• Old Testament,  Textual Criticism

    How Tall was the Giant Goliath?

    David killing Goliath with a sling is one of the most beloved and well-known Bible stories. In fact, sports announcers will still sometimes use the phrase, “It is a David versus Goliath story” to describe an underdog taking down the favorite. Those who grew up in church quickly became familiar with the story of the little boy David killing the mighty Philistine giant, Goliath. However, some of the details of the David vs. Goliath story need fleshing out. For one thing, it is likely that although he fought for the Philistines, Goliath likely was a descendant of Anak. Another issue is whether Goliath would qualify as a giant or not. This is actually a bit of a text-critical issue in the book of Samuel! Compare the following English translations. CSB Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall. NET Then a champion came out…

  • Old Testament

    Was Goliath a Native Philistine?

    Goliath was the most impressive warrior in the Philistine army. However, was Goliath a native Philistine? The evidence suggests that he probably was not. In Numbers 13, Israel sends out spies to spy out the land of Canaan. Upon their return, all but Joshua and Caleb were shaking in their boots. Their chief complaint was that the people “are of great height” and that the Nephilim (the sons of Anak) were there (Num 13:32-33). The phrase Nephilim is not used often, but in the context of Numbers 13, it is obviously used to refer to someone of great height. This is confirmed by the LXX and Latin translations of “giants.” Even in Genesis 6:4, the narrator tells us that Nephilim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and also after. What that means is that after God wiped out the earth with the flood, giants began to populate the earth…