throughout the whole of the Old Testament for the marriage relation established by God at the creation, and is never applied to πορνεία, or the simple act of physical connection. This is quite sufficient of itself to exclude any reference to angels. For Christ Himself distinctly states that the angels cannot marry (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; cf. Luke 20:34.). And when Kurtz endeavours to weaken the force of these words of Christ, by arguing that they do not prove that it is impossible for angels so to fall from their original holiness as to sink into an unnatural state; this phrase has no meaning, unless by conclusive analogies, or the clear testimony of Scripture,

(Note: We cannot admit that there is any force in Hoffmann's argument in his Schriftbeweis 1, p. 426, that "the begetting of children on the part of angels is not more irreconcilable with a nature that is not organized, like that of man, on the basis of sexual distinctions, than partaking of food is with a nature that is altogether spiritual; and yet food was eaten by the angels who visited Abraham." For, in the first place, the eating in this case was a miracle wrought through the condescending grace of the omnipotent God, and furnishes no standard for judging what angels can do by their own power in rebellion against God. And in the second place, there is a considerable difference between the act of eating on the part of the angels of God who appeared in human shape, and the taking of wives and begetting of children on the part of sinning angels. We are quite unable also to accept as historical testimony, the myths of the heathen respecting demigods, sons of gods, and the begetting of children on the part of their gods, or the fables of the book of Enoch (ch. 6ff.) about the 200 angels, with their leaders, who lusted after the beautiful and delicate daughters of men, and who came down from heaven and took to themselves wives, with whom they begat giants of 3000 (or according to one MS 300) cubits in height.

Nor do 2 Peter 2:4 and Jde 1:6 furnish any evidence of angel marriages. Peter is merely speaking of sinning angels in general (ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων) whom God did not spare, and not of any particular sin on the part of a small number of angels; and Jude describes these angels as τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχήν ἀλλὰ ἀπολιπόντας τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον, those who kept not their princedom, their position as rulers, but left their own habitation. There is nothing here about marriages with the daughters of men or the begetting of children, even if we refer the word τούτοις in the clause τὸν ὅμοιον τούτοις τρόπον ἐκπορνεύσασαι in Jde 1:7 to the angels mentioned in Jde 1:6; for ἐκπορνεύειν, the commission of fornication, would be altogether different from marriage, that is to say, from a conjugal bond that was permanent even though unnatural. But it is neither certain nor probable that this is the connection of τούτοις. Huther, the latest commentator upon this Epistle, who gives the preference to this explanation of τούτοις, and therefore cannot be accused of being biassed by doctrinal prejudices, says distinctly in the 2nd Ed. of his commentary, "τούτοις may be grammatically construed as referring to Sodom and Gomorrah, or per synesin to the inhabitants of these cities; but in that case the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah would only be mentioned indirectly." There is nothing in the rules of syntax, therefore, to prevent our connecting the word with Sodom and Gomorrah; and it is not a fact, that "grammaticae et logicae praecepta compel us to refer this word to the angels," as G. v. Zeschwitz says. But the very same reason which Huther assigns for not connecting it with Sodom and Gomorrah, may be also assigned for not connecting it with the angels, namely, that in that case the sin of the angels would only be mentioned indirectly. We regard Philippi's explanation (in his Glaubenslehre iii. p. 303) as a possible one, viz., that the word τούτοις refers back to the ἄνθρωποι ἀσελγεῖς mentioned in Jde 1:4, and as by no means set aside by De Wette's objection, that the thought of Jde 1:8 would be anticipated in that case; for this objection is fully met by the circumstance, that not only does the word οὗτοι, which is repeated five times from Jde 1:8 onwards, refer back to these men, but even the word τούτοις in Jde 1:14 also. On the other hand, the reference of τούτοις to the angels is altogether precluded by the clause καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, which follows the word ἐκπορνεύσασαι. For fornication on the part of the angels could only consist in their going after flesh, or, as Hoffmann expresses it, "having to do with flesh, for which they were not created," but not in their going after other, or foreign flesh. There would be no sense in the word ἑτέρας unless those who were ἐκπορνεύσαντες were themselves possessed of σάρξ; so that this is the only alternative, either we must attribute to the angels a σάρξ or fleshly body, or the idea of referring τούτοις to the angels must be given up. When Kurtz replies to this by saying that "to angels human bodies are quite as much a ἑτέρα σάρξ, i.e., a means of sensual gratification opposed to their nature and calling, as man can be to human man," he hides the difficulty, but does not remove it, by the ambiguous expression "opposed to their nature and calling." The ἑτέρα σάρξ must necessarily presuppose an ἰδία σάρξ.

