Enoch & the Watchers
- Enoch in the Genesis
- Enoch in the Rabbinic Legend
- Enoch and the Pseudepigraphal Texts
- Book of Watchers
Of all the patriarchs in pre-Hebrew time (before the time of Abraham), one of them received special attention, though very little is written in both the Genesis from the Old Testament and the Torah; four short verses to be precise.
His name is Enoch, and he lived even before Noah and the great biblical Flood.
There are actually two individuals in the Genesis, who has the name of Enoch. One was the son of Cain and grandson of Adam. But we are more interested in the other Enoch – son of Jared and descendant of Seth, Cain’s other brother. Enoch was the seventh antediluvian patriarch in line of Adam.
First, the Genesis speaks of Enoch’s father, Jared:
From these verses, you can see that Enoch had siblings, but it doesn’t say how many brothers and sisters he has.
And then in the next paragraph:
This is all we know about Enoch in the Genesis. The next paragraph concerned about Enoch’s son, Methuselah, the oldest patriarch to ever lived, but as it can be seen in the previous verses, Methuselah was not his only child; Enoch had other sons and daughters.
So what do we know about Enoch in this short description?
We know that he is the son of Jared, and he had a son named, Methuselah. Another is that of all the pre-Flood patriarchs, his life on Earth was the shortest – 365 years. While his son, Methuselah, was oldest of all the patriarchs. According to my calculation, Enoch vanished 669 years before Noah boarded the Ark (see List of Pre-Hebrew Patriarchs for the calculation).
Also, Methuselah was the not the only child he had. Enoch had other children, both sons and daughters, but the Bible doesn’t tell us how many or who they were, except that of Methuselah.
It is not his relationship to his father and to his children that interest me. It is his relationship with God that totally intrigues me, and his mysterious disappearance.
It is stated quite clearly that Enoch walked with God, for the last 300 years of his life, possibly after the birth of his son Methuselah. In the Good News Bible, it referred to as “fellowship with God”.
Did God actually walk with Enoch in literal sense? Or is it something different altogether?
It really depends on the interpretation. It could mean that God had endowed him with prophecy through revelation, but this answer is not satisfactory.
And did Enoch die?
The reference to him being taken by God can mean any number of things. It doesn’t say explicitly that he die.
The Hebrew scriptures don’t say anything else about Enoch.
It is not until we come to the New Testament that we learn a few more things about Enoch in the Bible. Both of these come from two different letters.
From the letter by Jude:
Though, the letter from Jude was directed at the false teachers, the prophecies probably referred to the children and descendants of the Watchers. Enoch lived in the time, when these giants ruled the Earth. The Watchers (Greek Grigori) were fallen angels, who took mortal women as wives, and they fathered giants. These wicked giants were the cause of God in bringing the Flood in the Genesis (from Gen. 6, 7 and 8).
From the Letter to the Hebrews, Paul writes:
The common theme in Paul’s letter in chapter 11 is faith in God. The apostle Paul was talking about that only through faith can people receive any reward from God. And God was obviously pleased with Enoch, whom he rewarded. God had made Enoch ascend to heaven without dying. That’s what it mean, when “God had translated him”.
What does it mean by translate?
I supposed translated mean Enoch became an ascended being; an angel. The Genesis’ passage only referred to Enoch being taken.
However, I will not go into more detail about Watchers, giants and flood, until the next sections, Book of Watchers.
When Enoch was taken to heaven, we would naturally assume that Enoch became an angel, but even the Bible doesn’t mention this transformation, with possibly the reference in Hebrews, when Paul mentioned “translate”.
We can’t go any further with the Bible about Enoch, so we’ll need to turn other sources. First, we shall look at the rabbinical texts about Enoch, and then we will look at a couple of Pseudepigraphal texts, known as the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch.
No other biblical sources had mention any prophecy of Enoch.
It was during the time of Jared, father of Enoch, that the angels, known as the Watchers came down to earth to take mortal women as wives and mate with them, and they beget monstrous children. Some of details of this can be found in the Rabbinic legend, the Haggada. Some of it resemble to the narrative found in the Book of Enoch. More detail about the Watchers and their children can be found in the book called the Book of Watchers, which formed the first part of the Pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch.
