Most English translations of the Bible (e.g. NASB, NIV, KJV, NRSV), following the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament,1 say that Goliath was six cubits and a span tall. The ESV, for example, says the following:

And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. [1Sam. 17:4]

Converted into more modern measurements, this is 3.2 metres (9 feet, 6 inches), if measured by the 18 inch cubit, or 3.5 metres (just over 11 feet), if the 21 inch cubit is used.

Some reference sources cite medical conditions  such as acromegaly2 which could have resulted in this height,3 a suggestion found even in some professional medical works.4

There is also another possibility, however: some ancient sources give Goliath’s height as ‘four cubits and a span’,5 i.e., about 2.1 metres (six feet, nine inches). The NAB and the NET6 are versions of the Bible that follow these sources:

A champion named Goliath of Gath came out from the Philistine camp; he was six and a half feet tall. [1Sam. 17:4 (NAB)]

Then a champion 1  came out from the camp of the Philistines. His name was Goliath; he was from Gath. He was close to seven feet tall. [1Sam. 17:4 (NET)]

Also see the following footnotes on 1Sam. 17:4 from various versions of the Bible:

Hebrew; Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll and Josephus four [cubits]

[Hebrew] nine feet; [one ancient Hebrew manuscript and one ancient translation] seven feet.

Hebrew 6 cubits and 1 span [which totals about 9.75 feet or 3 meters]; Greek version and Dead Sea Scrolls read 4 cubits and 1 span [which totals about 6.75 feet or 2 meters]

Would 2.1 metres be tall enough for Goliath to be classed as a ‘giant’?

A 6 foot 9 inch Goliath (2.05 metres) would have been at least 20 centimetres taller than the heroes found in Iron Age Mycenaen tombs,7 and 30-40 centimetres taller than the average Iron Age man; this proves that even the heroes of the time were only 10-15 centimetres taller than the average, and a man 30 centimetres taller than these heroes would have been a real giant, almost 40 centimetres taller than the average man (King Saul need not have been more than 6 feet tall to be head and shoulders above all in Israel [1Sam. 9:2], and at 6 feet 9 inches Goliath would still have been significantly taller).

What about Goliath’s weapons and armour?

Some people might object that Goliath’s weapons and armour make little sense for a warrior shorter than the traditional reading. However, such objections are not well founded:

‘…first of all, the text does not say that Goliath’s spear was as big or as long or as heavy as a weaver’s beam. It just says that the “shaft” (lit. “arrow”) of his spear was as (D) a weaver’s beam. Yagael Yadin points out that the comparison between Goliath’s spear and a weaver’s beam is not saying that the shaft of the spear was as big as a large timbered crossbeam of a loom. Rather, the narrator is describing a looped cord or rope that was attached to the spear that enabled a warrior to throw it harder and further. This looped cord looked somewhat like the cord loops of a weaver’s beam; thus the analogy.  It has nothing to do with the size of his spear. Thus it also has no bearing on the size of Goliath. Likewise, the six hundred shekel (fifteen pounds) weight of the iron spearhead certainly  would not require a ten foot tall giant to throw it.’

Hays, ‘Reconsidering the Height of Goliath’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (48.5.708), (2005), p. 708

(Spears were also commonly used to thrust at short range [requiring less effort], rather  than thrown [note Goliath  does not throw his spear].)

‘Yadin provides pictures of a real weaver’s beam as well as ancient paintings of soldiers from the ancient Near East holding such looped weapons. His evidence is so convincing that, as I point out,  the majority of commentators on 1 Samuel follow Yadin.’

Hays,  ‘A Response to Clyde Billington’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (50.3.515), (2007).

