Goliath Was Not Alone


Goliath has gotten so much attention when it comes to the story of David that some people think he’s the only giant spoken of in the Bible. But there are two other passages in 1 Chronicles, with parallel passages in 2 Samuel that explain the giants defeated by David and his Mighty Men.

1 Chronicles 11:22–23

22 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel… And he struck down an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits tall. [7 1/2 to 8 feet] The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver’s beam.

1 Chronicles 20:4–8

4 And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai [or Saph: 2 Sam. 21:18], who was one of the descendants of the giants... 5And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 6 And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. 7 And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. 8 These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

2 Samuel 21:16–22

16 And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him.

So in addition to Goliath, we have five other giants being killed by David’s men. 1) Benaiah killed an Egyptian giant, 2) Sibbecai killed the giant Sippai [Saph], 3) Elhanan killed the giant Lahmi, brother of Goliath, 4) Jonathan killed an unnamed giant, and 5) Abishai killed Ishbi-benob the giant.

But these are not mere chronicling of random deaths of a few tall bad guys. There is meaning and deliberation behind these facts. There is deliberate intent by the author to link these giants to the Nephilim of Genesis 6 whose diabolical plan was thwarted by God with the Flood.

Firstly, most are summarized in the same context, indicating a literary and theological purpose behind combining them together. Secondly, except for the Egyptian, they are all Philistines fighting Israel. In Joshua 11:21-22 we read that Joshua deliberately sought out the Anakim giants in Canaan and cut them off everywhere in the hill country. But then it gives this qualification: “There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.”

So, some giants were left by Joshua – in the land of Philistia. The very cities from which came the giants David would fight, including Goliath. It was almost as if God was deliberately keeping the last of the giants in order to finally destroy them through his messianic king. They were the leftover giants from Joshua’s conquest, and they were linked back to the evil Nephilim before the flood (Num. 13:32-33).

And there is strong indication that the giants were trying to kill David specifically as well. Ishbi-benob is said to explicitly have been trying to kill David (2 Sam. 21:16); another one “taunted Israel” (1Chron 20:7), the same phrasing used of Goliath; and of course, Lahmi, Goliath’s brother, would no doubt have revenge against the slayer of his sibling on his mind.

But there is still more to this picture.

The English phrase used of the giants in these passages is that they were “descendants of the giants.” It is used three times in 1 Chron. 20 and four times in 2 Sam. 21. The authors go out of their way to stress these warriors as connected to that special group of giants that were theologically tied to the Nephilim of Genesis 6.

This narrative theological thread of giants from the Nephilim of Noah’s day to the Rephaim of David’s time conspires to imply a deliberate summary of climactic conflict between the titan Seed of the Serpent in Canaan and the Seed of Abraham from Eve.

But a closer look at the original Hebrew behind the translation “descendants of the giants” in 1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles reveals much more then merely being linked to those oversized warriors left alive by Joshua in Philistia.

Biblical scholar Conrad E. L’Heureux examines this Hebrew phrase, yalid ha rapha, that translates as “descendants of the giants.” He explains that the word rapha, is the specific word for the Rephaim giants and warriors in the Bible. But the word yalid, “never refers to genealogical lineage. Rather, the yalid was a person of slave status and dedicated to the deity who was head of the social unit into which he was admitted by a consecration.”[1]

DavidCoverMedResThis religious devotion indicates that the “descendants of the giants” can be translated as the “devotees of Rapha.” L’Heureux concludes that this was probably some kind of reference to an elite cult of warriors religiously bound to their Rephaim code. What was that code? Was it to hunt down and destroy the Seed of Eve, the messianic king?

The discoveries of Ugarit in relation to the Bible shed light on the Rephaim as deified dead giant warriors,[2]. Thus, the origin of my elite corps of giants in David Ascendant called the Yalid ha Rapha or my colloquial adaptation, the “Sons of Rapha,” bound by oath to their own Seed (of the Serpent) to destroy the messianic Seed of Eve, David.

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[1] Conrad E. L’Heureux “The yelîdê hārāpā’: A Cultic Association of Warriors,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 221,(Feb., 1976), pp. 83-85.

[2] See Brian Godawa, Enoch Primordial Appendix on the Rephaim,( Los Angeles, CA, Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2012), pp 364-366.