1 Enoch 6-11
Reading Time: 7 minutes
1 Enoch 6-11
Reading Time: 7 minutes
If you are interested in reading 1 Enoch with us, you can find it on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
So far in 1 Enoch we’ve started with the opening of the first part of the book, the Book of the Watchers. This section opens with Enoch having a vision of God, who is returning to establish his kingship and authority over all the earth with 10,000,000 holy ones.
As part of this, God is bringing judgement on all, resulting in blessings and life for the righteous and death and destruction for the wicked.
Enoch then challenges the wicked to look to the natural world and see the consistent faithfulness of nature in obeying God's commands. In contrast, the wicked are faithless and disobedient, leading to their ultimate punishment of perishing and their names becoming cursed.
The righteous, on the other hand, will be given long life, wisdom, and peace. This finished the introduction of this part. We now move to the second section within the Book of Watchers, the sin of the angels (Watchers) and birth of the nephilim.
1 Enoch 6-10
The Angels Rebel
We open with a group of angels looking down at human women and wanting to sleep with them to produce children of their own. This is a reference to Genesis 6:1-2.
At first, their leader, Semyaz is concerned that they’re all going to say this is a great idea, but he’s going to be the only one that actually does it and then gets in trouble.
In response they all bind themselves with an oath that they will all go along with this idea and all share the blame. The place they decide to swear this oath is Mount Hermon, which will continue to be significant throughout 1 Enoch.
In the Bible, God chooses Mount Sinai to be his holy mountain. In contrast, Mount Hermon will become the primary place of spiritual rebellion.
We then get a list of some of the names of the angels who are rebelling. Many of them end in ‘el’ which means God, and their names translate to things like ‘evening of God’, ‘star of God’, ‘thunder of God’, etc.
This suggests these were pretty senior angels rebelling.
The Birth of the Giants (nephilim)
And so these angels take human women and get them pregnant. According to 1 Enoch, the women then gave birth to giants who are 300 cubits tall.
This is the equivalent of 450 feet or a little over 137 metres. It’s safe to say this is likely an exaggeration.
While the word isn’t mentioned here, in Genesis 6:1-2, the Bible refers to these giants as nephilim.
At first the humans try to feed these giants, but soon they run out of food so the giants start eating animals instead, and sometimes even humans.
This is significant, because it wasn’t until later in the story in Genesis 9:3-4 that God gives humans permission to eat living animals, and even then he tells them not to consume their blood.
Here the giants are tearing apart animals and humans and drinking their blood. We’re meant to see them as corrupt and wicked beings.
Rebellious Angels Teach Humans Wickedness
The angels then start teaching the humans things that will ultimately lead to their destruction. There’s alchemy, magic, and astrology, as well as how to build weapons to fight and kill each other with.
We are then given the names of four good angels; Then Michael, Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel. These angels serve as God’s eyes and ears on earth, and quickly report to God everything that has been happening.
God Pronounces Judgement on the Rebels
And so God enters the scene. The first thing he does is tell ‘the son of Lamech’ to hide himself from what is going on and to prepare for ‘the deluge [that] is about to come upon all the earth’.
Jumping back to Genesis we can see in Genesis 5:28-29, that the son of Lamech is Noah, and we know from that story that God commissions Noah to make a boat because he’s going to flood the earth and wipe out its corruption.
Next, God tells his angel Raphael to find Azazel (also known as Azael), bind him and throw him into a pit in the desert to await judgement.
We see this idea picked up in Leviticus. In Leviticus 16:8-10, we see one of the goats on the day of Atonement was dedicated to Azazel (sometimes referred to as a scapegoat).
The idea was that the high priest would place all of the sins of God’s people onto this goat and send it to Azazel (Leviticus 16:20-22). Almost like a toxic waste bomb.
Then God commands Gabriel to hunt down the giants and their offspring, to separate them from the rest of humanity, and to cause them to fight amongst themselves so that they live short lives.
Finally, to the angel Michael, God gives the task of declaring judgement over Semiaza (Semyaza) and all the over fallen angels. There will come a time where they will be bound, tortured, and destroyed.
Included in this is a command to remove all pollution and injustice in the world. To cleanse the world of all defilement, oppression, sin, and iniquity.
Then the world will once again be a place of abundance and goodness.
In 1 Enoch 6-10 we get the telling of a spiritual rebellion from fallen angels that leads to giants (nephilim) who cause death and destruction. These fallen angels also teach the humans to practise wickedness and to fight each other.
This leads God to send his angels to defeat and capture these fallen angels, and speak forward to a time where all rebellion and corruption will be cleansed from the earth so that the human can once again live in abundance.
Next, we will get Enoch’s visions of what will happen to these fallen angels. What will their punishment be?
In 1 Enoch, Mount Hermon is the place where the rebellious angels swear an oath to carry out their plan to take human women as wives and produce offspring. This mountain becomes a symbol of spiritual rebellion throughout the text. In contrast, Mount Sinai in the Bible is chosen by God to be his holy mountain, where he gives his laws to Moses and establishes a covenant with his people. The contrast highlights the difference between obedience and rebellion in the two texts.
The nephilim are the giant offspring born from the union of the rebellious angels and human women. Although the term "nephilim" is not directly mentioned in 1 Enoch, it is used in Genesis 6:1-2 to describe these giants. In 1 Enoch, the nephilim cause death and destruction by consuming all available food and then resorting to eating animals and humans. They represent the corruption and wickedness that results from the angels' rebellion.
In 1 Enoch, Azazel is one of the fallen angels who is bound and thrown into a pit in the desert to await judgement. In Leviticus 16:8-10, on the Day of Atonement, one of the goats is dedicated to Azazel, also known as the scapegoat. The high priest would place all the sins of God's people onto this goat and send it to Azazel. The connection between the two texts is that Azazel, as a symbol of sin and rebellion, is sent the sins of the people, almost like a toxic waste bomb.
In 1 Enoch, God sends his angels to defeat and capture the fallen angels and the nephilim. He commands Raphael to bind Azazel and throw him into a pit, Gabriel to hunt down the giants and cause them to fight amongst themselves, and Michael to declare judgement over Semiaza and the other fallen angels. God also speaks of a time when all rebellion and corruption will be cleansed from the earth, allowing humanity to live in abundance once more.
The description of the giants as being 450 feet or 137 meters tall is likely an exaggeration to emphasize their unnatural and monstrous nature. Such a height would make them taller than most modern buildings and is physically implausible for a living being. The exaggeration serves to highlight the extreme consequences of the fallen angels' rebellion, as well as the chaos and destruction brought about by the nephilim.
In 1 Enoch, the fallen angels teach humans various forms of wickedness that contribute to their destruction. Examples of these teachings include alchemy, magic, and astrology, as well as the crafting of weapons for warfare. By teaching humans these forbidden arts and technologies, the fallen angels further corrupt humanity and exacerbate the violence and chaos on earth.
Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.
With a deep understanding of ancient religious texts, historical contexts, and original languages Bryn Joslin is a dedicated Christian author and teacher who is passionate about helping others understand the Bible better. He strives to cultivate God's presence in the world and curate His word for the benefit of all believers.
Bryn understands that expanding the kingdom of God involves bringing peace, love, and unity to every situation he encounters. He shares God's love and message in tangible ways to make a positive impact on those around him.
With an appreciation of the importance of daily Bible study, Bryn has dedicated himself to helping others develop a strong foundation in their faith. He believes that immersing oneself in the language, imagery, and themes of the Bible is crucial to understanding its meaning and message.