David & Goliath: Truth Or Legend?

oldrover

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How tall were the average in those days though. Someone of six six might have seemed like a giant. I tend to think though that the stories from the Bible are largely just fairy tales. But that is just my opinion and I wouldn't want to offend anyone with it.
 

Jim

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Angus MacAskill was the most famous historical example of a healthy man over 7 feet tall (he was 7 ft 9 inches).
But, there aren't that many other examples.
Generally, the majority of healthy giants are around the 7 foot mark.
Someone of 9 feet tall and still able to move well would have been really exceptional.
BTW, Charles Barkley is only 6 ft 6 in.
My point was the gene for giantism may still present in modern man and Barkley and Chamberlin are very large individuals. As was MacAskill in particular.

During an earlier time whole groups or peoples of giants may have existed (we debated this on another forum: “Conspiracy To Hide Existence Of Ancient Giant Humans?”

In Deuteronomy: “Og of Bashan was reported to have a bed > 13’ in length.” These giants are common to nearly every ancient culture in both the new and old worlds and were reported to either be a force to be reckoned with or were often a ruling class in their respected society. There’s a lot of evidence for the giants of old, although mystery still surrounds much of this phenomena. I for one just happen to believe that the story of David and Goliath to be true.
 

Jim

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How tall were the average in those days though. Someone of six six might have seemed like a giant. I tend to think though that the stories from the Bible are largely just fairy tales. But that is just my opinion and I wouldn't want to offend anyone with it.
Actually during Biblical times the average maale was only about 5' 4" or so.
 

PeteByrdie

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Slightly changing the subject (away from something about which I know zilch), has anyone ever noticed that people are really bad at judging the of other people who fall outside the 'usual' height range. I've encountered this a number of times. At the weekend I was shopping with a friend and we saw a guy who towered above everyone else. He was improbably tall. My friend said, 'Look at that guy. He must be eight foot tall.' At first I thought so too, but then I reassessed. He was perhaps seven foot. But we're just not used to seeing people that tall, and we overestimate the difference.
 

XBergMann

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Slightly changing the subject (away from something about which I know zilch), has anyone ever noticed that people are really bad at judging the of other people who fall outside the 'usual' height range. I've encountered this a number of times. At the weekend I was shopping with a friend and we saw a guy who towered above everyone else. He was improbably tall. My friend said, 'Look at that guy. He must be eight foot tall.' At first I thought so too, but then I reassessed. He was perhaps seven foot. But we're just not used to seeing people that tall, and we overestimate the difference.
I am 6'6" or approx 2m in my shoes.

A few years ago I was riding on the Hong Kong metro (underground) and I towered over all the little chinese people on the train as it was quite crowded and most people had to stand.

I was looking at my phone for the first 2 stops or so and when I had finished reading some emails / message I put my phone back in my pocket and had a quick look left and right only to find around one hundred little people looking at me with their mouths open and a group of school kids giggling at me.

I was taller than everyone else in the carriage by around 50cm except for the school kids where the difference was more like 75cm.

Those chinese people probably all got to work and told their colleagues that they had seen a 3m tall giant on the train.
 

Jim

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I am 6'6" or approx 2m in my shoes.

A few years ago I was riding on the Hong Kong metro (underground) and I towered over all the little chinese people on the train as it was quite crowded and most people had to stand.

I was looking at my phone for the first 2 stops or so and when I had finished reading some emails / message I put my phone back in my pocket and had a quick look left and right only to find around one hundred little people looking at me with their mouths open and a group of school kids giggling at me.

I was taller than everyone else in the carriage by around 50cm except for the school kids where the difference was more like 75cm.

Those chinese people probably all got to work and told their colleagues that they had seen a 3m tall giant on the train.
It boils down to weather you believe in the giants of old (of which there is evidences) or you prefer to rationalize the enigma away. The same could be said for many Fortean topics.
At 6'2" stocking feet and with a large frame they'd probably see me as a giant as well.
 

oldrover

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Me too.

But Jim you say that there's evidence of giants of old. I'm not aware of this.
 

Jim

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Me too.

