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   From Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis
   By Robert Graves and Raphael Patai
   (a) By the tenth generation, Adam's race had hugely increased. Lacking
   female company, the angels known as "Sons of God" found wives among
   the lovely Daughters of Men. The children of their unions would have
   inherited eternal life from their father, but that God had decreed:
   "Let not My spirit abide in flesh for ever! Henceforth the years of
   man are limited to one hundred and twenty."
   (b) These new creatures were giants, known as "the Fallen Ones," whose
   evil ways decided God to wipe from the face of the earth all men and
   women, with their gigantic corruptors.1
   (c) The Sons of God were sent down to teach mankind truth and justice;
   and for three hundred years did indeed teach Cain's son Enoch all the
   secrets of Heaven and Earth. Later, however, they lusted after mortal
   women and defiled themseves by sexual intercourse. Enoch has recorded
   not only their divine instructions, but also their subsequent fall
   from grace; before the end they were indiscriminately enjoying
   virgins, matrons, men, and beasts.2
   (d) Some say that Shemhazai and Azael, two angels in God's confidence,
   asked: "Lord of the Universe, did we not warn You on the Day of
   Creation that man would prove unworthy of Your world?" God replied:
   "But if I destroy man, what will become of My world?" They answered:
   "We shall inhabit it." God answered: "Yet upon descending to earth,
   will you not sin even worse than man?" They pleaded: "Let us dwell
   there awhile, and we will sanctify Your name!"
   God allowed them to descend, but they were at once overcome by lust
   for Eve's daughters, Shemhazai begetting on them two monstrous sons
   named Hiwa and Hiya, each of whom daily ate a thousand camels, a
   thousand horses and a thousand oxen. Azael also invented the ornaments
   and cosmetics employed by women to lead men astray. God therefore
   warned them that He would set loose the Upper Waters, and thus destroy
   all men and beasts. Shemhaza wept bitterly, fearing for his sons who,
   though tall enough to escape drowning, would starve to death.
   (e) That night, Hiwa dreamed of a huge rock above the earth, like a
   table-top, and having a legend inscribed on it which an angel scraped
   off with a knife, leaving only four letters. Hiya also dreamed: of a
   fruitful orchard, and of other angels felling it until only a singe
   three-branched tree remained. They told their dream to Shemhazai, who
   replied: "Your dream, Hiya, signifies that God's Deluge will destroy
   all mankind, except Noah and his three sons. Nevertheless, be
   comforted, for Hiwa's dream signifies that your fame, at least, will
   never die: whenever Noah's descendants hew stones, quarry rocks or
   haul boats, they will shout, "Hiwa, Hiya!" in your honour."4
   (f) Afterwards Shemhazai repented, and set himself in the southern
   sky, between Heaven and Earth - head, down, feet up, and hangs there
   to this day: the constellation called Orion by the Greeks.
   (g) Azael, however, far from repenting, still offers women ornaments
   and many-colored robes with which to lead men astray. For this reason,
   on the Day of Atonement, Israel's sins are heaped on the annual
   scapegoat; it is then thrown over a cliff to Azazel - as some call
   (h) Others say that certain angels asked God's permission to collect
   sure proof of man's iniquity, and thus assure his punishment. When God
   agreed, they turned themselves into precious stones, pearls, purple
   dye, gold and other treasures, which were at once stolen by covetous
   men. They then took human shape, hoping to teach mankind
   righteousness. But this aaaumption of flesh made them subject to human
   lusts: being seduced by the Daughters of Men, they found themselves
   chained to Earth, unable to resume their spiritual shapes.
   (i) The Fallen Ones had such huge appetites that God rained manna upon
   them, of many different flavours, lest they might be tempted to eat
   flesh, a forbidden diet, and exuse the fault by pleading scarcity of
   corn and pot herbs. Nevertheless, the Fallen Ones rejected God's
   manna, slaughtered animals for food, and even dined on human flesh,
   thus fouling the air with sickly vapours. It was then that God decided
   to cleanse Earth.7
   (j) Others say that Shemhazai and Azael were seduced by the demonesses
   Naamah, Agrat daughter of Mahlat, and Lilith who had once been Adam's
   (k) In those days only one virgin, Istahar by name, remained chaste.
