2 Samuel 21:19 Who killed Goliath?
KJB, NIV 2011 edition - "And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where ELHANAN to son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, SLEW THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH the Gitite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam."
ESV, NASB, NIV 1978, 1984 editions - "And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and ELHANAN the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, STRUCK DOWN GOLIATH the Gitite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam."
At an internet Bible club I belong to, a King James Bible critic wrote the following: “This is where my problem comes in with the KJV Only people. The translation is not true to text. The italics show the words "the brother of" were not there but the translators "thought" this is what the writer of 2 Samuel meant to say. When the NIV and other translations stay true to text they are criticized for being "different" than the KJV which is mistranslated in the first place.”
Brother Marty Shue has also written a good article on this verse which can be seen here:
My Response: Hi___________, here is some more info you may not be aware of. By the way, do you believe the NIV always follows the Hebrew texts?
2 Samuel 21:19 with 1 Chronicles 20:5. So who killed Goliath? Was it David or did two different people kill the same giant?
New American Standard Version (NASV)- And there was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and ELHANAN the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite KILLED GOLIATH the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.
New International Version (NIV 1978, 1984 editions) - In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, ELHANAN son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite KILLED Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.
The fickleness of modern textual criticism is seen in the case of the NIV. The NIV 1978, 1984 editions omitted the words "brother of" and results in two different men killing the same giant Goliath.
But then in 2005 the TNIV came out and it said that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath" and not even in italics. But wait! There's more. Now in 2011 the NIV has once again been revised and guess what. It too now reads like the KJB - "In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite KILLED THE BROTHER OF Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod."
So it looks like "according to modern advances in biblical scholarship" that old NIVs are no longer accurate, huh?Even the ESV, which still has the wrong reading in the text, now footnotes: "2 Samuel 21:19 Contrast 1 Chronicles 20:5, which may preserve the original reading."
King James Bible - And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where ELHANAN the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, SLEW THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.
Notice carefully that both the NASV and the NIV, 1978, 1984 editions say that "Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite".
The way I can best explain it is that both Hebrew and Greek are elliptical languages. Elliptical means certain things are implied but not directly expressed. We use this in English too. "Been there, done that". In this expression, there is no subject in the English sentence.
Likewise the Hebrew and the Greek frequently leave out the subject, or the verb or the direct object or other parts of speech; instead they are sometimes implied. Notice here in the same chapter that we have several words "added", and if they were left out, it would not make much sense.
1 Samuel 21:1 IT IS for Saul. HIS bloody house;
V. 6 WHOM the Lord did choose; I will give THEM
v.9 in the first DAYS
As far as the word "brother" being "added" to the text, the KJB is not at all alone in doing this, although it may surprise you to know that it was the FIRST English Bible to do so. Previous English Bibles like Wycliffe, Coverdale, Bishops' and the Geneva bible did not. So this was a conscious and deliberate decision on the part of the King James Bible translators. And they got it right!
Agreeing with the King James Bible reading that it was Elhanan who slew THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH are The Bill Bible 1671, The Thomson Bible 1808, Webster's Bible 1833, The Longman Version 1841, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, Young's 'literal' version 1898, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - "slew A BROTHER OF GOLIAH the Philistine", The Living Bible 1971, the World English Bible 2000, the 1998 New International Readers Version put out by the same people who brought us the NIV, the 2006 Easy-to-Read Version -"Elhanan the son of Jaare Oregim from Bethlehem killed Lahmi, THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH from Gath.", the 1996 New Living Translation, the Natural Israelite Bible English Version 2012 -"Elhanan the son of Jaare- Oregim the Bethlehemite killed THE BROTHER OF of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.", the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2009, the Heritage Bible 2003, the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the Third Millennium bible 1998, the NKJV 1982, the Today's New International Version 2005 and now the 2011 NIV!
Other English Bibles that also tell us that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH" are The Word of Yah 1993, Dan Wallace and company’s NET version 2006 - “On that occasion Elhanan the son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.”, Bond Slave Version 2009, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The New European Version 2010, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, The Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011 - “Elchanan Ben Ya’arei-orgim, from Beit-Lechem, slaughtered THE BROTHER OF Golyat (Goliath) the Gitti”, The Voice 2012 - "killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath", The New Living Translation 2013 - "Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath of Gath.", The Biblos Bible 2013, The Translator's Bible 2014, the Hebrew Names Version 2014, and The New International Reader's Version 2014 - "Elhanan killed Goliath’s BROTHER. Elhanan was the son of Jair from Bethlehem."
The Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010 and the Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 both read: “and Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite struck ONE OF Goliath the Gittite2, and the wood of his spear was like a weaver's beam.” Then The Hebraic Roots Bible footnotes: “2 The one struck was Lahmi, the brother of Goliath, 1 Chron 20:5."
