The term literally means “the fallen ones.” Some say they were a race of
giants, the offspring of angels and women, to which Goliath and Lahmi
belonged. (This sounds too much like Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology for
me.) Others say they were the sinful seed of Cain, who later appear as the
Canaanites. Scholarship is divided, with the majority taking them to be a
race of giants. One interesting matter is that the Bible says (Gen 6) that
they were on the earth in the days before the Flood – “and afterward.”
What does that mean?
I have shared my own thoughts in Genesis, Science & History (available at
www.ipibooks.com), which is a book on Genesis 1-11. Do read the footnotes
as well as the main text, and have fun!