And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
give me a man that we may fight together; and so decide the controversy between us; such as were those duels fought between Paris and Menelaus in the Trojan war, and between the Lacedemonians and the Argives in the times of Orthryades, and between the Athenians and Romans by the Horatii and Curiatii, as Grotius observes.And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Samuel 17:23 the Septuagint translators have rendered the word correctly ἀνὴρ ὁ ἀμεσσαῖος, which is probably only another form of ὁ μεσαῖος), named Goliath of Gath, one of the chief cities of the Philistines, where there were Anakim still left, according to Joshua 11:22. His height was six cubits and a span (6 1/4 cubits), i.e., according to the calculation made by Thenius, about nine feet two inches Parisian measure, - a great height no doubt, though not altogether unparalleled, and hardly greater than that of the great uncle of Iren, who came to Berlin in the year 1857 (see Pentateuch, p. 869, note).
(Note: According to Pliny (h. n. vii. 16), the giant Pusio and the giantess Secundilla, who lived in the time of Augustus, were ten feet three inches (Roman) in height; and a Jew is mentioned by Josephus (Ant. xviii. 4, 5), who was seven cubits in height, i.e., ten Parisian feet, or if the cubits are Roman, nine and a half.)
The armour of Goliath corresponded to his gigantic stature: "a helmet of brass upon his head, and clothes in scale armour, the weight of which was five thousand shekels of brass." The meaning scales is sustained by the words קשׂקשׂת in Leviticus 11:9-10, and Deuteronomy 14:9-10, and קשׂקשׂות in Ezekiel 29:4. קשׂקשּׂים שׁריון, therefore, is not θώραξ ἁλυσιδωτός (lxx), a coat of mail made of rings worked together like chains, such as were used in the army of the Seleucidae (1 Macc. 6:35), but according to Aquila's φολιδωτόν (scaled), a coat made of plates of brass lying one upon another like scales, such as we find upon the old Assyrian sculptures, where the warriors fighting in chariots, and in attendance upon the king, wear coats of scale armour, descending either to the knees or ankles, and consisting of scales of iron or brass, which were probably fastened to a shirt of felt or coarse linen (see Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii. p. 335). The account of the weight, 5000 shekels, i.e., according to Thenius, 148 Dresden pounds, is hardly founded upon the actual weighing of the coat of mail, but probably rested upon a general estimate, which may have been somewhat too high, although we must bear in mind that the coat of mail not only covered the chest and back, but, as in the case of the Assyrian warriors, the lower part of the body also, and therefore must have been very large and very heavy.
(Note: According to Thenius, the cuirass of Augustus the Strong, which has been preserved in the historical museum at Dresden, weighted fifty-five pounds; and from that he infers, that the weight given as that of Goliath's coat of mail is by no means too great. Ewald, on the other hand, seems to have no idea of the nature of the Hebrew eights, or of the bodily strength of a man, since he gives 5000 lbs. of brass as the weight of Goliath's coat of mail (Gesch. iii. p. 90), and merely observes that the pounds were of course much smaller than ours. But the shekel did not even weight so much as our full ounce. With such statements as these you may easily turn the historical character of the scriptural narrative into incredible myths; but they cannot lay any claim to the name of science.)
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