But Jim you say that there's evidence of giants of old. I'm not aware of this.
Hi oldrover, go to General Forteana "Conspiracy To Hide Existence Of Ancient Giant Humans?" There was quite a debate on the topic with lots of URL links.
 

oldrover

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Hi Jim, I have looked at that thread, but didn't see anything I'd consider to be evidence. I'm not aware of any reliable remains found or held anywhere.
 

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World’s Only Philistine Cemetery May Hold Grave of Goliath

It’s one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament and has been an inspiration to underdogs ever since. An young boy-who-would-be-king named David goes up against a colossus Philistine whose name would be forever association with giants – Goliath – and brings him down with a sling and a stone. As with most war stories, not much is known about the losing side in that one either. Now for the first time, archaeologists have discovered a Philistine cemetery that is revealing more about the people and possibly their large warrior.

We’ve learned about their houses, we’ve learned about what they ate and we learned about who they traded with, but now we’re seeing the people themselves.

Daniel Master, professor of archaeology at Wheaton College and co-director of theLeon Levy Expedition, was excited when the 30-year exploration project at Ashkelon in southern Israel uncovered a 3,000-year-old Philistine cemetery. Once located on the Mediterranean coast, Ashkelon is one of five cities known to be Philistine and was a major port until destroyed during the Crusades. While Philistine artifacts and houses have been periodically uncovered, this first known cemetery may change previous assumptions about them.

This forms a baseline for what ‘Philistine’ is. We can already say that the cultural practices we see here are substantially different from the Canaanites and the highlanders in the east.


Many of the skeletons were buried with jars and jugs.

Master says about 150 individual skeletons were found buried with personal jugs and jars which most like contained perfumed oils. Some wore jewelry while others were buried with their weapons. The skeletons are undergoing DNA, radiocarbon and biological distance testing to determine the true origin of the Philistines. The style of the burials – open pits and cremations rather than raised platforms – suggests they may have come from the Aegean Sea area. ...

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2016/07/worlds-only-philistine-cemetery-may-hold-grave-of-goliath/
 

TheInspector

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If Goliath suffered from a similar pituitary disorder to Robert Wadlow, who was a fraction under 9 feet tall and still growing at the time of his death, then a height in excess of 9 feet is clearly not impossible. Furthermore, although Goliath would have certainly looked very intimidating in bronze and leather armour, in all likelihood, his condition would have made him quite slow-moving and clumsy, so a normal sized but agile person could quite conceivably best him in combat.
More information on this:

http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_the_unheard_story_of_david_and_goliath/transcript
There's a second piece of this that's important. It's not just that we misunderstand David and his choice of weaponry. It's also that we profoundly misunderstand Goliath. Goliath is not what he seems to be. There's all kinds of hints of this in the Biblical text, things that are in retrospect quite puzzling and don't square with his image as this mighty warrior. So to begin with, the Bible says that Goliath is led onto the valley floor by an attendant. Now that is weird, right? Here is this mighty warrior challenging the Israelites to one-on-one combat. Why is he being led by the hand by some young boy, presumably, to the point of combat? Secondly, the Bible story makes special note of how slowly Goliath moves, another odd thing to say when you're describing the mightiest warrior known to man at that point. And then there's this whole weird thing about how long it takes Goliath to react to the sight of David. So David's coming down the mountain, and he's clearly not preparing for hand-to-hand combat. There is nothing about him that says, "I am about to fight you like this." He's not even carrying a sword. Why does Goliath not react to that? It's as if he's oblivious to what's going on that day. And then there's that strange comment he makes to David: "Am I a dog that you should come to me with sticks?" Sticks? David only has one stick.
12:14 Well, it turns out that there's been a great deal of speculation within the medical community over the years about whether there is something fundamentally wrong with Goliath, an attempt to make sense of all of those apparent anomalies. There have been many articles written. The first one was in 1960 in the Indiana Medical Journal, and it started a chain of speculation that starts with an explanation for Goliath's height. So Goliath is head and shoulders above all of his peers in that era, and usually when someone is that far out of the norm, there's an explanation for it. So the most common form of giantism is a condition called acromegaly, and acromegaly is caused by a benign tumor on your pituitary gland that causes an overproduction of human growth hormone. And throughout history, many of the most famous giants have all had acromegaly. So the tallest person of all time was a guy named Robert Wadlow who was still growing when he died at the age of 24 and he was 8 foot 11. He had acromegaly. Do you remember the wrestler André the Giant? Famous. He had acromegaly. There's even speculation that Abraham Lincoln had acromegaly. Anyone who's unusually tall, that's the first explanation we come up with. And acromegaly has a very distinct set of side effects associated with it, principally having to do with vision. The pituitary tumor, as it grows, often starts to compress the visual nerves in your brain, with the result that people with acromegaly have either double vision or they are profoundly nearsighted.

13:57 So when people have started to speculate about what might have been wrong with Goliath, they've said, "Wait a minute, he looks and sounds an awful lot like someone who has acromegaly." And that would also explain so much of what was strange about his behavior that day. Why does he move so slowly and have to be escorted down into the valley floor by an attendant? Because he can't make his way on his own. Why is he so strangely oblivious to David that he doesn't understand that David's not going to fight him until the very last moment? Because he can't see him. When he says, "Come to me that I might feed your flesh to the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field," the phrase "come to me" is a hint also of his vulnerability. Come to me because I can't see you. And then there's, "Am I a dog that you should come to me with sticks?" He sees two sticks when David has only one.
 

rynner2

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This would fit well in the Handicapped by Height thread: cf:

Mid Ulster identified as 'giant hotspot' by scientists
By Julian Fowler BBC News NI

An area in Northern Ireland has been identified as a "giant hotspot" by scientists studying a gene defect which causes people to grow abnormally tall.
One in 150 people in Mid-Ulster were found to carry the gene, compared to one in 1,000 in Belfast and one in 2,000 in the rest of the UK.
...

http://forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/handicapped-by-height.22926/page-11#post-1621798
 

maximus otter

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Biblical bombshell as archaeologists discover origins of David and Goliath battle

Archaeologists excavating Goliath’s hometown, Gath, have unearthed a new layer of ruins dating back to the time of the biblical battle – and they’re unusually large.



Excavation director Aren Maeir, of Bar Ilan University in Israel, said the discovery came as a surprise after 23 years.

He said: “We now know the size and impressive nature of the early Iron Age city is quite different than previously thought.

It was assumed the city reached its large size during the 10th and 9th century BC. It now appears that the early Iron Age city – 11th century BC and perhaps before – may have been even bigger and more impressive."

The newly-found fortifications are reportedly four metres (13ft) wide, whereas walls from later periods are up to two-and-a-half metres (8ft) wide. The building blocks themselves are also bigger, measuring up to two metres (6.5ft) in the ‘Goliath’ layer and only half a metre (1.6ft) in later layers.

He added: “Perhaps, the legends of giants among the Philistines, and in particular from Gath – Goliath and others – might have arisen, among other reasons, from seeing the impressive monumental remains of the city in the centuries after its destruction.”

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/wo...hell-archaeologists-discover-origins-19427757

maximus otter
 
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Mythopoeika

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He added: “Perhaps, the legends of giants among the Philistines, and in particular from Gath – Goliath and others – might have arisen, among other reasons, from seeing the impressive monumental remains of the city in the centuries after its destruction.”
...Or Goliath really was a giant and the buildings were built proportionate to his size...
 

James_H

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To clear up a couple of misconceptions in this thread: the books of Samuel were probably edited at some point to sex up the story, making David the combatant instead of Elhanan (who?) Mentioned in 2 Samuel as Goliath's killer. Also his height grew to six cubits and a span (9'9") from the more believable four cubits and a span (6'9").
 

maximus otter

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To clear up a couple of misconceptions in this thread: the books of Samuel were probably edited at some point to sex up the story, making David the combatant instead of Elhanan (who?) Mentioned in 2 Samuel as Goliath's killer.
18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. 19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. 21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him. 22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

http://biblescripture.net/2Samuel.html

maximus otter
 

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18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. 19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. 21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him. 22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

http://biblescripture.net/2Samuel.html

maximus otter
The word 'brother' was added by the translators of the KJV. It isn't present in an any earlier text of the bible.
 

