TIP of the day: Interactives: Who Killed Goliath?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, May 26 2016 8:36 PM

Okay, I fear I'm going to sound snarky on this interactive. I'd only glanced at it in the past and thought it was an example of text criticism. 'Fraid not. I'll wait until the end to identify it further.

Here is the full content of the interactive which may be opened via the usual Tools, Library or Command Box.

The second component of the supplementary material is difficult to square with 1 Samuel 17, which describes the young David’s defeat of Goliath. 2 Samuel 21:15–19 asserts that Goliath was killed by one of David’s soldiers—a certain Elhanan—while one of David’s brothers is credited with killing another formidable Philistine warrior (2 Sm 21:20–22). One attempt at harmonizing 1 Samuel 17 and 2 Samuel 21 suggests that David and Elhanan were the same person. Elhanan supposedly took the name “David” upon taking the throne of Israel. A second alternative assumes that David killed a Philistine whose name was not preserved. David’s anonymous foe was then confused with Goliath whom Elhanan killed. While both solve the problem, neither has any support in the biblical text. Following the account of Israel’s victories over the Philistines, the book inserts a hymn of victory that David composed. It is virtually identical to Psalm 18. Verses 21–25 assert that it was David’s obedience that led to his victories—a perspective that resonated with the views of 2 Samuel.

Leslie J. Hoppe, “The Deuteronomistic History,” in The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Ed.: Notes, ed. Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 182.

17: Abishai, see 1 Sam. 26:6 n. Regarding the declaration of David’s men, compare 18:3. 19: According to 1 Sam. ch 17 Goliath of Gath (i.e., the Gittite), whose spear had a shaft like a weaver’s bar (1 Sam. 17:7), was killed by David, the Bethlehemite. To resolve the contradiction 1 Chron. 20:5 reads “brother of Goliath.” Rashi assumes that David and Elhanan were one and the same person. Probably, however, the killing of the giant Goliath was initially attributed to Elhanan (perhaps the hero mentioned in 23:24), but later the more famous David was credited with it. This was facilitated by the fact that the Philistine killed by David was originally anonymous (only in 1 Sam. 17:4, 23, where he is introduced, is his name mentioned; otherwise he is simply designated “the Philistine”).

Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, and Michael Fishbane, eds., The Jewish Study Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 659–660.

Goliath the Gittite. This giant, the shaft of whose spear was “like a weavers’ heddle rod” (cf. 1 Sam 17:7), was identified in tradition with an anonymous Philistine slain by David (1 Samuel 17). See I Samuel, the NOTE on “Goliath” at 17:4, for details and alternative theories. Deeds of obscure heroes tend to attach themselves to famous heroes, and there is no doubt that the tradition attributing the slaying of Goliath to Elhanan is older than that which credits the deed to David. The contradiction in the tradition was eliminated in the targumic and midrashic literature by identifying David with Elhanan (cf. Pákozdy 1956:257 nn. 2,3). This harmonizing solution seems to have been introduced into modern scholarship by Böttcher (1863:233–35), but it has become especially associated with Honeyman (1948:23–24), who concluded that “David” was the throne name of a man whose personal name was “Elhanan.” Although this position continues to find adherents (von Pákozdy 1956; Ahlström 1959:37; cf. Bright 1972:188), its critics seem to have the stronger case (Stamm 1960b:167–68,182; Stoebe 1967:215–16; cf. I Samuel, p. 291); it is no longer possible, in any case, to argue that dāwīd was a title, comparing Mari Akkadian da-wi-du-um (“defeat,” not “high chief”; cf. Tadmor 1958). See, in general, Hoffmann 1973:168–206.

P. Kyle McCarter Jr, II Samuel: A New Translation with Introduction, Notes, and Commentary, vol. 9, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 450.

21:19 Elhanan … struck down Goliath the Gittite. Since in 1 Samuel 17 David killed Goliath of Gath (“Gittite” means someone from Gath), this statement has caused endless controversy. (1) Some say that the deed of Elhanan was later attributed to David, or that the name “Goliath” only later became attached to David’s victim, but these interpretations would deny the truthfulness of 1 Samuel 17, and other solutions are preferable. (2) Based on the parallel passage in 1 Chron. 20:5, some think that “Lahmi the brother of” has been deleted from the text before “Goliath” in this verse, and given some of the challenges encountered in establishing the original text of 1–2 Samuel (see Introduction to 1–2 Samuel: Text), this is a distinct possibility. (3) Another suggestion is that the passages refer to two different men named Goliath. Because there are so many duplicate names in the OT, this is also a possibility. (4) A final suggestion, similar to the third solution, is that “Goliath” was a common noun for a giant, just as “Achish” (1 Sam. 21:10; 27:2) may have been a title or common noun for a Philistine ruler (just as “Pharaoh” is a title of the king of Egypt, not a name). There is therefore no conflict in saying that both David and Elhanan killed Angel “Goliath.” The name “Goliath” is traceable back to the non-Semitic Anatolian name Walwatta, and the name has been found in an early Philistine inscription.

Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 577–578.

For obvious reasons v. 19 is easily the most controversial verse in this entire section—its declaration that “Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite” appears to contradict the affirmations of 1 Sam 17:50, 57; 18:6. Scholars have dealt with v. 19 in three ways: they either treat it as a true contradiction present in the original manuscripts,19 a true contradiction introduced by a careless copyist in pre-Christian times,20 or as only a seeming contradiction that can be removed in interpretation.21 The traditional Jewish explanation resolves the difficulty by asserting that “Elhanan” was an alternate name for David; others have expanded this concept, suggesting that “Elhanan” was David’s original name and that “David” was his regnal name, that is, the name given him when he became king.22 No explanation acceptable to all scholars can be given to resolve the tension between 1 Sam 17 and this verse. The suggestion that best harmonizes 1 Chr 20:5 with 2 Sam 21:19 suggests that the present verse was corrupted during the copying process. For that reason it may be the most satisfying proposed solution.
The following table summarizes the explanations given:

View
Explanation
True contradiction, present in the original manuscript of 1, 2 Samuel
Proof of conflated sources; accurate document is 2 Sam 21:19; 1 Sam 17:50 attached to David late in time for hero worship
True contradiction, introduced by a careless pre-Christian-era copyist
1 Chr 20:5 preserves accurate text of 2 Sam 21:19’s original reading
Seeming contradiction
Various possible explanations:
1. “Elhanan” an alternate name for David
2. “Goliath” a title, not a personal name
3. Two fighters from Gath named Goliath

The Philistine defeated by Elhanan “had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.” This statement may be either a reference to the unusually large size of Goliath’s weapon or to its construction—that it had a loop of cord attached to it (cf. discussion at 1 Sam 17:7).23 Goliath, like the other Philistines mentioned in this passage, was one of “the Rapha.”
The fourth Philistine was killed in “another battle, which took place at Gath” (v. 20), in the heart of Philistine territory. At that location David’s nephew “Jonathan son of Shimea” (v. 21) slew “a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot” (v. 20). This individual, who had the unusual condition known as hexadigitation, was killed when “he taunted Israel.” He too was one of the descendants of the Rapha.


Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, vol. 7, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 449–450.

Here, the slaying of Goliath was attributed to Elhanan (21:19), in contradiction to 1 Samuel 17:50. The parallel account in 1 Chronicles 20:5 indicates that Elhanan killed “the brother of Goliath.”

Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, The Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 126.

21:19 Elhanan … Goliath. The corresponding verse in 1 Chr. 20:5 contains the words “brother of.” It has been suggested that “Elhanan” is another name for David (as “Jedidiah” for Solomon, 2 Sam. 12:24, 25). This would make 2 Sam. say that Elhanan (David) killed Goliath, but it makes 1 Chr. 20:5 difficult, unless Elhanan (David) killed both Goliath and Lahmi. Neither Samuel nor Chronicles supposes that anyone except David killed Goliath, and it remains unclear why they introduce the name Elhanan in two verses.

R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2005), 459.

B. Victories over the Philistines (21:15–22).  Revenge is also the motive in a series of battles between the Philistines and Israelites. Ever since David’s victory over Goliath, the Philistines had tried to get even, but without success. Four specific Philistine warriors are mentioned, and each of them—like Goliath—is tall and powerful. All four are “descendants of Rapha,” probably a reference to the gigantic Rephaites (Deut. 2:11; Josh. 12:4).
According to verse 19 a man named Elhanan “killed Goliath the Gittite.” Unless this is a different Goliath from the warrior in 1 Samuel 17, we seem to have a competing account of his death. In the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 20:5, however, we learn that Elhanan “killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath.” Apparently a scribe miscopied the name in 2 Samuel, perhaps because in Hebrew “Lahmi” looks very much like “Bethlehemite.” Critics argue that Elhanan may indeed have been the man who killed Goliath and only later was the hero’s status transferred to David. But the whole account of David’s rise to the throne is predicated upon his ability to defeat the Philistines, and the slaying of Goliath catapulted him into the national spotlight.


Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 2 Sa 21:15.

So what do I make of this interactive? Given the quick survey of commentaries, it appears to show either (a) one side of a continuing debate as if it were fact rather than showing the options and the evidence for each or (b) how to use technique to force a passage into a predefined meaning. (oops, I did indicate it might sound snarky didn't I? Embarrassed  Geeked ) I think Logos may need to step in and tell me what the intent of this interactive is ... it is kinda of cool to show how the "professionals" think ....

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 4:48 PM

MJ. Smith:
Okay, I fear I'm going to sound snarky on this interactive.

So what's the tip ? This sounds more like a critique  - which is useful (and I genuinely mean that).  Maybe your tip is: don't blindly accept something presented to you as being correct just because it's prepare by the team a Faithlife.

Sorry if I sound snarky, I think you are asking a good question, more context around some of the interactions would be valuable, once you get past their novelty,  The post just seems to be more like you are tyring to interact with Faithlife employees on this topic, which is fine, rather than sharing an insight with the user community hence my confusion about what is the actual tip.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 5:04 PM

I've been working my way through the interactives - a few are hard to say much more than this is what you enter/this is what you see. This would have been that type of post had I been able to figure out what was the intent. My tip on the cantillations was also simply a "I don't really know" post. I suppose the tip could be "none of us know everything about Logos; don't be afraid to admit it and ask" or the tip could be "use Logos to verify Logos" especially when there tagging or information is interpretation not just raw data. ...

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 5:32 PM

When I saw the thread title, I thought, uh oh.  Is she going to spin it or not.

I was pleasantly impressed.  Logos embeds their own theological twist, and the product IS theirs.  But there's no fair warning they're on one of several valid roads.

A nice tip quietly made.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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David Bailey | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 5:50 PM

Short answer:  God killed Goliath

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 7:39 PM

Denise:
A nice tip quietly made.

Thank you.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 7:51 PM

MJ. Smith:

I've been working my way through the interactives - a few are hard to say much more than this is what you enter/this is what you see. This would have been that type of post had I been able to figure out what was the intent. My tip on the cantillations was also simply a "I don't really know" post. I suppose the tip could be "none of us know everything about Logos; don't be afraid to admit it and ask" or the tip could be "use Logos to verify Logos" especially when there tagging or information is interpretation not just raw data. ...

Yes

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 27 2016 11:33 PM

Denise:

A nice tip quietly made.

Well said!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 2 2016 3:44 PM

I finally have an answer as to what the intention of this interactive is:

Eli Evans:
It's just an interactive infographic based entirely on a Bible Study Magazine article by Michael S. Heiser. See http://www.biblestudymagazine.com/extras-1/2014/10/31/clash-of-the-manuscripts-goliath-the-hebrew-text-of-the-old-testament

Now that makes perfect sense.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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