The Easy to Read Version 2006 has: “Elhanan the son of Jaare Oregim from Bethlehem killed LAHMI, THE BROTHER OF Goliath from Gath"
Foreign language bibles that also tell us that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath are the French Martin bible 1744 - "en laquelle Elhanan, fils de Jaharé Oreguim Bethléhémite frappa LE FRERE DE Goliath Guittien", the Italian Conferenza Episcopale Italiana and the Italian La Nuova Diodati 1991 -” ed Elhanan, figlio di Jaare-Oreghim di Betlemme uccise IL FRATELLO DI Goliath di Gath”, the Portuguese editon of 2000 called O Livro reads - “El-Hanã matou O IRMAO de Golias o giteu”; Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta- "slew A BROTHER OF Goliath the Philistine", the Spanish Reina Valera Gómez Bible of 2010 - "Elhanán, hijo de Jaare-oregim de Belén, mató AL HERMANO DE Goliat geteo" and the Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 - “unde Elhanan, fiul lui Iaare-Oreghim, un betleemit, l-a ucis PE FRATELE LUI Goliat ghititul “ = “killed the brother of Goliath”
and the MODERN Greek translation of the Old Testament - "και ο Ελχαναν ο υιος του Ιαρε-ορεγειμ, Βηθλεεμιτης, εθανατωσε τον αδελφον του Γολιαθ του Γετθαιου".
This modern Greek translation can be seen here - http://unbound.biola.edu/
People who try to defend the previous NIVs, ESV, NASB as “following the Hebrew” should be aware of the simple fact that the NIV, NASB, ESVs have themselves rejected or added to the Hebrew at least 100 times. Examples of this can be seen here:
Even Daniel Wallace's NET bible version agrees with the King James Bible saying: "On that occasion Elhanan the son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam."
But then the good doktor Wallace goes on to tell us in his footnotes that it is his opinion that all the texts have been corrupted. He says: "The Hebrew text as it stands reads, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite.? Who killed Goliath the Gittite? According to 1 Sam 17:4-58 it was David who killed Goliath, but according to the MT of 2 Sam 21:19 it was Elhanan who killed him. Many scholars believe that the two passages are hopelessly at variance with one another. Others have proposed various solutions to the difficulty, such as identifying David with Elhanan or positing the existence of two Goliaths. But in all likelihood the problem is the result of difficulties in the textual transmission of the Samuel passage; in fact, from a text-critical point of view the books of Samuel are the most poorly preserved of all the books of the Hebrew Bible. The parallel passage in 1 Chr 20:5 reads, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi THE BROTHER OF Goliath. Both versions are textually corrupt. The Chronicles text has misread Bethlehemite (bet hallakhmi) as the accusative sign followed by a proper name (et lakhmi). The Samuel text misread the word for brother (akh) as the accusative sign (et), thereby giving the impression that Elhanan, not David, killed Goliath. Thus in all probability the original text read, Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath."
Though Daniel Wallace gives us a convoluted and highly subjective evaluation of the text, it is important to note that the "scholars" all give different opinions from each other. What one affirms another absolutely denies. John Gill, Adam Clarke, David Guzlik, Gleason Archer, and Constable Thomas each gives a different explanation of the text, and none of these scholars agrees with any of the others.
Adam Clarke likewise believes the Hebrew text has been corrupted but he sides with the King James Bible reading. In his commentary he states: “Here is a most manifest corruption of the text, or gross mistake of the transcriber; DAVID, NOT ELHANAN, SLEW GOLIATH. In 1 Chronicles 20:5, the parallel place, it stands thus: "Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear-staff was like a weaver's beam." This is plain; and our translators have borrowed some words from Chronicles to make both texts agree. The corruption may be easily accounted for by considering that oregim, which signifies weavers, has slipped out of one line into the other; and that beith hallachmi, the Beth-lehemite, is corrupted from eth Lachmi; then the reading will be the same as in Chronicles. Dr. Kennicott has made this appear very plain in his First Dissertation on the Hebrew Text, p. 78.
John Gill also agrees with the King James reading, saying: - “the word "brother" is rightly supplied from (1 Chronicles 20:5) ; where his name is said to be Lahmi, for not Goliath himself was slain.”
Matthew Henry also sides with the KJB reading - “The rest of the giants fell by the hand of David's servants. 1. Saph was slain by Sibbechai, one of David's worthies, 2 Samuel 21:18,1Ch+11:29. 2. Another, WHO WAS THE BROTHER TO GOLIATH, was slain by Elhanan, who is mentioned 2 Samuel 23:24.”