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20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
The last Mad Magazine I bought in the late '70s had a piece on the world's oldest jokes - two were allegedly mentioned in the Old Testament.
First was 'how does a Philistine count to six ?' (on his fingers). I wasn't aware until now what this was alluding to.
Second was 'how do you break a Philistine's finger ?' (punch him in the nose).
 

EnolaGaia

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This 2014 medical article reviews the Goliath / giants lore and the ways the Biblical descriptions suggest hereditary gigantism and polydactyly were the bases for these figures' atypical attributes.

Hereditary Gigantism-the biblical giant Goliath and his brothers
Deirdre E Donnelly1 and Patrick J Morrison
Ulster Med J. 2014 May; 83(2): 86–88.

Abstract

The biblical giant Goliath has an identifiable family tree suggestive of autosomal dominant inheritance. We suggest that he had a hereditary pituitary disorder possibly due to the AIP gene, causing early onset and familial acromegaly or gigantism. We comment on the evidence within the scriptures for his other relatives including a relative with six digits and speculate on possible causes of the six digits. Recognition of a hereditary pituitary disorder in the biblical Goliath and his family sheds additional information on his and other family members’ battles with David and his relatives.


INTRODUCTION

Giants have been around since time began; they are first described in the Bible in the book of Genesis (6:1-4)1. Originally, giants appear to have been regarded positively, often considered as heroes, particularly by the non-Hebrew population. After the great Flood, giants remained present in the scriptural texts, but their good reputation had waned in the eyes of the Hebrews, and they often tended to be seen as the enemy, often fighting in armies. Giants lived together as a number of separate races, before and after the Flood. The exact relations between different families of giants are a little unclear. For example, the Nephilim (Numbers 13:32-33), appear to be present before and after the flood. The Emites, the Ammonites (or Anakites) and the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:10-11), existed after the Flood and appear to be separate entities although the chronicler often uses the phrase ‘like’ suggesting they had a similar phenotype. The Anakim seem to be derived from the Nephilim. The Rephaim although similar to the Nephilim, appear to be distinct from them with respect to family lineage. Deuteronomy 2.21 states the Rephaim were largely subdued by the Ammonites which ‘dwelt in their stead’ One of the most prominent Rephaim was Og, King of Bashan, who slept in ‘a bedstead of iron; nine cubits was the length, and four cubits the breadth of it’ (Deuteronomy 3:11). A cubit was the distance from the elbow to the fingertips. He appears to be one of the last survivors of the Rephaim. A race of giants implies a hereditary element and the origins of some names may indicate the genetic pathway involved. The Hebrew word anaq may mean necklace (Proverbs 1:9), or possibly goitre. This could suggest hyperthyroidism, possibly due to underlying pituitary gland, or other endocrine, dysfunction. ...

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4113151/
 

EnolaGaia

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This new Science News article suggests Goliath's earliest documented height (4 cubits and a span) may have been derived from the thickness of Gath's impressive defensive walls. The article also provides a good summary of the historical context.
The biblical warrior Goliath may not have been so giant after all

The width of his home city’s walls were possibly used to metaphorically represent the champion’s height

Early versions of the Bible describe Goliath — an ancient Philistine warrior best known as the loser of a fight with the future King David — as a giant whose height in ancient terms reached four cubits and a span. But don’t take that measurement literally, new research suggests.

Archaeological findings at biblical-era sites including Goliath’s home city, a prominent Philistine settlement called Gath, indicate that those ancient measurements work out to 2.38 meters, or 7 feet, 10 inches. That’s equal to the width of walls forming a gateway into Gath that were unearthed in 2019, according to archaeologist Jeffrey Chadwick of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Rather than standing taller than any NBA player ever, Goliath was probably described metaphorically by an Old Testament writer as a warrior who matched the size and strength of Gath’s defensive barrier, Chadwick said November 19 at the virtual annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research. ...

Although the research raises the possibility that Goliath’s recorded size referred to the width of a city wall, Chadwick “will need to do more research to move this beyond an intriguing idea,” says archaeologist and Old Testament scholar Gary Arbino of Gateway Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif. For one thing, Arbino suggests, it needs to be established that the measure applied to Goliath, four cubits and a span, was commonly used at the time as a phrase that figuratively meant “big and strong.” ...
FULL ARTICLE: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bible-warrior-goliath-david-not-giant-height-gath
 
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