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Ancient Sumer-Babylon, like many cultures of antiquity, produced mythologies to explain the world around them. The Epic of Gilgamesh is one such mythology. Several versions of the epic poem exist, but the 12-tablet Akkadian version is the best known. The story centers on the friendship between the principal character, Gilgamesh, and Enkidu. Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, is two-thirds god and one-third man. He has oppressed the people of Uruk, so the gods create Enkidu to distract Gilgamesh. Their unlikely friendship results in a journey of fantastical adventures resulting in the death of Enkidu.
An important feature of this epic is a “flood” story in which a character named Utnapishtim and his wife survive a great flood and obtain immortality. The existence of this flood story, with its many similarities to the Genesis account, indicates a common source. Rather than the Genesis flood account being copied from the Epic of Gilgamesh, both accounts are entirely separate records of something that actually occurred, namely, a global flood.
The gods who appear in the Epic of Gilgamesh are the Anunnaki, a name that probably means “those of royal blood” or “princely offspring” in the ancient Sumerian language. In contrast to this pagan mythology is the biblical account of the Nephilim. Who were the Nephilim? Biblically speaking, the Nephilim were the descendants of the sons of God and daughters of men (Genesis 6-4). While there are differing interpretations of this passage, GotQuestions.org believes it involves the fallen angels (sons of God) taking on human form and mating with the daughters of men (human females), thereby producing a race of angelic-human half-breeds.
Is there a connection between the Anunnaki and the Nephilim? Perhaps. It is definitely interesting to note that both the biblical flood account and the Epic of Gilgamesh mention supernatural, god-like beings interacting with humanity in connection with a global flood. So, it is possible that the myths regarding the Anunnaki originate in the reality that was the Nephilim.
There were giants in the earth in those days,.... That is, in the days before the sons of God took the daughters of men for wives, in such a general manner as before declared, or before the declension and apostasy became so universal; even in the times of Jared, as the Arabic writers (n) understand it, who say that these giants were begotten on the daughters of Cain by the children of Seth, who went down from the mountain to them in the days of Jared, see Genesis 5:20 the word "Nephilim" comes from a word which signifies to fall; and these might be so called, either because they made their fear to fall upon men, or men, through fear, to fall before them, because of their height and strength; or rather because they fell and rushed on men with great violence, and oppressed them in a cruel and tyrannical manner; or, as some think, because they fell off and were apostates from the true religion, which is much better than to understand them of apostate angels, whom the Targum of Jonathan mentions by name, and calls them Schanchazai and Uziel, who fell from heaven, and were in the earth in those days:
and also after that, which shows that the preceding clause respects giants in former times:
when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, came into their houses and chambers, and lay with them:
and they bare children unto them, or giants unto them, as may be supplied from the former clause; for the sense is, as there were giants before this general defection, so there were at this time, when there was a mixture of the Cainites and Sethites; which were the offspring of the sons of God, or posterity of Seth, mixing with the daughters of men, or the posterity of Cain; for this is not to be understood after the flood, as Aben Ezra, Ben Melech; and so they are described in the following words:
the same became mighty men; for tallness and strength, for power and dominion, for tyranny and oppression:
which were of old: like those that were of old before; or who in after times were spoken of, as in the days of old:
men of renown, or "of name" (o); whose names were often made mention of, both for their size and for their wickedness; they were much talked of, and extolled for their exploits, and even wicked ones: they were famous men, or rather infamous; for some men get a name in the world, not for their goodness, but for their greatness, and sometimes for their great wickedness; which sense is countenanced by what follows: that there were giants in these early times is confirmed by the testimony of many Heathen writers; such were the Titans that made war against Saturn, begotten by Ouranus, who were not only of bulky bodies, but of invincible strength, as Apollodorus (p) relates, and Berosus (q) speaks of a city about Lebanon, called Enos, which was a city of giants, who were men of vast bodies, and of great strength, inventors of arms and music, were cannibals, and exceedingly debauched.