Goliath (גָּלְיָת, Standard Hebrew Golyat, Tiberian Hebrew Golyāṯ, Arabic: جالوت Jalut (Muslim term), جليات Julyat (Christian term)), known also as Goliath of Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines), is a Philistine warrior, famous for his battle with the young David, the future king of Israel, described n the Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament (and, more briefly, in the Quran).
This is the account of the battle between David and Goliath given in 1 Samuel, chapter 17:
Saul and the Israelites are facing the Philistines at Socoh in Judah. Twice a day for forty days Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, comes out between the lines and challenges the Israelites to send out a champion of their own to decide the outcome of the battle in single combat, but Saul and all the Israelites are afraid. David is present, bringing food for his older brothers. He is told that Saul has promised to reward any man who will defeat the Philistine champion, and David declares he is not afraid. Saul reluctantly agrees and offers his armour, which David declines in favour of his sling and five stones which he takes from the brook.
David and Goliath confront each other, Goliath with his armour and shield-bearer, David with his staff and sling. "And the Philistine cursed David by his gods", but David replies: "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is Yahweh's, and he will give you into our hand.
David then strikes Goliath with a stone from his sling, and the Philistine falls on his face to the ground. David seizes the sword of the giant and kills him, then cuts off Goliath's head. The Philistines flee and are pursued by the Israelites "as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron". David puts the armour of Goliath in his own tent, and takes the head to Jerusalem. Saul sends Abner to inquire whose son this is who has routed the Philistines and killed their champion; Abner brings David before Saul, who asks him whose son he is, "And David answered, 'I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite'."
Tell es-Safi, the biblical Gath and traditional home of Goliath, has been the subject of extensive excavations by Israel's Bar-Ilan University. The archaeologists have established that this was one of the largest of the Philistine cities until destroyed in the 9th century BC, an event from which it never recovered. An important find relating to Goliath is the discovery of a potsherd, reliably dated to the 10th to mid 9th centuries BC, inscribed with the two names "alwt" and "wlt". While the names are not directly connected with the biblical Goliath, they are etymologically related and demonstrate that the name fits with the context of late-10th/early-9th century BC Philistine culture. The name "Goliath" itself is non-Semitic and has been linked with the Lydian name "Alyattes", which also fits the Philistine context of the biblical Goliath story. Aren Maeir, director of the excavation, comments: "Here we have very nice evidence [that] the name Goliath appearing in the Bible in the context of the story of David and Goliath … is not some later literary creation.
Martin Litchfield West has pointed out that a story very similar to that of David and Goliath appears in the Iliad, where the young Nestor fights and conquers the giant Ereuthalion. Each giant wields a distinctive weapon - an iron club in Ereuthalion's case, a massive bronze spear in Goliath's; each giant, clad in armour, comes out of the enemy's massed array to challenge all the warriors in the opposing army; in each case the seasoned warriors are afraid, and the challenge is taken up by a stripling, the youngest in his family (Nestor is the twelfth son of Neleus, David the eighth son of Jesse). In each case an older and more experienced father figure (Nestor's own father, David's patron Saul) tells the boy that he is too young and inexperienced, but in each case the gods (or in David's case, God) comes to the young hero's aid and the giant is left sprawling on the ground. Nestor, fighting on foot, then takes the chariot of his enemy, while David, on foot, takes the sword of Goliath. The enemy army then flees, the victors pursue and slaughter them and return with their booty, and the boy-hero is acclaimed by the people.
The Talmud stresses Goliath's ungodliness: his taunts before the Israelites included the boast that it was he who had captured the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the temple of Dagon; and his challenges to combat were made at morning and evening in order to disturb the Israelites in their prayers. His armour weighed 60 tons, according to rabbi Hanina; 120, according to rabbi Abba bar Kahana; and his sword, which became the sword of David, had marvellous powers. On his death it was found that his heart carried the image of Dagon, who thereby also came to a shameful downfall.
In Pseudo-Philo, believed to have been composed between 135 BC and 70 AD, David picks up seven stones and writes on them the names of his fathers, his own name, and the name of God, one name per stone; then, speaking to Goliath, he says: "Hear this word before you die: were not the two woman from whom you and I were born, sisters? and your mother was Orpah and my mother Ruth..." After David strikes Goliath with the stone he runs to Goliath before he dies and Goliath says, "Hurry and kill me and rejoice," and David replies, "Before you die, open your eyes and see your slayer;" Goliath sees an angel and tells David that it is not he who has killed him but the angel. Pseudo-Philo then goes on to say that the angel of the Lord changes David's appearance so that no one recognizes him, and thus Saul asks who he is.
The name Goliath was also used in the film titles of a few other Italian movies that were retitled for distribution in the USA in an attempt to cash in on the Goliath craze, but these films were not originally Goliath movies in Italy. Both Goliath and the Vampires (1961) and Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963) featured the famed superhero Maciste in the original Italian versions, but American distributors didn't feel the name Maciste would have any meaning to American audiences. Goliath and the Dragon (1960) was originally an Italian Hercules movie called The Revenge of Hercules, and it is a mystery to this day why U.S. distributors didn't market the film under that title, since Hercules films always tended to do much better at the box office than Goliath movies.
The 1986 film Hoosiers involves a final scene which a small-town high school basketball team takes on a big-city team for the Indiana state championship. In the final moments before the small-town team from "Hickory" takes the court, the passage describing how, "David took a stone from the bag and slung it... knocking the Philistine to the ground" is read to inspire the team.
In 2004, Lightstone Studios released a direct-to-dvd movie musical titled "One Smooth Stone," which was later changed to "David and Goliath." It is part of the Liken the Scriptures (Now just "Liken") series of movie musicals on DVD based on scripture stories.
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