Goliath is one of the most famous hybrids in world history. Both Christians and non Christians have heard the story of David’s victory over the giant, but many of the details surrounding Goliath are left out. Now we’re going to take an in depth look at this giant.
The Height of Goliath
According to 1 Samuel 17, Goliath was a champion for the Philistine army. What prompted this famous battle between he and David, was Goliath’s defiance of Israel and God. According to 1 Samuel 17:4, Goliath was six cubits and span. A cubit is roughly 18 inches and a span is equal to half a cubit or 9 inches.
6 cubits x 18 inches / 12 inches in a foot = 9ft. + 9inches = 9’9”
According to the measurements given in the Bible, Goliath was 9’9” tall. Because of the detailed description, any attempt to make the claim that David was just a small guy going up against a big guy, is refuted by exact measurements. Even if David was 3’ tall, it does not change the height of Goliath.
“And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” – 1 Samuel 17:4-7
The weight of Goliath’s armor is another testimony to his size. His chain mail armor weighed 5,000 shekels, the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spearhead weighed 600 shekels. Also note that the weight of his helmet, the greaves of brass on his legs, his sword, and the target of brass between his shoulders are not given. A shekel weighs about 14.1 grams. Goliath’s upper body armor would have weighed 70,500 grams, which converts to 155.425 pounds. Keep in mind that his helmet, sword, and leg greaves were not measured.
We are told that the staff was like a weaver’s beam. The diameter of a weaver’s beam ranges from 2 to 2.5 inches and they are about 2 meters in length. Converted to English measurements, it is equal to 6.56ft. So far we have a 9’9” giant armed with at least 155 pounds of body armor and a 6.5ft. spear ready to fight the army of Israel. Goliath’s spearhead would have weighed 8,460 grams, which converts to 18.65 pounds. The total weight of his known armor is 173 pounds not counting the weight of the spear itself, his helmet, sword, or leg greaves. However, these measurements do not mean much without putting them into perspective.
According to several sources, medieval knight’s fighting armor weighed 40-65 pounds. According to the Washington Post, the current U.S. combat ready soldier carries 35-150 pounds of gear depending on their military position and mission at hand. What makes Goliath’s situation different is that he did not need to carry ammunition or communication gear. He also could not shoot at his enemy from hundreds of yards away. He needed to get close enough to do damage with a sword or spear. That means he needed to be agile and fast enough to block or dodge a blow from an opponent. Goliath’s armor, when we add in his sword, leg greaves, and spear weight was more than triple that of a medieval knight, yet he was still capable of defeating his enemies. Even when David wanted to fight him, Saul points out the following:
“And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” – 1 Samuel 17:33
This verse shows us a couple of things about what was going on. The first observation is that Goliath was well known among the Israelites as a warrior. The second is that he had been fighting wars from the time he was a child. The Israelites seemed to have a very legitimate reason to fear Goliath. One question that comes to mind from a skeptical analysis is, “how were they able to measure Goliath?” If we read the story, we find out that David kills Goliath, and as a result would have been able to take his armor and weapons as prizes. Because the Israelites now had access to the body, they were able to measure Goliath and weigh his armor. The precise measurements given in the story adds a lot of credibility to the claim that Goliath was indeed a giant.
This post was inspired by portions of the upcoming 2nd Edition of As The Days of Noah Were: The Sons of God and The Coming Apocalypse.
The Omega Hour
Join me tonight on The Omega Hour when Patrick Heron returns. According to him, he has some vital information that everyone needs to hear. This is sure to be an awesome show as always. Mondays @ 6pm PST