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Meaning: Great.

This was the name of two biblical men.

  1. Goliath, a famous giant of Gath, who for 40 days openly defied the armies of Israel, but was at length slain by David with a stone from a sling (1 Samuel 17:4)

    He was probably descended from the Rephaim who found refuge among the Philistines after they were dispersed by the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 2:20-21). His height was “six cubits and a span,” which, taking the cubit at 21 inches [0.5334 meters], is equal to 10½ feet [3.2004 meters]. David cut off his head (1 Samuel 17:51) and brought it to Jerusalem, while he hung the armor which he took from him in his tent. His sword was preserved at Nob as a religious trophy (21:9). David’s victory over Goliath was the turning point in his life. He came into public notice now as the deliverer of Israel and the chief among Saul’s men of war (18:5), and the devoted friend of Jonathan.

  2. Goliath, another giant

    In 2 Samuel 21:19 there is another giant of the same name mentioned as slain by Elhanan.

    The staff of his spear “was like a weaver’s beam.”

    The King James Version interpolates the words “the brother of” from 1 Chronicles 20:5, where this giant is called Lahmi.


Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.