Others have in more recent times denied the derivation of the word from naphal, "to fall," preferring to connect it with the Arabic word nabil ( نـَبيـلٌ ): which means "noble" and also "skilled in archery." After all, like many proper names in the early chapters of Genesis, the word may prove to be of Sumerian origin, unconnected with any root in the Semitic languages.

As the more ignorant of the Jews were lovers of the marvellous, the story of the sin of the fallen angels grew ever more and more strange and wonderful. At first only two angels are spoken of as having fallen, and this was an exaggeration of the Babylonian tale of Ishtar's tempting Gilgamesh alone. But in later times their number in the tales current among the Jews grew greater, until at last in the apocryphal Book of Enoch it is said that the angels who fell from heaven amounted to 200, and that they all descended in order to sin with women. The following extract from that book is important as narrating the legend in a fuller form than those which we have previously quoted. It also gives a statement which agrees with one made at the conclusion of the Jewish legend in the Midrash Yalkut and also in the Qur'an, in a passage which we shall soon have to consider.

(Gen. vi. 2, 4):......
ויעגלי ברי שׁלטניה ית בנאת אנשׁה הלא שפירין אנױ
וגיבריה הוו בארעה ביומיה אנון ואף בתר כן די יעלון ברי שׁלטניה לות בנאת האדם ואולדו להון אנון גבריה דמן עלם גברי עדיפה׃
[It appears to be the text of the Samaritan Targum because of some different words and spelling.]

"And it came to pass, wherever the children of men were multiplied, in those days daughters fair and beautiful were born. And the angels, sons of heaven, beheld them and longed for them and they said to one another, ‘Come, let us choose out for ourselves wives from men, and we shall beget children for ourselves.’ And Semiazas, who was their chief, said to them, ‘I fear that ye will refuse to do this deed, and I alone shall be guilty of a great sin.’ Therefore they all answered him, ‘Let us all swear an oath, and let us all bind one another under a curse not to give up this intention until we accomplish it and do this deed.’ Then they all swore together, and therewith bound one another under a curse." After giving the names of the chiefs of the rebel angels, the story proceeds thus, "And they took to themselves wives: they chose out wives for themselves each of them, ... and they taught them poisons and incantations and root-gathering, and they showed unto them the herbs. ... Azael taught men to make swords and weapons and shields and breast-plates, the teachings of angels, and he showed them metals and the method of working them, and bracelets and ornaments and paints and collyrium and all sorts of precious stones and dyes 1."

1 Greek fragments of the Book of Enoch, capp. vi-viii, ed. Dr. Swete, who also gives the same passages from Syncellus. In the Persian Yanabi'u'l Islam I quoted and translated the Æthiopic text, as the Greek had not then been recovered, or at least published.