Goliath ( // gə-LY-əth) is described in the biblical Book of Samuel as a Philistine giant defeated by the young David in single combat. The story signified Saul's unfitness to rule, as Saul himself should have fought for Israel. Scholars today believe that the original listed killer of Goliath was Elhanan, son of Jair, and that the authors of the Deuteronomic history changed the original text to credit the victory to the more famous character, David.
The phrase "David and Goliath" has taken on a more popular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.
Saul and the Israelites are facing the Philistines in the Valley of Elah. Twice a day for 40 days, morning and evening, Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, comes out between the lines and challenges the Israelites to send out a champion of their own to decide the outcome in single combat, but Saul is afraid. David accepts the challenge. Saul reluctantly agrees and offers his armor, which David declines, taking only his staff, sling and five stones from a brook.
David and Goliath confront each other, Goliath with his armor and javelin, David with his staff and sling. "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 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 God saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is God's, and he will give you into our hand."
David hurls a stone from his sling and hits Goliath in the center of his forehead, Goliath falls on his face to the ground, David 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 armor of Goliath in his own tent and takes the head to Jerusalem, and Saul sends Abner to bring the boy to him. The king asks whose son he is, and David answers, "I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite."
The Books of Samuel, together with the books of Joshua, Judges and Kings, make up a unified history of Israel which biblical scholars call the Deuteronomistic History. The first edition of the history was probably written at the court of Judah's King Josiah (late 7th century BCE) and a revised second edition during the exile (6th century BCE), with further revisions in the post-exilic period.Traces of this can be seen in certain contradictions of the Goliath story. In 1 Samuel 17:54 it says that David took Goliath's head to Jerusalem; however, Jerusalem, at that time, was still a Jebusite stronghold, and was not captured until David became king (2 Samuel 5). The Goliath story is made up of base-narrative with numerous additions made probably after the exile:
The oldest manuscripts, namely the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel from the late 1st century BCE, the 1st-century CE historian Josephus, and the major Septuagint manuscripts, all give it as "four cubits and a span" (6 feet 9 inches or 2.06 metres), whereas the Masoretic Text has "six cubits and a span" (9 feet 9 inches or 2.97 metres). Many scholars have suggested that the smaller number grew in the course of transmission (only a few have suggested the reverse, that an original larger number was reduced), possibly when a scribe's eye was drawn to the number six in line 17:7.
The underlying purpose of the story of Goliath is to show that Saul is not fit to be king (and that David is). Saul was chosen to lead the Israelites against their enemies, but when faced with Goliath he refuses to do so; Saul is a head taller than anyone else in all Israel (1 Samuel 9:2), which implies he was over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and the obvious challenger for Goliath, yet David is the one who eventually defeated him. Also, Saul's armor and weaponry are apparently no worse than Goliath's (and David, of course, refuses Saul's armour in any case). "David declares that when a lion or bear came and attacked his father's sheep, he battled against it and killed it, [but Saul] has been cowering in fear instead of rising up and attacking the threat to his sheep (i.e. Israel)."
2 Samuel 21:19 tells how Goliath the Gittite was killed by "Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite." Scholars believe that the original killer of Goliath was Elhanan and that the authors of the Deutoronomic history changed the text to credit the victory to the more famous character, David.The fourth-century BC 1 Chronicle 20:5 explains the second Goliath by saying that Elhanan "slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath", constructing the name Lahmi from the last portion of the word "Bethlehemite" ("beit-ha’lahmi"), and the King James Bible adopted this into 2 Samuel 21:18–19, but the Hebrew text at Goliath's name makes no mention of the word "brother".
The armor described in 1 Samuel 17 appears typical of Greek armor of the sixth century BCE rather than of Philistines armor of the tenth century; narrative formulae such as the settlement of battle by single combat between champions has been thought characteristic of the Homeric epics (the Iliad ) rather than of the ancient Near East. The designation of Goliath as a איש הביניים, "man of the in-between" (a longstanding difficulty in translating 1 Samuel 17) appears to be a borrowing from Greek "man of the metaikhmion (μεταίχμιον)", i.e. the space between two opposite army camps where champion combat would take place.
A story very similar to that of David and Goliath appears in the Iliad, written circa 760–710 BCE, where the young Nestor fights and conquers the giant Ereuthalion. Each giant wields a distinctive weapon—an iron club in Ereuthalion's case, a massive bronze spear in Goliath's; each giant, clad in armor, comes out of the enemy's massed array to challenge all the warriors in the opposing army; in each case the seasoned warriors are afraid, and the challenge is taken up by a stripling, the youngest in his family (Nestor is the twelfth son of Neleus, David the seventh or eighth son of Jesse). In each case an older and more experienced father figure (Nestor's own father, David's patron Saul) tells the boy that he is too young and inexperienced, but in each case the young hero receives divine aid and the giant is left sprawling on the ground. Nestor, fighting on foot, then takes the chariot of his enemy, while David, on foot, takes the sword of Goliath. The enemy army then flees, the victors pursue and slaughter them and return with their bodies, and the boy-hero is acclaimed by the people.
