Watchers, Giants, and forbidden lore: Some angelological/demonological prosopographies in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Annette Yoshiko Reed, McMaster University
41st Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins: Parabiblical Prosopography, March 25, 2004



Gen 6:1-2 (NRSV) - When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they choseÖ

1. Watchers as sexual deviants & examples of the dangers of lust

1 Enoch 6:1-7:1 (Book of the Watchers [henceforth BW]; ca. 3rd c. BCE; trans. Nickelsburg) — And when the sons of men had multiplied, in those days, beautiful and comely daughters were born to them. And the Watchers, sons of heaven, saw them and desired them. And they said to one another, “Come, let us choose for ourselves wives from the daughters of men, and let us beget for ourselves children." ... And they were, all of them, 200, who descended in the days of Jared onto the peak of Mount HermonÖ [They] took for themselves wives from among them such as they chose. And they began to go in to them and to defile themselves through themÖ

Damascus Document, CD 2.14-18 - And now, sons, listen to meÖ so that you can walk perfectly in all His ways and not follow after thoughts of the guilty inclination and after eyes of lust. For many have gone astray due to these; brave heroes have stumbled because of them, from ancient times until now. Because they walked in stubbornness of their hearts, the Watchers of heaven fell; on account of it they were caught, since they did not keep the commandments of God.

Testament of Reuben 5:4-6 (OTP) - My children, flee from sexual promiscuity and order your wives and daughters not to adorn their heads and their appearances so as to deceive men’s sound mindsÖ For it was thus that they charmed the Watchers who were before the Flood. As they continued looking at the women, they were filled with desire and perpetrated the act in their minds. Then they were transformed into human males, and while the women were cohabitating with their husbands they appeared to them. Since the women’s minds were filled with lust for these apparitions, they gave birth to Giants.

Commodian, Instructions 3 (3rd c. CE; ANF) - When Almighty God, to beautify the nature of the world, willed that that earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised His laws. Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside; so that, being contaminated, they could not return to heaven. Rebels from God, they uttered words against Him. Then the Highest uttered His judgment against them; and from their seed Giants are said to have been born. By them arts were made known in the earth, and they taught the dyeing of wool, and everything which is done.

Pseudo-Clementine Homilies 8.7-8 (ca. 4th c. CE; ANF) — For the spirits who inhabit the heaven, the angels who dwell in the lowest region, being grieved at the ingratitude of men to God, asked that they might come into the life of men, so that, by really becoming menÖ they might convict those who had acted ungratefully towards Him, and might subject every one to adequate punishment... And they changed themselves into the nature of men, in order that by living in a holy way and by showing the possibility of living thus, they might subject the ungrateful to punishment. But having become in all respects men, they also partook of human lust, and being brought under its subjection, they fell into cohabitation with women. Being involved with them and sunk in defilement and altogether emptied of their first power, they were unable to turn back to the first purity of their proper natureÖ The fire itself, being extinguished by the weight of lust, changed into flesh, and they tread the impious path downward. They, being fettered with the bonds of flesh, were constrained and strongly bound; wherefore they have no more been able to ascend into the heavens.

Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 22 (8th/9th c. CE?; trans. G. Friedlander) - Rabbi said: The angels who fell from their holy place in heaven saw the daughters of the generation of Cain walking around naked, with their eyes painted like harlots, and they went astray after themÖ

Pesikta Rabbati 34 (9th c. CE?) — If Uza and Azael sinned, whose bodies were fire, how much more shall we?

Prologue to Aggadat Bereshit in MS Oxford 2340 (trans. Teugels) - Another interpretation [i.e., after a euhemeristic one]: “And the sons of God sawÖ” (Gen 6:2). These are Uza and Uzael who were sitting in the Raqia and let themselves down for a test. This teaches that, when they were sitting in the Raqia, they heard that the Holy One blessed be He said: “I will blot out from the earth the human beings that I have created” (Gen 6:7). They said to him: “Master of the Universe, ‘O Lord, what are human beings that you regard them, or mortals that you think of them?’ (Ps 144:3) ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them?’ (Ps 8:4) The Holy One blessed be He said to them: “If you were on the earth like these sons of man and saw the beautiful women that are among them, immediately the evil inclination would enter within you and make you sin.” They said to him: We will go down but we will not sin. They went down. Immediately it happened what is written: “And the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair” (Gen 6:2). As soon as they saw, they desired to return to the Raqia. They said before Him: Master of the Universe, this test is enough for us. He said to them: “Already you have become impure and you will no more be clean.”

