[b-hebrew] By Whose God did Goliath Curse and Where did David Take his Head?

Jerry Shepherd jshepherd53 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 2 01:11:16 EDT 2013

Hi Yigal,

I think Ken has made the case for the god being one of the Philistine

Here are a few observations, primarily of a biblical-theological nature,
that may or may not shed some light on the second question.

(1) Taking for granted that the answer to the first question is that it is
indeed a Philistine deity, the Goliath/David battle takes on the character
of a battle between deities.  Who will be victorious, the god who has been
called on to curse David, or the God for whose honor David has been zealous.

(2) The Deuteronomic historian (if you believe in such), in this story, is
demonstrating how the blessing given to Abraham is rightly being passed on
to his descendant David.  "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever
curses you I will curse" (Gen 12:3).  David's rule over the whole land of
Israel will fulfill the Abrahamic blessing in Gen 12.

(3) Even as the Chronicler makes an Abraham/Jerusalem connection by
equating the temple site with Abraham's Mt. Moriah, the Deuteronomic
historian provides a proleptic connection between David and Jerusalem
before David actually becomes king.

(4) David's taking Goliath's head to Jerusalem, then,  serves several
purposes.  It serves a proleptic picture of David's future conquest of the
city and his appropriation of  it for his capitol.  It puts the Jebusites
on warning that the fate of Goliath may be their fate as well, if they do
not cooperate with David's plans.  When the Jebusites defy David later on,
"You will not get in here," thinking "David cannot get in here" (2 Sam
5:6), the narrator has already related that David was already there, and
laid claim to the city by depositing Goliath's head there.  Furthermore,
David is completing the promise made earlier to Abraham regarding the
possession of the whole land of Canaan.  Abraham had already "marked the
spot."  David re-marked it by depositing Goliath's head.  And then,
ultimately, he conquers it.



Jerry Shepherd
Taylor Seminary
Edmonton, Alberta
jshepherd53 at gmail.com

On Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 7:23 AM, Yigal Levin <Yigal.Levin at biu.ac.il> wrote:

> Dear all,****
> ** **
> Next week I will be presenting a paper at the IOSOT congress in Munich,
> which I called "By Whose God did Goliath Curse and Where did David Take his
> Head?". Before doing so, I'd like to present both questions to the members
> of our forum, and see if your reading of the text comes up with the same
> understanding as mine.****
> ** **
> So here goes:****
> ** **
> 1. In 1 Sam. 17:43, Goliath, upon seeing David armed with a slingshot,
> says "Am I a dog, that you comest to me with staves?", and the text then
> adds: “וַיְקַלֵּל הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי אֶת-דָּוִד בֵּאלֹהָיו” – "and the
> Philistine cursed David by his …. So that's my question: Did Goliath curse
> David by his (Goliath's) gods, or by his (David's) God". The Hebrew אלהיוis plural in form, but the Bible often uses the plural form
> אלהים when referring to the one God of Israel. So the text could mean
> either. What do you think?****
> ** **
> 2. After killing Goliath, David cut off his head. Then, according to verse
> 54, "And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem,
> and he put his vessels in his tent". Why in the world would David run to
> Jerusalem (which at the time was ruled by the Jebusites) with a bloody
> head? Especially if in verse 57 he is still on the battlefield, and still
> has the head! And by the way, whose tent?****
> ** **
> So – what do y'all think?****
> ** **
> ** **
> Yigal Levin****
> ** **
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