Who Was Goliath In The Bible

The story goes that Goliath was a giant Philistine warrior who was armed to the teeth and is remembered for being slain by a young shepherd-turned-mighty man named David.  This isn’t entirely accurate, though there are several bits of truth as well; we’re going to look at the facts about Goliath, how tall he really was, where David’s sling shot came from and what his name actually means.

Humankind has been fascinated with giants for centuries. They’re a feature of folklore, a mainstay of legends and the stuff of mythology. But where does that leave the biblical giant Goliath? Wasn’t he real? After all, the Bible documents each part of his life. Join us as we examine the life and times of this famous ancient Hebrew warrior and what he taught us about ourselves today.

The Bible is more than just a religious text. It’s comprised of stories and anecdotes from real people who lived thousands of years ago. Keep reading to learn more about Goliath in the Bible — as we often call him, Goliath — including quotes about Goliath, who wrote about Goliath and Goliath’s story.

If you have ever watched a charioteer race, you may have seen two of the same kind of horses or chariots running in a race. These two horses or chariots were not identical, however. If you were to look at each one separately, you could easily tell the differences between them from the paint schemes that covered their frames to the way they were furnished and decorated. Though these horses and chariots alike, each one had its own unique characteristics that made it stand out on its own. This, in fact, was the case with Goliath and David who were believed in ancient times to be two contenders for rulership of the Kingdom of Israel.

Who Was Goliath In The Bible

According to the Bible (1 Samuel 17), David, a young Israelite teenager, defeated the giant Philistine warrior with a sling shot and a smooth stone. After David aimed true at Goliath’s forehead, he beheaded the enemy of Israel when the rest of the Israelite army cowered in fear.

We like to use Goliath in metaphors. We often say whenever we play an underdog in a scenario against something that seems impossible that we are David facing a giant Goliath.

But where did Goliath come from? Where does he fit in the historical narrative of Israel and of the earth? And was he really as tall as our Sunday school teachers made him out to be?

Who were the Philistines? And who was Goliath?

Israel encounter a number of enemies throughout the Old and New Testament, but the Philistines seem to dot the narrative far more than once.

These descendants of Noah (Genesis 10:14), have some possible links to the Sea Peoples who wreaked havoc and war at the end of the Bronze Age, leading into a Dark Age for several nations in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Although a number of natural disasters may have lent a hand in causing such a Dark Age, due to a lack of archeological records (writing disappeared for a brief time after the Bronze Age), the Philistines may as way have played a major role in causing the Dark Age.

The Bible seems to place them in the Crete region (Jeremiah 47:4). They appear to move inland toward Canaan (Joshua 13:1).

Known for their use of iron during a post-Bronze age, they had advanced far more than their counterparts in terms of advance weaponry, and they dominated in their battles against the Israelites until David stepped onto the scene.

Who Was Goliath In The Bible

This familiar Bible story reminds us of the courage in men’s hearts when their faith is placed entirely in God. Goliath taunts David, but David’s faith becomes evident when he does not cower under the threats but instead warns Goliath with the hand of God. The armor he rejected represents the strength of man, while David chose the armor of God.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. ~ Ephesians 6:10-20

The Philistines turned and ran when they saw their giant hero killed. Israel had won the battle because of a boy who had faith and trusted God! 

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