Spiritual Meaning of

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 Mightly men, Nephilim

That by the Nephilim are signified those who through a persuasion of their own loftiness and pre-eminence made light of all things holy and true, appears from what precedes and what follows, namely, that they immersed the doctrinals of faith in their cupidities, signified by the sons of God going in unto the daughters of man, and their bearing unto them. Persuasion concerning self and its phantasies increases also according to the multitude of things that enter into it, till at length it becomes indelible; and when the doctrinals of faith are added thereto, then from principles of the strongest persuasion they make light of all things holy and true, and become Nephilim.

from AC 581

That the Nephilim are called mighty men from the love of self, is evident from various passages of the Word, where such are called mighty; as in Jeremiah:--

The mighty ones of Babel have ceased to fight, they sit in their holds, their might faileth, they are become as women (Jeremiah 51:30),

where the mighty ones of Babel denote those who are eaten up with the love of self. In the same:--

A sword is against the liars, and they shall be insane, a sword is against her mighty ones, and they shall be dismayed (Jeremiah 50:36).


I saw them dismayed, and turning away back, their mighty ones were broken in pieces, and have been put to flight, and looked not back, fear was round about, the swift shall not flee away, nor the mighty one escape; come up, ye horses, and rage, ye chariots, and let the mighty ones go forth, Cush, Put, the Lydians (Jeremiah 46:5, 6, 9),

speaking of persuasion from reasonings. Again:--

How say ye, We are mighty, and men of strength for war? Moab is laid waste (Jeremiah 48:14, 15).


The city is taken, and the strongholds, it has been seized, and the heart of the mighty men of Mob in that day is become as the heart of a woman in her pangs (Jeremiah 48:41).

In like manner it is said:--

The heart of the mighty ones of Edom (Jeremiah 49:22).


Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob, and hath avenged him from the hand of him that was mightier than he (Jeremiah 31:11),

where mighty is expressed by another term. That the Anakim, who were of the Nephilim, were called mighty ones, is evident from Moses:--

Thou passest over Jordan to-day, to go in to possess nations greater and more numerous than thyself, cities great and fortified to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard; who shall stand before the sons of Anak? (Deut. 9:1, 2).

from AC 583

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info