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 ninth century BC, an event from which it never recovered. A potsherd discovered at the site, and reliably dated to the tenth to mid-ninth centuries BC, is inscribed with the two names "alwt" and "wlt". While the names are not directly connected with the biblical Goliath ("glyt"), they are etymologically related and demonstrate that the name fits with the context of late-tenth/early-ninth-century BC Philistine culture. The name "Goliath" itself is non-Semitic and has been linked with the Lydian king Alyattes, which also fits the Philistine context of the biblical Goliath story.A similar name, Uliat, is also attested in Carian inscriptions. Aren Maeir, director of the excavation, comments: "Here we have very nice evidence [that] the name Goliath appearing in the Bible in the context of the story of David and Goliath … is not some later literary creation."
According to the Babylonian Talmud (Sotah 42b) Goliath was a son of Orpah, the sister-in-law of Ruth, David's own great grandmother (Ruth → Obed → Jesse → David). Ruth Rabbah, a haggadic and homiletic interpretation of the Book of Ruth, makes the blood-relationship even closer, considering Orpah and Ruth to have been full sisters. Orpah was said to have made a pretense of accompanying Ruth but after forty paces left her. Thereafter she led a dissolute life. According to the Jerusalem Talmud, Goliath was born by polyspermy, and had about one hundred fathers.
The Talmud stresses Goliath's ungodliness: his taunts before the Israelites included the boast that it was he who had captured the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the temple of Dagon, and his challenges to combat were made at morning and evening in order to disturb the Israelites in their prayers. His armor weighed 60 tons, according to rabbi Hanina; 120, according to rabbi Abba bar Kahana; and his sword, which became the sword of David, had marvelous powers. On his death it was found that his heart carried the image of Dagon, who thereby also came to a shameful downfall.
In Pseudo-Philo, believed to have been composed between 135 BC and 70 AD, David picks up seven stones and writes on them his father's name, his own name, and the name of God, one name per stone; then, speaking to Goliath, he says "Hear this word before you die: were not the two woman from whom you and I were born, sisters? And your mother was Orpah and my mother Ruth ..." After David strikes Goliath with the stone he runs to Goliath before he dies and Goliath says "Hurry and kill me and rejoice." and David replies "Before you die, open your eyes and see your slayer." Goliath sees an angel and tells David that it is not he who has killed him but the angel. Pseudo-Philo then goes on to say that the angel of the Lord changes David's appearance so that no one recognizes him, and thus Saul asks who he is.
Goliath appears in chapter 2 of the Quran (2: 247–252), in the narrative of David and Saul's battle against the Philistines. جالوت), Goliath's mention in the Quran is concise, although it remains a parallel to the account in the Hebrew Bible. Muslim scholars have tried to trace Goliath's origins, most commonly with the Amalekites. Goliath, in early scholarly tradition, became a kind of byword or collective name for the oppressors of the Israelite nation before David. Muslim tradition sees the battle with the Goliath as a prefiguration of Muhammad's battle of Badr, and sees Goliath as parallel to the enemies that Muhammad faced.Called Jalut in Arabic (
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American actor Ted Cassidy portrayed Goliath in the TV series Greatest Heroes of the Bible in 1978. 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)-tall giant in Paramount's 1985 live-action film King David as part of a flashback. This film includes the King of the Philistines saying, "Goliath has challenged the Israelites six times and no one has responded." It is then on the seventh time that David meets his challenge.Italian actor Luigi Montefiori portrayed this
The PBS series Wishbone featured Goliath in its first-season episode "Little Big Dog".
In 1972, Toho and Tsuburaya Productions collaborated on a film called Daigoro vs. Goliath , which follows the story relatively closely but recasts the main characters as kaiju .
In 1975, Israeli band Poogy release a song called Golyat on the album Tzafoof BaOzen, loosely and humorously based on the story.
Suzanne Vega's song Rock In This Pocket (Song Of David) on the album 99.9°F is based on the story.
In 2005, Lightstone Studios released a direct-to-DVD movie musical titled "One Smooth Stone", which was later changed to "David and Goliath". It is part of the Liken the Scriptures (now just Liken) series of movie musicals on DVD based on scripture stories. Thurl Bailey, a former NBA basketball player, was cast to play the part of Goliath in this film.
In 2009, NBC aired Kings which has a narrative loosely based on the Biblical story of King David, but set in a kingdom that culturally and technologically resembles the present-day United States.The part of Goliath is portrayed by a tank, which David destroys with a shoulder fired rocket launcher.
