David and Goliath.. True story, or Tall Tale?

The story of David and Goliath is one of many true stories in the Bible that people scoff at. Is this ridicule deserved? Or are the Biblical accounts of Giants living on the earth factual?

The Bible speaks of Giants that used to inhabit the earth at one time.

Fragments of the almost unknown "Book of Giants" dates from the 2nd century before Christ. This book survives today only in Ethiopic. Many Bible Scholars believe that this might be the original 5'th book of the "Enoch Pentateuch". The "similitudeís" were later put in its place. This lost book of Giants could give us much need information of the existence (and extinction) of the Giants described in the Bible.

What evidence is there of Giants in the past?

The Bible is clear on their existence. No other evidence is necessary to the believer than the word of God Himself.

Giants are mentioned in the following scriptures:

Genesis 6:4 (KJV)
"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."
Here is the same verse in the NIV:
"The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown".

A race of Giants known as the Nephilim are described in:
Numbers 13:28-33 (NIV)

"But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. (29)The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan." (30)Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." (31)But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." (32)And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. (33)We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."

Deuteronomy 1:28 (NIV)

"Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, 'The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.'"

Deuteronomy 2:10 (NIV)

"The Emites used to live there--a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites."

Deuteronomy 9:2 (NIV)

"The people are strong and tall--Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: "Who can stand up against the Anakites?"

Joshua 11:21 (NIV) tells us of the Giant that He defeated:

"At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns."

Joshua 11:22 (NIV) says:

"No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive."

Caleb killed them in the Book of Joshua 14:12 (NIV)

"Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."

Joshua 15:13(NIV) speaks more of this

"In accordance with the Lordís command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah--Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.)"

Joshua 15:14 (NIV)

"From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites--Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai--descendants of Anak."

Judges 1:20 (NIV)

"As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak."

Who are these giants?

The following answer comes from Dave Jolly: (*AIG)

"Genesis 6:1-4 continues to be a source of debate among many learned scholars. There are some who believe that the 'sons of God' mentioned in this passage refer to fallen angels, while others believe this to be a reference to those in the line of Seth. Below are materials, which contain arguments for both sides, and trust that you will find them enlightening.

1) Sons of God referred to angels: Henry Morris in the Genesis Record (pp. 163-175) says: "The interpretation of the passage obviously turns on the meaning of the phrase "sons of God" (bene elohim). In the New Testament, of course, this term is used with reference to all who have been born again through personal faith in Christ (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; etc.), and the concept of the spiritual relationship of believers to God as analogous to that of children to a father is also found in the Old Testament (Psalm 73:15; Hosea 1:10; Deuteronomy 32:5; Exodus 4:22; Isaiah 43:6). Not one of these examples, however, uses the same phrase as Genesis 6:2,4; furthermore, in each case the meaning is not really parallel to the meaning here in Genesis. Neither the descendants of Seth nor true believers of any sort have been previously referred to in Genesis as sons of God in any kind of spiritual sense and , except for Adam himself, they could not have been sons of God in a physical sense. In the context, such a meaning would be strained, to say the least, in the absence of any kind of explanation. The only obvious and natural meaning without such clarification is that these beings were sons of God, rather than of men, because they had been created, not born. Such a description, of course, would apply only to Adam (Luke 3:38) and to the angels, whom God had directly created (Psalm 148:2, 5; Psalm 104:4; Colossians 1:16)." P. 165.