   When the sons of God made lecherous demands upon her, she cried:
   "First lend me your wings!" They assented and she, flying up to
   Heaven, took sanctuary at the Throne of God, who transformed her into
   the constellation Virgo - or, some say, the Pleiades. The fallen
   angels having lost their wings, were stranded on earth until, many
   generations later, they mounted Jacob's ladder and thus went home
   (l) The wise and virtuous Enoch also ascended to Heaven, where he
   became God's chief counsellor, henceforth known as "Metatron." God set
   His own crown upon Enoch's head, and gave him seventy-two wings as
   well as multitudinous eyes. His flesh was transformed into flame, his
   sinews into fire, his bones into embers, his eyes into torches, his
   hair into rays of light, and he was surrounded by storm, whirlwind,
   thunder and lightning.10
   (m) Some say that the Sons of God won that name because the divine
   light out of which God had created their ancestor Samael, Cain's
   father, shone from their faces. The Daughters of Men, they say, were
   the children of Seth, whose father was Adam, not an angel; and their
   faces therefore resembled our own.
   (n) Others, however, make the Sons of God pious descendants of Seth,
   and the Daughters of Men sinful descendants of Cain - explaining that
   when Abel died childless, mankind soon divided into two tribes; namely
   the Cainites who, apart from Enoch, where wholly evil, and the
   Sethites who were wholly righteous. These Sethites inhabited a sacred
   mountain in the far north, near the Cave of Treasure - some take it
   for Mount Hermon. The Cainites lived apart in a valley to the
   westward. Adam, on his deathbed, ordered Seth to separate his tribe
   from the Cainites; and each Sethite patriarch publicly repeated this
   order, generation after generation. The Sethites were extraordinarily
   tall, like their ancestor; and by living so close to the Gate of
   Paradise, won the name "Children of God."12
   (o) Many Sethites took celibate vows, following Enoch's example, and
   led the lives of anchorites. By way of contrast, the Cainites
   practised unbridled debauchery, each keeping at least two wives: the
   first to bear children, the second to gratify his lust. The
   child-bearer lived in poverty and neglect, as thougn a widow; the
   other was forced to drink a potion that made her barren - after which,
   decked out like a harlot, she entertained her husband luxuriously.13
   (p) It was the Cainite's punishment to have a hundred daughters borne
   them for each son; and this led to such husband-hunger that their
   women began to raid houses and carry off men. One day it pleased them
   to seduce them Sethites, after daubing their faces with rouge and
   powder, their eyes with antimony, and the soles of their feet with
   scarlet, dyeing their hair, putting on golden earrings, golden
   anklets, bracelets, and many-colored garments. In their ascent of the
   holy mountain, they twanged harps, blew trumpets, beat drums, sang,
   danced, cpalled hands; then, having addressed the five hundred and
   twenty anchorites in cheerful voices, each caught hold of her victim
   and seduced him. These Sethites, after once succumbing to the Cainite
   women's blandishments, became more unclean than dogs, and utterly
   forgot dog's laws.
   (q) Even the "Sons of Judges" now corrupted the daughters of the poor.
   Whenever a bride was beautified for the bridegroom, one such would
   enter the nuptial chamber and enjoy her first.
   (r) Genun the Canaanite, son of Lamech the Blind, living in the Land
   of the Slime Pits, was ruled by Azael from his earliest youth, and
   invented all sorts of musical instruments. When he played these, Azael
   entered into them too, so that they gave forth seductive tunes
   entrancing the hearts of all listeners. Genun would assemble companies
   of musicians, who inflamed one another with music until their lust
   burned bright like fire, and they lay together promiscously. He also
   brewed beer, gathered great crowds in taverns, gave them to drink, and
   taught them to forge iron swords and spear-points, with which to do
   murder at random when they were drunk.
   (s) Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel told God that such wickedness
   had never before flourished on earth. God then sent Raphael to bind
   Azael hand and foot, haeping jagged rocks over him in the dark Cave of
   Dudael, where he now abides until the Last Days. Gabriel destroyed the
   Fallen Ones by inciting them to civil war. Michael chained Shemhazai
   and his fellows in other dark caves for seventy generations. Uriel
   became the messenger of salvation who visited Noah.17
   1 Genesis 6:1-7.
   2 Jubilees 4:15, 22; 5:1; Tanhuma Buber Gen. 24.
   3 Yalqut Gen. 44; Bereshit Rabbati, 29-30.
   4 Sources as in preceding footnote.
   5 Sources as in preceding footnote.
   6 The Clementine Homilies, 8:11-17 (pp. 142-45). The Homilies are and
   early 3rd cent. A.D. Christian tract, written probably in Syria. Cf.
   also Enoch 6-8; 69; 106, 13f.
   7 Sources as in preceeding footnote.
   8 Zohar Genesis 37a, 55a.
   9 Liqqute Midrashim, 156; a somewhat different version in Yalqut Gen.
   10 Sepher Hekhalot, 170-76.
   11 Zohar Genesis 37a.
   12 PRE, ch 21 (where mishem should be amended to read miseth) and 22;
   cf also Gen. Rab. 222; Adambuch, 75, 81-86; Adamschriften, 37;
   Schatzhohle, 10.