Deuteronomy Rabbah, end [i.e., the account of the death of Moses, a late addition to the midrash proper] - From beside Your exalted Shekhinah, the angels Azzah and Azael came down and coveted the daughters of the earth and corrupted their way on the earth until You suspended them between earth and the Raqia.

2. Watchers as inventors of cosmetics

1 En 8:1-3 (BW) — Asael taught men to make swords of iron and weapons and shields and breastplates and every instrument of war. He showed them the metals of the earth and how they should work gold to fashion it suitably, and concerning silver, to fashion it for bracelets and ornaments for women. And he showed them concerning antimony and eyepaint and all many of precious stones and dyes. And the sons of men made them for themselves and for their daughters, and they transgressed and led the holy ones astray.

Tertullian, On the Apparel of Women 1.3 (3rd c. CE; ANF) - Those angels who rushed from heaven on the daughters of menÖ when to an age much more ignorant, they had disclosed certain well-concealed material substances, and several not well-revealed scientific arts — if it is true that they had laid bare the operations of metallurgy, and had divulged the natural properties of herbs, and had promulgated the powers of enchantments, and had traced out every curious art, even to the interpretation of the stars — they conferred properly and as it were peculiarly upon women that instrumental mean of womanly ostentation, the radiances of jewels wherewith necklaces are variegated, and the circlets of gold wherewith the arms are compressed, and the medicaments of orchil with which wools are colored, and that black powder itself wherewith the eyelids and eyelashes are made prominent.

Cyprian, On the Dress of Virgins 14 (3rd c. CE; ANF) - For God neither made the sheep scarlet or purple, nor taught the juices of herbs and shell-fish to dye and color wool, nor arranged necklaces with stones set in gold, and with pearls distributed in a woven series or numerous cluster... All of these things sinning and apostate angels put forth by their arts, when, lowered to the contagious of earth, they forsook their heavenly vigor. They taught them also to paint the eyes with blackness drawn round them in a circle, and to stain the cheeks with a deceitful red, and to change the hair with false colors, and to drive out all truth, both of face and head, by the assault of their own corruption.

Bereshit Rabbati ad Gen 6:2 (11th c.) - Azael was appointed chief over all kinds of dyes and women’s ornaments by which they entice men to unclean thoughts of sin.

3. Watchers as teachers of “magic,” sorcery, and astrology

1 En 8:3 (BW) - Shemihazah taught spells and the cutting of roots. Hermani taught loosening of spells and magic and skill. Baraqel taught the signs of the lightning flashes. Kokabel taught the signs of the stars. Ziqel taught the signs of the shooting stars. Arteqoph taught the signs of the earth. Shamsiel taught the signs of the sun. Sahriel taught the signs of the moonÖ

Book of Jubilees 8:3 (2nd c. BCE; trans. Charles) - [Cainan] found a writing which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was thereon, and he transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven.

1 En 65:6-7 (Similitudes of Enoch; 1st c. CE?; trans. Charles) - A command has gone forth from the presence of the Lord of spirits concerning those who dwell on earth, because they have learned all the secrets of the angels, and all the wrong-doings of the satans, and all their secret powers, and all the powers of those who practice sorcery, and the power of spells, and the power of those who make molten images of every created thing, and further how silver comes forth out of the dust of the earth and how soft metal originates in the earthÖ.

Lactanius, Divine Institutes 1.25-27 (4th c; ANF) - When the number of men had begun to increase, God in His forethought — lest the devil, to whom from the beginning He had given power over the earth, should by his subtlety either corrupt or destroy men, as he had done at first — sent angels for the protection and improvement of the human raceÖ While they abode among men, the most deceitful ruler of the earth, by his very association, gradually enticed them to vices, and polluted them by intercourse with women. Then, not being admitted into heaven on account of the sins into which they had plunged themselves, they fell to the earthÖ The art and power of the Magi altogether consist in the influences of theseÖ. These were the inventors of astrology, and soothsaying, and divination, and those productions which are called oracles, and necromancy, and the art of magic, and whatever evil practices besides these men exercise, either openly or in secretÖ These are they who taught men to make images and statues; who, in order that they might turn away the minds of men from the worship of the true God, cause the countenances of dead kings, fashioned and adorned with exquisite beauty, to be erected and consecrated, and assumed to themselves their names.