The leader of the Watchers was Shemhazai. He agreed with others to take women as wives, only if they sworn pacts to carry through this plan. Two hundred angels made the descent to Earth, at Mount Hermon. Two hundred angels were divided into group of ten, each under the leadership of chieftain or captain. Some of these fallen angels’ names are revealed: Azazel, Armaros, Barakel, Kawkabel, Ezekeel, Arakiel, Samsaweel and and Seriel.
They defiled themselves on mortal women, producing monstrous children. Their children grew to be giants of three-thousand ells tall, which is approximately 3420 metres in height (11,250 feet tall). The wicked angels taught their children all sort of sorcery and arcane knowledge.
According to the Haggada (book 1, chapter 4 Punishment of the Fallen Angels), the angel Shemhazai lusted after a maiden named Istehar, however, she tricked him to reveal the Ineffable Name of God. Istehar used the Ineffable Name used to ascend, thereby escaping violation by Shemhazai. God rewarded Istehar for her pious and her chastity by commemorating her as the seven-star constellation Pleides.
In Genesis 4:22, Naamah was a daughter of Lamech and Zillah, and sister of Tubal-cain. She was a descendant of Cain, hence a Cainite. Apart from this, she was not mentioned again. In the Talmud, Genesis Rabba (27), this same Naamah was mentioned as the wife of Noah, the hero of the Flood, but according to the Book of Jubilees 4:35, Noah’s wife was Emzara, the daughter of Rake’el; Rake’el being a brother of Lamech, hence she was Noah’s cousin. However, the Midrash: Genesis Rabba 23, mentioned that the sister of Tubal-Cain, was the wife of Noah.
In most sources in regarding to Naamah, she was known for her great beauty; and according to the Haggada, her name means “Lovely” (Zohar 32 says that her name means “Gentleness”), though the name was used for her skills in producing sweet sounds from the cymbals. She was idol-worshipper.
According to the Haggada, Naamah was the opposite of Istehar, because the angel Shamdon had succeeded in sexual union with Naamah. Naamah’s offspring was Asmodeus, a demon, instead of a giant (a Nephilim). Asmodeus appeared in the apocrypha Tobit.
According to the introduction of the Zohar, it was Naamah who first deceived and seduced the angels, not the angels seducing Naamah. Zohar 3 mentioned the angels, Aza and Azael, instead of Shamdon, they were victims of her beauty. She became mother of unknown number of demons, but there was no mention of Asmodeus. From this same chapter and passage of the Zohar, she was more than just a mortal woman. She would wander through the night and sleep with any man sleeping alone in the house during the waning of the moon, taking away their strength, like a succubus. So Naamah, like Lilith, became a demoness.
When Jared was 162, Enoch was born. Upon reaching manhood, Enoch lived alone in a cave, to avoid the wicked children (Nephilim) of the Watchers, when one day he heard a voice, appointing him as the scribe of justice. The voice told him to go to the Watchers and announced their fates and punishments for their wickedness for cohabiting with mortal women. Their offspring shall suffer for the sins of their fathers.
The giants consumed most of the food from men, before they began devouring ordinary people, and sucking their blood, like vampires.
Enoch was 65 when his son, Methuselah, was born. God had appointed Enoch as ruler and teacher. Hundred and thirty kings and princes had submitted to his dominion. He was known for his wisdom and justice. He was 243 when Adam died. There was a period of long peace while he ruled. But at this point in time, Enoch decided to retreat from the rest of mankind again.
On the last day, a giant steed arrived from heaven, to take Enoch away. After giving his final instructions to his people, he tried to leave. As he travel through the land, his people followed him. On the second day, he told them again to leave. Most obeyed, but six people continued to follow him. Enoch tried to persuade the last six people to leave him, or else they would die when he ascend to heaven. Still, they followed him, until the seventh day. A fiery chariot drawn by giant steed arrived from heaven.
The kings who obeyed Enoch to leave him, discovered the bodies of the six people who followed Enoch till the end. They seemed to have been killed by great hailstones. Enoch was taken to heaven on the same month, day and hour that he was born.
It was not the first time, Enoch was taken to heaven. Enoch had the great privilege to see every place at heavens on earth. Two angels, Samuil and Raguil, woke him, and escorted him to heaven. He was able to see each of the seven heavens and the angels who dwelled there, all the way up the throne of God in the 10th heaven. He also met the archangel, Gabriel and Michael.
