One view of Genesis 6:1-4 is that fallen angels mated with human women to produce the giants of old, the Nephilim.

In Luke 17:26, Jesus said that "...as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man."

Question: Taking the mentioned interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 to be true, it appears that fallen angels mated with human women in the time of Genesis 6. In the light of what Jesus said in Luke 17:26, does Daniel 2:43 refer to a repeat of this scenario?


4 Answers 4


I go back and forth on my interpretation of Gen 6:1-4 as to if it is fallen angels or people. Fallen angels is certainly a view with history. That is the interpretation that the authors of 1 Enoch had (see especially Book of the Watchers). However, Walter Kaiser gives a good defense of the sons of God being human beings in The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant?

However, regarding Daniel, the answer can be found looking at the Aramaic (this is from the Aramaic portion of Daniel).

...Mith'rbiyn lehon bizra' anasha' wla-lehon dabqin danah 'am danah...

The NET Bible translates this as:

2:43 ...so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another... [NET Bible. Emphasis added]

The word for people is anisha, "the people." This uses the Aramaic definite article (an aleph at the end instead of a he at the beginning). This word anish means "man, human being, mankind (as a collective).

One of the sites I found talking about this verse and giving credence to the nephilim interpretation relied heavily on the King James. "And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." It then goes on to draw a distinction between "they" and the "seed of men" saying that the they refers to the 10 toes of the empire and thus it is not the "seed of men" mixing together ("the fact that 'they' are differentiated from mankind hints that “they” may not be human"). This is not the case.

The verb driving the this portion of the sentence is Mith'rbiyn, the hithpa'el plural participle form of 'arab. Hithpa'el forms of verbs are reflexive. That is, the form indicates the subject is acting on itself (it both acts and receives the action). For example, two men wrestling could be expressed by a reflexive plural form (Exodus 2 does this using a reflexive niphal instead of a hithpael).

Thus it means "the seed of men will mix themselves" and does not indicate that any of the mixers are not the seed of men. In fact, the reflexive form tells us that the seed of men are the ones mixing together.

More information on the hithpael stem can be found here and here.

  • Thanks! I'm not proficient enough in Hebrew to evaluate this. This issue you mention seems to be a crucial one though. Many of the English translations mentioned here (bible.cc/daniel/2-43.htm) use grammar that would make the reader think of "they" and "seed of men" as separate (not just KJV). But I also do not know enough about the history of the English translations to comment on that.
    – user1539
    Jul 11, 2012 at 0:40
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    It's also possible that the translators are taking the hithpael as an intensive form instead of a reflexive. It can be used as an intensive (so it wouldn't be flat-out wrong), but this is rarer in my studies. Intensive can sometimes be seen from context. One of the links gives an example along the lines of "I married a wife" where "married" is in the hithpael. Obviously, you don't marry yourself (reflexive), so it must be intensive.
    – Frank Luke
    Jul 11, 2012 at 2:28

Daniel 2:43 refers to ten nations united by "iron" mixed with "clay."

Daniel 2:43 (NASB)
43 And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

The "seed of man" is human Government, if we accept the usage from the prophet Jeremiah, who uses the same words in the context of the New Covenant (Jer 31:27-34).

In the general context of the Book or Daniel and the Book of Revelation, iron appears to be autocracy, and the clay pluralism. That is, the autocracy that unites the ten nations of the union is at the same time "weakened" by the pluralism or democratic form of Government of each individual state. In other words, this European Union is both a federation (one common union) and confederation (separate nation states).

For example, in the Revelation narrative, the respective heads of state of these ten nations are the "heads" which govern. That is, the confederation (separate nation states) carry the "diadem" of authority within the framework of the federation of the European Union.

Revelation 12:3 (NASB)
3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

The diadems represent the control, or rulership. That is, the confederation (separate nation states) maintain the locus of control, since they possess the diadems. Seven of the nations are ruling as democratic forms of Government until the "horns" take over.

Revelation 13:1 (NASB) 3 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

The "horns" now carry the power (and not the "heads"), which now represents complete autocracy over the ten nations under the beast. (In the Revelation, "beast" refers either to the person, who is an individual, and/or to the ten nations, which is "beast" collective.) In other words, the individual beast and collective beast "surfaced" (appeared) when the individual extirpated the three principal "heads" of the collective as described in the Book of Daniel.

Daniel 7:7-8 (NASB)
7 After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.

So the "little horn" was one of the heads, who has extirpated three heads. Thus the following verse in the Revelation makes plain sense.

Revelation 17:9-13 (NASB)
9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.

The individual, who is one of the heads of state, extirpates three of the heads of state (and their pluralistic forms of government). Of the remaining seven heads of state (and their pluralistic forms of government), five of them "cave in" to autocracy with no resistance. The other two remain, one of which is the individual--the beast.

In summary, the "heads" are the leaders and cabinets of the democratically-elected forms of government (or mountains), which are "clay." The "heads" of the three major nations of this ten nation union are subsequently extirpated according to Daniel 7:7-8. The individual beast then usurps the ten governments by transferring the diadems from the "heads" (democracy) to the "horns" (autocracy). In other words, the three heads are usurped by the little horn if and when the Book of Daniel is "read into" the Revelation.

