David and Goliath, Fact or Fiction?

by Grant R. Jeffrey (from his book "The Signature of God")

The story of David and Goliath is one of the most well known of the Bible stories. During that time the Jews were under the brutal domination of the Philistines. Finally, the Lord raised up a hero to stand against the Philistines and defeat their great champion, Goliath. The army of Israel faced the army of the Philistines but King Saul could not find an Israelite brave enough to engage the Philistine's giant warrior in hand-to-hand combat that would determine who would dominate the land. There are a number of small details or coincidences in this biblical story that provide very strong proof that it is a genuine account. Concider that the Bible mentions that Goliath comes from the village of Gath. "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philitines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span" (1 Samuel 17:4). This is significant because Gath was one of the villages where the giant race of Anakims lived. When the twelve spies entered Canaan they were fearful of the giant races that lived in the land. "And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, 'The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature'" (Numbers 13:32).

Another passage in the book of Joshua tells us that Gath was one of the few places where the giant race of Anakim still survived. "And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained" (Joshua 11:21,22). There were only three cities in Israel where the remanants of the giants survived. This coincidence that, four hundred years after the conquest of Canaan, we find Goliath living in Gath, one of those three villages, is a marvelous confirmation of the truthfulness of the biblical record about David and Goliath. In this coincidence we find that three separate biblical books, Numbers, Joshua, and Samuel, confirm the accuracy of one of the elements in this famous biblical account.

One other feature in the story of David and Goliath always fascinated me as a young boy. Why did David pick up five smooth stones for his sling when he knew that God would guide his aim to kill the Philistine giant with only one stone? Did David lack faith in God's supernatural power to destroy Israel's great enemy? The answer to this mystery appeared to me one night when I was reading the Book of 2 Samuel, chapter 21. To my surprise I found that Goliath was not the only giant in his family. The father of Goliath was a giant who had five sons, all of whom fought for the Philistines. Every one of these four brothers were also giants who ultimately died in combat with the brave soldiers of David. Summarizing the story of their death in combat with David's men, the prophet Samuel recorded: "These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants" (2 Samuel 21:22). When David picked up five smooth stones for his sling he was simply being prudent in preparing for the possibility that Goliath's four brothers might have joined the battle when Goliath was killed. He might have needed the additional four stones to defeat the four other giants.

Reference: Jeffrey, Grant R., "The Signature of God", Frontier Research Publications, Inc. (1996), p.247-248

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