Did David fight Goliath
and his brothers?
Q. Is there any evidence that Goliath had four brothers? Did David also have to fight them too? I was told he took to battle five stones for his slingshot - one for each person he would have to fight and kill.
A. Few people realize how actually BIG and STRONG was Goliath, the Giant from Gath:
"And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines . . . whose height was six cubits and a span." (1Samuel 17:4, NKJV throughout)
The exact length of the ancient cubit, using modern measurement standards, varies depending on the source used. Various Bible commentaries place the length of a cubit anywhere from 17 inches (43.2 centimeters) to 21 inches (53.3 centimeters). The length of a span is believed to have been around 9 inches (22.9 centimeters). Conservatively, Goliath was 9 feet 3 inches tall or 2.82 meters and likely was a bit bigger! Compare this to the average height of a U.S. male (2003-2006 data) of 5 feet 10 inches (1.8 meters).
"He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him." (1Samuel 17:5-7)
Conservatively, Goliath wore a protective coat that weighed at least 78 U.S. pounds (35.4 kilograms). Several commentaries place the weight of the coat at an amazing 156 U.S. pounds (70.8 kilograms)! The length of his spear may have been as long as 26 feet (7.9 meters). The head alone on the spear weighed at least 17 pounds U.S. (7.7 kilograms). This giant was a formidable opponent indeed!
It's interesting that you mentioned the coincidence of picking up five slingshot stones and Goliath having four similarly gigantic brothers. Now we know from 2Samuel 21:16-22, especially the last verse, that there were at least four other Philistine giants. There is, however, no record of these other four giants challenging the army of Israel.
The incredible story of David and Goliath is found in the book of 1Samuel:
"The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines . . . Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, "Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us." "Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them . . .
David and Goliath
Fresco by Michelangelo (1509 A.D.)
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"Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, THAT HE SHOULD DEFY THE ARMIES OF THE LIVING GOD?"
"Then David said to Saul, "Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."
"Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
"Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself FIVE SMOOTH STONES from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
"And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. So the Philistine said . . . "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" . . . Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. BUT I COME TO YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HOSTS, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you . . .
"Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him." (1Samuel 17:3-4, 8-9, 23, 26, 32, 37, 40, 42-43, 45-46, 49-50, NKJV, emphasis added)
What's interesting, from the viewpoint of seeing this encounter as a lesson in faith, is that David took five stones (1Samuel 17:40), not just one, despite having faith in God and His special protection. He prudently planned that it might take more than one stone to kill the giant man, much as Jacob carefully prepared before encountering his brother Esau again after leaving the employ of Laban (Genesis 32-33) while praying to God before this meeting.There is an interesting translation issue in 2Samuel 21:15-21 in that the term translated "the giant," in the plural, can mean "Rephaim." This apparently was a race or breed of giants, such as Og, the king of Bashan, who had a bedstead of about 13 1/2 feet in length and 6 feet wide (Deuteronomy 3:3, 11; cf. Joshua 12:4). Although one of these four other Philistine giants WAS Goliath's brother (2Samuel 21:19; cf. 1Chronicles 20:5, which preserved the text more correctly), the others aren't clearly said to be. Another race or group of giants was called the Anakim (Numbers 13:28, 32-33), but it doesn't appear they were related to the Philistine giants.
Written by: Eric Snowexpaned by BibleStudy.org