Further reading

Most of the text in the answer above is taken from J. Burke, ‘How tall was Goliath?’ (2010) from the Challenges & Answers Series. The full article (PDF format) is available online here.
1. The medieval Hebrew text on which almost all modern English translations of the Old Testament are based.
2. A pituitary gland disorder resulting in giantism
3. ‘However, D. Kellermann suggests that Goliath’s symptoms in 1 Samuel 17 match those of pathological gigantism (a pituitary condition known as acromegaly), including a tunnel-vision type of visual defect, which David presumably took advantage of in defeating him. If so, then the MT reading need not be considered an exaggeration.’, Li, ‘Goliath’, in Arnold & Williamson (eds.), ‘Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical books’, p. 356 (2005).
4. ‘The biblical giant Goliath  may have been afflicted with  acromegaly.’,  Ember & Ember,  ‘Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology’, p. 392 (2004)
5. The textual evidence for a  shorter height is found in the following sources:
  • The LXX (commonly known as the ‘Septuagint’, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, completed no later than the mid-2nd century BCE).
  • 4QSam (one of the  Hebrew  copies of the book of Samuel found among the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’, this text contains 1-2 Samuel, and although parts of the text are damaged, 1 Samuel 17:3-6 is not; this text dates to around 50 BCE and is the oldest Hebrew copy of this part of 1 Samuel, so it is significant that it has the shorter height).
  • Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 6.171 (1st century CE; Josephus was a 1st century Jewish historian, and although it is not likely that Josephus had access to historical records of Goliath other than the Biblical texts, the height he gives demonstrates that this was already recorded in the Hebrew Bible by his day, long before the taller height).
  • Lucian recension (an early 3rd century revision of the LXX text).
  • Codex Vaticanus (a significant 4th century Greek manuscript containing almost all of the Old and New Testament).
  • Codex Alexandrinus (a significant 5th century Greek manuscript containing almost all of the Old and New Testaments).
6. The NET has the following footnote to the verse:
Heb “his height was six cubits and a span” (cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV). A cubit was approximately eighteen inches, a span nine inches. So, according to the Hebrew tradition, Goliath was about nine feet, nine inches tall (cf. NIV, CEV, NLT “over nine feet”; NCV “nine feet, four inches”; TEV “nearly 3 metres”). However, some Greek witnesses, Josephus, and a manuscript of 1 Samuel from Qumran read “four cubits and a span” here, that is, about six feet, nine inches (cf. NAB “six and a half feet”). This seems more reasonable; it is likely that Goliath’s height was exaggerated as the story was retold. See P. K. McCarter, I Samuel (AB), 286, 291.’, NET, footnote on 1 Samuel 17:4 (1 ed. 2005).
7. ‘Archaeology has shown that the heroes buried in the “royal tombs” at Mycenae were 1.76-1.80 mtr. tall, while the height of the average man at that period (according to the skeletons excavated) was 1.64 mtr. both in the Aegean lands and in Canaan.’, Margalith, ‘The Sea Peoples in the Bible’, p. 49 (1994).
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25 Responses to How tall was Goliath?

  1. ez says:

    Thanks for your interesting article. However the 3rd party notes in which I viewed supporting the case for a ‘short’ Giant, seem to be biased, subjective and illogical. I agree entirely with you though in respect to the aspect that all manuscripts do not agree with Goliaths claimed height. However the context and other related Biblical passages would indeed infer Goliath was closer to 10 feet rather than 7.

    Although I do not desire to weigh heavily on mere textual analysis, the Aleppo Codex on which much of the Leningrad Codex (base Old Testament) was corrected, does have the Giant at 9’ 9”. So also were the later versions of the Septuagint when aligned with the Masoretic. The earlier Septuagint (Heb>Grk) barely covered the chapter in question at all. Seemingly the most reliable witness ‘against’ a ‘Giant’ height could possibly come from the Dead Sea Scroll excerpts, relying on no errors being made here either.
    However, I have agreed to this ‘text issue’ being the birth of such contention but certainly not the resolution.