Matthew Poole commenting on 2 Samuel 21:19 Elhanan. The brother of Goliath the Gittite: the relative word brother is not in the Hebrew text, but is fitly supplied out of the parallel place, 1Ch 20:5, where it is expressed. And such defects of relatives are not unusual in Scripture. Thus the word wife is understood, Mt 1:6; Joh 19:25; and father or mother, Mr. 15:40,47, compared with Mr. 16:1; Lu. 24:10; and son, Mt. 4:21; Mr. 2:14; Joh. 21:15; and brother, Lu. 6:16, compared with Jude 1:1.
Matthew 1:6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Mark 15:40 compared with Mark 16:1
Mark 15:40 - There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
Mark 16:1 - And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Luke 6:16 compared with Acts 1:13 and Jude 1:1.
Luke 6:16 - And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
Acts 1:13 - And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Jude 1:1 - Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
The NIV 1984, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman Standard etc. all create a contradiction when compared with 1 Chronicles 20:5 where we are clearly told that Elhanan killed THE BROTHER OF Goliath, not Goliath himself. They scream bloody murder at the KJB for "adding" the word brother, yet they themselves often do the very same thing.
For example the NASB adds "son" to Mark 1:19, 2:14, 3:18; Mat. 22:42, adds "wife" to John 19:25, and "mother" to Mark 15:47, Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10.
A similar example occurs in the New Testament in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. The King James Bible, as well as Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Douay 1950, Darby 1870, Italian Diodati, and the Spanish Reina Valera 1960 all say "and Judas THE BROTHER of James".
Several modern versions like the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV wrongly say: "And Judas THE SON of James", but in any case there is no Greek word for either "brother" or "son". The King James Bible is correct in that Judas (Jude) and James were BROTHERS, and the Greek text does supply this elliptical word in the book Jude where we read: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and BROTHER OF James..."
There are many examples of this elliptical construction in the Hebrew, and Greek too for that matter.
As a direct object (which is the case here in 2 Samuel 21:19) we see in 2 Kings 23:19 "And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke THE LORD to anger, Josiah took away..."
Here the words "the LORD" are added to the text in the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, the Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the NKJV, NASB and the NIV, yet they do not occur in the Hebrew. The NIV, NASB didn't even put it in italics as did the KJB.
Hosea 1:9 "Then said GOD, Call his name Loammi: for ye ARE not my people, and I will not be your GOD."
Here both words GOD at the beginning and end of the sentence are not in the Hebrew, neither is the verb "are". Yet in both places the NASB places the words LORD and God, and not even in italics, though they do not occur in the Hebrew. One is the subject and the other is a direct object. They are implied but not literally stated.
The NASB also does the same in Hosea 1:6 "And the LORD said to him", adding Lord as the subject even though not in the Hebrew. The KJB italicized the word God.
Just go through the book of 2 Samuel, where we find "the brother of" Goliath, and notice the many verses where something needs to be added for it to make sense.
2 Samuel 1:18 "he bade them teach the children of Judah THE USE OF the bow" (here the KJB is correct while the NIV, NKJV, NASB are wrong, though they too added words like "THE SONG OF the bow")
There are many verbs not in the Hebrew which are implied and so placed into the correct English translation. For the moment, let's look at some nouns that are supplied in the English text, but are implied in the elliptical Hebrew.
2:23 "smote him under the fifth RIB"
3:7 "and ISHBOSHETH said to Abner"
3:18 "Now then do IT"
3:27 "under the fifth RIB"
4:12 "and hanged THEM up over the pool..took the head..and buried IT"
6:1 "all the chosen MEN of Israel"
6:5 "all manner OF INSTRUMENTS OF fir wood"
6:6 "put forth HIS HAND"
6:19 "a good piece OF FLESH, and a flagon OF WINE" (different in the NASB, but it still adds nouns not found in the Hebrew texts)
7:9 "the name of the great MEN"
8:4 "David houghed all the chariot HORSES"
8:10 "and JORAM brought him vessels"
9:10 "thou shalt bring in THE FRUITS"
10:9 "he chose all the choice MEN and put THEM in array"
11:17 "and there fell SOME OF the people"
11:24 "and SOME of the king's servants be dead"
A Similar example with Numbers and Verbs - 2 Kings 25:3-4
Almost every translation in all languages do a very similar thing with Numbers and Verbs in 2 Kings 25:3-5. Here we read: "And on the ninth DAY of THE FOURTH month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. And the city was broken up and all the men of war FLED by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which IS by the king's garden: (now the Chaldees WERE against the city round about) and the KING went the way toward the plain."