Whether or not one agrees (or disagrees) with this explanation, suffice to say: Genesis 6:1-4 has no relevance with Daniel 2:43. The closest relevance would be 1 Pet 3:18-20, where the Spirit of Jesus (through the testimony of Noah) had testified against the antediluvian generation, which are now incarcerated in the underworld. That is, there was eating and drinking; marrying and giving in marriage, but no repentance before the imminent day of judgment.

  • Okay I took a 5 second look at Jeremiah 31:27-30 and it's blatantly obvious it's talking about procreation.
    – Andrew
    Oct 24, 2023 at 3:29
  • @Andrew - I added the additional verses to the reference for clarification. Thank you for pointing out the oversight. Joseph
    – Joseph
    Oct 25, 2023 at 14:56
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    Jeremiah 31:27-30 speaks of the future prosperity of Judah and Israel. In context, it seems to me that the seed of man and the seed of beast refer to an increase in human population and also in their animals as a sign of prosperity. I don't see how this relates to the divided fourth kingdom that's both tough and fragile.
    – Dieter
    Oct 25, 2023 at 15:46
  • What Dieter said.
    – Andrew
    Oct 26, 2023 at 14:48

The vision for which Daniel gives the interpretation in Daniel 2 is about the current kingdom and kingdoms that are to follow it. From history it can be seen that the kingdoms that followed the Babylonians is a match to the symbols in the vision. The kingdom of the toes was the Roman dynasty which consisted of two forms: the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. This may be the meaning of the mix between the iron and the clay. Another meaning can also be the mix of nations. If my understanding is correct the romans assimilated many nations. These included the Barbarians who did not assimilate well into Rome civilisation and constantly revolted. It (the mix of clay and iron) can also mean the mix of Christianity with Paganism. This happened when Christianity became the state religion of the empire. Examples of this being Christmas and Easter eggs.
If the above is accurate then the vision does not depict a similar event as found in Gen 6. I believe Jesus referred to the surprise of the people at the time of the day of the Lord. This will be the same as in the time of the flood. 2 Peter 3:10 seems to show this and also Jesus himself said “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) Both of these indicate that the day of the Lord will be unexpected. Please note that my knowledge of the Romans is cursory at best. It would be appreciated if someone with more knowledge of the Romans would also give their view.

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    Welcome, Tertius, to our Q&A site! Thanks for the insight. I wonder if I could persuade you to include any references you might have used to construct this answers? Jul 11, 2012 at 16:56
  • @ Tertuis - Your answer is right on track. See BH.SE #66581 answer by Ray Grant, for scholarly references referring the Clay to non-citizen foreigner mercenaries and the slave population that contributed to the Fall of Rome. Keep studying the Bible, it's great for the soul! ...There is indeed a Second Coming still in the future that will come without any warning. Maranatha!
    – ray grant
    Oct 28, 2023 at 21:06

Expository Hermeneutics It is always dangerous to lump together several verses from different books written at different times. Best exposition deals with the context of each verse in its proper setting. Having noted this, the three verses brought together are an example of this type of fallacious exegesis.

The verse in Genesis has been a topic of research and debate in theological circles for centuries! It is, of course, to be interpreted by the instruction of Jesus that angels in heaven do not marry, nor will saints.

The second verse concerning Jesus's Olivet Discourse does not have any reference to this topic of intermarriage either! The mistake that is indulged in in this posting is the mistake of "stopping in mid-stream!" Jesus continued on, and interpreted what He meant by His comment.

He was not describing the evil times of Noah's Day, in order to compare that to the End. Rather, He was merely announcing that the End would come without warning just as it happened in Noah's Flood. (After all, "eating and drinking" and "marrying" are not evil acts!!!) Jesus was declaring that ordinary times would be characteristic of the End...with no Warning at all of the End. (Compare Luke 17:26 with Matthew 24-25, where Be ready, because there is no warning! is the repeated message.)

So Luke has nothing to do with Genesis! The scenarios are vastly different, with two different contexts. They cannot be lumped together.

The third verse from Daniel 2:43, which is the main topic of this posting is, again, a totally different subject. The reference to the mixing of iron and clay, the intermingling of the seed of men, is described accurately in the Aramaic by Frank Luke's answer. The vision deals with human beings only...different types of men. Daniel's verse has nothing to do with Genesis, nor with Luke's description of the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. It is not a repeat of those scenarios, as was asked on this posting.

Daniel's Seed This topic is correctly interpreted in Biblical Hermeneutics SE # 66581 by Ray Grant's answer. Recognized historians and credentialed biblical scholars realize that the actual history of Rome (the fourth Empire of Iron) shows that the mixture of Roman citizens with foreign elements--especially slaves which rivaled in number to the citizens of Rome--were the downfall of the Roman Empire! (Will Durant, Albert Barnes, John Calvin, Jerome, et al.) Even Pliny the Elder lamented this fact!

Vincendo victi sumus; paremus externis. "By conquering we are conquered; we are servants to foreigners!"

Also the armies of Rome consisted of foreign mercenaries which abandoned their allegiance to Rome when the barbarians marched in! (Seven references are given to prove this, in the Answer given by Ray Grant in #66581) The Iron seed of Rome did not adhere to the Clay foreigners of the conquered people groups, and the Empire toppled. Immigration without assimilation leads to disintegration!

Daniel's prophecy in chapter 2 is an amazingly accurate depiction of the downfall of Rome...and the amazing arising of the fantastic Kingdom of God which Jesus initiated during the Roman Empire era (See Matthew 4-9).

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