The Bible occasionally mentions the physical appearance of its characters, like Esther’s beauty (Est. 2:7), Samson’s hair (Judges 16:17), and Eglon’s weight (Judg. 3:17). It also refers to some people’s height, like Saul (1 Sam. 9:2), who was tall, and Zaccheaus (Luke 19:3), who was short. Yet many people wonder how tall Adam, the first man, was.
The Bible doesn’t mention Adam’s height. However, examining certain references in the Bible, like how tall a giant man was, gives readers some indication of how tall an average man may have been. For example, if a “giant” was 6’5″, the height of an average man would be considerably less.
What do some believe Adam was average in height? Why do others think he was giant in size? What giant people does the Bible mention? How tall were they? Were the Nephilim, who Genesis says were giants, connected to Adam? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also, see How Old Was Adam When He Died? to learn more.
Was Adam Average Height or Giant In Size?
Since the Bible doesn’t explicitly state Adam’s height, some scholars and readers speculate or make educated guesses based on available and related information.
After weighing the evidence, some theorize Adam was average in height. Others surmise that he was giant in size. Rarely are scholars and commentators dogmatic about their views because of the limited evidence.
Why do some believe that Adam was around 5’5″?
In the time of Jesus, the average height of a Jewish man was 5’5″.  Since the Bible often mentions when a person is unusually tall or short (e.g., Samuel and Zaccheaus), and it doesn’t refer to Jesus’ height, some theorize that his height was probably close to average.
In this view, since Jesus was probably average in height, and he was in the line of Adam and Abraham (Luke 3:23-38), the father of the Jewish race, his size is likely the result of how big or small his ancestors were.
In response, some people answer that while a genetic connection between Jesus and Adam exists, what readers can conclude about Adam’s height is extremely limited for multiple reasons.
For example, the New Testament never mentions Jesus’ height, so it’s impossible to know if he was the average height of 5’5″. Additionally, there was so much time between Adam and Jesus that people should refrain from drawing conclusions based on genetic connections.
Why do some believe Adam was probably a giant?
The Bible mentions unusually tall people in multiple passages. Some people think that tall people have purer genetics for unknown reasons. Since their genes were less corrupt, they were taller, stronger, and had other unique physical characteristics.
According to this view, if their height resulted from purer genetics, and Adam had the purest genetics when God created him, then he was probably a giant.
|Goliath||Some scholars say he was 9’9″; others say he was 6’9″ to 7’0″ (1 Sam. 17:4)|
|Amorites||They were as tall as cedars. Though this is hyperbole, they were likely tall compared to the Israelites (Amos 2:9).|
|King Og||If his bed size matched his height, he would have been 13′ tall. (Deut. 3:11)|
|Nephilim||See below (Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:33)|
What needs to be clarified in this view is if purer genetics result in substantial height. Many scholars argue that such genes would result in substantial health, which may account for the long lifespans before the flood (see Gen. 5).
Yet, height doesn’t necessarily correlate to health. Today, unusually tall people often have health challenges related to their pituitary glands, heart, joints, and more.
Also, see Are Adam and Eve in Heaven or Hell? to learn more.
Were There Giants in Adam’s Time?
The Bible records Adam’s story in Genesis 1-5. God created him and Eve, placed them in the Garden of Eden, and instructed them on how to live (Gen. 2). Soon, Adam and Eve violated God’s instructions. As a result, he gave them consequences for their disobedience (Gen. 3), which affected all generations after them, starting with their children, Cain and Abel (Gen. 4-5).
The first mention of someone’s height in the Bible occurs ten generations (Gen. 5) after Adam in the story of Noah and the flood (Gen. 6-9).
Before the deluge starts, Genesis describes how evil the world was before God judges it with water (Gen. 6:1-8). The passage says that an evil people group was on the earth in those days called the Nephilim (Gen. 6:4).
Genesis 6:4 reads, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (ESV).
Were the Nephilim giants?
The Hebrew word translated as “Nephilim” implies unusually large people. Some English translations, like the ESV above, simply read “Nephilim,” while others use descriptions that refer to their size. Below are three examples.
|NLT||“In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.”|
|KJV||“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.”|
|NKJV||“There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”|
Also, see Who Was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden? to learn more.
Nephilim in the Book of Numbers
Over 2,000 years after the flood, God freed the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt, intending that they return to the land he promised to their forefather Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). Yet when it came time to take the land back from its ungodly inhabitants, most Israelites, failing to trust God, were too afraid to act.
Though Caleb and Joshua believed that with God’s help, the Israelites could take back the Promised Land, most people doubted. To justify their inaction, they reported that the current residents of the land were unusually large.
Numbers 13:33 reads, “And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them” (ESV).
Scholars have differing views about whether or not these Nephilim are the same ones referred to in Genesis 6. Some argue that the reference is clear, and the text even briefly describes their ancestry.
However, others argue that the flood destroyed the Nephilim of Genesis 6. Noah and his descendants repopulated the earth after the flood (Gen. 9), and the Nephilim didn’t survive.
In this view, the reference to the Nephilim is a fear-based exaggeration, like when Amos describes Israel’s enemies as cedars (Amos 2:9).
Some readers argue that the reference to the Nephilim reveals that there were giants on the earth in Adam’s time, and since it doesn’t describe him as one of them, then he was of average height.
Others respond that while the mention of the Nephilim occurs near Adam’s storyline in Genesis, ten generations separated them (Gen. 5; cf. Num. 13:33), so making conclusions about Adam’s height is unwise.
Also, see What Did God Create on the First Day? to learn more.
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