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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Perhaps a descendant of the old Rephaim, a remnant of whom, when dispersed by Ammon, took refuge with the Philistines ( Deuteronomy 2:20-21;  2 Samuel 21:22). Hebrew Golleh means "an exile". Simonis derives it from an Arabic root, "stout." Gath is incidentally mentioned in Samuel as Goliath's city. Now Moses records the spies' report ( Numbers 13:32-33) of Canaan, "there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which came of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers." Again in  Joshua 11:21-22 it is written, "Joshua cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, ... there was none of the Anakims left in the land of Israel, only in Gath and in Ashdod there remained."

Thus three independent witnesses, Moses, Joshua, and Samuel, in the most undesigned way confirm the fact that Goliath was a giant of Gath. His height, six cubits and a span, would make 9 ft. 2 in. Parisian measure, a height not unparalleled. But Septuagint and Josephus read four cubits and a span. His coat of mail, covering chest, back, and lower parts of the body, was "scale armor," Qasqeseth (compare  Leviticus 11:9-10). Keil and Delitzsch for "target of brass" translated ( Kidown ) "a brazen lance." Goliath needed no target to cover his back, as this was protected by the coat of mail. On the scene of battle (See Elah ; on the battle, etc., (See David and (See Elhanan .)

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

The gaint of Gall, one of the sons of Amak. His name signifies an heap, from Galah. The size of this man was enormous. "Six cubits and a span." So that supposing what is the common allowed measure of the cubit to have been, "one and twenty inches," and that a span was half a cubit, this man was eleven feet and four inches high. The armour he wore bore a correspondence to the greatness of his stature. His coat is said to have weighed five thousand shekels. A shekel was half an ounce. And if all the other parts of his armour carried a proportion to this, in his "helmet of brass, and the greaves of brass, and the target, and his spear's head, six hundered skels of iron," what an astonishing man must he have been in such an astonishing ponderous armour, in carrying that for exercise and slaughter which few strong men could lift from the ground! (See  1 Samuel 17:1-58 throughout.) But how soon David the stripling conquered him, when armed and lead on to victory by the Lord. But in reading the history of this battle we stop short of the chief glory of it, if we do not eye the Lord Jesus Christ, the almighty David of his Israel, conquering hell, death, and the grave, in all his Goliahs which come forth to defy the army of the living God. Oh! how blessed it is in all to behold Christ going forth "for the salvation of his people!"

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

GOLIATH . A giant, said to have been a descendant of the early race of Anakim. He was slain, in single combat, by David (or, according to another tradition, by Elhanan) at Ephes-dammim, before an impending battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. That this ‘duel’ was of a religious character comes out clearly in   1 Samuel 17:43;   1 Samuel 17:45 , where we are told that the Philistine cursed David by his gods , while David replies: ‘ And I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts .’ The fact that David brings the giant’s sword as an offering into the sanctuary at Nob points in the same direction. Goliath is described as being ‘six cubits and a span’ in height, i.e. over nine feet, at the likeliest reckoning; his armour and weapons were proportionate to his great height. Human skeletons have been found of equal height, so that there is nothing improbable in the Biblical account of his stature. The flight of the Philistines on the death of their champion could be accounted for by their belief that the Israelite God had shown Himself superior to their god (but see 2Sa 23:9-12 ,   1 Chronicles 11:12 ff.); see, further, David, Elhanan.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [4]

  • In  2 Samuel 21:19 there is another giant of the same name mentioned as slain by Elhanan. The staff of his apear "was like a weaver's beam." The Authorized Version interpolates the words "the brother of" from   1 Chronicles 20:5 , where this giant is called Lahmi.

    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 'Goliath'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/g/goliath.html. 1897.

  • Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

    The giant of Gath, who for forty days defied the armies of Israel. He was slain by David with a sling and a stone in the name of Jehovah. David cut off his head and carried it to Jerusalem. Goliath's sword was preserved and eventually restored to David. His height was six cubits and a span, about 8ft. 4in. by the shortest cubit. He was a type of Satan, too strong for any to conquer except the one in the power of Jehovah, David being a type of the Lord Jesus.  1 Samuel 17:4-23;  1 Samuel 21:9 . Goliath's brother , named Lahmi, also a giant, is evidently the one spoken of in  2 Samuel 21:19 , compare  1 Chronicles 20:5 .

    People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

    Goliath ( Go-Lî'Ath ), Splendor. A giant of Gath, who for forty days defied the armies of Israel.  1 Samuel 17:1-58. His height was "six cubits and a span," which, taking- the cubit at 18 inches, would make him 9½ feet high. In  2 Samuel 21:19 we find that another Goliath of Gath was slain by Elhanan, also a Bethlehemite.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

    A celebrated giant of Gath, who challenged the armies of Israel, and was encountered and slain by David. The history is contained in  1 Samuel 17:1-58 . His height was nine feet and a half; or, if we reckon the cubit at twenty-one inches, over eleven feet. See Giants .

    Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [8]

    a famous giant of the city of Gath, who was slain by David,  1 Samuel 17:4-5 , &c. See Giants .

    Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

     1 Samuel 17:4

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

    (Heb. Golyath', גָּלְיִת ; Sept. Γολιάθ , Josephus Γολίαθος ), a famous giant of Gath, who "morning and evening for forty days" defied the armies of Israel; but was eventually slain by David, in the remarkable encounter, with a sling (1 Samuel 17). B.C. 1063. Although repeatedly called a Philistine, he was possibly descended from the old Rephaim, of whom a scattered remnant took refuge with the Philistines after their dispersion by the Ammonites ( Deuteronomy 2:20-21;  2 Samuel 21:22). Some trace of this condition may be preserved in the giant's name, if it be connected with גּוֹלֶה , An Exile, as thought by Gesenius (Thes. Heb. page 285). Simonis, however, derives it from an Arabic word meaning stout (Onom. s.v.); while F Ü rst merely indicates it as of Philistian etymology (Heb, Lex. s.v.). Hitzig (Gesch. u. Mythol. der Philist. page 76) regards it as merely= Γαυλεύτης , i.e ., Sorcerer. His height was "six cubits and a span," which, taking the cubit at 21 inches, would make him 10 1/2 feet high. But the Sept. (at  1 Samuel 17:4) and Josephus (Ant. 6:9,1) read "Four cubits and a span." 'This will make him about the same- size as the royal champion slain by Anetimenidas, brother of Alceus ( Ἀπολείποντα Μίαν Μόνον Παχέων Ἀπὸ Πἐμπων ap. Strabo, 13, page 617, with M Ü ller's emendation). Even on this computation Goliath would be, as Josephus calls him, Ἀνὴρ Παμμεγεθἐστατος a truly enormous man. (See Wichmannshausen, De armatura Gol. Viteb. 1711.) After the victory David cut off Goliath's head ( 1 Samuel 17:51; compare Herod. 4:6; Xenoph. Anab. 5:4, 17; Niebuhr mentions a similar custom among the Arabs, Beschr. page 304), which he brought (1 Samel 17:54) to Jerusalem (probably after his accession to the throne, Ewald, Gesch. 3:94), while he hung the armor in his tent. (See Fight). His sword was afterwards received by David in a great emergency from the hands of Ahimelech at Nob, where it had been preserved as a religious trophy. ( 1 Samuel 21:9). (See Giant). The scene of this famous combat (see Trendelenburg, De pugna Dav. cum. Goliatho, Gedan. 1792) was the Valley of the Terebinth, between Shochoh and Azekah, probably among the western passes of Benjamin, although a confused modern tradition has given, the name of Ain-Jahlad (spring of Goliath)to the spring of Harod, or "trembling" (Stanley, Palest. page 342; see  Judges 7:1). (See Valley Of Elah).

