We all know that after Noahs flood, all living things on the earth were destroyed including the Nephilim from Genesis 6:4. It is presumed that one of the reasons God destroyed the earth was because of this Nephilim, their offspring and also the wickedness of that generation except eight people in Noahs family and the animals and birds in the Ark. However, in Numbers 13:33 the Nephilim reappeared and Israel is terrified of them. So my Question is; How did the descendants of the Nephilim reappear on the earth if the flood had only left Noahs family who eventually populated the earth?
Although, when discussing the Nephilim we are not afforded the luxury of certainty, we still have the capacity of right thinking.
Genesis 6:4 (HCSB)
The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men.
Numbers 13:33 (HCSB)
We even saw the Nephilim there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
In order that we might glean understanding, we must not force systematic theology where it is not needed, and even more importantly we must not assume we know something we simply do not.
So by removing all opinion, presuppositions, denominational doctrines, and assumptions, we can ask "what does the text say?".
Pre-flood the Nephilim are described as the children who were bore unto the sons of God who came to the daughters of mankind.
So if Nephilim emerge post-flood, it would be because the sons of God came unto the daughters of mankind and they bore children to them.
Do not become distracted with auxiliary questions, i.e. who are the sons of God? What does Nephilim mean? etc
Your question is simply how can they be pre and post-flood. The answer is in the text. They would have been post-flood in the same manner that they were pre-flood, that is to say, "the sons of God again came to the daughters of mankind who again bore children to them".
I hope this answer serves as a blessing to you.
There are a few possible approaches to answering this question, and they are based on disproving one of two assumptions in the question, which I will list and provide alternatives to:
Assumption #1. The Nephilim from after the flood must have descended from the Nephilim that existed before the flood.
As noted above by N. Ish, this is not necessarily the case. Nephilim may have come from post-flood unions of sorts, whether as posited above, by unions between angels and men, or other unions (as per this discussion.)
Assumption #2 - No Nephilim survived the flood.
This too is highly debatable. Especially if Nephilim are understood to be regular humans (i.e. Noah's family) or aliens from the skies, there is no reason to assume that they all died out.
The Talmud (Zevachim 113b) actually suggests that Og, one of these Nephilim/giants actually clung to the Noah's ark and lived through the flood, while other opinions suggest that the flood did not affect the entire world (see here as well), and Nephilim survived in the parts of the world that were not affected by the flood.
(Bonus material, courtesy of Nigel J in the comments above:
A third assumption that could be challenged is that Nephilim existed after the flood at all. The only time elsewhere (in the Hebrew Bible) that Nephilim are referred to is in Numbers 13, as part of the testimony of the spies. As Nigel noted, it is possible that they spies were not entirely honest in reporting what they saw. Dr. Apell's response follows the standard understanding that Nephilim, Rephaim, and Anakim are from the same family of beings (which is the basis of the report in Numbers above), but can still be challenged by noting that the giants of Canaan/Rephaim were not necessarily literally Nephilim/Anakim.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here.)
From the Bible account we may conclude that the Nephilim existed before the Flood, as well for a time period after that cataclysm. In fact Genesis 6:4 says: "In that period [בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם], the Nephilim happened on the earth, and, similarly, in the next one [וְגַם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵן], namely, all the time in which the sons of the true God introduced themselves to the men’s daughters, who generated them these ones: the Powerful-Ones, who were considered, from a past, unsighted time, the men of renown" (my provisional translation).
As you see, the two expressions I've quoted by B19 (Codex Leningradensis) imply an important - evidently - happening put on the centre of the discussion. On the basis of the context of this passage we may easily infer that that happening was the Flood. This was considered an unforgettable temporal divide, so the ancient peoples made difference between 'before' or 'after' the Flood. For an example, the Assyrian king Asshurbanipal declared (in a commemorative stela of him) he was able to read 'stone inscriptions, written in the epoch before the Flood'.
Correctly, The Companion Bible (Appendix 25) wrote: "So that 'after that' [Genesis 6:4], that is to say, after the Flood, there was a second irruption of these fallen angels".
The over 600 Flood's ancients traditions tell us that the ancient people never forgot this cataclysm along with its repercussions on human life. Some of these same traditions tell us that a second wave of giants appeared after the Deluge.
Moreover, like I've commented before, if the 10 spies did tell lies to the Israelites (triggering with them fear and lacking of faith) why Joshua and Caleb did not counterargument their 'lies'? Why they didn't say to the other 10 spies (before all the congregation of Israel): "What are you saying? Where and when we have seen the Nephlilim? You're lying!"
It seems to me that the major topic of them was, really, 'Though they live in fortifications and some Nephilim are in their midst, through the power of God they will become bread for our teeth'. It could be very strange that those two faithful men did not grasp the opportunity to show how the other 10 spies did tell mere lies..
A last point. The Bible (Num 14:36) doesn't speak about a false (שׁקר) report, but about an undermining, disparaging (דבה) report.
In fact, see, please, the way in which this term is translated, in various translations: "evil report" (ASV); "bad account" (BBE); "evil words" (Brenton); "bad news" (CEV); "bad report" (ESV); "ill report" (Alter); "discouraging reports" (NAB, NJB).
To answer this question, let's consider Nick's point. "Genesis 6:4 reads as follows: The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown."
The act of the Sons of God did not bring about the giants (Nephilim) but made the "mighty". That's the Nephilim existed before the fall of Sons.
So then, to understand how they reappeared [or existence of a new generation with similar traits], we should seek to understand how they appeared in the first place from the creation and descendants of Adam...
I don't know or have the answers but I think this would guide us in search for the truth... My Candid Opinion...
There are several hypotheticals. Some are mentioned in the other responses, two I didn’t see mentioned yet at all.
1) There was elohim seed in the water animals which were not destroyed by the flood. 2) The daughters in law of Noah had elohim DNA and were therefore nephilim themselves.
I will only be addressing the latter as a potential and will resort to using Bible verses only, so as not to be accused of using extrabiblical sources.
Cliff Notes Style Background
As a quick background sons of G-d are the elohim of psalm 82 and Job 1&2 and Deu 32:8 LXX & DSS. The Bible mentions that although “angels” do not marry and are not given in marriage Matthew 22:30 in Genesis 3:15 we read
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."” Genesis 3:15 NASB
So clearly this speaking serpentine entity had seed and Revelation calls him the Serpent of Old, satan. Satan being a cherub or a seraph depending if you are reading Babylonian or Egyptian origin is identified as having SEED and by seed one understands in essence DNA because that’s what is transferred in a seed, the blue print to the life to be procreated.
Genesis 6:1-4 speaks of the sons of G-d and they clearly copulate with women because they have children. We are going to assume (even if you don’t want to agree) that they are not humans for this explanation. I’m not being dogmatic about this response but I’m sharing some knowledge for what it’s worth.
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4 NASB
There is much more to be said but Jude and 2 Peter describe those that have left their abode are kept in chains. It is for this reason that I don’t have sufficient confidence to believe another son of G-d would repeat Genesis 6:4 especially knowing what these first are enduring for their disobedience.
If we pay attention to the language of those boarding Noah’s ark we will notice that every group is followed with the words “after their kind”
“On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds.” Genesis 7:13-14 NASB
This passage was already mentioned in Chapter 6 and that phrase “after its kind” is mentioned only after the animals but not after Noah’s family. The implication being that The eight souls are not all of the same kind.
We read that Noah was tamiym, translated as perfect or without blemish undefiled. Genesis 6:9
Noah and his wife being echâd G-d would say the same of both of them. I’m not going to side track on this. Both being undefiled their sons could likewise not have been corrupted with the seed of the elohim. So why couldn’t the Bible add after their kind to Noah’s family? The implication is that the wives of the sons were corrupted and given the verse
“God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” Genesis 6:12 NASB
That would infer that all flesh other than the animals G-d kept undefiled and Noah and his immediate family. But the daughters in law were not included as blood relations to Noah.
Cursing the Grandson
This is where it gets curious. Noah plants a vine and gets drunk and the Bible drops an “Easter egg” when it uses the phrase “saw the nakedness of his father”
“Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” Genesis 9:22 NASB
That is the same phrase used in several other places to describe sexual union but not that Ham united with his father but with his mother as per
“You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother; you shall not approach his wife, she is your aunt.” Leviticus 18:14 NASB
This language is highly cryptic and for good reasons but it becomes evident that Noah understood something. Instead of cursing Ham who tried to lay with his own mother Noah curses his grandchild Canaan
“So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers."” Genesis 9:25 NASB
That is most peculiar. But it seems to make sense in this light. Ham after knowing his nephil wife gave birth to a child and the child had nephil traits. Maybe his wife didn’t outwardly display any phenotypic traits but the child made it perfectly evident that she had nephilim DNA. So any other children he would have with her would very likely also be carriers of nephilim DNA. Seeing he had little to no chance convincing his brothers to share their wives to raise up a house for himself, when his father had become drunk he saw an opportunity in a pure/tamiym mother.
Noah blames the grandchild for Ham’s behavior, he was desperate.
If we follow Canaan’s progeny it has many with nephilim traits.
This is one way that the nephilim seed passed over the flood.
Beside this method there is also the possibility that gnostic witchcraft of the gods was employed for trans human and animal genetic mutants but the key remains, elohim seed had to survive somehow in order that it be used.
Example of Nephilim after the Flood
Here are three examples of nephilim in the Bible after the flood
“"Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Though his height was like the height of cedars And he was strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below.” Amos 2:9 NASB
A mature cedar today grows anywhere from 20’ - 65+’ these are the giants Israel saw when they went spying the land. If they were only 7-9’ tall I don’t think they would have been that scared of them.
“Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth; even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying,” Genesis 23:10 NASB
The name Ephron meant fawn-like and names generally had meanings back then, descriptive meaning like Esau. Efron was pet human and part goat. The Hittite have a really interesting ancient artifacts of human animal hybrid drawings.
“Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day.” 1 Chronicles 11:22 KJV
That is part human and part lion. And so you don’t confuse things the same verse has two humans, Benaia and his father, the one lion and the two lionlike men.
There are obviously other examples
Three words: demon sex rituals.
Canaan, where the Nephilim were concentrated after the Flood, was a hotspot for idolatry. The immorality of Canaanite society gradually grew, reaching its apex right before Joshua's conquest after the Exodus (Genesis 15:13-21).
Shocking that this would attract demons who wish to do nefarious things with humans (1 Corinthians 10:20).
I believe that Genesis 6:4 not only explains the "mechanism," if you will, of their first appearance, but also the subsequent "outbreak."
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Gen. 6:4, NASB)
I don't see any warrant for the proposition that nephilim survived the Flood:
All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. (Gen. 7:21-22)