But it is thought by some, that even if τούτοις in Jde 1:7 do not refer to the angels in Jde 1:6, the words of Jude agree so thoroughly with the tradition of the book of Enoch respecting the fall of the angels, that we must admit the allusion to the Enoch legend, and so indirectly to Genesis 6, since Jude could not have expressed himself more clearly to persons who possessed the book of Enoch, or were acquainted with the tradition it contained. Now this conclusion would certainly be irresistible, if the only sin of the angels mentioned in the book of Enoch, as that for which they were kept in chains of darkness still the judgment-day, had been their intercourse with human wives. For the fact that Jude was acquainted with the legend of Enoch, and took for granted that the readers of his Epistle were so too, is evident from his introducing a prediction of Enoch in Jde 1:14, Jde 1:15, which is to be found in ch. i. 9 of Dillmann's edition of the book of Enoch. But it is admitted by all critical writers upon this book, that in the book of Enoch which has been edited by Dillmann, and is only to be found in an Ethiopic version, there are contradictory legends concerning the fall and judgment of the angels; that the book itself is composed of earlier and later materials; and that those very sections (ch. 6-16:106, etc.) in which the legend of the angel marriages is given without ambiguity, belong to the so-called book of Noah, i.e., to a later portion of the Enoch legend, which is opposed in many passages to the earlier legend. The fall of the angels is certainly often referred to in the earlier portions of the work; but among all the passages adduced by Dillmann in proof of this, there is only one (19:1) which mentions the angels who had taken wives. In the others, the only thing mentioned as the sin of the angels or of the hosts of Azazel, is the fact that they were subject to Satan, and seduced those who dwelt on the earth (54:3-6), or that they came down from heaven to earth, and revealed to the children of men what was hidden from them, and then led them astray to the commission of sin (64:2). There is nothing at all here about their taking wives. Moreover, in the earlier portions of the book, besides the fall of the angels, there is frequent reference made to a fall, i.e., an act of sin, on the part of the stars of heaven and the army of heaven, which transgressed the commandment of God before they rose, by not appearing at their appointed time (vid., 18:14-15; 21:3; 90:21, 24, etc.); and their punishment and place of punishment are described, in just the same manner as in the case of the wicked angels, as a prison, a lofty and horrible place in which the seven stars of heaven lie bound like great mountains and flaming with fire (21:2-3), as an abyss, narrow and deep, dreadful and dark, in which the star which fell first from heaven is lying, bound hand and foot (88:1, cf. 90:24). From these passages it is quite evident, that the legend concerning the fall of the angels and stars sprang out of Isaiah 24:21-22 ("And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall visit the host of the height [המּרום צבא, the host of heaven, by which stars and angels are to be understood on high i.e., the spiritual powers of the heavens] and the kings of the earth upon the earth, and they shall be gathered together, bound in the dungeon, and shut up in prison, and after many days they shall be punished"), along with Isaiah 14:12 ("How art thou fallen from heaven, thou beautiful morning star!"), and that the account of the sons of God in Genesis 6, as interpreted by those who refer it to the angels, was afterwards combined and amalgamated with it.

Now if these different legends, describing the judgment upon the stars that fell from heaven, and the angels that followed Satan in seducing man, in just the same manner as the judgment upon the angels who begot giants from women, were in circulation at the time when the Epistle of Jude was written; we must not interpret the sin of the angels, referred to by Peter and Jude, in a one-sided manner, and arbitrarily connect it with only such passages of the book of Enoch as speak of angel marriages, to the entire disregard of all the other passages, which mention totally different sins as committed by the angels, that are punished with bands of darkness; but we must interpret it from what Jude himself has said concerning this sin, as Peter gives no further explanation of what he means by ἁμαρτῆσαι. Now the only sins that Jude mentions are μὴ τηρῆσαι τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχήν and ἀπολιπεῖν τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον. The two are closely connected. Through not keeping the ἀρχή (i.e., the position as rulers in heaven) which belonged to them, and was assigned them at their creation, the angels left "their own habitation" (ἴδιον οἰκητήριον); just as man, when he broke the commandment of God and failed to keep his position as ruler on earth, also lost "his own habitation" (ἴδιον οἰκητήριον), that is to say, not paradise alone, but the holy body of innocence also, so that he needed a covering for his nakedness, and will continue to need it, until we are "clothed upon with our hose which is from heaven" (οἰκητήριον ἡμῶν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ). In this description of the angels' sin, there is not the slightest allusion to their leaving heaven to woo the beautiful daughters of men. The words may be very well interpreted, as they were by the earlier Christian theologians, as relating to the fall of Satan and his angels, to whom all that is said concerning their punishment fully applies. If Jude had had the πορνεία of the angels, mentioned in the Enoch legends, in his mind, he would have stated this distinctly, just as he does in v. 9 in the case of the legend concerning Michael and the devil, and in v. 11 in that of Enoch's prophecy. There was all the more reason for his doing this, because not only to contradictory accounts of the sin of the angels occur in the Enoch legends, but a comparison of the parallels cited from the book of Enoch proves that he deviated from the Enoch legend in points of no little importance. Thus, for example, according to Enoch 54:3, "iron chains of immense weight" are prepared for the hosts of Azazel, to put them into the lowest hell, and cast them on that great day into the furnace with flaming fire. Now Jude and Peter say nothing about iron chains, and merely mention "everlasting chains under darkness" and "chains of darkness." Again, according to Enoch 10:12, the angel sinners are "bound fast under the earth for seventy generations, till the day of judgment and their completion, till the last judgment shall be held for all eternity." Peter and Jude make no allusion to this point of time, and the supporters of the angel marriages, therefore, have thought well to leave it out when quoting this parallel to Jde 1:6. Under these circumstances, the silence of the apostles as to either marriages or fornication on the part of the sinful angels, is a sure sign that they gave no credence to these fables of a Jewish gnosticizing tradition.)

it can be proved that the angels either possess by nature a material corporeality adequate to the contraction of a human marriage, or that by rebellion against their Creator they can acquire it, or that there are some creatures in heaven and on earth which, through sinful degeneracy, or by sinking into an unnatural state, can become possessed of the power, which they have not by nature, of generating and propagating their species. As man could indeed destroy by sin the nature which he had received from his Creator, but could not by his own power restore it when destroyed, to say nothing of implanting an organ or a power that was wanting before; so we cannot believe that angels, through apostasy from God, could acquire sexual power of which they had previously been destitute.

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