Posted by: edhensley | March 18, 2013

Goliath Killed At Least Two Times


David's stone hits Goliah, 1 Sam 17

David’s stone hits Goliah, 1 Sam 17

1 Samuel 17

English Standard Version (ESV)

David and Goliath

17 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six[a] cubits[b] and a span.He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels[c] of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him.

David decapitates Goliath, 1 Sam 17

David decapitates Goliath, 1 Sam 17

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistineand took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

  1. 1 Samuel 17:4 Hebrew; Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll and Josephus four

  2. 1 Samuel 17:4 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

  3. 1 Samuel 17:5 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams

Elhanan kills Goliath

Elhanan kills Goliath

2 Samuel 21

English Standard Version (ESV)

18 After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. 19 And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.[c] 20 And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. 21 And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. 22 These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

Elhanan kills the brother of Goliath

Elhanan kills the brother of Goliath

1 Chronicles 20

English Standard Version (ESV)

And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beamAnd there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

I chose the English Standard Version of the bible because it gives a literal translation of 2 Samuel 21. Other translations, including the King James Version, admit that the translators altered the phrase “struck down Goliath” to “struck down the brother of Goliath.”   Let’s look at the New International Version:

2 Samuel 21

New International Version (NIV)

19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[c] the Bethlehemite killed the brother of[d] Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.

2 Samuel 21:19 See 1 Chron. 20:5; Hebrew does not have the brother of.

Notice that the footnote states “Hebrew does not have the brother of.  Yet, most translations, including the King James Version, add words that are not in the source texts! They add these words to prevent an obvious contradiction. If you take the original texts at face value, there is at least one contradiction, possibly 2 contradictions.

How do biblical literalists resolve these issues? First of all, some note that the giants in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles are different from the giant in 1 Samuel. In 1 Samuel, David is a young boy. He becomes king in 2 Samuel 2. So by 2 Samuel 21, much time has passed.  The giant from Gath named Goliath in 2 Samuel is a different giant named Goliath from Gath than the one in 1 Samuel. That is fine, except for the odd statement in ALL THREE PASSAGES that the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam. So to avoid contradictions, biblical literalists claim that the giant named Goliath from Gath with a spear shaft like a weaver’s beam in 1 Samuel 17 is different from the giant named Goliath from Gath with a spear shaft like weaver’s beam in 2 Samuel 21.

But even if we permit giant Goliaths from Gath with spear shafts like weaver’s beams to be two different people, we still have a disagreement between 2 Samuel 21 and 1 Chronicle 20. These two stories are obviously the same story, 2 Samuel says Elhanan killed Goliath, and 1 Chronicles says Elhanan killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath. This contradiction is only corrected by rewriting the original text. This is one example of the many kinds of liberties translators take when creating an English (or any other modern language) version of a bible. Words are often added, removed, and altered in order to preserve doctrinal beliefs and traditional views.

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Responses

  1. I am increasingly convinced that it makes sense not to be a biblical literalist.
    There are so many different narrative forms in the bible besides the literal one.
    Many sola scriptura Christians seem to have a need to make the bible fit a simplistic or even literal meaning. Sometimes they build their faith from childhood on a naieve meaning for Sacred Scripture. They can loose their faith when they get educated about how the bible includes myths and various non literal forms. But no where does the bible itself advocate sola scriptura. In fact the bible says the Church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
    1 Tim. 3, 15. The bible is Spirit breathed but is in no way all literal or simple. You have to translate the culture as well as the words. Even the accients in the middle East did not read the six day creation as a literal six days. They knew the Son and Moon was not really created on the fourth day too. They knew this was symbolising a temple in which God lived and that the idea of the Sun and Moon being Gods was getting clearly undermined by being created after God did other things.

  2. Well blogger, I’m not sure who would insist Lahmi wasn’t also a goliath. Doubtlessly, some were more renowned goliaths than others and if the goliath or the killer of the goliath was someone famous, then we can easily imagine he would the goliath in a given context. The Bible doesn’t doesn’t say Goliath this or that suffered from gigantism or some other modern scientific idea foreign to its day. It says there were peoples of huge proportions.

    • The bible does not refer to them as “goliaths” but as Goliath and (1 Sam 17 and 2 Sam 20) and Lahmi (1 Chron 20). Goliath is a name, not an adjective. 2 Sam 21 and 1 Chron 20 obviously refer to the same event and contain an obvious contradiction in the name of the giant. One of them must be in error.

  3. One question I would like to ask all critics of the Bible (not of US Bible fundamentalism, I don’t care about that topic) is this; if the Bible is so fraudelent and filled with all these obvious errors you claim; why didn’t the religious frauds correct and edit them? Like the claim that differing resurrection accounts is a problem, why would they allow such a blatant problem? (Actually resurrection accounts’ contradictions are much better proof than accounts, as people will remember differently and consider different Things of most importance, especially when having extreme emotional experiences – perhaps the frauds understood this..?).

    • The problems in the contradictions of the bible have been noticed for centuries and were addressed by bible believing Christian leaders. The Catholic Church often made up entire extra-biblical stories to justify some of the contradictions and problems. Catholics famously added the Comma Johanneum into the Latin Vulgate to bolster the doctrine of the Trinity. The story of the woman caught in adultery (neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more) is also not in the early texts.

