[b-hebrew] 2 Samuel 21:19 - slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite

schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Sat Dec 17 02:02:45 EST 2005

Hi Folks,

  Occasionally we discuss 2 Samuel 21:19. 

2 Samuel 21:19 - 
And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew (the brother of -italics KJB) Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 

And the parallel account -

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

My purpose here is simply to understand one aspect of the Hebrew as it is in the text, and its translation to English, not necessarily to go into   :

   a) various redaction and textual theories, 
   b) which book was written first,
   c) whether Goliath was a name and/or a title/description 
(although this might be critical in a claim that the Masoretic Text has an  error), 
  d) how many Goliaths there are .... and various other questions. 

Not that there is anything wrong with those discussions, however on most of those the ground has been well-covered, and it would be a little redundant, and my own views are already mostly coalesced.

(Well, to be fair, it is hard to separate one's translation view from at least (c) and (d).. since if you view the text as indicating multiple Goliaths, then in a sense "Goliath" and "brother of Goliath" can both be accurate, with "brother of" being as much inter-language interpretive aid than a direct translation).

Thread in 2001
[b-hebrew] Goliath

We had a thread in 2003
[b-hebrew] DSS, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, 2 Samuel 21:19  Schmuel 

And 2005
[b-hebrew] David or Elhanan?  
  -  here I would basically concur with Karl Randolph

    The following article makes some good points, with a different view than the norm. 
     We can ignore the NIV-related stuff.

NIV Says "David Didn't Kill Goliath"! 

"the KJB translators routinely used italics to express the meaning of the Bible, even though the words themselves might not have occurred in the Hebrew/Greek texts. Such is the case at 2 Samuel 21:19. The italics are necessary to understand (comparing Scripture to Scripture) that the Giant referred to in 2 Sam 21:19 was in fact Lahmi, brother to Goliath."

That was criticized 

"It should be reasonable to assume that this ancient Hebrew Scripture is errant and the KJV translators changed the meaning to clear the error."

And then defended..

http://www.mailarchive.ca/lists/alt.bible/2003-09/9494.html Pastor Dave 
"No, there actually is a Hebrew expression there, but it has no direct English translation. 
It can mean, "of self", or "of another". "

One person put the detail as follows, with a more limited view of "ayth" ... 
The Hebrew transliterated is "ayth [pertaining to self] gol-yath' [Goliath]" 
cf 1Ch 20:5 "awkh [brother] gol-yath' [Goliath]"

Grammatically speaking, do you agree or disagree with Pastor Dave above ? 
And could more specifics be given ?
What does the Hebrew imply ?  
And ... what does it allow ?


There is a similar situation 
(although in this one the KJB put "or Michal's sister"  in a footnote )

2 Samuel 21:8
But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:  
    Footnote: or Michal's sister  

John Gill makes a comparison of these two forms..
"and the five sons [of the sister of Michal]," 
and, as in 2 Samuel 21:19, is supplied, "[the brother of] Goliath." 


the verse in 2 Samuel 21:19 must have an ellipsis (the reference to "Lachmi, the brother of" Goliath) 

Will Kinney gives some ellipsis examples in both the Hebrew and Greek text 

One of the most interesting is actually from the Greek.  I share it because it is very close in the actual textual difference, and is rarely given the type of critical import of the Samuel verse.  I will assume that the Greek has a clearer construction than 2 Samuel... "of James" nonetheless the analogous usage and translation issues are worth noting.

Luke 6:16 (and Acts 1:13) - KJB
And Judas ** the brother ** of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. 

Note that the translators used the more full construction in another verse..

Jude 1:1
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James...

As an aid to their translation of Luke 6:16, while other translators ignored the Jude verse
and gave a different ellipsis translation (the son of James).

I'll stop here, I included more than expected :-)

Your thoughts ?

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

"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..."

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