Enoch was to be the scribe of God. From the book of heaven, Enoch copied down everything, filling 366 books about everything that happened in heaven and on earth. Enoch was said to have given these books to his sons.
The final time he was taken to heaven, he was transformed into an archangel, and his name was changed to Metatron. He was the prince of princes of angels.
After Enoch’s disappearance, Methuselah took over the mantle of patriarch and “ruler of the earth”, and was seen as a great hero in the Haggada, killing thousands of demons, who were offspring of Adam and the she-devil, Lilith; killed them all with his sword, which have the “Ineffable Name” of God etched on the blade. Methuselah captured Agrimus, the first-born of Lilith.
Between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD, there were vast amount of works written that were considered to be either apocryphal (secret) or pseudepigrapha texts. Both of them are non-canonical and not included in the Hebrew and in some Christian bibles.
The Apocrypha does appear in the Septuagint, the earliest bible written in Greek. The Catholics does include the Apocrypha in the Vulgate Bible (written by Jerome in Latin), but the Protestants and Anglicans doesn’t include it in their bible.
The Pseudepigrapha, on the other hand, are considered to be of spurious authorship. And yet, some of the Pseudepigrapha writings were quite influential, such as the Book of Jubilees.
Enoch appeared in several large volume of works from pseudepigrapha texts.
The Book of Jubilees tell of similar events found in the rabbinical legends found in the Haggada. In the Book of Jubilees, Enoch was the son of Jared and Bâraka, daughter of Râsûujâl. His wife was Ednî, daughter of Danel, and Enoch became the father of Methuselah. Unlike the Genesis, the Book of Jubilees have given us names of mothers, wives and sometimes daughters of the patriarchs.
Enoch was inventor of writing and known for his wisdom. He also wrote the signs of heaven (astrology).
There are two works that known as the Book of Enoch, which were believed to be ascribed the patriarch himself. The Second Enoch contained mostly the narrative about Enoch, particularly his visit to heaven. The First Enoch contained various visions, astrology and wisdom. It is from the Enoch 1 that contained the section known as the Book of Watchers (chapters 1-36) which I will relate, in regarding to fallen angels and the giants, which was one of causes of the great flood.
Methuselah, Enoch’s son, was married to Ednâ, daughter of Âzrîâl.
In the Genesis, we are given a very brief description of the causes of the great Biblical Flood. This took place before Noah built his vessel, the great ark.
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
And the LORD said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Who were these sons of God that were referred to in some translations as supernatural beings? And were these giants or old, men of renowned (the Good New Bible called them famous men of long ago and heroes)?
The Haggada gives us an abbreviate version that I have already related that the sons of Gods were angels of heaven, who were known as the Watchers, and the giants were their children.
It is in the Book of Enoch (Enoch 1 or 1 Enoch) that we are given more details about these events. 1 Enoch could be divided into 5 sections, of which the Book of Watchers (chapters 1-36) relates to the fallen angels and giants.
During the time of Enoch’s father, Jared, a group of angels, known as the Watchers, looked from heaven and saw that the daughters of mortal men to be beautiful and they desired to sleep with them. They consulted with Semjaza, but he refuse to lead them unless they all make a pact that each one was responsible for this act. They agreed and swore oaths that they will mate with mortal women.
Two hundred angels followed Semjaza’s descent to earth, under the leadership of twenty captains and divided accordingly. Among the Watchers was Azazel, one of the leaders. Each angel took wives for himself – mating with them and siring children that grew and became giants.
The children grew as tall as three thousands ells. These giants were also called Nephilim. They were given other names – the Rephaim, the Anakim, Zuzim, and Emim.
The angels had also taught the mortals forbidden arts and lores of enchantment and divination. The Watchers also taught their children all manner of things. They learn not only sorcery and astrology, but also how to make weapons for war.
The giants’ appetites were in proportion to their size, so they quickly devoured cattle and food of men and other wild animals until they were all short of food. Then the giants began slaughtering men and devouring their flesh. Some even drank their blood. The cries of dying men reached the heaven.
Not all Watchers who looked down from heaven were evil. There were Holy Watchers were the archangels – Michael, Uriel, Gabriel and Raphael. These archangels were the leading Watchers, who heard the cries of men that perished under the hungry giants. They holy angels told God what has been happening on earth.
