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|David Did Not Kill Goliath,the Bible Is Not Infallible by Swaginton(m): 4:45pm On Nov 10, 2013|
Written by Femi Aribisala
One of the myths of Christianity is the infallibility
of the bible.
Quoting Paul, some Christians insist every word
in the bible is “God-breathed.” (2 Timothy 3:16).
When you identify contradictions in the bible,
they either refuse to acknowledge them or try to
rationalise them away with highfalutin
However, these apologetics have not made the
contradictions disappear. All they do is establish
that these bible-fanatics are not committed to
Christians generally believe little David killed
mighty Goliath, according to the “infallible”
account of 1 Samuel 17:50-51. This feat is
drummed into us from childhood.
However, the same “infallible” bible also credits
the killing of Goliath to Elhanan, one of David’s
2 Samuel says:
There was another battle with the Philistines
at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jair from
Bethlehem killed Goliath from Gath.” (2
This record of Elhanan (as opposed to David)
killing Goliath can be found in many bible
translations but other bible translations of the
same 2 Samuel 21:19 say Elhanan killed “the
brother of Goliath.” These translations include
the King James Version (KJV); New King James
Version (NKJV); The Living Bible (TLB); and New
Living Translation (NLT).
Of the latter, the New King James Version is
As a matter of policy, King James sometimes
adds its own words to bible verses, effectively
doctoring their meaning.
Although the translation says Elhanan slew “the
brother of Goliath;” the words “the brother of”
are written in italics, indicating that they do not
appear in the original Hebrew text but were
added at the discretion of NKJV translators.
However, my purpose here is not just to
demonstrate the fallibility of the bible. Bible-
worshipping Christians will always reject that fact
no matter what.
My purpose is to determine if David killed
The question then arises as to which version are
we going to believe? Should we believe the
classical position that David killed Goliath, or
should we believe the equally biblical position
that Elhanan killed Goliath?
For a number of reasons, the account stating
that David killed Goliath is the less believable.
It is in the tradition of kings and rulers to take
credit for other people’s achievements under
their kingdom. David was no exception to this.
Saul and David
The account of David killing Goliath is so full of
contradictions that it is clear it is the fabricated
One of the problems with the account has to do
with the inability of bible-writers to determine
precisely when David first met Saul.
We are told that when Saul transgressed against
the Lord, God sent an evil spirit to trouble him.
(1 Samuel 16:14). Someone then recommended
to Saul that he should hire David to play the
harp, offering the dubious thesis that soothing
music is a demon-repellent.
But then the man recommending David said
something strange: he extolled David, a young
teenager who was not even old enough to be in
the army, as a man of war:
I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite,
who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of
valor, a man of war.” (1 Samuel 16:18
This description is a giveaway. It is obviously
written after the fact. There is no basis for
describing David, a youth keeping sheep, as “a
mighty man of valour” and “a man of war.”
By all accounts, David was not even a man yet.
On this recommendation, Saul sent word to
Jesse, David’s father, that his son should be
seconded to him.
However, David entered Saul’s service not as a
harp-playing musician, but as his armour-bearer,
even though we are told later that Saul’s armour
was too heavy for David. (1 Samuel 17:38-39).
Nevertheless, whenever Saul came under attack
by the evil spirit, David would play a harp and
the evil spirit would depart. Saul quickly took a
liking to David, and he sent to his father a
second time that David’s secondment to him
should become permanent. (1 Samuel 16:22).
However, when we get to the incident where
David is alleged to have killed Goliath, we
discover to our surprise that this same David,
who was supposed to be Saul’s armour-bearer/
musician, had never met Saul before.
In that contradictory account, David was just a
young boy tending sheep. His father sent him to
deliver lunch to his two brothers at the war-
On arriving there, he found Goliath terrorizing
everybody and offered to fight against him.
He was then brought to Saul who, on meeting
him for the very first time, said to him:
“You are not able to go against this
Philistine to fight with him; for you are a
youth, and he a man of war from his
youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33).
However, in the earlier version, David was
specifically introduced to Saul as “a man of war.”
Contrary to the earlier account where Saul sent
emissaries to David’s father twice, he now did
not know who David’s father was.
Conclusion - The bible is a book written and
compiled by men; and men are not infallible.
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