    This modern name, however, may rather be (=the spring of Gilead) a reminiscence of Gideon's exploit ( Judges 7:3). (See Gilead). The circumstances of the combat (q.v.) are in all respects. Homeric, free from any of the puerile legends which Oriental imagination subseqtuently introduced into it; as, for instance, that the stones used by David called out to him from the brook, "By our means you shall slay the giant," etc. (Hottinger, Hist. Orient. 1:3, page 111 sq.). The fancies of the Rabbis are yet more extraordinary. By the Mohammedans Saul and Goliath are called Taluth and Kaluth (Jalut in Koran, 2:131 sq.), perhaps for the sake of the homoioteleuton, of which they are so fond (Hottinger, Hist. Orient. 1:3, page 28). Abulfeda mentions a Canaanite king of the name Jalut (Hist. Anteislam, page 176); and, according to Ahmed al-Fassi, Gialout was a dynastic name of the old giant- chiefs of the Philistines (D'Herbelot, Bibl. Or. s.v. Gialout). In the title of the psalm added to the psalter in the Sept. we find Τῷ Δαυϊ v Δ Πρὸς Τὸν Γολιάδ ; and although the allusions are vagne, it is thought by some that this psalm may have been written after the victory. This psalm is given at length under DAVID, page 687 (see Hilscher, Psa. Centes. Quinquages. Prim. Illustr., Acced. Vita Goliathi, Bautzen, 1716). It is strange that we find no more definite. allusions to this combat in Hebrew poetry; but it is the opinion of some that the song now attributed to Hannah ( 1 Samuel 2:1-10) was originally written really in commemoration of David's triumph on this occasion (Thenius, Die B Ü cher Sam, page 8; comp. Bertholdt, Einl, 3:915; Ewald, Poet. B Ü cher des A.B. 1:111). (See Psalms).

    In  2 Samuel 21:19, we find that another Goliath of Gath, of whom it is also said that "the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam," was slain by Elhanan, also a Bethlehemite. St. Jerome (Quaest. Heb ad loc.) makes the unlikely conjecture that Elhanan was another name of David. The A.V. here interpolates the words "the brother of," from  1 Chronicles 20:5, where this giant is called "Lahmi." See Stiebritz, Die Davidische Erlegung Des Goliath'S (Halle, 1742). (See Elhanan).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

    gō̇ - lı̄´ath ( גּלית , golyāth  ; Γολιάθ , Goliáth ):

    (1) The giant of Gath, and champion of the Philistine army ( 1 Samuel 17:4-23;  1 Samuel 21:9;  1 Samuel 22:10;  2 Samuel 21:19;  1 Chronicles 20:5 ). He defied the armies of Israel, challenging anyone to meet him in single combat while the two armies faced each other at Ephesdammim. He was slain by the youthful David. Goliath was almost certainly not of Philistine blood, but belonged to one of the races of giants, or aboriginal tribes, such as the Anakim, Avvim, Rephaim, etc. The Avvim had lived at Philistia, and most probably the giant was of that race. His size was most extraordinary. If a cubit was about 21 inches, he was over 11 feet in height; if about 18 inches, he was over 9 feet in height. The enormous weight of his armor would seem to require the larger cubit. This height probably included his full length in armor, helmet and all. In either case he is the largest man known to history. His sword was wielded by David to slay him and afterward carried about in his wanderings, so it could not have been excessively heavy. The story of his encounter with David is graphic, and the boasts of the two champions were perfectly in keeping with single combats in the Orient.

    (2) The Goliath of  2 Samuel 21:19 is another person, and quite probably a son of the first Goliath. He was slain by Elhanan, one of David's mighty men. The person mentioned in   1 Chronicles 20:5 is called Lachmi, but this is almost certainly due to a corruption of the text. "The brother of Goliath" is the younger Goliath and probably a son of the greater Goliath, who had four sons, giants, one of them having 24 fingers and toes. See Elhanan; Lahmi .

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [12]

    A Philistine giant of Gath slain by David with pebbles from a brook by a sling (1Sam. xvii.).