      Jews also have examples of editing, as proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here is Deut 32 from NIV with a footnote.

      8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
      when he divided all mankind,
      he set up boundaries for the peoples
      according to the number of the sons of Israel.[b]

      [b] Deuteronomy 32:8 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint) sons of God

      Monotheistic Judaism evolved from polytheism. The Dead Sea Scroll adn Septuagint version of this verse reflect the early polytheism of the ancient Jews. They evolved from worshiping the one god of the Israelites (Yahweh) to believing in the existence of only one god. The Masoretic Text was used for the protestant bible, and its Jewish authors had edited this verse to conceal ancient Israelite polytheism.

      And of course, Martin Luther and the authors of the King James Version edited the bible by placing books found in the Septuagint but not found in the Masoretic Text in the Apocrypha (doubtful). Luther did this because it was a way to cast doubt on verses used to support indugences and other Catholic practices he thought were wrong. The protestants edited the bible again in 1885 when the King James version officially removed the apocrphya.

      So the modern Bible has been through multiple editing processes for a wide variety of reasons.

  4. sorry, it should say “are much better proof than accounts *agreeing*, as”

  5. Ed, The trinity is in the old testament, it is evident in Genesis with the Father, The Word (the Son, Yahshua), and the Spirit, and also in Isaiah 9: 6

    “For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. ”

    Isaiah 9:6 YLT

    One explanation is a corrupted Hebrew manuscript, then it is a minor error and probably fixed in another manuscript.

    The second explanation is that Goliath is a name like Dan or Ed, and Gath is a place like Arizona with multiple Ed’s or Dan’s. So there may be multiple giant Goliath’s that were killed. In 2 Chronicles 20:7, the text is vague enough where they could be refering to the same battle and multiple incidences, surely David did not just fight one person.

    2 Chronicles 20:7 “Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him” This could be refering to some nameless giant.

    1 Chronicles 20:5 ” Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath”

    2 Samuel 21:19-21 “Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him” This could be refering to some nameless giant again.

    ” Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite” Elhanan may not be the same Elhanan as the one in 1 Chronicles 20:5. This Goliath would not be the same as the one David had killed earlier (unless there is a scribe error).

    “And there was again war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot; and he also was born unto the giant. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him.”
    1 Chronicles 20:6-7 JPS

    “And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.”
    1 Chronicles 20:5 JPS

    “And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where was a champion, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him.”
    2 Samuel 21:19-21 JPS

    • The Greek word Logos is often oversimplified in translation as “word”. During the New Testament times, Philo of Alexandria (20BCE – 50CE) was a bridge between the scientific Greek philosophers and the mystical Jews. Christians often interpret John 1 as substituting Jesus for “word” as you did. “In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God and the word was god…” becomes “In the beginning was Jesus. And Jesus was with God and Jesus was God..” However, anyone reading during the 1st century CE would have read “In the beginning was the logos. And the lgos was with God and the logos was god…” They would have instanly referred to the philosophy of Philo of Alexandria. I quickly found a pretty good paper on him and his philosophy here: http://www.socinian.org/philo.html. Logos is better defined in the bold words of the sections of this document (Divine Mind, Agent Of Creation, Transcendent Power, Universal Bond, Imminent Reason, etc).

      The church preserved the Philonic writings because Eusebius of Caesarea labeled the monastic ascetic group of Therapeutae and Therapeutrides, described in Philo’s The Contemplative Life, as Christians, which is highly unlikely. Eusebius also promotes the legend that Philo met Peter in Rome. Jerome (345-420 CE) even lists him as a church Father. Despite all the high praise from church fathers and the fact that Philo lived during the time of Jesus, he never once mentions Jesus in any of his writings.

      One explanation is a corrupted Hebrew manuscript

      Yes, that would be an explanation. Would you permit contradictions in the Koran or Book of Mormon to be excused due to corrupt Arabic or Reformed Egyptian manuscripts? Anyone can make up any explanation. Christians seem to believe that they can make an infinite number of excuses for their documents. Christian apologists do not permit Muslims and Mormons (and others) to make up excuses for contradictions in their holy books.

      Your attempts at explaining the contradiction only show that even you must admit that the oldest Hebrew documents we have contain an obvkous contradiction.

  6. Here in Europe we have few bible literalists. We see various narrative forms as being obvious in the bible. Few bible believers here reject evolution either .Even St Augustine 1700 years before Darwin effectively alluded to it as a valid theory when commenting on Genesis. Here most Christians in Europe delight in evolution and do not see it in opposition to intelligent design or a personal God. Quite the contrary.
    There seems to be a silly polarisation in the USA though between extreme literalists and naturalists and ner the twain shall meet even in reasonable dialogue. Many in Europe here find young earth creationists an embarrassment or at least a novelty. I find naturalists to be similarly naieve though in the face of evidence too.

    • Augustine did not allude to evolution. He did say that Genesis should taken as allegory and not literally, and he said we should be willing to change our mind about it as new evidence was discovered.

      You did not specify the evidence which makes you think that naturalists are naive.


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