The Giants of Gath

In the days of David the son of Jesse, when Saul was king, the Philistines gathered their armies against Israel in the valley of Elah. David was a youth then and a shepherd. He had three brothers who were soldiers in King Saul’s armies.

The Philistines were the enemies of Israel. They revolted against Judah and took over its cities and they dwelt there.

Their land was called Philistia. It had five large cities with five kings. Those cities were Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron.

Israel’s enemies included all of the cities of the five kings of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in Mt. Lebanon from Baalhermon unto the entering of Hamath. The children of Israel dwelt among them.

There was a giant in the city of Gath. He had sons who were giants. One of these giants was called Ishbibienob. He was thirteen feet tall, and he was girded in brass armor. He wielded a large sword and a spear with a spear head weighing four pounds, half that of Goliath’s spearhead. Lahmi was another brother of Goliath. There was the giant Saph and the giant called the man of great stature. He had on every hand six fingers and on every foot six toes, twenty-four in number. These were giants born of giants.

The Philistines hired giants to give them the advantage in battle. Goliath was one of these giants. His brothers fought for the Philistines. Goliath and his brothers were of the race of giants called the Gittites. They lived in the land of the Philistines in the city of Gath. Goliath’s name means ‘the exile’.

Goliath’s height was a towering thirteen feet four inches. His armor was made of brass, and his coat of mail alone weighed one hundred and twenty-five pounds. He wore a plate of brass between his shoulders and over his chest. The front of his legs were covered with greaves of brass that were bound by leather straps around his calves and ankles. The staff of his spear was like a weavers beam, and the spear head was made of iron and it weighed eight pounds. He had a huge shield of brass that was large enough to cover his entire body. The shield was carried by a large man who went before him. The earth shook when Goliath walked, and when he spoke his voice was like thunder.

The armies of King Saul and the Philistines encamped in a place called Gob in the valley of Elah. During the period of encampment, the Philistines were using psychological warfare to frighten the Israelites. For forty days and forty nights Goliath taunted Saul’s armies.

David was tending his father’s sheep when he was called in from the field by his father Jesse. He was told to go to his brothers with ten loaves of bread and ten wheels of cheese. David was to see how they were and report back to his father.

When David saw his brothers he saluted them. As they spoke, there arose Goliath up out of the Philistine’s army. He continued his taunts and insults, his voice booming throughout the valley. The men were afraid. They talked among themselves.

The killer of Goliath would be rewarded. King Saul promised riches, his daughter to wife and freedom for his house. David was interested.

So, David returned to his father’s tent. That night he thought about taking on Goliath the giant. The next day, David went to King Saul and told him that he intended to slay Goliath. This amused Saul. You are only a youth slight of build, and you know nothing about warfare. David spoke up and insisted that he would do as he said. Then Saul realized that he was serious and he provided armor for David. The armor proved too large and did not fit him so he took them off and laid them aside.

David took his shepherds staff. He went to the brook and carefully selected several stones that were basalt and sharp. He placed them in his shepherd’s bag at his side. He had his sling in his hand.

David went to the encampment of Saul’s armies. Goliath bellowed, send your best men and I will fight them. David went out to meet Goliath. Goliath drew near to David. The large man who carried his huge shield went before him. Goliath looked down at David and laughed at him. He made fun of David’s youth and small stature. Then he cursed the God of the Israelites. Goliath announced that he would kill David and feed his flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.

David replied, I come in the name of the Lord who will deliver you into my hands this day and I will smite you, and I will give your carcass to the fowls of the air and to the beasts of the earth.

Goliath and his shield man charged David and David charged Goliath and the man with the shield. The armies charged one another and the battle was on. As David ran he selected a stone from his shepherd’s bag and loaded his sling and slung it around as he ran toward Goliath. At the right moment he let the missile fly. It struck Goliath in the center of his forehead and embedded itself therein. He fell forward on top of the man who carried his shield and hit the earth with a noise that was tremendous. David stood on top of Goliath. He took Goliath’s sword and slayed him. Then he cut off his head. When the Philistines saw Goliath killed, they retreated to regroup. David took Goliath’s head. He took his armor to his tent.

King Saul witnessed David kill Goliath. The next day, David takes Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and to King Saul to collect his reward. He is invited to live in the palace.

Israel and the Philistine armies were continually warring with each other. There were many battles. David fought many battles with his men against the Philistines until his last battle at sixty years old when he was nearly slayed by a giant.

Read more about this race of Giants in my upcoming book,

The History of the Giants.

(2 Chr. 28:17-18); (Judges 3:3); (Judges 3:5-7); (1Sam 17:1-58);

(2 Sam 21:15-18)

By Dr. Sandra A. Mowery

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Copyright © 2011 Dr. Sandra Ann Mowery.
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