Anak, Anakim

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ANAK, ANAKIM (Heb. עֲנָק, עֲנוֹק, עֲנָקִים), son of Arba (Josh. 15:13; 21:11), and a giant people of southern Ereẓ Israel (called Anakim, BeneiʿAnak, and BeneiʿAnakim). According to Joshua 14:15, Arba, to whom the city of *Hebron owed its ancient name of Kiriath-Arba, was the greatest of the Anakim, and according to Joshua 15:13 he was the father of "the Anak." From the time when the Israelite spies explored the region of Hebron to the time when it was conquered by Caleb, it was inhabited by *Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, who were "born of the Anak" (yelidei ha-ʿAnak, Num. 13:22; or "children of the Anak," Josh. 15:14). The Anakim are described as *Nephilim (Num. 13:33), a term which is probably used here virtually as a common name for giants (cf. Gen. 6:4), much as titan(s) is used today. In Deuteronomy 2:21 (cf. 1:28) the great stature of Anakim is referred to. Such traditions about an ancient race of giants were apparently current in Israel, Ammon, and Moab (see *Rephaim).

Most biblical references connect the Anakim with Hebron (Num. 13:22; et al.), but Joshua 11:21–22 indicates that they occupied a wider area. It is not known whether the Iy-ʿnq of the Egyptian Execration Texts (first half of the second millennium b.c.e.) are connected with the biblical Anakim. The three rulers of the former bear Semitic names (Pritchard, Texts, 328), whereas the names of Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai have exact affinities with Hurrian names (cf. de Vaux, in rb, 55 (1948), 326, no. 1). The term anak is used in Modern Hebrew for a giant.


W.F. Albright, in: jpos, 8 (1928), 223–56; Wright, in: jbl, 57 (1938), 305–9; B. Mazar, in: Sefer Dinaburg (1949), 321; Albright, in: jpos, 8 (1928), 223–56. add. bibliography: O. Margalith, in: Beit Mikra, 25 (1986), 359–64.