Christian Apologetics Study

GOLIATH’S REAL HEIGHT

Dec
08

“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.His shield bearer went ahead of him.” (1-Samuel 17:4-8).

According to the Holy Scriptures, Goliath was three meters tall (9 feet 9 inches tall). However, liberal scholars and secular academics say they have found ”older” versions of the Holy Bible that said goliath was only over two meters tall (6 feet 9 inches tall); therefore, which version of the truth should we believe?

Analysis of the historical evidence derived from the Holy Scriptures, Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Flavius Josephus indicates Goliath was approximately nine feet tall. Goliath was a gigantic soldier from Gath, in Philistia, who, as representative of the Philistines, challenged the Israelites to send a champion warrior against him so that the issue of the war between the two tribes might be settled by a battle of champions. Goliath was a skilled warrior who probably killed many men in single combat because the biblical writers describe him as a champion warrior. Goliath was killed by a stone thrown from David’s sling, the youthful champion of the Israelites and their greatest warrior king (1 Samuel 17:50). Elsewhere in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, Goliath’s brother was also a giant and he was killed by Elhanan, who was an Israelite warrior in the service of David (see 2 Samuel 21:19,1 Chronicles 20:5).

According to the Septuagint Greek Bible of 275 BC, the Dead Sea Scrolls narratives of 200 BC, and the writings of historian Flavious Josephus of AD 100, the height of Goliath was “four cubits and a span, which makes the giant warrior about six feet nine inches tall assuming that all ancient cubits were only 18 inches in length and all spans were exactly nine inches long or a half a cubit in length. However, many of these ancient sources based their measurements upon the 24 inch cubit. Therefore, four 24 inch cubits would equal eight feet and one span would equal 12 inches, which makes Goliath about nine feet tall.

Additionally, many modern English Bibles were translated from the Hebrew Masoretic Bible in tenth century CE. The Masoretic Bible used an 18 inch cubit for most of its measurements. Hence, six cubits would equal nine feet and one span would equal nine inches. Thus, the weight of biblical and historical evidence indicates that Goliath was somewhere between nine feet and nine feet nine inches in height. Therefore, the Masoretic Hebrew Bible concurs with earlier versions of the Holy Scriptures.

According to some medical professionals, Goliath probably suffered from pituitary gigantism. Many people who have this disease can reach heights around 7’6” and 8’6.” If people with pituitary gigantism are not treated with modern medicine, they can grow to a hieght above nine feet. Many pitutary giants are healthy and strong in their 20s and 30s, but become very weak by their early 40s and usually die in their mid-40s or early 50s. Andre’ the Giant (7 feet 5 inches), Leonid Staknyd (7 feet 7 inches), and Robert Wadlow (8 feet 11 inches) are good examples of pituitary Giants. However, today many healthy people who are genetic giants grow to be taller than 7 feet such as Shakiel O’Neal (7 feet 1 inches), Yao Ming (7 feet 5 inches), Neil Fingleton (7 feet 7 inches); therefore, it is possible that Goliath was a genetic giant and not a pituitary giant.

THE CUBIT’S ORIGINS

The biblical cubit was derived from

a unit of linear measure used by many ancient and medieval peoples. The cubit originated in Egypt about 3000 BC; it thereafter appeared everywhere throughout the ancient world. The cubit, generally was usually somewhere between 18 to 24 inches in length because it was based on the length of the arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger and was considered the equivalent of 6 palms or 2 spans. The Egyptian cubit was usually larger and about 24 inches long.

RELATED SOURCES:

Halley’s Bible Handbook; Henry H. Halley; 1965. The Bible; Jim Bell and Stan Campbell; 1999. The Complete Guide To The Bible; Stephen Miller; 2007. The Complete Guide To Bible Prophecy; Stephen Miller; 2010.

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