    Agreed that the possible average height for a man at this time was 1.6 metres (5’ 3”) and we know Saul was ‘head and shoulders’ above the people. This would make Saul at least 2m tall or about 6’6”. If critics would have Goliath just be a ‘short Giant’ at 6’ 9”, then this Giant Champion would be a mere 3 inches taller than Saul. I hardly think this be the case.

    We know Goliath was from a tall clan of Gath (2Sa 21:15-22 KJV) who were renowned for there Giant and fearsome warriors. These feared ‘Rephaim’ were huge and their ‘stature’ was their claim to fame.

    Goliath’s ‘loadout’ as a warrior would have far exceeded a Modern 6-foot US Marine. Goliath had 70kg mail armour, 9+kg spear, helmet (large size), greaves, javelin, large sword/sheath and other sundries. This ‘loadout’ could easily be in realms of 100 odd kilo’s. Even for a ‘short’ 6’ 9” Giant this would make for a crippling load, let alone fighting with such a burden.

    Also this verse: “And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the STAFF of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.” (2Sa 21:19 KJV)
    This is an identical expression to that of Goliaths spear. The thickness and heaviness of the ‘wood’ once again being highlighted, as this large spear meant to ‘intimidate’ the enemy not just kill him. The thickness of a ‘weaver’s beam’ being at least 2.5 inches wide.

  2. ez says:


    Known Giants of this type such as the Giant Egyptian whom Benaiah (1Ch 11:23 KJV) slew were 7’ 6” tall (5 cubits). Also Og King of Bashan and his people, were wiped out by Israel. King Og had (Deu 3:11 KJV) an iron bed (not sarcophagus) that was some 13.5 feet long. This King probably didn’t wear his 2 metre ‘stilettos’ to bed either. In other words he was probably nearly as tall as his bed is long. Of course there are many other unspecific examples of ‘giants’ in the area too. (Num 13:33 KJV) (Deu 2:11 KJV) (Deu 2:20-21 KJV) (Jos 18:16 KJV). Sure these guys were not 50Ft ‘Hollywood Blockbusters’, but they could have indeed made Goliath look ‘small’.

    We must remember too that ‘Modern Giants’ such as Robert Pershing Wadlow, have been witnessed within the last century alone. He may not have had the body-type of a warrior but he did reach a staggering height of 8’ 11”. This is merely 10 inches less than Goliath was suppose to be. Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Pliny I believe also refer to Giants 7 cubits high.

    In the narrative it makes even further sense that something ‘clever’ needed to be done to end the stalemate. There was an unbroken stand off across the Valley of Elah and it would seem this ‘one on one’ dual might clinch it for the Philistines. God’s glory bore great though, when a young man with a small stone defeated the ‘iron materialistic’ strength of the Philistines. This Giant representation of fallibility was primed for God’s majesty and I believe this was the point God was making with such an encounter.

  3. Jonathan Burke says:

    * Could you provide evidence for the sources cited being ‘biased, subjective and illogical’?

    * The consensus of the earliest textual evidence is conclusive; the Aleppo Codex is too late to consider more accurate than the consensus of the earliest Old Greek, Hebrew, and Latin texts (not to mention Josephus’ witness)

    * As the article points out, Saul need not have been more than 6 feet tall to be head and shoulders above all in Israel, and at 6 feet 9 inches Goliath would still have been significantly taller

    * Goliath was certainly from a clan of ‘giants’, but this doesn’t tell us how large a ‘giant’ was considered to be; the archaeology helps us here

    * Standard commentaries measure Goliath’s armour at 57 kg, not 70kg; he was undoubtedly carrying a lot of weight, but this does not necessarily mean he was tall, it just means he was strong (even the US Marines are expected to carry between 60 and 100 lbs while still remaining mobile and capable of long distance marches)

    * The phrase in 2 Samuel 21:19 is indeed the phrase used of Goliath’s spear, but it has nothing to do with the size of the beam; see Hays, ‘Reconsidering the Height of Goliath’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (48.5.708), (2005), p. 708, cited in the answer

    * The giant in 1 Chronicles 11:23 still wasn’t close to nine and a half feet tall

    * Og didn’t have an ‘iron bed’, standard commentaries recognize this was a sarcophagus (sarcophagi significantly larger than the individual inside are known in the Ancient Near East)

    I recommend reading the article by Hays, which you can find here:

  4. ez says:

    I was referring to one of the main sources you used, Daniel Hays. His comments were very subjective and illogical in important areas I felt.