Goliath was portrayed by Conan Stevens in the 2013 TV miniseries The Bible .
The Italians used Goliath as an action superhero in a series of biblical adventure films (peplums) in the early 1960s. He possessed amazing strength, and the films were similar in theme to their Hercules and Maciste movies. After the classic Hercules (1958) became a blockbuster sensation in the film industry, the 1959 Steve Reeves film Terrore dei Barbari (Terror of the Barbarians) was retitled Goliath and the Barbarians in the United States, (after Joseph E. Levine claimed the sole right to the name of Hercules); the film was so successful at the box office, it inspired Italian filmmakers to do a series of four more films featuring a beefcake hero named Goliath, although the films were not really related to each other. (The 1960 Italian film David and Goliath starring Orson Welles was not one of these, since that film was a straightforward adaptation of the Biblical story).
The four titles in the Italian Goliath series were as follows:
The name Goliath was later inserted into the film titles of three other Italian muscle man movies that were retitled for distribution in the United States in an attempt to cash in on the Goliath craze, but these films were not originally made as Goliath films in Italy.
Both Goliath and the Vampires (1961) and Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963) actually featured the famed superhero Maciste in the original Italian versions, but American distributors did not feel the name Maciste had any meaning to American audiences. Goliath and the Dragon (1960) was originally an Italian Hercules film called The Revenge of Hercules.
In modern usage, the phrase "David and Goliath" has taken on a secular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary; if successful, the underdog may win in an unusual or surprising way.It is arguably the most famous underdog story.
Theology professor Leonard Greenspoon, in his essay, "David vs. Goliath in the Sports Pages", explains that "most writers use the story for its underdog overtones (the little guy wins) ... Less likely to show up in newsprint is the contrast that was most important to the biblical authors: David's victory shows the power of his God, while Goliath's defeat reveals the weakness of the Philistine deities."
The phrase is widely used in news media to succinctly characterize underdog situations in many contexts without religious overtones. Contemporary headlines include: sports ("Haye relishes underdog role in 'David and Goliath' fight with Nikolai Valuev"— The Guardian); business ("On Internet, David-and-Goliath Battle Over Instant Messages"— The New York Times ); science ("David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey"— ScienceDaily ; politics ("Dissent in Cuba: David and Goliath"— The Economist ); social justice ("David-and-Goliath Saga Brings Cable to Skid Row"— Los Angeles Times ).
Aside from the above allegorical use of "David and Goliath", there is also the use of "Goliath" for a particularly tall person.[ citation needed ] For example, basketball player Wilt Chamberlain was nicknamed "Goliath", which he disliked.[ citation needed ]
The Book of Samuel forms part of the narrative history of Israel in the Nevi'im or "prophets" section of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament called the Deuteronomistic history, a series of books that constitute a theological history of the Israelites and aim to explain God's law for Israel under the guidance of the prophets. According to Jewish tradition, the book was written by Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan. Modern scholarly thinking is that the entire Deuteronomistic history was composed in the period c. 630–540 BC by combining a number of independent texts of various ages.
David is described in the Hebrew Bible as king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah. In the Books of Samuel, David is a young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing the enemy champion Goliath. He becomes a favorite of King Saul and a close friend of Saul's son Jonathan. Worried that David is trying to take his throne, Saul turns on David. After Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle, David is anointed as King. David conquers Jerusalem, taking the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and establishing the kingdom founded by Saul.
The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 604 BC, when their state, after having already been subjugated for centuries by Assyria, was finally destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia. After becoming part of his empire and its successor, the Persian Empire, they lost their distinct ethnic identity and disappeared from the historical and archaeological record by the late 5th century BC. The Philistines are known for their biblical conflict with the Israelites. Though the primary source of information about the Philistines is the Hebrew Bible, they are first attested to in reliefs at the Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, in which they are called Peleset ; the parallel Assyrian term is Palastu, Pilišti, or Pilistu.
Saul, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, supposedly marked a transition from a tribal society to statehood.
Samuel is a figure who, in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, plays a key role in the transition from the period of the biblical judges to the institution of a kingdom under Saul, and again in the transition from Saul to David. He is venerated as a prophet by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In addition to his role in the Hebrew Scriptures, Samuel is mentioned in the New Testament, in rabbinical literature, and in the second chapter of the Qur'an. He is also treated in the fifth through seventh books of Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, written in the first century CE (AD). He is first called the Seer in 1 Samuel 9:9.
