Article: 2 Samuel 21:19 Who Killed Goliath? by Will Kinney

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2 Samuel 21:19 Who killed Goliath?


At an internet Bible club I belong to, a King James Bible critic wrote the following: “This is where my problem comes in with the KJV Only people. The translation is not true to text. The italiics show the words "the brother of" were not there but the tranlslators "thought" this is what the writer of 2 Samuel meant to say. When the NIV and other tranlsations stay true to text they are criticized for being "different" than the KJV which is mistranslated in the first place.”


Brother Marty Shue has also written a good article on this verse which can be seen here: http://www.avdefense.webs.com/2Sam2119.html


My Response: Hi___________, here is some more info you may not be aware of. By the way, do you believe the NIV always follows the Hebrew texts?


2 Samuel 21:19 with 1 Chronicles 20:5. So who killed Goliath? Was it David or did two different people kill the same giant?


New American Standard Version (NASV)- And there was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and ELHANAN the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite KILLED GOLIATH the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.


New International Version (NIV)- In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, ELHANAN son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite KILLED Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.


King James Bible - And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where ELHANAN the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite,SLEW THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.


Notice carefully that both the NASV and the NIV say that "Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite".


The way I can best explain it is that both Hebrew and Greek are elliptical languages. Elliptical means certain things are implied but not directly expressed. We use this in English too. "Been there, done that". In this expression, there is no subject in the English sentence.


Likewise the Hebrew and the Greek frequently leave out the subject, or the verb or the direct object or other parts of speech; instead they are sometimes implied. Notice here in the same chapter that we have several words "added", and if they were left out, it would not make much sense.


1 Samuel 21:1 IT IS for Saul. HIS bloody house;


V. 6 WHOM the Lord did choose; I will give THEM


v.9 in the first DAYS


As far as the word "brother" being "added" to the text, the KJB is not at all alone in this. So does the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, the Hebrew Names Version, the World English Bible, the 1998 New International Readers Version put out by the same people who brought us the NIV, the 2001 Easy-to-Read Version, the 1996 New Living Translation, Young's 'literal' version, Webster's 1833, the Natural Israelite Bible English Version 2008, the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2009, the Heritage Bible 2003, the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version, the Word of Jah version 1993, the Third Millenium bible, 1998 and the NKJV 1982.


Foreign language bibles that also tell us that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath are the French Martin bible 1744, the Italian New Diodati 1991 -” ed Elhanan, figlio di Jaare-Oreghim di Betlemme uccise IL FRATELLO DI Goliath di Gath”, the Portuguese O Livro 2000 put out by the same publishers who bring us the NIV , the International Bible Society. The 2000 O Livro reads - “El-Hanã matou O IRMAO de Golias o giteu”; Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, and the MODERN Greek translation of the Old Testament.


People who try to defend the NIV as “following the Hebrew” should be aware of the simple fact that the NIV has itself rejected or added to the Hebrew at least 100 times. Examples of this can be seen here:


http://brandplucked.webs.com/nivnasbrejecthebrew.htm



And here:



http://brandplucked.webs.com/nivnasbrejecthebrew2.htm


Not only this but the NIV when translated into the Portuguese O Livro 2000, and the International Reader’s Version 1998, and the revision of the NIV called Today’s NIV (TNIV 2005) all read saying that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH, and don’t even put the word in italics in the TNIV! So is the old NIV now out of date? These modern versionists are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.


Even Daniel Wallace's NET bible version agrees with the King James Bible saying: " On that occasion Elhanan the son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam."


But then the good doktor Wallace goes on to tell us in his footnotes that it is his opinion that all the texts have been corrupted. He says: "The Hebrew text as it stands reads, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite.? Who killed Goliath the Gittite? According to 1 Sam 17:4-58 it was David who killed Goliath, but according to the MT of 2 Sam 21:19 it was Elhanan who killed him. Many scholars believe that the two passages are hopelessly at variance with one another. Others have proposed various solutions to the difficulty, such as identifying David with Elhanan or positing the existence of two Goliaths. But in all likelihood the problem is the result of difficulties in the textual transmission of the Samuel passage; in fact, from a text-critical point of view the books of Samuel are the most poorly preserved of all the books of the Hebrew Bible. The parallel passage in 1 Chr 20:5 reads, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi THE BROTHER OF Goliath. Both versions are textually corrupt. The Chronicles text has misread Bethlehemite ( bet hallakhmi) as the accusative sign followed by a proper name (et lakhmi). The Samuel text misread the word for brother ( akh) as the accusative sign ( et), thereby giving the impression that Elhanan, not David, killed Goliath. Thus in all probability the original text read, Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath.?