    The Aleppo Codex is based on the original Masoretic. That was the point. The early Septuagint virtually covers nothing in the chapter, Latin was often sourced from the Septuagint to start with and Josephus coverage is sparse and erratic. As I said, the original Masoretic it would seem by far the more reliable of all of these.

    Saul would need to be at least ‘40cm’ higher than an average man to be ‘head and shoulders’ This brings him to 2m tall or 6’ 6”. If he was just 6 foot that would make him only 23cm taller than his peers if they are 160cm. This is barely ‘half a head’ taller, not ‘head and shoulders’.

    There is no direct archeology in relation to this Clan at Gath at this stage but they were descended from the Rephaim and undoubtedly ‘Giants’, not just ‘tallish men’.

    Actually given the ‘shekel’ weight range of 11-14grams the 70kg weight is within this. I know quite a few taller chaps and some also quite fit. If they were asked to carry 100kg it might be possible in short shuffles, but there would be much resting in between. Not ideal for an undersized Giant. Unless we are talking about Samson, there is no way he could wear such armour and fight nimbly at the same time.

    Hays comments in regards to the spear are 3rd hand too and quite ludicrous. The emphasis in all verses regarding the ‘Staff’ of the Weavers Beam was highlighting the ‘Staff’ or wood of the beam. Not any mystery cords attached. Hays wants to see the large spear handle as still taking on the ‘form of a working weavers beam’. This is quite simply not the case and his desire to rearrange the emphasis to suit his needs is shameful.

    The point of (1Ch 11:23 KJV) the Giant Egyptian covers a few bases. First he was another recorded warrior taller than an alleged height of a ‘small 6’ 9” giant’. Secondly he also held a spear as ‘thick’ (2.5inches) as a weavers beam (huge hands) and thirdly it also keeps the cubit measure familiar for Hays. Hays it seems takes exception to anyone changing the cubit measure too much.

    Og did have a ‘Bedstead’(eres) of Iron, not a coffin. The commentators wanting to change this will need to change the ‘Hebrew’ as well as the narrative this time to have it otherwise.
    “is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon?” (Deu 3:11 KJV)
    Og and his people were completely obliterated at Edrei and their land confiscated, so there was nobody to build such a ‘coffin’. Israel a short while later took his ‘iron bed’ to Rabbath as a trophy when it was conquered from the Ammonites.

    Hays would serve his cause much better without comments like “What frightens Saul is the superior training of Goliath, not his height.”
    This comment is subject to Hays own version of the narrative and completely baseless.

    Understandably there is ‘some textual controversy’ on the subject but there seems little room for ‘narrative contention’.

  5. Jonathan Burke says:

    * If you feel Hays’ comments were ‘biased, subjective and illogical’, could you provide evidence?

    * The Aleppo Codex is based on the Masoretic text, but the fact is that it’s clearly not a perfect representation of the Masoretic text; there is no Hebrew text containing the greater height for Goliath which is earlier than the 8th century, the reading is simply completely absent from the textual record before that time, so there’s no evidence it was original

    * The early LXX covers the relevant passage, and so does Josephus and the earliest Hebrew text in 4QSam; the fact that the later Latin agrees with this shows that the early Greek, the earliest Hebrew, and the first Latin version all agree with each other, so any later Hebrew texts with a different number are highly unlikely to be original, especially more than 700 years later

    * Why would Saul need to be at least 40cm higher than an average man?

    * There’s no doubt that the clan at Gath were giants, but this doesn’t tell us how large a ‘giant’ was considered to be; the archaeology helps us here

    * There’s no reason to read the record with the largest shekel weight

    * Hays’ comments in regard to the spear reflect the scholarly consensus; there’s no mystery about the cord to which he’s referring, the archaeological evidence confirms such cords were used

    * There is no word for ‘thick’ in 1 Samuel 17:4, 2 Samuel 21:19 or 1 Chronicles 11:12

    * The word for Og’s sarcophagus has a range of meanings beyond merely ‘bed’ (including trough, child’s bed, cradle, and sarcophagus), and sarcophagi were sometimes made prior to the death of a leader; the idea of the sarcophagus of a fallen enemy being taken as a symbol of victory makes sense, but taking his bed?

  6. Larry Hope says:

    After your Baptised are we subject to have battles with the devil and his temptation’s for the rest of our lives?

  7. How tall was Goliath says:

    The earliest sources like Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Greek Bible all report Goliath at 4 cubits 1 span in height.

    The problem is how big was the cubit? It could have been from 17 to 22 inches. So Goliath may have stood from about 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 feet tall. It’s clear that the armor, spear head, and weapons described would have required a man MUCH taller than 6 feet– (I am 6 feet 1/4 inch tall and 171 lbs, and 150 lbs of body armor and a 15 lb spear point would be impossible for me to wield without looking like a 8 year old boy). Other giants are described in scripture at heights of 5 cubits. So I think Goliath was around 8 feet tall at the least.

    The Egyptians mention in Papyrus Anastasi 1, (circa 1200 BC) men who are 4 and 5 cubits tall who live in the valley of Megiddo, in Canaan. These Canaanite giants would have been 6 1/2 to 8 feet tall if the Egyptian cubit was 18 to 20 inches long.

    Alcaeus of Lesbos, circa 600 BC mentions the killing of a giant warrior by the Babylonians (probably at the siege of Ashkelon near Gaza) who was 4 1/2 Royal cubits tall, and taking the royal Babylonian cubit at 20.5 inches makes him 8 feet high. This shows there were 8 foot giants still in the region of Goliath 400 years after his time.

    Bronze age Burials in the Mediterranean have occasionally produced the bones of men of this height. Some news reports document skeletons as high as 7 to even 10 feet, but the tallest peer reviewed archaeological report I have seen in my research was the giant of Castelnau, France (University of Montpellier) well documented, and whose bones indicated a person between 10 and 11.5 feet tall. Some of the Cro Magnon and Heidelberg people of Africa were as tall as 7 to 8 feet. (Mentone Cave, and South Africa, University of Witwatersrand) so these sorts of giants, the 7 to 10 foot type have sometimes existed in ancient times.

  8. ez says:

    -Because the first Greek Translation (Septuagint) and Josephus cover so little of the original narrative, in this particular case, they are quite unreliable.

    Examples like Josephus have the lion slain by David, ‘I took him by the tail, and dashed him against the ground’
    But KJV renders “I caught him by his beard, and smote him” (1Sa 17:35 KJV).
    Was it the tail or beard?! Josephus waxes lyrical here and is likely also to be inaccurate with his poetic details covering the chapter.
    Josephus also says Goliath was ‘stunned’ by the stone that hit him, but other manuscripts note Goliath just ‘fell’. So has Josephus a revelation here for us? This just underscores Josephus unreliability in relation to this chapter.

    The Septuagint barely covers half the chapter. Not very credible specifically here in it’s original form until it was aligned with the Original Hebrew by the Masoretes later on.

    The Aleppo is said to be the “most accurate representation of Masoretic principles in any extant manuscript”. Also the “most authoritative representative of the Masoretic tradition, both its letter-text and its vocalization “

    -Saul would need to be at least 40cm+ taller than the average man to be ‘head and shoulders’ above the people. A simple measurement can tell us this on an average man’s height, let alone a tall man.

