The sword and spear of Goliath
Submit YOUR questions, through our easy to use form,
to our team of mature Christians known as the Email Evangelists!
The Bible states that when, as a young man, David slew Goliath he took his armor and put them in his tent: "And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his (Goliath's) armor in his tent" (1Samuel 17:54). However, what happened to Goliath's armor - his sword and spear - after taken in battle? Could they still exist TODAY?
The first question we need to answer, however, is how BIG were the implements of war that Goliath used and how TALL and STRONG he had to be to use them. The Bible says his height was 'six cubits and a span" (1Samuel 17:4). The exact length of the ancient cubit, using modern measurement standards, is a topic of debate. 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 highly likely 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).
Regarding the size and weight of his armor it says, "He (Goliath) 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)
It is safe to say that 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). Goliath was a formidable opponent indeed! David had these heavy, super-sized weapons to transport!
Goliath's armor comes up again later in David's life. While he was fleeing from King Saul, he went to the priests at Nob to get some food. After he ate, he requested a sword. Ahimelech the priest gave him the ONLY sword they had available - Goliath's: "David asked Ahimelech, 'Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s business was urgent.' The priest replied, 'The sword of GOLIATH THE PHILISTINE, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth BEHIND THE EPHOD. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.' David said, 'There is none like it; give it to me.' " (1Samuel 21:8-9)