3 Enoch 5 (Sch‰fer, ed., Synopse ßß7-8) — And what did the Generation of Enosh do? They went from one end of the world to the other, and each one brought silver, gold, precious stones, and pearls in heaps like unto mountains and hills, making idols out of themÖ And they brought down the sun and the moon, the stars and the constellations. And they stood them before them (i.e. the idols), to the right and to the left, to serve them in the way that they served the Holy One, Blessed be HeÖ And how did they have the power that they brought them down? Only because of Uzzah, Azzah, and Azael. They taught them sorceries so that they could bring them down and used them; otherwise, they would not have been able to bring them down.

Quran 2.102, Al-Baqarah - Sulaim‚n did not disbelieve, but the Shay‚tin disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, H‚r˚t and M‚r˚t but neither of these two taught anyone until they had said, “We are only for trial, so disbelieve not.”

Chronicle of Yerahmeel 25 (12th c.; trans. Gaster) - Shemhazai beheld a girl whose name was Esterah. Fixing his eyes at her, he said, “Listen to me.” But she said to him, “I will not listen to you unless you teach me the Name by which you are able to ascend to the Firmament”Ö He taught her the ineffable Name. What did she do? She spoke It [i.e., the Name] and thus ascended to the Firmament!

Zohar III, 207b-208a (trans. Danby) — When He saw that they [i.e., Uzza and Azael] were leading the world astray, He bound them in iron chains in the mountains of darknessÖ Uzza and Azael would tell men celestial matters of which they had previously gained knowledge in the world above, and they would talk about the holy world where they used to live.

4. Watchers as inventors of and/or inspiration for idolatry

1 En 19:1 (BW) — And Uriel said to me [i.e., Enoch]: “There stand the angels who mingled with the women. And their spirits, having assumed many forms, bring destruction on men and lead them astray to sacrifice to demons as to gods until day of the last judgment.”

Justin Martyr, 2 Apology 5 (2nd c. CE; ANF) — But the angels transgressed their appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness.

5. Watchers as good teachers gone bad, or bad teachers of good arts

Jub 4:15 - The angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named the Watchers, so that they could instruct the children of men and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth...

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (3rd c. CE; ANF) - We showed in the first stromateus (see 1.17) that the philosophers of the Greeks are called thieves, in as much as they have taken without acknowledgment their principal dogmas from Moses and the prophets. To which also we shall add that the angels who had obtained the superior rank, after having sunk into pleasures, told to the women the secrets which had come to their knowledge, whereas the rest of the angels concealed them, or rather, kept them until the coming of the Lord. From there emanated the doctrine of Providence and the revelation of high things and, since prophecy had already been imparted to the philosophers of the Greeks, the treatment of dogma arose among the philosophersósometimes true, when they hit the mark, and sometimes erroneous, when they did not comprehend the secret of the prophetic allegory.

Zosimus (4th c. CE; Sync. 14.1-14, trans. Adler) - Thus the ancient and divine scriptures said this, that certain angels lusted after women and, having descended, taught them all the works of nature. Having stumbled because of these women, he says, they remained outside of heaven, because they taught mankind everything wicked and nothing benefiting the soul. The same scriptures say that from them the Giants were born. So theirs is the first teaching concerning these arts handed down by Chemeu. He called this the book of Chemeu, after which the art is called “Alchemy” and so forth.


Gen 6:1-4 - The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God went into the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the Gibborim that were of old, warriors of renown Ö

Num 13:31-33 - Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we." So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, "The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size! There we saw the Nephilim — the Anakim come from the Nephilim — to us, we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."

Deut 1:27-28 - You grumbled in your tents and said, "It is because the LORD hates us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt.... Where are we headed? Our kindred have made our hearts melt by reporting, 'The people are stronger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified up to heaven! We actually saw there the offspring of the Anakim!'"

Deut 2:9-11 — The LORD said to me: "... I have given Ar as a possession to the descendants of Lot." The Emimóa large and numerous people, as tall as the Anakimóhad formerly inhabited it. Like the Anakim, they are usually reckoned as Rephaim, though the Moabites call them Emim.

Deut 2:19-22 — "...I will not give the land of the Ammonites to you as a possession, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot." It also is usually reckoned as a land of Rephaim. Rephaim formerly inhabited it, though the Ammonites call them Zamzummim, a strong and numerous people, as tall as the Anakim. But the LORD destroyed them from before the Ammonites so that they could dispossess them and settle in their place.

Deut. 3:11 - Only Og survived from the rest of the Rephaim.

