[b-hebrew] By Whose God did Goliath Curse...

Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. nir at ccet.ufrn.br
Fri Aug 2 14:42:46 EDT 2013

dear uri, yigal,

if i may continue uri's comment, plus some free imagination...

it seems (1chr 20:5)that david's 
wars with the philisteus took place much later, when david was 
reigning in jerusalem. actually, before that david appears as an 
ally of the philisteus (1sam 21, 27), though at other places, 
a foe (1sam 19,23). and the sword of goliath was with the high
sacerdote (1sam 21:10). it is really remarkable that the text makes david 
borrow this sword exactly when he flees to ... the philisteus!

this is just too much contradiction. here is a historical
interpretation which does not take the text to be historically correct.

david establishes himself as a local leader in judah, and a dissident to
saul's reign. as his military power is too small for direct confrontation, he
avoids direct war, flees to no man's land and eventually joins forces with the
philisteus (saul's main enemies). after the philisteus destroy saul in battle,
david fills in the space and assumes the throne, and with it his tribe judah
becomes prominent. then his interests change and he starts fighting against
his former allies, the philisteus. the rest is just stories invented by the
narrator (clearly of david's followers) directed at masking david's devious
strategy. in particular, he portrays the war with goliath and other wars
against the philisteus as if they occurred at a time when he was really
joining forces with them.

of course, all this is pure conjecture, and is not backed up by the text.

as to the other issue, which god it was, at least the text indeed implies that
davi's god was involved rather than goliath's. see 1sam 17:26,36. and
especially 45-47.

nir cohen

>>>>De: Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>
Para: "b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Data: Thu, 1 Aug 2013 19:58:39 -0700 (PDT)
Responder a: Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>


  Exactly as you say about the first point: it could be read both ways.   My
first reaction is that it refers to David's god/s.

  As for the second question: we're dealing here with a truncated version of a
final narrator or redactor. One simply cannot extract the historical
background of the narrative, except, perhaps, of an Israelite victory over the

  For the possible real background to the Samuel account of the David's
victory over Goliath is , as is well known,  in the  Elhanan  story in I
Chronicles 20:5.

   I am curious to read your paper!

    Ezov haqyr,
    Uri Hurwitz

>>> Dear all, Next week I will be presenting a paper at the IOSOT congress in
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 אלהיו is 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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