    -Archeology cannot help us in relation to this specific giant named Goliath whom David slew. Archeology, as indicated, has turned up Giants as tall as Goliath if not taller.

    -There is no reason to read the smallest estimated shekel weight either. The average weight for Goliaths plate armour alone being 62Kg still is enormous of itself, let alone other armour/weapons.

    -Archeology does not confirm what type of spear Goliath was holding. It can elaborate on types of spears but it doesn’t tell us Goliath was using an average size spear with a ‘loop’ on it to make it fly further. Besides this was a spear for thrusting, the Javelin on his back was for throwing.

    -If most examples relate the ‘wood’ of the spear to being like a ‘weavers beam’, it is quite clear what is inferred. Especially when the ‘said’ passages speak of Giants of great ‘statue’.

    -King Og’s Bedhead is the literal Hebrew ‘eres’ for Bed. Some critics and commentators want it to mean something else but the text is simple and sure. The word for coffin in Hebrew Scripture is ‘arown’. This is not what Deut3:11 is referring to. Besides as stated: “utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.” (Deu 3:6 KJV)
    Israel was only allowed to take cattle and plunder. It would make no sense for Israel (an enemy) to carry around such a funerary encumbrance. The trophy/plunder was the bed and this would make textual and literal sense.

    David was a ‘Giant Killer’ and was still doing this even when he was too old. (2Sa 21:15-16 KJV).
    The original and well known Giant Goliath fits perfectly within this narrative and reliable sources continue to bolster this view.

  9. John says:

    You people haven’t fully done your homework before you post. First, Rober Wadlow was 8’11.1″ tall, less than an inch from 9 feet.

    Okay, so Goliath could be taller, right? WRONG! Here’s why. If you bothered to look up Wadlow’s life (I’m live in the area where he’s from), he was so freakishly tall, he had to have leg braces to walk! Goliath, a warrior supposedly taller would also have to have leg braces to walk, because Wadlow, the tallest man to have ever lived needed them.

    Secondly, the reason he needed them is because the human body was NOT set up to produce a human of that height, and he OUTGREW his nervous system, and lost feeling in his hands and feet frequently. So, a warrior who would be TALLER wouldn’t even be able to hold a sword or shield, because he couldn’t be able to feel them! He wouldn’t be a warrior if he couldn’t hold a shield!

    None of you have heard of the square cubed law. It is mathematically IMPOSSIBLE for ANY human on Earth to be taller than 9 feet. Wadlow probably would have made it, but his body would have given out (exploded), and Goliath who you claim to have been TALLER would have DIED before he crossed the 9 feet tall plateau as well.
    The average human was about what we are today, 5 feet and inches. Today it’s 5′ 8″ for males, and we’re TALLER than back then, which was about 5’4″ or so.

    Take a person that tall, and place them next to a guy who is 6’4″, and notice how they’ll dwarf them. Now, take a guy who’s 7’2″ next to the 6’4″ guy, and he’s tiny. The 7’2″ is what Goliath was around. There’s NO WAY he crossed 8 feet, not with poorer medical technology, nutrition, etc. Next time, do your homework BEFORE you comment. Thank you.

  10. ez says:

    Sorry John I don’t see any relative contextual criticism within your comment.

    There is plenty of evidence archeologically and historically for Giants around Goliaths height. The Biblical narrative as aforementioned only makes sense if a ‘Giant’ sized giant was implied or stated. There is plenty of other verses as indicated of individuals and tribes known for their ‘stature’
    Robert Wadlow had a deformity which caused his height and therefore he was sickly. Goliath did not have this anomaly but was from a tribal area where great ‘statue’ was quite often normal.

    John, it may help to include some Biblical or historical data to support your case next time.

  11. Dani says:

    What an interesting thread here! I am inclined to agree with ez here. As the wife of a present day soldier, possibly I can offer a comparison on stature. My husband is considered to be short. At 5’6 my husband’s height would have been considered somewhat “average” in the iron age. The average height of the soldiers in his platoon is 5’10’-6’5. When my husband is standing next to them, yes he looks shorter, but by comparison, the other guys are by no means “giant” in stature next to him. Average full battle gear weight for a modern day soldier is approx. 60-80 pounds. In order to be considered a giant, even to someone of my husband’s height (or my height for that matter, which is 5’2), they would have to be taller than 7 feet! LOL, makes me think back to highschool…my math teacher was 7’2…he was tall but by no means “giant”… anyways, no in depth proof or stats here, just speculation by a short gal… :) very interesting guys!

  12. John S. says:

    This is response to John who claims it would have been mathematically impossible for a human to be that tall. You weren’t there my friend so how can you be so certain. I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God and therefore completely accurate, there are no lies or contradictions if you understand the scriptures, Goliath was of the Nephilim race who were gigantic in stature. King Og whose bed measured 14 feet long and 6 feet wide indicates a height of at least 12 feet. I think Goliath could have been as tall as 15 feet if you use the great cubit. Now that would be a someone you don’t want to mess with!
    Go read Numbers 13 chapters 23 to 33. One bunch of grapes needed 2 men to carry it between a pole! As for modern proof there have been discoveries of skeletons measuring over 11 feet long found in mine shafts. There is a human thigh bone measuring 47 inches long indicating a height 14 to 16 feet. So your mathematical theory doesn’t hold water in light of actual proof.

  13. Jason says:

    Hi there. I’m 6 feet, two inches tall and 240 lbs, and no stranger to a sword or spear. There is no way I’d be able to fight with Goliath’s armor and weapons, even at the low end of the “loadout” weights. It’s far to heavy.

    It’s also far heavier than it would need to be for anyone but a large-scale giant. A 57 kg breastplate works out to a little over 125 lbs, whereas a bronze breastplate for a normal man might weigh 30-40 lbs. so the armor must be larger in some dimension. Either height and width, or thickness. Height and width points to big giants, so let’s look at thickness. Why is it 3-4 times thicker? Is it supposed to stop musket balls that won’t be invented for thousands of years?

    Next we come to the spear. Melee weapons like swords and spears have to be light, because weight makes them slow. They also need to be properly balanced. A spear head should weigh about as much as or a little more than it’s shaft. This points to a very long and heavy shaft, considering a hardwoood quarterstaff is just a few pounds. To even use a 25 lb spear, a warrior would have to be massive just to get the leverage. I can barely swing my 8lb sword, which has a fairly even weight distribution. A spear’s center of gravity is way out at the end.

    This all points to very big armor for a very big person, as does the weaver’s beam reference. I know what Jonathan Burke wrote about that quote, but look at the context which I paraphrase down to “his armor was THIS HEAVY! His spearhead weighed THIS MUCH! the shaft of his spear (A) was THIS BIG! -or- (B) had LITTLE LOOPS OF CORD WRAPPED AROUND IT!” Seriously, that’s about what it boils down to.

    Finally, I want to address John and the square cube law. Humans in general are not strong for their size, in relation to the rest of the animal kingdom, and Robert Wadlow had a disease. Imagine, if you will a 9 foot man who was not as strong as a man, but as strong as a gorilla. The weight of the load he carried into battle certainly points to someone stronger than a normal human. The giant Nephilim were described as being the offspring of the “sons of God” and the daughters of men. Not much explanation of what the Sons of God were is given, but it’s possible that the OT giants were not entirely human by modern standards. Their bodies could naturally, or supernaturally, have been configured to be 9+ feet tall without needing leg braces (elephants don’t) and without outgrowing their nervous systems (Blue Whales don’t).

