🏷  Semitic hidden ruler mythical creature pun · name   —   by Gerry · Apr 2021 · 485 words

The Nephilim npl-ym are a Biblical term for “giants”, occurring very rarely, and without any meaningful contribution to the story. However, the underlying word root npl doesn’t mean “big”, but “felling” & “falling”. That’s why the Nephilim were later reinterpreted into “fallen” angels. To the ancient spooks, it was likely a pun with n-ply-ym, the reflexive form of “obscured people” & “distinguished people”, i.e. themselves.

The Nephilim pun requires a little knowledge of Hebrew grammar:

The problem is that dictionaries typically don’t list the n- prefix and -ym suffix for all word entries, but you can really use them with practically all words.

A related group of derived pl words means to “mystify”, and also “joking” & “fooling”, probably because excessive mystification is a joke. The word nephilim can thus mean “[man-]fellers”, “distinguished ones”, “obscured ones”, “mystified ones”, “joking ones”. This may be why a lot of spooky “ancient mystery” books & websited settled on selling the Nephilim as a great mystery, fallen angels turned demons or somesuch, even though in the Bible it’s just 3 short mentionings without any importance.

Hebrew npl = fall, fell, feller; n-pl = distinguished, hidden, mystified

נפיל ; נפלים nplym; npyl : Nephilim, “giants”; from naphal: properly, a feller, i.e. a bully or tyrant — Old Hebrew (Strong)

יפֹל ; נפל npl; ypl : to fall, lie; fall down, cast down, fail, fell, fell down, felled, killed — Old Hebrew (Strong)

נפלי ; פלה plh; nply : to be separated or distinct; to distinguish; put a difference, show marvellous, separate, set apart, sever, make wonderfully — Old Hebrew (Strong)

נפלא nplˀ : to be remote, hidden, obscure — Hebrew (Jastrow)

פלי ply : to do strange, wonderful things; to mystify, perplex, outwit, fool — Hebrew (Jastrow)

נפלא nplˀ : wonderful, superb, excellent, great; inexplicable, inconceivable, source of amazement — Hebrew (Wikt)

פלא plˀ : to distinguish, make special — Hebrew (Klein)

פלי ply : to be remote; to be concealed; to make wonderful, to do wonders; to make excessive (in a negative sense) — Aramaic (CAL)

פלי ply : to jest at, make fun of; to make a joke (?) — Aramaic (CAL)

🏷  Semitic hidden ruler mythical creature pun · name