Achish (אָכִישׁ) is a name used in the Hebrew Bible for two Philistine rulers of Gath. It is perhaps only a general title of royalty, applicable to the Philistine kings. The two kings of Gath, which is identified by most scholars as Tell es-Safi, are:
The Tribe of Dan, meaning, "Judge", was one of the tribes of Israel, according to the Torah. They were allocated a coastal portion of land when the people of Israel entered the Promised Land, later moving northwards.
King David is a 1985 American epic historical drama film about the life of the second King of the Kingdom of Israel, David. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford, produced by Martin Elfand and written by Andrew Birkin. The film stars Richard Gere in the title role, alongside ensemble cast such as: Edward Woodward, Alice Krige, Denis Quilley, Cherie Lunghi, Hurd Hatfield, Jack Klaff, John Castle, Tim Woodward, George Eastman, Christopher Malcolm, Gina Bellman and James Coombes in supporting roles.
The United Monarchy is the name given to the Israelite kingdom of Israel and Judah, during the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon, as depicted in the Hebrew Bible. This is traditionally dated between 1047 BCE and 930 BCE. On the succession of Solomon's son, Rehoboam, around 930 BCE, the biblical account reports that the country split into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah in the south.
Michal was, according to the first Book of Samuel, a princess of the United Kingdom of Israel; the younger daughter of King Saul, she was the first wife of David, who later became king, first of Judah, then of Israel.
Gath or Gat, often referred to as Gath of the Philistines, was one of the five Philistine city-states, established in northeastern Philistia. Gath is often mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and its existence is confirmed by Egyptian inscriptions.
Elhanan son of Jair-Oregim the Bethlehemite appears in 2 Samuel 21:19, where he is credited with killing Goliath.
Jewish mythology is a major literary element of the body of folklore found in the sacred texts and in traditional narratives that help explain and symbolize Jewish culture and Judaism. Elements of Jewish mythology have had a profound influence on Christian mythology and on Islamic mythology, as well as on world culture in general. Christian mythology directly inherited many of the narratives from the Jewish people, sharing in common the narratives from the Old Testament. Islamic mythology also shares many of the same stories; for instance, a creation-account spaced out over six periods, the legend of Abraham, the stories of Moses and the Israelites, and many more.
Khirbet Qeiyafa is the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley and dated to the first half of the 10th century BCE. The ruins of the fortress were uncovered in 2007, near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, 30 km (20 mi) from Jerusalem. It covers nearly 2.5 ha and is encircled by a 700-meter-long (2,300 ft) city wall constructed of stones weighing up to eight tons each. Excavations at site continued in subsequent years. A number of archaeologists, mainly Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, have claimed that it might be the biblical city of Sha'arayim, because of the two gates discovered on the site, or Neta'im and that the large building at the center is an administrative building dating to the reign of King David, where he might have lodged at some point. This is based on their conclusions that the site dates to the early Iron IIA, ca. 1025–975 BCE, a range which includes the biblical date for the Kingdom of David. Others suggest it might represent either a North Israelite, Philistine or Canaanite fortress, a claim rejected by the archaeological team that excavated the site. The team's conclusion that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a fortress of King David has been criticised.
David et Jonathas, H. 490, is an opera in five acts and a prologue by the French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier, first performed at the Collège Louis-le-Grand, Paris, on 28 February 1688. The libretto, by Father François Bretonneau, is based on the Old Testament story of the friendship between David and Jonathan.
Talut is considered to be the Qur’anic name for Saul, as he was the Malik of Israel, or Gideon, with the reasoning that the Quran references the same incident of the drinking from the river as that found in the Book of Judges (7:5-7), and other factors associated with the latter.
David and Goliath is a 1960 Italian film directed by Ferdinando Baldi and Richard Pottier with sequences filmed in Israel and Yugoslavia.
The Shepherd King is a 1923 American silent biblical epic film directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Violet Mersereau, Nerio Bernardi, and Guido Trento. It is a film adaptation of a 1904 Broadway play by Wright Lorimer and Arnold Reeves. The film depicts the biblical story of David (Bernardi), a shepherd prophesied to replace Saul (Trento) as king. David is invited into Saul's court, but eventually betrayed. He assembles an army that defeats the Philistines, becomes king after Saul's death in battle, and marries Saul's daughter Michal (Mersereau).
The Story of David (1976) was a two-part, 3.2 hour American television movie dramatizing the biblical story of King David. It starred Timothy Bottoms as the young David, Keith Michell as the older David, Anthony Quayle as King Saul, and Jane Seymour as Bathsheba. Produced by Columbia Pictures Television for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC-TV), it premiered on 9 April 1976. It was filmed in Israel and Spain.
David is a 1997 television film by Five Mile River Films, starring Nathaniel Parker as King David. It was written by Larry Gross and directed by Robert Markowitz. The film was entirely shot in Morocco and was originally aired at TNT on 23 March 1997 as part of its Bible Collection.