Thursday, October 18Spiritual Warfare and Other Cool Bible Stuff

Goliath: The Philistine Giant That Cursed God, Defied Israel, and Challenged King David

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Goliath is one of the most famous hybrids in world history, and if you don’t believe me, look below; I have the poll to prove it. Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life, you’ve heard the story of David’s victory over the giant, but many of the details surrounding Goliath are left out of the Sunday School version. This is where I come in. We’re going to take an in depth look at this giant, and find out what all the fuss was about.

The Family of Goliath

In order to fully understand the origin of giants in the Bible, you really need to read Genesis 6:1-4 first. According to scripture, Goliath was one of four Philistine brothers that were born to a giant. Only two of his brothers are named, but the text tells us that there were four of them total (2 Samuel 21:15-22). Each of these four and Goliath were killed by David or one of David’s mighty men.

  1. Goliath (killed by David)
  2. Ishbibenob (killed by Abishai)
  3. Saph (killed by Sibbichai)
  4. Unnamed (killed by Elhanan)
  5. Unnamed (killed by Jonathan)

The very last brother on the list wasn’t named, but was described as having six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. If you are familiar with this field of study, then you know that legends of six fingered giants can be found all over the world. If you’re anything like me, then you’re probably asking, who was the father of these giants?

Who Was Goliath’s Father?

According to scripture, Goliath was born to a giant in Gath, but where did the giant in Gath come from in the first place? There seems to be some circumstantial evidence that Goliath may have been descended from the Anakim. You can read more about his possible connection to the Anakim in the following study:

Suggested Reading

The Land of Canaan

Even if Goliath was the son of a nephilim giant born to an angel, his father would still have had to marry a Canaanite women in order to have children. Goliath was a Philistine, which was the tribe that his father was born into. The Philistines descended from Philistim, a descendant of Canaan, the son of Ham.

Read More About The Days Of Noah In My Book

As The Days of Noah Were: The Sons of God and The Coming Apocalypse

How Tall Was Goliath?

According to 1 Samuel 17, Goliath was the champion of 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.

  • Cubit = 18in.
  • Span = 9in.

Now that we know what cubits and spans are, we are going to walk through the math:

  • 6 cubits x 18 inches each (6×18) = 108in.
  • 108in. / 12 inches in a foot (108/12) = 9ft.
  • 9ft. + 9 inches = 9ft. 9in.

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.

How Much Did Goliath’s Armor Weigh?

The weight of Goliath’s Philistine armor is another testimony to his size. First were going to look at the verse and then break it down into numbers that are easier to understand.

“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 weavers beam; and his spears head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” – 1 Samuel 17:4-7

  • His chain mail armor weighed 5,000 shekels.
  • The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam.
  • 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. You probably have no idea what a shekel is (I know I didn’t), so here is the conversion for you:

  • 1 shekel = 14.1 grams.

Fully converted into grams and pounds, here are the weights for the items given:

  • Goliath’s upper body armor weighed 70,500 grams (155.425 pounds).
  • Goliath’s spearhead weighed 8,460 grams (18.65 pounds).

Keep in mind that his helmet, sword, and leg greaves were not measured. The total weight of his known armor is 173 pounds not counting the weight of the spear itself, his helmet, sword, or leg greaves.

How Big Was Goliath’s Spear?

We are told that the staff of his spear 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 (6.56 feet.) long. 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. However, these measurements don’t mean much without putting them into perspective.

Goliath’s Gear In Perspective

According to several sources, a 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 pointed 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 youth. 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.

Was Goliath Really A Giant?

The precise measurements given in the story add a lot of credibility to the claim that Goliath was indeed a giant, and not just taller than David. There are also other factors that contribute to the validity of the account:

  • Goliath’s father was a giant.
  • Goliath’s four brothers were giants.

Chances are that people weren’t just making up entire giant families walking around Canaan. These giants were real and the measurements are a major detail that can’t be ignored.

Suggested Reading

  1. Gates To The City of Gath Discovered

Read More About The Days Of Noah In My Book

As The Days of Noah Were: The Sons of God and The Coming Apocalypse

Did I Miss Anything?

If you have any questions, comments, videos, pics, or other resources pertaining to Goliath, please feel free to leave a comment below. It’ll help me keep this article up to date, and in turn help future readers.

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