This review is of a video titled, How Tall was Goliath? (feat. Toasters)
Of the “fearsome Philistine giant,” the video notes, “no one can quite agree on the giant’s size.” This is an issue because the vague, subjective, generic, and multi-usage English word “giant” is being used in an undefined manner which leaves the audience to guess the usage.
Now, the context, “How Tall was Goliath?” stacks the usage deck to imply something about unusual height but then “giant” is as subjective a word as “unusual.”
In any case, we are told, “where the Bible sees Goliath at approximately 10 feet tall, there are other arguably more plausible sources that have him a bit shorter at the more realistic height of about seven feet in.”
This is actually hyperbolic in both directions 1) how “the Bible sees Goliath” and 2) “other arguably more plausible sources.” Let us see who this pans out.
We are told, “in the first book of Samuel chapter 17, scroll down to verse 4 and it will describe the giant Goliath as six cubits and a span…a monstrous nine foot nine inches.”
Note that biblically, “giant Goliath” is to be read as “Repha Goliath” since when English Bibles use the word “giant” it implies nothing about height whatsoever but is either rendering (not even translating) “Nephilim” or “Repha/Rephaim.”
It is noted that, “as with many of the tallest people who have lived is often the result of certain growth disorders. Gigantism is a condition when the human body over produces a certain hormone” and on it goes but we should see the height related rest of the data before getting into that.
Yet, it is noteworthy that “Goliath measuring at nine foot nine inches would have put extreme pressure on his body due to the structure and density of human bones.”
In part, this is due to that growth is exponential and so a person who is, say, as tall as a telephone pole would not be as slim as one: they would also grow in width and depth, in girth. Thus, “he simply would not have been able to stand upright with such mobility issues it’s doubtful that he would have made such a good warrior as depicted in the Bible story.”
The video then moves on to that “Goliath isn’t the only giant in the Bible. In fact, there’s a whole slew of them, some of whom may even be his ancestors…in the book of Genesis we are introduced to the Nephilim…appear again in the book of Numbers where they are described as being so tall that normal humans look like grasshoppers in comparison.”
So “giant” which contextual to Goliath is to be read a Repha is now being used contextual to Nephilim to mean just that yet, both usages are left to imply something about unusual height when such is not the case in either case.
Note that generic nature of the statements in that “in the book of Genesis” and “in the book of Numbers” and moving on to “where they are described as…” without interacting with the narratives and asking key questions such as in those books but who said it, in what context, how where the statements received, etc.
In the case of Genesis, the context is a historical narrative but in the case of Numbers the reference is to the contents of an “evil report” by embellishing, contradictory, disloyal, unfaithful men whom God rebukes: in short, they present five assertions about which the whole entire rest of the Bible knows absolutely nothing.
But wait, there’s more!!! “there are actually plenty of other giants in the Old Testament like the Rephaim, the Zamsumim, and the Anakim” (see Deuteronomy chap. 2).
This, sadly, denotes an utter lack of detailed research. The video makers do not realize that they cannot say “other” ones include Rephaim since they began with a Repha.
They also cannot say “other” ones including “Zamsumim” since that is merely an a.k.a. for “Rephaim.”
They also cannot say “other” ones including “Anakim” since they were a Rephaim subgroup—and guess what, Goliath was a of the Philistine (regarding locale), Anakim (subgroup), Rephaim (main group).
The video makers recognize some of this, “in the book of Joshua we are told this last group of giants” Rephaim, “the Anakim settled in Gaza in the Philistine city of Gath and you know who else came from Gath? Goliath. It may explain his great height.”
But in order to show that he was a “giant” of the proposed height since we have only been told Anakim were “giants.” The only Biblical data we have about their height is that they were “tall” and that is subjective to the average Israelite male who, in those days, was 5.0-5.3 ft.
Continuing, “In the Bible we learn that Goliath has a brother Lami who is also a giant some have seen this as proof of gigantism in Goliath’s family” but what that proof is, is never elucidated—this is another merely generic assertion.
Based on what, as you will see, is partial data, the video makers speculate that Goliath’s recorded height, “could just be artistic license exaggerating the height of this mythical warrior” or “an error in the transmission of the text.”
We are told, “the version of the Old Testament that we’ve got today is called the Masoretic text…the Masorites who lived from the 7th to 10th centuries CE” with “CE” being an anti-Christian manner of saying, “AD.”
Of course, that “the,” as in singular, version we have being the Masoretic is myopic: I mean, I, myself, published a version of the Septuagint/LXX.
The video notes something about it, “a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint…around the 3rd to the 2nd centuries BCE,” anti-Christian for “BC, “this older Greek version…offers a different height instead of six
qubits and a span he’s now four cubits and a span doing the math again that puts him at the height of six foot nine inches.”
Indeed, yet, the claim was, “the Bible sees Goliath at approximately 10 feet tall” versus “other arguably more plausible sources that have him a bit shorter” but this is about one set of Bible manuscripts versus another set of Bible manuscripts not “the Bible” vs. “other…sources.”
Indeed, the older than Masoretic manuscripts of the Septuagint/LXX have him at the shorter range as do “other…sources” such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and also Flavius Josephus.
Thus, his height was not outlandish, it offers no hint of necessitating physical problems, and is still contextually quite tall—even though the real issue with Goliath was that he was a “champion”: a trained, experienced, and successful warrior.
The video then speculates about simple textual errors from the LXX to the Masoretic.
Thus, overall, a good conclusion is reached even if based on missteps along the way.
For more details, see my relevant books.
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