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?

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    perhaps someone can explain why the question was downvoted. it is a genuine question, the view of Genesis 6:1-4 mentioned is by no means isolated but was the common view in antiquity, and the question here involves an interpretation of Daniel 2:43 that i did not come up with myself. it seems a perfectly reasonable question. in complete seriousness, please tell me why it was downvoted. Thanks. – user1539 Jul 10 '12 at 5:47
  • if you simply Google "nephilim daniel 2 43", you will find a number of discussions on this topic, hence indicating that this idea has already propagated for awhile. i am a christian who seeks to understand the Bible better, and the only thing accomplished by downvoting a genuine question is to tell me that i should not ask questions. – user1539 Jul 10 '12 at 5:56
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    Ask, ask, ask any question that you believe has merit. Don't be offended or put off by downvotes, here or anywhere for that matter. Remember that there are no particular tests that anyone has to pass to join this site. – Eli Rosencruft Jul 10 '12 at 19:55
  • I'd appreciate any insight you might have to this meta-question. I'm not sure if we can ever know why the question was voted down, however. Perhaps it was because Google showed results? I don't really know. – Jon Ericson Jul 10 '12 at 20:55

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.

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  • 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 '12 at 0:40
  • 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 '12 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 31:27-30).

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.

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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? – Jon Ericson Jul 11 '12 at 16:56

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