Though Daniel Wallace gives us a convoluted and highly subjective evaluation of the text, it is important to note that the "scholars" all give different opinions from each other. What one affirms another absolutely denies. John Gill, Adam Clarke, David Guzik, Gleason Archer, and Constable Thomas each gives a different explanation of the text, and none of these scholars agrees with any of the others.


Adam Clarke likewise believes the Hebrew text has been corrupted and he sides with the King James Bible reading. In his commentary he states: “Here is a most manifest corruption of the text, or gross mistake of the transcriber; DAVID, NOT ELHANAN, SLEW GOLIATH. In 1 Chronicles 20:5, the parallel place, it stands thus: "Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear-staff was like a weaver's beam." This is plain; and our translators have borrowed some words from Chronicles to make both texts agree. The corruption may be easily accounted for by considering that oregim, which signifies weavers, has slipped out of one line into the other; and that beith hallachmi, the Beth-lehemite, is corrupted from eth Lachmi; then the reading will be the same as in Chronicles. Dr. Kennicott has made this appear very plain in his First Dissertation on the Hebrew Text, p. 78.


So too does John Gill agree with the King James reading - “the word "brother" is rightly supplied from (1 Chronicles 20:5) ; where his name is said to be Lahmi, for not Goliath himself was slain.”


Matthew Henry also sides with the KJB reading - “The rest of the giants fell by the hand of David's servants. 1. Saph was slain by Sibbechai, one of David's worthies, 2 Samuel 21:18,1Ch+11:29. 2. Another, WHO WAS THE BROTHER TO GOLIATH, was slain by Elhanan, who is mentioned 2 Samuel 23:24.”


The NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman Standard etc. all create a contradiction when compared with 1 Chronicles 20:5 where we are clearly told that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath, not Goliath himself. They scream bloody murder at the KJB for "adding" the word brother, yet they themselves often do the very same thing.


For example the NASB adds "son" to Mark 1:19, 2:14, 3:18; Mat. 22:42, adds "wife" to John 19:25, and "mother" to Mark 15:47, Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10.


A similar example occurs in the New Testament in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. The King James Bible, as well as Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Douay 1950, Darby 1870, Italian Diodati, and the Spanish Reina Valera 1960 all say "and Judas THE BROTHER of James". Several modern versions like the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV wrongly say: "And Judas THE SON of James", but in any case there is no Greek word for either "brother" or "son". The King James Bible is correct in that Judas (Jude) and James were BROTHERS, and the Greek text does supply this elliptical word in the book Jude where we read: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and BROTHER OF James..."


There are many examples of this elliptical construction in the Hebrew, and Greek too for that matter.


As a direct object (which is the case here in 2 Samuel 21:19) we see in 2 Kings 23:19 "And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke THE LORD to anger, Josiah took away..." Here the words "the LORD" are added to the text in the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, the Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the NKJV, NASB and the NIV, yet they do not occur in the Hebrew. The NIV, NASB didn't even put it in italics as did the KJB.


Hosea 1:9 "Then said GOD, Call his name Loammi: for ye ARE not my people, and I will not be your GOD." Here both words GOD at the beginning and end of the sentence are not in the Hebrew, neither is the verb "are". Yet in both places the NASB places the words LORD and God, and not even in italics, though they do not occur in the Hebrew. One is the subject and the other is a direct object. They are implied but not literally stated.


The NASB also does the same in Hosea 1:6 "And the LORD said to him", adding Lord as the subject even though not in the Hebrew. The KJB italicized the word God.


Just go through the book of 2 Samuel, where we find "the brother of" Goliath, and notice the many verses where something needs to be added for it to make sense. 2 Sam. 1:18 "he bade them teach the children of Judah THE USE OF the bow" (here the KJB is correct while the NIV, NKJV, NASB are wrong, though they too added words like "the song of the bow")


There are many verbs not in the Hebrew which are implied and so placed into the correct English translation. For the moment, let's look at some nouns that are supplied in the English text, but are implied in the elliptical Hebrew.


