Goliath meaning | Goliath etymology

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Goliath in Biblical Hebrew
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Biblical giant
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The name Goliath in the Bible

There are two men named Goliath in the Bible. The famous Goliath is the impious Philistine giant from Gath, who defies Israel during a war between the Philistines and Israel. Young David kills him famously with a slingshot stone (1 Samuel 17:50).

According to 2 Samuel 21:15-22, Goliath had four gargantuan sons:

  • Ishbi-benob, who was killed by Abishai (v16-17).
  • Saph, who was killed by Sibbecai (v18)
  • Goliath the Second, who was killed by Elhanan (v19), who also killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the First (1 Chronicles 20:5).
  • An unnamed giant who was killed by David's nephew Jonathan (v20).

Etymology of the name Goliath

The name Goliath comes from the verb גלה (gala), meaning to uncover, remove or to go into exile:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Goliath meaning

For a meaning of the name Goliath, NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names go with the first meaning of the verb and read Exile; BDB Theological Dictionary goes with the second meaning and reads Conspicuous, but prints a question mark to indicate dubiosity.

BDB's doubt aside, here at Abarim we feel that the context of the character of Goliath veers more towards the meaning of Conspicuous than to Exile.

Additional note: in 1 Samuel 21:9 occurs a word play: the sword of Goliath is wrapped in a garment (see the name Lot).

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