From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

ELHANAN (‘God is gracious’). 1. The son of Jair according to   1 Chronicles 20:5 , of Jaare-oregim according to   2 Samuel 21:19; in the former text he is represented as slaying Lahmi the brother of Goliath, in the latter as slaying Goliath himself. A comparison of the Hebrew of these two texts is instructive, because they offer one of the clearest and simplest examples of how easy it is for corruptions to creep into the OT text. It is difficult, without using Hebrew letters, to show bow this is the case here; but the following points may be noticed. Oregim means ‘weavers,’ a word which occurs in the latter half of the verse in each case, and may easily have got displaced in the 2Sam. passage; in both the texts the word which should be the equivalent of Jair is wrongly written; the words ‘the Bethlehemite’ (2Sam.) and ‘Lahmi the brother of’ (1 Chr.) look almost identical when written in Hebrew. The original text, of which each of these two verses is a corruption, probably ran: ‘And Elhanan the son of Jair, the Bethlehemite, slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.’ But if this is so, how are we to reconcile it with what we read of David’s killing Goliath? Judging from what we know of the natural tendency there is to ascribe heroic deeds to great national warriors, realizing the very corrupt state of the Hebrew text of the Books of Samuel, and remembering the conflicting accounts given of David’s first introduction to public life (see David, § 1 ), the probability is that Elhanan slew Goliath, and that this heroic deed was in later times ascribed to David.

2. In   2 Samuel 23:24 and   1 Chronicles 11:26 Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem is numbered among David’s ‘mighty men.’ Remembering that the word Jair above is wrongly written in each case, and that it thus shows signs of corruption, it is quite possible that this Elhanan and the one just referred to are one and the same.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

1. Son of Jaare-Oregim, or Jair, the Bethlehemitc. (See Jaare-Oregim Slew Lahmi, brother of Goliath the Gittite ( 2 Samuel 21:19;  1 Chronicles 20:5). The 'Oregim seems to have crept into the first line from the second, where it means "weavers." "The Bethlehemite" is an alteration of eth Lahmi, a confusion being made with

2. Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem; first of "the thirty" of David's guard ( 2 Samuel 23:24;  1 Chronicles 11:26).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

  • The son of Dodo, and one of David's warriors ( 2 Samuel 23:24 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Elhanan'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/e/elhanan.html. 1897.

  • Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

    Elha'nan. (The Grace Of God).

    1. A distinguished warrior, in the time of King David, who performed a memorable exploit against the Philistines.  2 Samuel 21:19;  1 Chronicles 20:5. (B.C. About 1020).

    2. One of "the thirty" of David's guard, and named first on the list.  2 Samuel 23:24;  1 Chronicles 11:26.

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

    1. Son of Jair, or Jaare-oregim: he slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite.  2 Samuel 21:19;  1 Chronicles 20:5 .

    2. Son of Dodo, and one of David's thirty valiant men.  2 Samuel 23:24;  1 Chronicles 11:26 .

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [6]

    (Hebrews Elchanan', אֶלְחָנָן , whom God Has graciously Bestowed [compare Hananeel, Hanananiah, Johanan, Phoen. Hannibal; also Baal- Hanan, etc.]; Sept. Ε᾿Λεανάν ; Vulg. Adeodatus, but Chanan, Elchanan, in Chron.), a distinguished warrior in the time of king David, who performed a memorable exploit against the Philistines, though in what that exploit exactly consisted, and who the hero himself was, it is not easy to determine. B.C. cir. 1020.

    1.  2 Samuel 21:19, says that he was the "son of Jaare Oregim the Bethlehemite," and that he "slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam." Here, in the A.V., the words "the brother of" are inserted, to bring the passage into agreement with,

    2.  1 Chronicles 20:5, which states that "Elhanan, son of Jair (or Jaor), slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear," etc.

    Of these two statements the latter is probably the more correct, the differences between them being much smaller in the original than in English (see Kennicott, Dissertation, page 78). (See Lahmi).