God gave each of his archangels a task. He told Uriel to instruct Noah to hide, and reveal the secret destruction of the world. Since the angels had defiled themselves by having sexual intercourse with mortals, these Watchers became fallen angels, unable to return to heaven. God sent Raphael to bind and bury Azazel in a desert until judgement day where Azazel shall be cast into fire. The Lord sent Gabriel to wreak confusion and destruction upon the children and descendants of the fallen angels; they will begin killing one another. And with Michael, God instructed him to go and confine Semjaza and the other evil Watchers in the abyss (Tartarus).
Before the archangels’ meeting with God and His judgement, the narrative returns to the time of Enoch. Enoch had been hiding in the wildness avoiding men and giants. Enoch’s absence from the earth for a time was that he was allowed to visit God in heaven. Enoch had also seen the communities and hierarchies of the angelic world. Enoch was allowed to see all levels of heaven, and even hell, where the wicked were punished.
The Watchers had nicknamed Enoch as the Scribe. After Enoch’s first visit in heaven, God sent him to the Watchers with a dire prophecy and warning for the Watchers and their giant children. Enoch also foretold that Noah and his family would be saved, when the earth becomes inundated. Although, Enoch was a human, Azazel and the other Watchers trembled at his terrible words.
It was at this point that the Watchers realised not only fates of their children, but also they could never returned to heaven, because they have cohabited with daughters of men and teaching them and their children about forbidden secrets from heaven; they are fallen angels, which people would label as evil spirits or demons. The Watchers could not even pleaded their cases nor convey their apologies directing to God, which was why they required to communicate with God via Enoch.
Though, the giant were killing humans at the time of Enoch, when Gabriel destroyed the children of the Watchers it would have inadvertent effects; the giants’ death won’t stop them troubling humans. Since the giants were children from the union of mortal women and the spirit from heaven, their death would release the spirits of these giants that would cause problems for mortals till the end of time. They are evil spirits that will remain bound to the earth, so mankind won’t have any peace.
After this, various archangels took Enoch to various parts of the earth, where he saw various wonders. Here is the earliest mention of the seven archangels (1 Enoch 20) – Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Saraqael and Remiel.
Enoch saw where spirits were punished for sinning; he saw great mountains and forests, creature of great size and small. One of the places Enoch visited was the Garden of Eden, where Enoch saw the Tree of Wisdom, which was known as the Tree of Knowledge in the Genesis.
There are many portals to the heaven, if one could travel to the ends of the earth. There are portals on the four quarters of the earth, north, south, east and west.
Though the two books of Enoch were considered pseudepigrapha, they were nevertheless influential because of the details about heavens, the hierarchies of angels and fallen angels, which Jews and early Christians seemed to use. Fragments of texts about these events were also in the texts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. Both works were influenced by the Persian religion, known as Zoroastrianism, which has a complex system or mythology of angels and demons.
Good News Bible: Today English Version
United Bible Societies
1976; reprinted 1986
Here are the following texts used from this bible:
- Genesis 5, 6
- Hebrews 11:5-6
- Jude 14-15
Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures
According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
The Jewish Publication Society; 1985
Internet Sacred Text Archive:
The Legends of the Jews (Haggada)
trans. Louis Ginzberg, 1909
The following texts used is Volume 1, chapters 1-4, particularly chapter 3, which have a fair bit on Enoch.
The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913 (2 vols)
These volumes were available in my local library, but they are now gone, probably sold.
Fortunately, copies of these translations can also be found in a couple of websites.
At Wesley College, Noncanonical Literature, I have used the following works as my sources from the above site:
The following texts were found in Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha and Sacred Writings site:
- 1 Enoch (Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch)
- 2 Enoch (Slavonic Book of the Secrets of Enoch)
- Enoch (another version)
Dead Sea Scrolls
On-Line Texts Related to Biblical Study
- Tales of the Patriarchs (originally titled Genesis Apocryphon) (1QapGen=1Q20)
Fragment 2 Column 2
Paraphrase by Lesley Faulk & Amanda Scott
- Enoch (4Q201)
- The Book of Giants (4Q203, 1Q23, 2Q26, 4Q530-532, 6Q8)
- Enoch and the Watchers (4Q227)
The following are external links from Gnosis Archive: