Does men of renown in the Genesis 6:4 mean that the offspring of the union of the "sons of God with the daughters of men" mean that the said offspring were mightier than the rest of the sinful generation and of Noah?

With marriage and population increase common at that time, why is this union described as "when sons of God come in unto daughters of men"?

Genesis 6:4

The fallen ones were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards when sons of God come in unto daughters of men, and they have borne to them -- they are the heroes, who, from of old, are the men of name.

2 Answers 2


Comparing other verses of the Bible that use a similar expression may be helpful. In this case, there is one that seems especially relevant which uses the same Hebrew expression for "men of renown."

Speaking of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who led in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, the Bible says:

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: (Numbers 16:2, KJV)

These "men of renown" appear to have been called this before they were destroyed, but one does wonder if they were afterward "renowned," i.e. "infamous," on account of the manner in which they were destroyed by God.

The antediluvians were likewise involved in a rebellion against God and were similarly destroyed in miraculous manner by God.

So whether the expression indicates these men were "famous" or whether it might actually intend "infamous," either way they were definitely well known, and had made a name for themselves. The exact reason for their fame is not given.

  • Thank you for your answer. Are these men of renown mightier than the rest of the sinful generation and of Noah? If they are, are there clues as to why only the offspring from this union were mightier than the rest? Were they mighty physically? or mighty because they hold positions of authority? Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 5:11
  • The text is - הַנְּפִלִ֞ים הָי֣וּ בָאָרֶץ֮ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵם֒ וְגַ֣ם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָבֹ֜אוּ בְּנֵ֤י הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בְּנֹ֣ות הָֽאָדָ֔ם וְיָלְד֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם הֵ֧מָּה הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מֵעֹולָ֖ם אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַשֵּֽׁם׃ Now, where is the word "Lord" in Gen 6:4?
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 21:15

I think the word "Lord" is used in the Hebrew text, which traditionally those non-Hebrew translators will take it as "G-d". But in the Hebrew context, the word "Lord" can also be referring to those in the leadership or with authority. A few passages in the old text have the same "Lord" and are referred to as human lords.

Long story short: a copy-paste from Chabad.org's Rashi explanation-

2 That the sons of the nobles saw the daughters of man when they were beautifying themselves, and they took for themselves wives from whomever they chose.

the sons of the nobles: Heb. בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים,

the sons of the princes (Targumim) and the judges (Gen. Rabbah 26:5). Another explanation: בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים are the princes who go as messengers of the Omnipresent. They too mingled with them (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 22). Every אֱלֹהִים in Scripture is an expression of authority, and the following proves it (Exod. 4:16): “And you shall be to him as a lord (לֵאלֹהִים)”; (ibid. 7:1): “See, I have made you a lord (אֶלֹהִים).” when they were beautifying themselves: Heb., טֹבֹת. Said Rabbi Judan: It is written טבת [i.e., instead of טובות. Thus it can be read טָבַת, meaning to beautify.] When they would beautify her, adorned to enter the nuptial canopy, a noble would enter and have relations with her first (Gen. Rabbah 26:5). from whomever they chose: Even a married woman, even males and animals (Gen. Rabbah ad loc.).

With some Jewish help, we can avoid misunderstood or misinterpreting the intended meanings.

So they are just offspring of nobles or those with authority. (they do whatever they please)

  • This is factually incorrect - the actual word is אֱלהִים (elohim) = "God, or gods". It is NOT יְהוָֹה = "LORD/YHWH" nor is it אָדוֹן = "Lord". This is extremely sloppy and misleading.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 11:45
  • you're welcome to look it up, with Bing or Bard.
    – VNPython
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 14:16

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