    (a.) The word Oregim (q.v.) exists twice in the verse in Samuel, first as a proper name, and again at the end "weavers." The former has probably been taken in by an early transcriber from the latter, i.e., from the next line of the MS. To the end of the verse it certainly belongs, since it is found in the parallel passage of Chronicles, and also forms part of what seems to have been a proverbial description of Goliath (compare  1 Samuel 17:7).

    (b.) The statement in Samuel is in contradiction to the narrative of  1 Samuel 17:1-58, according to which Goliath the Gittite was killed by David. True, Ewald (Gesch. 3:91 sq.) from the fact that David's antagonist is, with only three exceptions (one of them in the doubtful verses,  1 Samuel 17:12-32), called "the Philistine," and for other linguistic reasons has suggested that Elhanan was the real victor of Goliath, and that after David became king the name of Goliath was attached to the nameless champion whom he killed in his youth. But against this is the fact that Goliath is named thrice in  1 Samuel 17:1-58;  1 Samuel 21:1-15 thrice only though it be; and also that Elhanan's exploit, from its position both in Samuel and in Chronicles, and from other indications, took place late in David's reign, and when he had been so long king, and so long renowned, that all the brilliant feats of his youth must have been brought to light, and well known to his people. It is recorded as the last but one in the series of encounters of what seems to have been the closing struggle with the Philistines. It was so late that David had acquired among his warriors the fond title of "the light of Israel" ( 2 Samuel 21:17), and that his nephew Jonathan was old enough to perform a feat rivaling that of his illustrious uncle years before. It was certainly after David was made king, for he goes down to the fight, not with his "young men," as when he was leading his band during Saul's life, but with his " servants," literally his "slaves," a term almost strictly reserved for the subjects of a king. The vow of his guard, on one of these occasions, that it should be his last appearance in the field, shows that it must have been after the great Ammonitish war, in which David himself had led the host to the storming of Rabbah ( 2 Samuel 12:29). It may have been between this last event and the battle with Absalom beyond Jordan, though there are other obvious reasons why David staid within the walls of Mahanaim on that occasion. (See David).

    Jerome, in his Quaest. Hebr. on both passages he does not state whether from ancient tradition or not translates Elhanan into A do-datus, and adds filius saltus Polymitarius Bethlehemites the son of a wood, a weaver, a Bethlehemite." Adeodatus, he says, is David, which he argues not only by considerations drawn from the meaning of each of the above words, but also from the statement in the concluding verse of the record that all these giants "fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants," and as Elhanan slew Goliath, Elhanan must be David.

    3. Elhanan is elsewhere called the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, one of "the thirty" of David's guard, and named first on the list ( 2 Samuel 23:24;  1 Chronicles 11:26). See Kennicott's Dissertation, page 179. Perhaps his father had both names. (See Jair).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

    el - hā´nan ( אלחנן , 'elḥānān , "whom God gave"):

    (1) A great warrior in the army of David who slew a Philistine giant. There is a discrepancy between  2 Samuel 21:19 and   1 Chronicles 20:5 . In the former passage we read, "And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan, the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite, slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam"; while in the latter we are told, "And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam." Most modern critics prefer as the original text of the latter part of the two discrepant statements the following: "and Elhanan the son of Jair the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam." It is contended that the Chronicler slightly modified the text before him, in order to bring it into harmony with 1 Sam 17, where David is said to have slain a Philistine giant Goliath. There is almost unanimous agreement that "Jaare-oregim" is a corrupt reading, and the "Jair" in 1 Ch is to be preferred. From Jerome to the present some scholars identify Elhanan with David, and thus remove the discrepancy. Ewald ( Hist , III, 70) argued that the name "Goliath" was inserted in 1 Sam 17 and  1 Samuel 21:1-15 by the narrators whose compositions are embodied in Samuel, Elhanan being the real victor over Goliath, while David's antagonist was simply called "the Philistine."

    (2) The son of Dodo of Bethlehem, one of David's mighty men ( 2 Samuel 23:24;  1 Chronicles 11:26 ). Some moderns think that there was only one Elhanan, and that he was the son of Dodo of the clan of Jair.