2:23 "smote him under the fifth RIB"


3:7 "and ISHBOSHETH said to Abner"


3:18 "Now then do IT"


3:27 "under the fifth RIB"


4:12 "and hanged THEM up over the pool..took the head..and buried IT"


6:1 "all the chosen MEN of Israel"


6:5 "all manner OF INSTRUMENTS OF fir wood"


6:6 "put forth HIS HAND"


6:19 "a good piece OF FLESH, and a flagon OF WINE" (different in the NASB, but it still adds nouns not found in the Hebrew texts)


7:9 "the name of the great MEN"


8:4 "David houghed all the chariot HORSES"


8:10 "and JORAM brought him vessels"


9:10 "thou shalt bring in THE FRUITS"


10:9 "he chose all the choice MEN and put THEM in array"


11:17 "and there fell SOME OF the people"


11:24 "and SOME of the king's servants be dead"


Anyway, you get the idea. As I said, there are many verbs implied that must be supplied by the English, but these few examples just listed are all nouns as is "the brother of" Goliath. The King James Bible is always right. Accept no substitutes.


Objections:


One man in the internet Bible clubs raises this objection to the King James Bible reading in 2 Samuel 21:19 - (and found also in the NKJV 1982, Todays NIV 2005, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, the Hebrew Names Version, the World English Bible, the 1998 New International Readers Version put out by the same people who brought us the NIV, the 2001 Easy-to-Read Version, the 1996 New Living Translation, Young's 'literal' version, Webster's 1833, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the French Martin 1744, the Italian Nuova Diodati 1991, the Portuguese O Livro of 2000 (again, this is the NIV in Portuguese!), the Third Millenium bible, and the Modern Greek translation of the Old Testament.)


This Bible critic says: “I believe the KJV-except where it's obviously WRONG. YOU seemta value your false doctrine more than the TRUTH. The KJV ADDED the words "the brother of" in 2 Samuel outta the blue. Lessee ya prove any differently! There's a LOT more evidence FOR two Goliaths than against it-the fact that "Goliath" is a HEBREW name, the fact that the two battles were more than 30 years apart, and the ADDED words in the KJV, an addition NOT found in the Geneva or Bishop's Bibles. Lessee YOUR explanation of why the KJV ADDED those words!” (end of comments)


The simple reason the King James Bible and several others “add” the words “the brother of” Goliath, is because they ARE found in the parallel passage of 1 Chronicles 20:5 where it says: “and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite”.


In 2 Samuel 21:19 the text says: “Elhanan...slew [the brother of] Goliath the Gittite”. I agree with him that this battle recorded here probably occured some 20 or 30 years after David killed Goliath as recorded in 1 Samuel 17. But this is an argument in favor of the KJB reading; it was the brother of Goliath that Elhanan killed and not Goliath.


Otherwise, in order to fit TWO men from the SAME place and with the SAME weapons and with the SAME name of Goliath, we would have to believe that the events written about in 2 Samuel 21:19 and 1 Chronicles 20:5 are teaching that the SAME man Elhanan killed BOTH the brother of Goliath AND Goliath, and that one event is recorded in 2 Samuel 21 and the other in 1 Chronicles 20. Now, if you choose to believe that, no one can stop you. But it seems to stretch logic and reasonableness well beyond the breaking point.


Here is what some other Bible commentators have to say about the idea of two Goliaths being killed by two different men.


Adam Clarke says: “Verse 19. Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim-slew-Goliath the Gittite - Here is a most manifest corruption of the text, or gross mistake of the transcriber; David, not Elhanan, slew Goliath. In 1 Chronicles 20:5, the parallel place, it stands thus: "Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear-staff was like a weaver's beam." This is plain; and our translators have borrowed some words from Chronicles to make both texts agree.”


John Gill comments: “Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew [the brother of] Goliath the Gittite - the word "brother" is rightly supplied from (1 Chronicles 20:5) ; where his name is said to be Lahmi, for not Goliath himself was slain, though some so interpret it, and take Elhanan to be David; so Jarchi, and with which agrees the Targum; but he was slain not at Gob, but in the valley of Elah, nor had David any such name as Elhanan.”


David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible - Verses18-22 - Three more Philistine giants are killed (Saph, Goliath's BROTHER, and an unnamed giant) 1 Chronicles 20:5 makes it clear that Elhanan killed Goliath's BROTHER, not Goliath himself.”


Matthew Henry comments on 2 Samuel 21 saying: “The rest of the giants fell by the hand of David's servants. 1. Saph was slain by Sibbechai, one of David's worthies. Another, WHO WAS BROTHER TO GOLIATH, was slain by Elhanan, who is mentioned 2 Samuel 23:24.”


Charles H. Spurgeon likewise comments: “we should certainly read, as in the parallel text, "and Elhanan the son of Jair, slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath."


Will Kinney


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