Deut 9:1-2 - Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens, a strong and tall people, the offspring of the Anakim, whom you know. You have heard it said of them, "Who can stand up to the Anakim?"Ö

Genesis Rabbah 26.7 (compiled 4th/5th c. CE) — “The Nephilim were in the earth”... the same were “the Gibborim that were of old” (Gen 6:4). They were called by seven names: Nephilim, Emim, Refaim, Gibborim, Zamzumim, Anakim, and Awim.

1. Giants as paradigmatic murderers and meat-eaters

1 En 7 (BW) - And the Giants begat Nephilim, and to the Nephilim were born ElioudÖ They were devouring the labor of all the sons of men, and men were not able to supply them. And the Giants began to kill men and to devour them. And they began to sin against the birds and beasts and creeping things and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh. And they drank the blood.

Ps.-Clem. Hom. 8:15-16 - From unhallowed intercourse spurious men sprang, much greater in stature than men, whom they afterwards called GiantsÖ wild in manners and greater than men in size, inasmuch as they were sprung of angels, yet less than angels, as they were born of human womenÖ They — on account of their bastard nature, not being pleased with purity of food — longed only after the taste of blood. Wherefore they first tasted flesh. And the men who were with them there for the first time were eager to do the sameÖ When irrational animals fell short, these bastard men also tasted human flesh; for it was not a long step to the consumption of flesh like their own...

2. Giants as demons

1 En 14:8-11 (BW) - The Giants who were begotten by spirits and flesh, they will call them evil spirits on the earthÖ These spirits rise up against the sons of menÖ

Jub 10:2-9 - The sons of Noah came to Noah their father, and they told him about the demons who were leading astray and blinding and slaying his sons’ sons. He prayed before the Lord his God and said: “God of the spirits of all fleshÖ You know how your Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, acted in my day; as for these spirits which are living, imprison them tooÖ” The Lord our God bade us to bind all. But the chief of the spirits, MastÍm‚, came and said: “Lord, Creator, let some of them remain before me, and let them harken to my voiceÖ If some of them are not left to me, I shall not be able to execute the power of my will on the sons of menÖ For great is the wickedness of the sons of men.’ He said: “Let a tenth of them remain before himÖ”

Ps.-Clem. Hom. 8:18-19 - Since the souls of the deceased Giants were greater than human souls inasmuch as they also excelled their bodies, they, being a new race, were called also by a new name [i.e., demons]Ö A certain angel was sent to them by God, declaring to them His will, and saying: “These things seem good to the all-seeing God, that you lord it over no man; that you trouble no one, unless any one of his own accord subject himself to you, worshipping you, and sacrificing and pouring libations, and partaking of your table, or accomplishing anything else that they ought not, or shedding blood, or tasting dead flesh, or filling themselves with that which is torn of beasts, or that which is cut, or that which is strangled, or anything else that is unclean. Those who betake themselves to my law, you not only shall not touchÖ But if any of those who worship me go astray, either committing adultery, or practicing magic, or living impurely, or doing any other of the things which are not well-pleasing to me, then they will have to suffer something at your hands.”


Sibylline Oracle 1.88-103 (1st c. CE?; OTP) — He [i.e., God] fashioned again another diverse second raceÖ They practiced skills of all kinds, discovering inventions by their needs. One discovered how to till the earth with plows, another carpentry, another was concerned with sailing, another astronomy and divination from the flight of birds, another pharmacology, again another magic. Different ones devised that which they were each concerned, enterprising Watchers, who received this appellation because they had a sleepless mind in their hearts and an insatiable personalityÖ

GenR 26.5 - Why are they called “sons of God”? R. Hanina and Resh Lakish both said: Because they had long lives without trouble or suffering. R. Huna said in R. Jose's name: It was in order that men might understand the calendrical cycles and calculations.

Michael Syrus 1.3 (12th c.; trans. Brock) - In that year, the Benai Elohim came down from the mountain Hermon, being in number 200. Seeing that they had not returned to Paradise, they were discouraged and so abandoned their angelic way of life, and they were smitten. They set up a king for themselves, whose name was Semiazos. Concerning these, Annianos relates that they came down from the mountain Hermon to their brethren, the children of Seth and Enosh, but these were unwilling to give them any wives, on the grounds that they had transgressed the promise. So they went to the children of Cain and took wives; and they gave birth to Giants, that is, plunderers, mighty and renowned assassins, and audacious bandits.


