The term rĕpāʾîm occurs 25 times in the Hebrew Bible, most notably in the poetical and the so-called ‘historical’ books. Designating the spirits of the dead, the Hebrew term is related to Ug. rpum, a name for the deified royal ancestors. In several places in the Hebrew Bible, the Rephaim designate the ancient inhabitants of Palestine, characterized by gigantic size. The most probable etymology of the term connects it with the root rpʾ, ‘to heal’.
The Rephaim, commonly vocalized…