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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Aug 2 18:53:30 EDT 2013


Yigal:


On Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 9:23 PM, 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?
>

I went into greater detail in the thread started by Ken Penner—I think
Goliath cursed David by his own gods.

> ****
>
> ** **
>
> 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?
>

Sometimes the Hebrew text is frustratingly sparse (not giving all the
details) and unlike western narrative, doesn’t always follow temporal
sequences.

As for the Goliath’s head, was it still a bloody mess when he brought it to
Jerusalem, or was it merely an empty scull, long cleaned out by animals and
ants by the time that David moved to Jerusalem and put it in his trophy
room? The Hebrew language leaves us the possibility of the latter.

> ****
>
> ** **
>
> So – what do y'all think?****
>
> ** **
>
> ** **
>
> Yigal Levin****
>
> ** **
>
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>
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