   13 Adamscriften, 38; cf Gen. Rab. 222-23.
   14 Sources as in preceeding footnote, and PRE, ch. 22.
   15 Targ, and Targ. Yer. ad Gen. 7:2-4; Gen Rab 247-48.
   16 Adambuch, 92-93.
   17 Enoch IX-X; cf. also chapters XI-XV and LXIX; 2 Baruch LVI:11-16; 2
   Enoch XVIII:1-6.
   > *
   1. The explanation of this myth, which has been a stumbling block to
   theologians, may be the arrival in Palestine of tall, barabarous
   Hebrew herdsmen early in the second millenium B.C., and their
   exposure, by marriage, to Asianic civilization. "Sons of El" in this
   sense would mean the "cattle-owning worshipper of the Semite Bull-god
   El"; "Daughters of Adam" would mean "women of the soil" (adama),
   namely, the Goddess- worshipping Canaanite agriculturists, notorious
   for their orgies and premarital prostitution. If so, this historical
   event has been tangled with the Ugaritic myth how El seduced two
   mortal women and fathered divine sons on them, namely Shahar ("Dawn")
   and Shalem ("Perfect"). Shahar appears as a winged deity in Psalm
   CXXXIX:9, and his son, according to Isaiah XIV:12, was the fallen
   angel Helel. Unions between gods and mortals, that is to say between
   kings or queens and commoners, occur frequently in Mediterranean and
   Middle Eastern myth. Since later Judaism rejected all deities but its
   own transcendental God, and since He never married or consorted with
   any female whatsoever, Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai in Genesis Rabba felt
   obliged to curse all who read "Sons of God" in the Ugartic sense.
   Clearly, such an interperetation was still current in the second
   century A.D., and lapsed only when Bene Elohim meant "God" and Judge,"
   the theory being that when a duly appointed magistrate tried a case,
   the Spirit of El posessed him: "I have said, ye are gods." (Psalm
   2. This myth is constantly quoted in the Apochrypha, the New
   Testament, the Chirch Fathers, and midrashim. Josephus interpreted it
   as follows:
   Many angels of God now consorted with women, and begot sons on them
   who were overbearing and disdainful of every virtue; such confidence
   had they in their strength. In fact, the deeds that our tradition
   ascribed to them recall the audacious exploits told by the Greeks of
   the giants. But Noah...urged them to adopt a better frame of mind and
   amend their ways.
   These Greek giants were twenty-four violent and lecherous sons of
   Mother Earth, born at Phlegra in Thrace, and the two Aloeids, all of
   whom rebelled against Almighty Zeus.
   3. Josephus's view, that the Sons of God were angels, survived for
   several centuries despote Shimon ben Yohai's curse. As late as the
   eighth century A.D., Rabbi Eliezer records in a midrash: "The angels
   who fell from Heaven saw the daugters of Cain perambulating and
   displaying their secret parts, their eyes painted with antimony in the
   manner of harlots; and, being seduced, took wives from among them."
   Rabbi Joshua ben Qorha, a literalist, was worried by a technical
   detail: "Is it possible that angels, who are flaming fire, could have
   performed the sexual act without scorching their brides internally?"
   He decided that "when these angels fell from Heaven, their strength
   and stature were reduced to those of mortals, and their fire changed
   into flesh."
   4. Hiwa and Hiya, the names given to giants begotten by Shemhazai and
   Azael on mortal women, were merely the cries of work-teams engaged in
   tasks demanding concerted effort. In one Talmudic passage, Babylonian
   sailors are made to shout as they haul cargo vessels ashore: "Hilni,
   hiya, hola, w'hilok holya!" The giants' vorascious flesh-eating was,
   however, a habit of El's Hebrew herdsmen, not of the Agricultural
   Daugters of Adamah; and this anecdote suggests that the myth
   originated in an Essense community whose diet was severely restricted,
   like that of Daniel and his three holy companions, to pulses. (Daniel
   5. The names of several fallen angels survive only in careless Greek
   transcriptions of Hebrew or Aramaic originals, which make their
   meaning dountful. But "Azael" does seem to represent "Azazel" ("God
   trengthens"). Dudael is sometimes translated "God's cauldron," but it
   is more likely to be a fantastic modification of Beth Hadudo (M. Yoma,
   VI:8) - now Harradan, three miles to the south-east of Jerusalem, the
   Judaean desert cliff from which "the scapegoat for Azazel" fell yearly
   to its death on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus XVI:8-10). This Goat
   was believed to take away Israel's sins and tranfer them to their
   instigator, the fallen angel Azazel, who lay imprisoned under a pile
   of rocks at the cliff-foot. The sacrifice did not therefore rank as
   one offered to demons, like those which Leviticus XVII:7 prohibits.
