From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths & Legends

By Avigdor Shinan; Yair Zakovitch et al. | Go to book overview

23
Finding the Real Killer of Goliath

Who killed Goliath? There would seem to be no easier question. Even people with the shallowest of knowledge of the Bible somehow remember the tale of the giant Philistine’s defeat at the hands of the boy David with his two-pronged stick (1 Samuel 17). David’s victory, we recall, brought the demise of the Philistine threat over Israel.

References to the youthful David’s wondrous victory can be found also outside of that specific story. When fleeing King Saul and passing through the temple at Nob, David asks Ahimelech the priest for a weapon, and he answers him: “There is the sword of Goliath the Philistine whom you slew in the valley of Elah; it is over there, wrapped in a cloth, behind the ephod” (1 Samuel 21:10). Thus we learn how that oversized enemy’s sword was kept in a temple, in the presence of God, as a reminder of God’s salvation and as an expression of thanksgiving for God’s granting the victory to His servant, comparable to the jar of manna and the staff of Aaron, which were also stored in the presence of God in testimony and tribute (Exodus 16:33–34; Numbers 17:25).

Another reference to David’s victory is made when David and Saul return from the battlefield after Goliath’s fall and women come out to meet them, singing: “Saul has slain his thousands; David, his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). The song becomes famous, known even among the Philistines, as we learn later in the story of David’s flight from Saul, when the despairing young hero makes his way to the lion’s den itself, to the court of King Achish in Goliath’s own city, Gath. The king’s courtiers notify him of David’s alarming presence: “Why that’s David, king of the land! That’s the one of whom they sing as they

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