1 En 6:7 (BW) - And these are the names of their chiefs: Shemihazah, this one was their leader; Arteqoph, second to him; Remashel, third to him; Kokabel, fourth to him; , fifth to him; Ramel, sixth to him; Daniel, seventh to him; Ziqel, eighth to him; Baraqel, ninth to him; Asael, tenth to him; Hermani, eleventh to him; Materel, twelfth to him; Ananel, thirteenth to him; Setawel, fourteenth to him; Samshiel, fifteenth to him; Sahriel, sixteenth to him; , seventeenth to him; Turiel, eighteenth to him; Yamiel, nineteenth to him; Yehadiel, twentieth to himÖ.

1 En 69:4-14 (Sim.) - Jeqon: that is, the one who led astray the sons of GodÖ And the second was named Asbeel: he imparted to the holy sons of God evil counsel and led them astray to defile their bodies with the daughters of men. And the third was Gadreel: he showed the children of men all the blows of death, and he led astray Eve, and he showed the shield and the coat of mail, and the sword for battle, and all the weapons of death to the children of menÖ And the fourth was Penemue: he taught the children of men the bitter and the sweet, and he taught them all the secrets of their wisdom. And he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paperÖ And the fifth was named Kasdeja: he showed the children of men all the wicked smitings of spirits and demonsÖ And this is the task of Kasbeel, the chief of the oath which he showed to the holy ones when he dwelt high above in glory, and its name is Biqa; this one requested Michael to show him the hidden NameÖ.

1. Variations of the name Asael/Azael

4QEnGiantsa ar 7 i (Qumran Book of the Giants; trans. GarcÌa MartÌnez and Tigchelaar) — Th[en] Ohyah [said] to Hahy[ah, his brotherÖ] Then he punished and not us [bu]t Aza[ze]lÖ

4Q180-181 (Pesher on the Periods) - Pesher about Azazel and the angels wh[o came to the daughters of men] [and s]ired themselves giants. And concerning ‘Azazel [it is writtenÖto love] injustice and to let him inherit evil for all [his] ag[eÖ] judgments and the judgment of the council of [Ö]

Montgomery 7, line 8 (16007) — In the name of Gabriel and Michiel and Raphiel, and in the name of Asael Asiel the angel and ErmesÖ.

Naveh and Shaked, Amulets and Magic Bowls, A 7a:2-5 - “In the name of Michael, Raphael, Azael, Azriel, ArielÖ the holy angels who stand in front of the throne of the great God.”

Naveh and Shaked, Amulets and Magic Bowls, A 1:1-3 - On your right are very many, on your left is Uziel, in front of you is Susiel, behind you is Repose. Above these is God’s Shekhinah.

Gordon D Archiv Orient·lnÌ VI lines 10-12 - All of them [i.e., the sorceries] are brought to an end and annulled by the command of the jealous and avenging God, the One who sent Azza and Azael and Metatron, the great prince of his Throne. They will come and guard the dwelling and the threshold of Parrukukdad son of Zebinta and Qamoi daughter of Zaraq...

2. Uzza(h) and/or Azza(h) and Azael

3 Enoch 4:6-10 (Sch‰fer, ed., Synopse ß6) - In that hour, three of the ministering angelsóUzzah, Azzah, and Azaelócame forth and brought charges against me in the high heavens, saying before the Holy One: “Didn’t the first ones rightly say before you, ‘Do not create humankind’Ö?” The Holy One blessed be He answered and said to them, “I have made and I will hear; I will carry and deliver [Isa 46:4b].” As soon as they saw me, they said before him: “Lord of the universe, what is this one that he should ascend to the height of the heavens? Is he not one from among the sons of those who perished in the days of the Flood? What is he doing in the Raqia (i.e., the firmament)? Again, the Holy One blessed be He answered and said to them: “What are you, that you enter and speak in my presence? I delight in this one more than in all of you, and thus he will be a prince and ruler over you in the high heavens!”Ö

Preface to AggBer — Another interpretation [i.e., following an euhemeristic one]: “There were Nephilim on the earth in those days” (Gen 6:4)óthose are Uzza and Uzael; those are “the mighty men [i.e., the Gibborim] who were of old” (Gen 6:4). And now, where are they? R. Elazar said in the name of R. Joseph: “They were suspended in chains of iron and suspended on dark mountains. And they return the whole year, until they are the size of a finger, and then they grow again until they are as before. And they teach sorcery to those that were made unclean by them.”