   6. The Mount of God, where certain pious Sethites lived near the "Cave
   of Treasure," at the Gates of Paradise, will have been El's holy Mount
   Saphon, not Hermon.
   7. Istahar's story is borrowed partly from the Greek writer Aratus
   (early third century B.C.). He tells how Justice, a daughter of Dawn,
   ruled mankind virtuously in the Golden Age; but when the Silver and
   Bronze ages brought greed and slaugter among them, she exclaimed:
   "Alas, for this evil race!" and mounted into Heaven, where she became
   the constellation Virgo. The rest of this story is borrowed from
   Apollodorus's account of Orion's attempt on the seven virgin Pleadies,
   daugters of Atlas and Pleione, who escaped his embraces transformed
   into stars. "Istahar," however, is the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar,
   sometimes identified with Virgo. Popular Egyptian belief identified
   Orion, the constellation which became Shemhazai, with the sould of
   8. The right claimed by certain "sons of judges" to take the maiden
   heads of poor men's brides is, apparently, the ancient and well-known
   jus primae noctis which, as the droit de cuissage, was still reputedly
   exercised by feudal lords in Europe during the Middle Ages (see 36:4).
   Yet at a time when the Sons of God were regarded as divine beings,
   this story may have referred to a custom prevalent in the Eastern
   Mediterranian: a gir's maidenhead was ritually broken by "equitation"
   of a priapic statue. A similat practice obtained among Byzantine
   hippodrom-performers as late as Justinian's reign, and is hinted at in
   records of the medieval English witch cult.
   9. Many details of the Genun story, taken from the fifth-century A.D.
   Ethiopian Book of Adam, are paralleled in midrashic writings. Although
   Genun's name suggests "Kenan," who appears in Genesis V:9 as the son
   of Enoch, he is a composite Kenite character: the invention of musical
   instruments being attributed in Genesis to Jubal, and of edged iron
   blades to his brother Tubal Cain. Genun was said to occupy "the Land
   of the Slime Pits," namely the southern shores of the Dead Sea
   (Genesis XIV:10), doubtless because the evil city of Sodom stood there
   (see 32:6).
   10. Enoch ("Instructor") won his immense reputation from the
   apocalyptic and once canonical Book of Enoch, compiled in the first
   century B.C. It is an ecstatic elaboration of Genesis V:22: "And Enoch
   walked with God three hundred years after he begat Methuselah." Later
   Hebrew myth makes him God's recording angel and counsellor, also
   patron of all children who study the Torah. Metatron is a Hebrew
   corruption of either the Greek "metadromos," "he who pursues with a
   vengeance," or of "meta ton thronon", "nearest to the Divine Throne."
   11. The Anakim may have been Mycenaean Greek colonists, belonging to
   the "Sea Peoples" confederation which caused Egypt such trouble in the
   fourteenth century B.C. Greek mythograohers told of a Giant Anax
   ("king"), son of Heaven and Mother Earth, who ruled Anactoria
   (Miletus) in Asia Minor. According to Appollodorus, the disinterred
   skeleton of Asterius ("starry"), Anax's successor, measured ten
   cubits. Akakes, the plural of Nanx, was an epithet of the Greek gods
   in general. Talmudic commentators characteristically make the Anakim
   three thousand cubits tall.
   12. Megalithic monuments, found by the Hebrews on their arrival in
   Canaan, will have encouraged legends about giants; as in Greece, where
   the monstrous man-eating Cyclopes were said by story-tellers ignorant
   of ramps, levers and other Mycenaean engineering devices, to have
   lifted single- handed the huge blocks of stonr that form the walls of
   Tiryns, Mycenae and other ancient cities.
   13. The Nefilim ("Fallen Ones") bore many other tribal names, such as
   Emim ("Terrors"), Repha'im ("Weakeners"), Gibborim ("Giant Heroes"),
   Zamzummim ("Acheivers"), Anakim ("Long-necked" or "Wearers of
   Necklaces"), Awwim ("Devastators" or "Serpents"). One of the Nefilim
   named Arba is said to habe built the city of Hebron, called
   "Kiriath-Arba" after him, and become the father of Anak whose three
   sons, Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, were later expelled by Joshua's
   comrade Caleb. Since, however, arba means "four" in Hebrew,
   Kiriath-Arba may have originally have meant "City of Four," a
   reference to its four quarters mythically connected with the Anakite
   clans: Anak himself and his "sons" Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.

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