Library of Congress

The sons of God shout for joy in an engraving by William Blake (1757–1827) that combines an illustration of Job 38:7 with depictions of creation in a mixture of scriptural and classical imagery. Beginning on the upper left, Blake symbolizes the six days of creation (Genesis 1) beginning with light. Then come sky, land, sun and moon and water creatures and birds. On the sixth day, God created land creatures including humankind. In the lower part of the illustration, Job, his wife and three friends look up with reverence to God in the center. Blake depicted the sons of God as angels.

The Hebrew phrase for “sons of God” in Job 38:7 is the same used in Genesis 6:4, a troublesome passage which says “the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them.” In an expansion of the Genesis text, the writer of Jubilees uses it to explain the ongoing presence of evil in the world. Jubilees equates the sons of God with angels. The result of the angels’ liaison with humans was a race of evil giants that God destroyed through the Flood. But even though the giants perished, demons emanating from them continued to exert a malign influence in the world.