Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 17

Goliath and the giant people of Canaan

1 Samuel 17:4-7

In ancient times, a nation of people of extraordinary size and strength lived in Canaan. The Bible calls them by various names, for example Anakites and Rephaites. Because these huge people were in Canaan, Israelís people were too afraid to enter the country (Deuteronomy 1:28). However, one of them, called Og, ruled Bashan, so Israelís army had to fight against him (Deuteronomy 3:1-11). That happened at the time of Moses.

The defeat of Og was one of a series of defeats that those people suffered. Caleb defeated them in Hebron (Joshua 15:13-14). Joshua defeated them in all their other towns (Joshua 11:21-22). They only remained in three towns in Philistia: Gaza, Gath and Ashdod (Joshua 11:22).

Most of the inhabitants of Philistia belonged to families that originally came from Caphtor (Jeremiah 47:4). That is, probably, the island called Crete. Among them in Philistia lived these families of giant people. The tallest and strongest of them became the heroes who led Philistiaís army. 2 Samuel 21:15-22 records how Davidís men defeated 4 of them. Like Goliath, those 4 men were all from Gath.

The description of Goliath is extraordinary. He seems taller than anyone who has lived in modern times. The metal coat that protected his body was huge, heavy and very impressive. It would also be very valuable. He fought with a spear (a pole with a sharp head). That spear was so long that an enemy could not even get near him. He also carried a javelin (a lighter spear that he could throw at an enemy). Another man carried a shield (a strong board) in front of Goliath. That shield would protect Goliath if his enemies shot arrows at him.

Next part: Goliath insults Israelís army (1 Samuel 17:8-11)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.