Why didn’t the female angels have sex with man?

Today, this Google query ended up here. It’s an interesting question, given that the rich reception of Gen. 6.1-4 only depicts male angels having sex with human women.

But the answer is simple: there are no female angels. In early Jewish literature, all angels are male.

Update 1: This important issue seems to have provoked interest. Jack Collins (Worthless Mysteries) comments below that Na’amah, the subject of speculation since being listed as the one female Cainite in Gen. 4:22b (see the genealogy in Gen. 4:17-22), ends up as a fallen angel in the Zohar. As she has sex with Adam, this counts as a female angel having sex with a man. But we’re well into medieval Judaism here. The same would go for Lilith traditions, which SP discusses in the comments section.

Update 2: And the Greek goddesses become angels in late Christian tradition. Nike, already winged in Greek iconography, is easily angelified, given the conflation of angels with the winged creatures.

Update 3: Jim Davila (Paleojudaica) points out “the four Hayyot (“living creatures” or “beasts”) of Ezekiel chapter 1 are grammatically female”.  Grammatically, that is, but not in gender. Yet, what this means is a bit mysterious, as Jim points out, and they’re not precisely angels.

Update 4: Also in the comments section, SP points out that “in Targum Neofiti (on Gen. 6), the bene [ha]elohim take (אנשי(ן instead of women”. That is, the sons of the gods have sex with men rather than women. This might be a result of a problem in textual transmission, though, as the final nun is missing.

So it is still correct to say that, as far as the evidence of early Judaism goes, there are no female angels – and therefore no angels who have sex with men. Or have I missed some evidence of female angels in early Judaism….?

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11 thoughts on “Why didn’t the female angels have sex with man?

  1. This made me think of something – probably not of a whole lot of relevance; but still possibly interesting: the demon lilītu (Lilith), known from Akkadian sources, is a succubus. Several Akkadian texts describe the danger of lilītu/ardat lilī taking a man in _ḫâru_ – that is, ‘marriage’ (cf. CT 51 161). This might be a distant parallel to the watchers’ taking of wives/women in the Enochic material – that is, if it’s fair to say that there’s some sort of continuity between (demi)gods/’angels’ and demons, as non-human Others (and if there’s some sort of “marriage” in view in 1 Enoch 7, etc.).

    Further, the watchers’ giant offspring may exhibit ‘demonic’ behavior (I think Wright 2006 talks about this) – but certainly, their postmortem spirits do (the common Second Temple etiology for demonic activity on earth).

    Perhaps even more interesting, in conjunction with all this, is the role of Lamaštu in Akkadian texts. Quoting Stol:

    Lamaštu is a daughter of Anu…and the sister of Inanna/Ištar and as such a high-ranking goddess. The incantations repeatedly stress her divinity, which is exceptional for demons. She is “singular” (ištiat) among the gods, however, and more like an evil spirit (utukkat); then, on account of her “bad disposition” (ṭēmu la damqu)…Anu expels her from heaven. The occasion for this irreversable [sic] measure was her request to have human flesh (babies) for dinner. [Stol 2000: 225]

    The giants born from the watchers are, of course, anthropophagous as well.

    ______

    I almost didn’t include this, but…just as a funny not: in Targum Neofiti (on Gen. 6), the bene elohim take (אנשי(ן instead of women. Of course, this may be a scribal error – or could just “follow the rabbinic accusations against the generation of the Flood of the practice of homosexuality” (Wright 2005: 133).

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  2. Since when did angels have gender? or sexual beings? a question was posed to Jesus about marriage and He clearly stated that angels do not marry. As far as we can tell from the Bible they do not have sex either.

    Why would it be different in the pre-flood world? The angels never changed.

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    • Just because Jesus said that the angels didn’t have sex doesn’t mean he thought they can’t, does it?

      Of course angels were male and had penises capable of sexual intercourse – the angels are manifestations of Yahweh, after all, who certainly has a body complete with a divine phallus. The male sex and penises of Yahweh and his angels receives a solid and extended discussion in Howard Eilberg-Schwartz’s God’s Phallus And Other Problems for Men And Monotheism (1994). I recommend it to you.

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    • You are correct to agree with Christ Who would KNOW if He had created angels to procreate or not. And if He had created them with such capacity, He would have created them either like He originally created Adam, (with the capacity to reproduce as a single unit), OR He would have created mates for them. Either way, men/women and angels are two very different ‘kinds’, and we see in Genesis that God set a ‘kind barrier’ to make it impossible for one kind to reproduce with a different kind. Angels are a ‘spirit kind’, while man is flesh and blood kind. There’s no possible way angels could have had sex with women, or with men.

      In fact, all this postulating about angels having sex with mortal women is mute since Genesis 6 in the Paleo Hebrew merely says the angels ‘took’ (as in kidnapped/by force) women, not because of any ‘sexual’ attraction but because they saw the women were ‘functional’. We learn from Genesis 2 that what the ‘serpent’ (whispering one) offered to Eve was ‘knowledge’, not a ‘roll in the hay’. We learn from other ancient text, including books of Enoch, Jasher and Sumerian tablets, that man had ‘knowledge’ of genetic engineering. So, what the angels saw in women were perfect ‘incubators’ for their vile genetic experiments.

      Another clue that it was genetic engineering and not ‘sex’ that angels wanted women for is that Christ warns that ‘as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of Man returns’. Today we do not see or hear reports of ‘angels having sex with women’, but we do learn about mad scientists who are ‘genetically engineering’, mixing the genes of man, animals and plants, just as Jasher describes. We hear of ‘alien abductions’ where women have had implantations in their wombs which are later extracted. If and when the ‘genetic engineers’ are successful enough to invent a biological creature with genitalia, they attempt to impregnate their female victims via some ‘natural’ method.

      As it was in the days of Noah, these diabolical madmen bring grotesque misfits into being, most of which survive a short duration and some of which are ‘turned loose’ into the wild, which explains at least some of the ‘unidentifiable’ species which have been found alive and dead in secluded areas or washed up on beaches.

      Men prefer to believe the ancient text suggest ‘sex’. But that’s no surprise, is it?

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    • True, thanks – and she has sex with Adam, to boot. As you say, this is much later.

      And in later Christian tradition some of the Greek goddesses become fallen angels, e.g. Nike.

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    • Possibly, but it’s hard to tell. They are just called “noshim” (women). Although, sometimes angels are just termed ‘anoshim’ (men) – so while it isn’t clear that they are angelic creatures, it isn’t ruled out. Their wings might remind us of the cherubim, who are a type of angel, but on the other hand winged human and human-like figures are very common throughout the ancient Near East. The context suggests that they have some association with the woman who is symbolic of Wickedness.

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