How tall was Goliath?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by BWSmith, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. BWSmith

    BWSmith
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    He was "a span" plus what?

    4 cubits (6 feet): 4QSam-a, original LXX, Josephus
    5 cubits (7 1/2 feet): later LXX manuscripts
    6 cubits (9 feet): Masoretic Hebrew, later LXX mss.

    The oldest manuscript (4QSam-a) says four, which agrees with the LXX. Why not change our Bibles to this more probable value?
     
  2. Mark-in-Tx

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    Really???
     
  3. BWSmith

    BWSmith
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  4. Mikayehu

    Mikayehu
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    We probably have not changed it because the Masoretic Text has repeatedly proven its reliability. As most know, there was a great movement some years ago to place the LXX on an equal footing with the MT. However, that view has been essentially abandoned because further textual and archaeological evidence have proven that the MT is, in general, far superior to the LXX. The reason Goliath's height has not been changed is mainly due to the fact that the textual evidence you listed, BWSmith, while significant, is not especially conclusive. Is it possible that the MT is inaccurate here? Certainly. However, changing Goliath's height to the 6' option, while stronger scientifically, is much weaker textually.

    So, there's the basic choice before the translator. Is the probability that Goliath was actually only 6 or 7 feet strong enough to outweigh the stronger textual evidence for 9 feet? I have no qualms with either option and am quite certain that neither can be eliminated from possibility based on extant evidence. Until further evidence surfaces, I am content to side with 9 feet because it is generally unwise to side against the MT. The point is obviously still the same: Goliath was a giant.
     
  5. BWSmith

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    If true, this is certainly news to the academic community.

    The current trend, as prompted from the findings of the DSS, is the reconstruction of the Hebrew underlying the LXX and the formulation of critical editions of their common parent. The DSS verify that the LXX was not a loose translation of the MT, but a competing Hebrew edition in circulation alongside the MT.

    Exaggeration of height is never weaker textually. What is likely is that the original 6ft. 9in. height (preserved in the LXX) got inflated to the present 9ft. 9in. value in the MT through exaggeration.

    6 foot people would have truly been giants during the monarchy, but in later centuries it may have been more common, prompting an exaggeration.

    If 4QSam-a (50 BC) is the oldest Hebrew witness to the text, where is the "stronger evidence" supporting the 9-ft value in the MT?

    Agree on the final point! Amen.
     
  6. BWSmith

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    Consider also the case of 8ft-11in. Robert Wadlow:

    Robert Wadlow biography

    Wadlow died at age 22 from a foot infection (that was a diabetes-like complication of his rapid growth).

    Wadlow was still 10 inches shorter than the Biblical measure given for Goliath. How could Goliath possibly walk, much less be a great warrior, if he were 10 inches taller than Wadlow?
     
  7. blackbird

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    Too tall to duck! Of course, duckin' would'nt have helped any anyway. He was gonna die that day for blaspheming and cursing God's holy name regardless of whether he were a giant or a midget!
     
  8. pinoybaptist

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    I don't know how tall he was, really, except for what the Bible indicates, and I guess that is more than enough.
    However, for speculation's sake, maybe we can consider the weight of his shield and sword against the height and weight needed to wield those things ? Any mathematicians here ? :D
     

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