    • Jon Morgan says:

      As the Nephilim who were mentioned in Genesis seem to be part of God’s reason for the flood, I would have expected them to be destroyed in the flood. I think it is more likely that the Nephilim in Canaan were called that because they were like the original Nephilim, rather than because they were direct descendants.

      For who the “sons of God” were, see

  14. Jim says:

    Giants have sometimes existed in the past. The arm and leg bones of a man calculated at 11 ft 6 inches tall were unearthed in a Neolithic cemetery in France.

    We can wish giants away, just like we can wish all other wild tales away, but in this case there is some archaeological evidence to back it up.

    Modern people with a dissorder can barely reach 9 feet tall, but people who were built entirely differently with thicker bones and more muscle have evidently exceeded 9 feet, as the bones show.

    Goliath would have been one of these 8 to 12 foot giants the ancients occasionally wrote about in their journals.
    A 6 foot man can’t carry 150 lbs of armor, nor a 20 lb spear head without looking like a 6 year old trying on his father’s clothes.

  15. RosyLife79 says:

    So how tall was he? It sounds like there are too many answers to know how tall. That isn’t right.

    • RosyLife79

      You are correct, the Bible gives us one definite answer about Goliath: Goliath was 10 feet tall, his armor weighed 156 lbs, and his spearhead weighed 19 lbs. King Saul didn’t dare to fight him, and the Bible tells us King Saul was the tallest man of Israel, head and shoulders above his people. ( 1st book of Samuel, chapter 9 verse 2). Therefore Saul was a giant man himself, probably about 7 feet.

      The Bible tells us EXACTLY the size of Goliath:

      He was 6 cubits 1 span tall, he wore a coat of bronze armor of 5,000 shekels weight, and he had a spear with an iron tip which weighed 600 shekels. He also wore bronze leg guards, and was armed with an additional javelin, a sword and a shield.

      1.) Based on ancient coins found in Israel, 1 Hebrew shekel weighed about 1/2 ounce, or 5 U.S. Pennies combined.
      2.) A cubit was the length of a man’s lower arm–middle finger to elbow, in most modern and ancient men that is 18 or 19 inches.
      3.)A span was the distance of the stretched hand from thumb to little finger, 8 or 9 inches.

      Using these measurements we find: Goliath was 10 feet tall, his armor weighed 156 lbs, and his spear head weighed 19 lbs. This is NOT including his bronze helmet, bronze sword, javelin, and shield — which would put his armor and weapons at a combined weight of over 200 lbs.

      To put this in perspective, the heaviest armor ever found from ancient burials from the era of Goliath rarely exceeded 60 or 70 lbs. Goliath carried as much armor as 3 men combined.

      In summary, the Bible tells us Goliath was a true Giant, not simply a tall man. Goliath had several giant brothers descended from the clan of “Rapha” in Gath, who were giants from the time of Moses, and Abraham in the land of Canaan. These were incredibly dangerous and terrifying warriors the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Babylonians describe such giants in their histories and Battles in Canaan. This gives us an idea of how much faith David had in Yahweh the god of Israel, that he could fight a man who was double his stature, and carried more armor than David likely weighed.

    • BubbaJM says:

      Do you really believe all the words in the Bible to be “true”? If so, please read the Genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1-16 and the Genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38, and explain to me why the people listed from David through Jesus are different in both accounts? How are both accounts true, and yet different?

  16. Judy says:

    Being a medical doctor doesn’t mean you know more than or nearly enough to cause God’s word to stumble. Did you create the universe? Do you hear all prayers? Do you create miracle? BTW did you read Josh Mcdowell’s books, especially More Than A Carpenter? Follow the research in that book.

  17. I am in agreement with what Redwood Jones said. The bible talks clearly about that, there is no misunderstanding when it says Giant. Also those men were not sick or they didn’t have a condition, God made them like that.

  18. That is about the total length of a fully grown mammal…. Ahhh…. 3.2 metres….

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