David killed Goliath
4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, …
50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him …
NASB  1 Samuel 17:4, 50

Elhanan killed Goliath
19 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.
NASB  2 Samuel 21:19

Elhanan killed Goliath's brother
And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.
NASB  1 Chronicles 20:5

SAB Contradiction 203

Bible critics still beaten by Goliath

The giant Goliath was beaten long ago, but he still seems to be wandering about playing nasty tricks on people, as becomes clear from the following questions put forward by many critics of the Bible: “Did David kill Goliath (1 Samuel), or did Elhanan (2 Samuel)?” And: “If Elhanan did, which Elhanan was it (the one of 2 Samuel or of 1 Chronicles)?” The question: “Did David beat Goliath?” is not a question for the common man. “David against Goliath” is a common expression to refer to the unequal fighting of a minority against a mighty enemy. This question seems a typical problem for Bible critics.

Among the Philistines there was a family of bruisers, giants, who were descendants of a certain Rapha. In the armed conflicts that David had, these feared enemies turned up regularly. It is possible, but not probable that all these guys were named Goliath in the family. And so the question “Who killed Goliath?” seems rather complicated.


The name Goliath

The meaning of the name Goliath is not given in all these stories, but was certainly no question for the people at that time. We, in our position can only approximately say something about it. There is no doubt that this word has to do with the verb ‘galah’, which means: become uncovered, revealed (Lexicon: Koehler/Baumgartner, 1953). The verb has the quality that an intrinsic value of a subject becomes clear as a result of the disclosure. Positively: ‘Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together …’ (Isaiah 40:5). Negatively: ‘Your nakedness will be uncovered, your shame also will be exposed …’ (Isaiah 47:3). So the name Goliath means that the quality of the giant may be seen by everyone: fighter, muscleman, power man.

Title of honor

Some have proposed that the name Goliath could be a rank in the army. In that case the problem of the several Goliaths, who were killed by David and his soldiers, would be solved at once. But it is not satisfying, as a real name is at issue here. There is another remarkable aspect of it: the name is so often directly connected with the city of Gath, which is unusual for an ordinary name. This qualification is never given when the other sons of Rapha (giants) are mentioned by name. Certainly we have to deal here with a name or title of honour given by the city of Gath to their strongest fighter, their champion in battle: The Brilliant One. It needs little imagination then, that only the most dangerous fighter from Gath could bear this champion’s title. 


The Hebrew Bible doesn’t reveal any contradiction or discrepancy in these stories.

David slew a Goliath from Gath (1 Samuel) and so did Elhanan, the son of Jaare-oregim (2 Samuel). Another Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lachmi, who was a brother of a Goliath (1 Chronicles). This was also a remarkable achievement as Lachmi also bore a spear like a weaver's beam. A man who wielded such a weapon possessed extraordinary power and nominated himself as a future Goliath of Gath.

No Bible Contradiction