2) Sons of God referred to the line of Seth: Dear Dave and Ken, Dave, thanks for your letter inquiring about Genesis 6:2. That is a very common question and one that has confronted many an exegete. I'm not sure I can offer anything new and profound, but I will do my best. I do reject the idea that "sons of God" refer to fallen angels in this text. Instead, I agree with the idea that the phrase refers to the covenant line of Seth as mentioned in the earlier chapters. Allow me to give my reasons for such a conclusion:
1) First it is true that "bene elohim" (sons of God) does refer to angels in various places: Job 1:6, 2:1; Psalm 29:1, 89:6, etc.. However, the same phrase is also used to refer to believers, or those who are in God's covenant line and therefore understood to be the people of God: Deut 14:1, 32:5; Psalm 73:15; Hos 1:10, etc.. So, we must therefore turn to the context to discover what meaning is intended by the author. The following considerations lead me to the latter use.
2) It is clear in scripture that angels are SPIRITS (Heb 1:14). They have no physical bodies like humans. It is true that they appear in the form of men, but there is no reason to think that they could have sexual relations that would produce any sort of offspring. That sounds more like pagan superstition imported from other religions.
3) Understanding this passage to refer to the "covenant line" and not angels best explains God's anger with man over his sin. In the following set of verses (v.3-8) it is clear that God is angered with mankind, including much of his covenant people. Why? Well, it is clear that God is angered with the fact that his own covenant people (sons of God) are intermarrying with pagan women. God warns of this throughout scripture. This corrupts God's covenant people and leads them into wicked rebellion. Apparently, Noah and his family were the only ones that avoided such moral decline.
4) One objection that is often made to this view is that it doesn't explain the children of gigantic size (nephilim) in v. 4. However, do sexual encounters with demons explain such size? Not at all. Large size is no evidence of demonic sexual encounters. In fact, there are many large giants in the Bible (e.g. Goliath) that we don't explain through angelic parenting.
5) The suggestion that "sons of God" refers to FALLEN angels is the real problem for the other view because that phrase never refers to the demons of hell, but only the angels of heaven. The scripture would never refer to fallen angels as "sons of God". And certainly the text can't be meaning heavenly angels because they have not fallen and are in still perfect obedience to God. They would never, therefore, perform such a wicked deed. Thus, the seemingly inevitable conclusion is that the text refers simply to God's covenant people intermarrying with pagan women. There is no TEXTUAL reason that would suggest demonic sexual encounters being described. That has to be imported into the text from another source."
- Mike Kruger (theology resource person) R.L. David Jolly Manager, Information Department Answers in Genesis (Feb 20, 2000)

Question from a reader:

Question: "What do you make of the two accounts of Goliath in the Bible? 1 Samuel 17 tells the classic tale of David vs. Goliath that almost everyone who has ever visited a church at least once is familiar with. But 2 Samuel 21:19 relates a story of a Goliath (bearing the same description and hometown as the one in 1 Samuel) who is killed by an Israelite warrior named Elhanan.

And in 1 Chronicles 20:5, it tells of the same Elhanan killing Lahmi brother of Goliath. This is sometimes listed as a contradiction in the Bible. Was this Goliath a relative named after the Goliath David fought? It would be understandable given Goliath's reputation that the family would honor him by naming several of the relatives after him."
from Chris, 6/27/01

Answer: 1 Chronicles 20:5 says: "And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver's beam"

Many believe that the account in 2 Samuel is not of the Goliath that David slew, but rather that the words "the brother of" were omitted from this verse, which would make the Giant in 2 Samuel the brother of Goliath, not Goliath himself (who was already dead at this point). In the King James Version you will notice that the words "the brother of" are italicized. This means that they were not in the original, and have been added for clarity.

This becomes more clear when one looks at 1 Chronicles 20:5, where scripture tells us that the Giant being spoken of in 2 Samuel is "Lahmi the brother of Goliath".

Were the Giants mutants?

1 Chronicles 20:6 "And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty [24], six on each hand, and six on each foot: and he also was the son of the giant."

It may be that these giants really were large humans, and not just mental giants, or "giants" in the sense that they were great warriors.

This verse about the 6 fingers and 6 toes on each hand/foot, sounds like an odd sort of mutation. Perhaps their great height was as well.

These extra fingers and toes, in addition to their height precludes the Giants being Neanderthals, Homo erectus, etc.

If you have any questions on Creation, Evolution, or just want to say "Hi" please feel free to email me.

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