3. The scapegoat, Azazel, and wayward angels

Lev 16:5-10 - Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel (kztzg). Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.15.6 (2nd c.; ANF) - Marcus, you maker of idols and inspector of portents, experienced in astrology and magical skill, through these, you confirm the doctrines of error. You show signs to those lead astray by you, undertakings of apostate power, which your father Satan always orchestrates for you to do through the angelic power Azazel, making you the precursor of godlike villany.

b. Yoma 67b - Azazel, he is the one who obtains atonement for the deed of Uzza and Azael.

Rashi (1040-1105) on Uzzah and Azael in b. Yoma 67b - Angels of Destruction who descended to earth in the days of Naamah, daughter of Tubal-Cain, and about them it is written: “The sons of God saw the daughters of the earth” (Gen 6:2); hence it is said that he [i.e., Azazel] atones for their prohibited sexual activity. [Cf. his euhemeristic exegesis of Gen 6:1-4]

Yerahmeel 25 — Azael did not repentÖ Therefore, when the Israelites used to bring sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, they cast one lot for the Lord that it might atone for iniquities of the Israelites, and one lot for Azazel that he might bear the burden of Israel’s iniquity. This is the Azazel that is mentioned in Scripture.

4. Azazil as Iblis

al-Tabari, The History of Prophets and Kings 1.83 (10th c.; trans. Rosenthal) — Before committing disobedience, Iblis was one of the angels. His name was Azazil.

al-Hallaj, Tawasin ch. VI (Ta’ Sin al-Azal) ßß18-19, ß30 (10th c.; trans. Massignon/Mason) - Azazil’s states of consciousness have been the subject of many theories. One says that he was entrusted to preach both in heaven and on earth. That in heaven, he preached to the angels by showing them good works; and that on earth, he preached to men by showing them bad actions (to test them)Ö

5. Shemihazah/Shemhazai as the father of Giants

b. Niddah 61a (in a discussion of Num 21:34) - Consider: Sihon and Og were brothers, for a Master stated, “Sihon and Og were the sons of Ahijah the son of Shemhazai.” Then why was it that he [i.e. Moses] feared Og while he did not fear Sihon? R. Yohanan, citing R. Simeon b. Yohai, replied: “From the answer that was given to that righteous man you may understand what was in his mind. He thought: ‘Perhaps the merit of our father Abraham will stand him [i.e., Og], for it is said, “And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew” (Gen 14:13).” In connection with this, R. Yohanan explained: “This refers to Og who escaped the fate of the Generation of the Flood.”

BerRabbati ad Gen 6:2 — Shemhazai begat two children, whose names were Heyya and Aheyya.

6. Shemihazah/Shemhazai paired again with Asael/Azael

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan ad Gen 6:1-4 - And it came to pass when the sons of men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and beautiful daughters were born to them, that the sons of the great ones saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, with eyes painted and hair curled, walking nakedness of flesh, and they conceived lustful thoughts; and they took of them wives of all that they chose. Shemihazah and Azael fell from heaven and were on earth in those days, and also after thatÖ

Yerahmeel 25 - When the Generation of Enosh arose and practiced idolatry and when the Generation of the Flood arose and corrupted their actions, the Holy One Blessed be He was grieved that He created humankind, as it is said “And the Lord repented that He had made man, and He was grieved at heart” (Gen 6:6). Then there arose two angels, whose names were Shemhazai and Azael, and said before Him: “O Lord of the universe, did we not say to You when You created the world: ‘Do not create man?’ As it is said: ‘What is man that you are mindful of him?’ (Ps 8:5)” “Then what will become of the World,” asked God. They replied, “We will occupy ourselves within it!” God said, “It is revealed and well known to Me that if you by chance happened to live in the earthly world, the evil inclination would sway you just as much as it rules over the sons of man, but you would be even more stubborn than they are!” [They said,] “Give us Your sanction, then, and let us descend among the creatures and then You will see just how we sanctify Your Name!” “Descend,” said the Lord, “and dwell among them.” Right away, He allowed the evil inclination to sway them. As soon as they descended and “saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful” (Gen 6:2) they began to cavort with them, as it is said: “When the sons of God saw the daughters of men” (Gen 6:2) they could not resist their inclination.

Rashi on Nephilim and Anaqim in Num 13:3 - From the sons of Shemhazai and Azael, who fell from heaven in the days of the Generation of Enosh.

© 2004 Annette Yoshiko Reed. All Rights Reserved.

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