6:2 sons of God. These have been identified as Sethites (the traditional Christian interpretation), as angels (the earliest Jewish interpretation; cf. Job 1:6), and as royal tyrannical successors to Lamech who gathered harems (proposed by rabbis of the second-century a.d.). All three interpretations can be defended linguistically. On the surface, the first interpretation best fits the immediate preceding context (a contrast of the curse-laden line of Cain with the godly line of Seth), but it fails to explain adequately how “daughters of man” refers specifically to Cainite women. The second view has ancient support, but seems to contradict Jesus’ statement that angels do not marry (Mark 12:25) and does not explain why the focus is on mortals (v. 3) and the judgment on them (vv. 5–7). The third interpretation best explains the phrase “any they chose” (12:10–20; 20:1; 1 Sam. 11) but lacks as much ancient support. The best solution is probably a combination of the last two. These human offspring are also the spiritual offspring of Satan (3:15), empowered by demons (cf. Deut. 32:17).
saw . . . attractive . . . took. The Hebrew term here translated “attractive” is often rendered “good.” Their sin repeats the pattern (“saw . . . good . . . took”) of the original sin in 3:6.