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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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GOLIATH

go-li'-ath (golyath; Goliath):
(1) The giant of Gath, and champion of the Philistine army (1 Sam 17:4-23; 21:9; 22:10; 2 Sam 21:19; 1 Ch 20:5 ff). He defied the armies of Israel, challenging anyone to meet him in single combat while the two armies faced each other at Ephesdammim. He was slain by the youthful David. Goliath was almost certainly not of Philistine blood, but belonged to one of the races of giants, or aboriginal tribes, such as the Anakim, Avvim, Rephaim, etc. The Avvim had lived at Philistia, and most probably the giant was of that race. His size was most extraordinary. If a cubit was about 21 inches, he was over 11 feet in height; if about 18 inches, he was over 9 feet in height. The enormous weight of his armor would seem to require the larger cubit. This height probably included his full length in armor, helmet and all. In either case he is the largest man known to history. His sword was wielded by David to slay him and afterward carried about in his wanderings, so it could not have been excessively heavy. The story of his encounter with David is graphic, and the boasts of the two champions were perfectly in keeping with single combats in the Orient.
(2) The Goliath of 2 Sam 21:19 is another person, and quite probably a son of the first Goliath. He was slain by Elhanan, one of David's mighty men. The person mentioned in 1 Ch 20:5 is called Lachmi, but this is almost certainly due to a corruption of the text. "The brother of Goliath" is the younger Goliath and probably a son of the greater Goliath, who had four sons, giants, one of them having 24 fingers and toes.
See ELHANAN; LAHMI.
J. J. Reeve

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'GOLIATH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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