Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who Killed Goliath, in the Bible?

Grandparents' reaction: "I bet he's going to confuse us with something bad."

Parents' reaction: "Ah, come on! Even THAT is unclear???!!!"

Teenagers' reaction (with intentionally retro verbiage): "KEWL!"

2 Samuel 21:19: "19 There was another battle with the Philistines in Gob, in which Elhanan, son of Jair from Bethlehem, killed Goliath of Gath, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's heddle-bar."

Fundamentalists, shocked and angry that I should infer "error" -- I'm not, really; the Bible just isn't a history book -- will yell, "Ah-HAH!!!" and refer you to 1 Chronicles 20:5...

1 Chronicles 20:5: "5 Once again there was war with the Philistines, and Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath, whose spear shaft was like a weaver's heddle-bar."

They will explain, "Clearly, there was an error in the redacting of the story. The original version of 2 Samuel 21:19 said the same!"

In truth, 1 Chronicles 20:5 is a Hebrew word game. The author takes the Hebrew term for "Bethlehemite" in 2 Samuel 21:19, "Beyth-hal-lach-miy," drops "Beyth," "Beth," and changes the leftovers to "Lach-miy-ach." Lachmi is a fiction. His name appears nowhere else in the Bible.

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