And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
one bearing a shield—In consequence of their great size and weight, the Oriental warrior had a trusty and skilful friend, whose office it was to bear the large shield behind which he avoided the missile weapons of the enemy. He was covered, cap-a-pie, with defensive armor, while he had only two offensive weapons—a sword by his side and a spear in his hand.A weaver’s beam, on which the weavers fasten their web. It was like this for thickness; and for length, that he omits, as easy to be collected by proportion to the rest. And though the whole weight of Goliath’s armour may seem prodigious, yet it is not so much by far as one Athanatus did manage; of whom Pliny relates, that he saw him come into the theatre with arms weighing 12,000 ounces.
and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; the iron part of the spear, the point of it, which has its name in Hebrew from a flame of fire, because when brandished it looks shining and flaming; and being the weight of six hundred shekels, amounted to eighteen pounds and three quarters of avoirdupois weight, and the whole spear is supposed to weigh thirty seven pounds and a half; and the whole of this man's armour is thought to weigh two hundred and seventy two pounds, thirteen ounces (n); which was a prodigious weight for a man to carry, and go into battle with; and one may well wonder how he could be able with such a weight about him to move and lay about in an engagement; though this is nothing in comparison of the weight some men have carried. Pliny (o) tells us that he saw one Athanatus come into the theatre clothed with a leaden breastplate of five hundred pounds weight, and shod with buskins of the same weight:
and one bearing a shield went before him; which when engaged in battle he held in his own hand, and his sword in the other; the former was reckoned at thirty pounds, and the latter at four pounds, one ounce; though one would think he had no occasion for a shield, being so well covered with armour all over; so that the carrying of it before him might be only a matter of form and state. His spear is the only piece of armour that was of iron, all the rest were of brass; and Hesiod (p), writing of the brazen age, says, their arms and their houses were all of brass, for then there was no iron; and so Lucretius (q) affirms that the use of brass was before iron; but both are mentioned together; see Gill on Genesis 4:22, hence Mars is called (r).
(m) Iliad. 18. (n) Hostius, ut supra. (o) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 20. (p) Opera & Dies, l. 1. ver. 147, 148. (q) "De rerum natura". l. 5. & "prior aeris erat", &c. (r) Homer. Iliad. 5. ver. 704, 859, 864. Pindar. Olymp. Ode 10.And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. the staff of his spear, &c.] The shaft of Goliath’s spear, short, but extraordinarily stout and heavy, is compared to the “beam” to which the web is fastened in a loom (cp. 2 Samuel 21:19). The iron spear head weighed nearly nineteen pounds avoirdupois.
one bearing a shield] A large shield to protect the whole body. Comp. Layard’s Nineveh II. 346, “The archers, whether on foot or in chariots, were accompanied by shield-bearers, whose office it was to protect them from the shafts of the enemy. The king was always attended in his wars by this officer; and even in peace, one of his eunuchs usually carried a circular shield for his use. This shield-bearer was probably a person of high rank as in Egypt.” Ajax protects Teucer with his shield while he is shooting (Hom. Il. VIII. 266–272).Exodus 14:24; Judges 4:16) to war at Shochoh, the present Shuweikeh, in the Wady Sumt, three hours and a half to the south-west of Jerusalem, in the hilly region between the mountains of Judah and the plain of Philistia (see at Joshua 15:35), and encamped between Shochoh and Azekah, at Ephes-dammim, which has been preserved in the ruins of Damm, about an hour and a half east by north of Shuweikeh; so that Azekah, which has not yet been certainly traced, must be sought for to the east or north-east of Damm (see at Joshua 10:10).
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