Last week we saw that the giants were a prominent regional phenomenon for hundreds of years. They are first mentioned, with the name nefilim, already early in history, in Parashat Bereishit (Bereishit 6:4). We find at the time of Avraham that the four Mesopotamian kings killed out most of them, with Og being the remnant (see ibid. 14:5). When the spies returned from the Land of Canaan, they highlighted the presence of the three sons of the giant in Chevron (Bamidbar 13:22-33). On the way to Eretz Yisrael, the nation encountered Og, whose stature was described in great detail. In Devarim (2:10-11; ibid. 20-21), the relationship between the various groups of giants and the nations of Ammon and Moav is spelled out. When the navi describes the battles of Yehoshua after Bnei Yisrael crossed into the Land, the giants are once again stressed. They were removed from the whole country except for the area of Azza, Gat, and Ashdod, which would be known as the Land of the Plishtim (Yehoshua 11:18-22). Kalev asked as a reward for his valor in standing up to the spies to receive Chevron, so that he could (and did) remove the three giants (ibid. 15:14). David’s family and servants ended the era of the giants in Eretz Yisrael (Shmuel II, 21:16-21).
Moshe was threatened by Og, the King of Bashan, and his army and was successful in conquering. Before this happened, though, Hashem reassured Moshe: “Do not fear for I have given him over to your hand …” (Bamidbar 21:34). Considering all of the great challenges that Moshe overcame before this, why did Moshe require such emotional support? We will take a look at the historical phenomenon of which Og was a part, from the time of Avraham until the time of David.
Last week we saw that in addition to excellence in Torah knowledge, a dayan needs general knowledge, including in languages (Rambam, Sanhedrin 2). In Sanhedrin 2:7, the Rambam says: “And known by your tribes” – this teaches that the spirit of people must find them pleasant. “In what way will they be loved by others? When they possess a ‘good eye,’ a low spirit, they are good friends, and their speech and transactions with people are in a way that is pleasant.”