Goliath was a warrior in the Philistine army. He was from Gath, one of the five cities of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3). When Goliath first appears in the Bible, he was defying the army of Saul, challenging any soldier in Israel’s army to meet him in a fight to decide who would be the victor in the struggle between Israel and the Philistines.
According to the text of 1 Samuel 17, Goliath was killed by David, a musician in Saul’s service. Goliath was a giant, a warrior “the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam” (2 Samuel 21:19).
There is another biblical tradition about Goliath’s death. According to 2 Samuel 21:19, Goliath was killed by Elhanan, one of David’s mighty men.
In the studies below I deal with the problem of who killed Goliath. There are three studies trying to answer this question. In part 3 of my study, I offer a unique interpretation of this problem, one that comes out of a recent archaeological discovery in the Valley of Elah.
Some of the studies also discuss how the NIV deals with the problem. I believe that the NIV is inconsistent in dealing with 2 Samuel 21:19 and the translation of the NIV 2011 is not good.
Studies on David and Goliath
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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