Who are the descendants of Anak in the Old Testament?

In the Old Testament, the descendants of Anak are an ancient and mysterious group of people who are mentioned several times in the Bible. According to the Book of Numbers, the Anakim were believed to be giants, a fearsome and powerful race of people who inhabited the land of Canaan. Their presence struck fear into the hearts of the Israelites, who viewed them as formidable enemies.

The name Anakim is derived from the Hebrew word "Anak," which means "long-necked." This likely refers to the physical stature of these people, who were said to be tall and imposing. In the Book of Deuteronomy, they are described as being "great and tall," with the Israelites feeling like grasshoppers in their presence.

The Anakim are first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Numbers, when the Israelites are preparing to enter the Promised Land. In Numbers 13:33, the scouts who were sent to explore the land report back that they saw the Anakim there, along with fortified cities. This caused the Israelites to balk at the idea of entering the land, fearing that the Anakim would overpower them.

Despite their initial fear, the Israelites eventually conquered the land of Canaan and defeated the Anakim. However, some descendants of Anak were still living in the land, as mentioned in the Book of Joshua. In Joshua 15:14, we learn that Caleb, one of the spies who initially scouted out the land, was given Hebron as his inheritance "because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel." He was able to drive out the descendants of Anak from the city, fulfilling a promise that God had made to him.

The Anakim are also mentioned in the Book of Judges, where they are said to have lived in the hill country of Judah. In Judges 1:20, we read that the Israelites were unable to completely drive out the Anakim from the land, leading to ongoing conflict. This highlights the ongoing struggle that the Israelites faced in fully claiming the Promised Land as their own.

Overall, the descendants of Anak in the Old Testament serve as a reminder of the challenges and obstacles that the Israelites faced as they sought to claim the land that God had promised to them. The Anakim were larger and stronger than the Israelites, causing them to feel overwhelmed and inferior. However, through faith and determination, the Israelites were able to overcome the Anakim and take possession of the land.

Subscribe to Bible Analysis

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson