Friday, March 24, 2023
HomeDebate ReligionThesis Statement: The Bible says that both David and Elhanon killed Goliath...

Thesis Statement: The Bible says that both David and Elhanon killed Goliath and this is a contradiction


The verses are below. I used ASV because KJV and NIV often add “the brother of” in 2 Samuel which is not in the original Hebrew. This is a dishonest edit and but they usually footnote or italicize it\*.

So 1 Sam says David Killed Goliath. 2 Samuel says Elhanon Killed Goliath. 1 Chronicles attempts to correct the “error” in 2 Sam by saying that it was Goliath’s brother.

Now, is it the same Goliath? 1 Sam says Goliath is from Gath. 2 Sam says Goliath the Gittite. Looking up Gittite, all sources that I have found show that it means “from Gath”. So they are from the same city and the bible makes it a point to say that. Both get very specific and say his spear “was like a weaver’s beam”. Goliath, Goliath. From Gath, From Gath. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. This is the same dude.

The fact that 1 Chron (written 100-300 years later) has to add that Elhanon actually killed Goliath’s brother seems to be a recognition by the authors of 1 Chon that this is in fact a contradiction between 1 and 2 Sam. Also the fact that some translations add (sneakily sometimes) “the brother of” is just another admission.

I am still working on my defense of the “scribal error theory” which I expect to come up and I will respond then.




1 Samuel 17 (ASV)

This Chapter describes how David Killed Goliath

17:4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath

17:7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod

17:51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

2 Samuel 21 (ASV) (Elhanon Kills Goliath)

21:19 And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

1 Chronicles 20 (ASV)

20:5 And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.


\*This is anecdotal but none of the Christians I know realized that it was italicized in their own copy of KJV. I had to point out to them that is was not in the Hebrew of 2 Sam. In their defence, I don’t think any of them read OT much

View Reddit by turningandburning45View Source

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson
I have been reading and writing for over 20 years. My passion is reading and I would like to someday write a novel. I enjoy exercise and shopping.


  1. Jewish Scholars do not and have never viewed those texts as a literal record of history. Pointing out a contradiction like this is interesting and everything, but the only worldview that it really contradicts is the Evangelical one which believes in things like Young Earth Creationism.

  2. The order of events clearly doesn’t match up. David killed Goliath before he even began serving Saul. But Elhanon kill this new ‘Goliath’ in the war at Gob against the Philistines.

    You seem to be ahead of yourself though. If you go the scribal error route, which is what I believe happened here, that doesn’t imply a contradiction because the scribal error producing just ‘Goliath’ need not refer to the exact same Goliath as the one David slew.

    My pastor has told me before that he believes that the original Biblical text was truly completely inerrant, but that the scribal copies were also extremely reliable. It is exemplified here, as although the text on its face may imply a problem when viewed in a vacuum, alas we still have the answer regardless and there is no problem, as we learn of the true nature of this reference in the other books. Keep in mind too that if it weren’t for these clarifications of the other books, that your ‘contradiction’ argument wouldn’t really hold water since the original text could merely refer to a different Goliath.

  3. 1 Samuel 17 happened when Saul was king. 2 Samuel 21 happened when David was king. They clearly do not talk about the same events.

    1 Chronicles 20:5 gives clearance: it is about the brother of Goliath. This means we have to specifically look at the translation of 2 Samuel 21:19. On []( you can see that there is a Hebrew word *et* that is (generally) untranslated, but means something like ‘with’. Thus a translation like this is justified: “Elhanan … killed the Bethlehemite that was with Goliath …”

    So no scribal errors here. Just two events and two sources for the second event without any contradictions.

  4. They already answered this on gotquestions dot org. it was a scribal error that produced goliath rather than goliath’s brother but the rest of the bible clarifies it if you know how to read more than just 1 verse. it later says in other chapters that when EL killed Gol, david was already king. go to gotquestions dot org to see all the verses

  5. um…

    2 Samuel 21:19 – NIV

    “In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.”

    it is just another poorly translated version of the bible…. above you can see an accurate translation.. . . get yourself a king james or new king james until the Disciples of Christ version is complete.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular