GOLIATH

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GOLIATH

Post  Waqar Daniel on Sat 02 Feb 2008, 11:56 pm

Goliath (גָּלְיָת, Standard Hebrew Golyat, Tiberian Hebrew Golyāṯ, Arabic: جالوت Jalut (Muslim term), جليات Julyat (Christian term)), known also as Goliath of Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines), was a Philistine warrior, famous for his battle with the young David, the future king of Israel, described in the Bible (Old Testament).

Summary 1 Samuel 17

This is the account of the battle between David and Goliath given in 1 Samuel, chapter 17: Saul and the Israelites are facing the Philistine at Socoh in Judah. Twice a day for forty days Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, comes out between the lines and challenges the Israelites to send out a soldier to fight him and decide the outcome of the battle in a single combat, but Saul and all the Israelites are afraid. David is present, bringing food for his older brothers. He hears Goliath and hears also that Saul has promised to reward any man who will defeat the Philistine champion, and is not afraid. Saul hears of David's words and sends for him, and David offers to fight the Philistine. Saul reluctantly agrees and offers his armour, which David declines in favour of his sling and five stones which he takes from the brook.

David and Goliath confront each other, Goliath with his armour and shield-bearer, David with his staff and sling. "And the Philistine cursed David by his gods", but David replies: "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is Yahweh's, and he will give you into our hand."

David then strikes Goliath with a stone from his sling, and the Philistine falls on his face to the ground. David seizes the sword of the giant and kills him, and cuts off his head. The Philistines flee and are pursued by the Israelites "as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron". David puts the armour of Goliath in his own tent, and takes the head to Jerusalem. Saul sends Abner to inquire whose son this is who has routed the Philistines and killed their champion; Abner brings David before Saul, who asks him whose son he is, "And David answered, 'I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite'."

How tall was Goliath?

There are significant differences between the Masoretic (Hebrew), Septuagint (Greek), and Dead Sea Scrolls versions of 1 Samuel 17. One of the most interesting of these relates to Goliath's height: 4QSam(a), the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel, gives the height of Goliath as "four cubits and a span," (about six feet six inches), and this is what the 4th century AD Septuagint manuscripts and the 1st century CE historian Josephus also record. Later Septuagint manuscripts and the Masoretic texts read "six cubits and a span," about nine feet six inches.

Goliath and Philistines

Tell es-Safi, the biblical Gath and traditional home of Goliath, has been the subject of extensive excavations by Israel's Bar-Ilan University. The archaeologists have established that this was one of the largest of the Philistine cities until destroyed in the 9th century BC, an event from which it never recovered. An important find relating to Goliath is the discovery of a potsherd, reliably dated to the 10th to mid 9th centuries BC, inscribed with the two names "alwt" and "wlt". While the names are not directly connected with the biblical Goliath, they are etymologically related, and demonstrate that the name fits with the context of late-10th/early-9th century BC Philistine culture. The name "Goliath" itself is non-Semitic and has been linked with the Lydian name "Alyattes", which also fits the Philistine context of the biblical Goliath story.

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Waqar Daniel
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