In these two verse all the CAPITALIZED words are NOT found in the existing Hebrew text. However the number "THE FOURTH month" as well as the verb in "FLED by night" ARE found in the Hebrew text of the parallel passage of this same event in Jeremiah 52:6-7.
Almost every translation out there, including the Jewish ones, "add" the words "fourth" and "fled" and "king" to 2 Kings 25:3-4, and often without italics or brackets. These include the ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NKJV, NET and Holman Standard versions. So why is it OK for them to "add" these words taken from a parallel passage here in 2 Kings 25:3-4 but not in the case of who really slew THE BROTHER OF Goliath in 2 Samuel 21:19? I don't get it.
A few other examples of the elliptical nature of the Hebrew from the book of Judges.
Judges 1:7 “And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings...gathered THEIR MEAT under my table.” The direct object “their meat” is not in the Hebrew text, yet versions like the NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV, Holman all add the word “scraps”, while the Revised Version 1885, Coverdale, Bishops’ add “meat” and the Geneva adds “bread”.
In Judges 1:19 we read: “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out THE INHABITANTS OF the mountain.” Again, the direct object “the inhabitants of” is not in the Hebrew text, yet it is “added” by the NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV and Holman.
In Judges 1:27 the same thing occurs. “Neither did Manasseh drive out THE INHABITANTS OF Bethsheba”, and once again versions like the ASV, NIV, NKJV, ESV all “add” these words.
An interesting example is found in Judges 2:3 where we read: “Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be THORNS in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”
Here the word “thorns” is not in the Hebrew text, but it is supplied from Numbers 33:55 where we read: “...those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.”
Here the words “thorns in your sides” ARE in the Hebrew text, and so too was it “added” in Judges 2:3 by such versions as the ASV, NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV and Holman.
In Judges 10:11 we see the elliptical nature of the Hebrew Bible and how almost all Bible translations deal with it. Here we read: "And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, DID not I DELIVER YOU from the Egyptians...."
The 4 capitalized words - "did ... I deliver you" are NOT found in the Hebrew texts, but the passage makes little sense without these "added" words, and so they are supplied by not only the KJB but by the Bishops' bible, the Geneva Bible, ASV, NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET, Holman and the NKJV.
Anyway, you get the idea. As I said, there are many verbs implied that must be supplied by the English, but these few examples just listed are all nouns as is "the brother of" Goliath. The King James Bible is always right. Accept no substitutes.
One man in the internet Bible clubs raises this objection to the King James Bible reading in 2 Samuel 21:19 - and found also in the NKJV 1982, Todays NIV 2005, the NIV 2010 edition, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, the Hebrew Names Version, the World English Bible, the 1998 New International Readers Version put out by the same people who brought us the NIV, the 2001 Easy-to-Read Version, the 1996 New Living Translation, Young's 'literal' version, Webster's 1833, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the French Martin 1744, the Italian Nuova Diodati 1991, the Portuguese O Livro of 2000 (again, this is the NIV in Portuguese!), the Third Millennium bible, and the Modern Greek translation of the Old Testament.
This Bible critic says: “I believe the KJV-except where it's obviously WRONG. YOU seemta value your false doctrine more than the TRUTH. The KJV ADDED the words "the brother of" in 2 Samuel outta the blue. Lessee ya prove any differently! There's a LOT more evidence FOR two Goliaths than against it-the fact that "Goliath" is a HEBREW name, the fact that the two battles were more than 30 years apart, and the ADDED words in the KJV, an addition NOT found in the Geneva or Bishop's Bibles. Lessee YOUR explanation of why the KJV ADDED those words!” (end of comments)
The simple reason the King James Bible and several others “add” the words “the brother of” Goliath, is because they ARE found in the parallel passage of 1 Chronicles 20:5 where it says: “and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite”.
In 2 Samuel 21:19 the text says: “Elhanan...slew [the brother of] Goliath the Gittite”. I agree with him that this battle recorded here probably occurred some 20 or 30 years after David killed Goliath as recorded in 1 Samuel 17. But this is an argument in favor of the KJB reading; it was the brother of Goliath that Elhanan killed and not Goliath.
Otherwise, in order to fit TWO men from the SAME place and with the SAME weapons and with the SAME name of Goliath, we would have to believe that the events written about in 2 Samuel 21:19 and 1 Chronicles 20:5 are teaching that the SAME man Elhanan killed BOTH the brother of Goliath AND Goliath, and that one event is recorded in 2 Samuel 21 and the other in 1 Chronicles 20. Now, if you choose to believe that, no one can stop you. But it seems to stretch logic and reasonableness well beyond the breaking point.
Here is what some other Bible commentators have to say about the idea of two Goliaths being killed by two different men.
Adam Clarke says: “Verse 19. Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim-slew-Goliath the Gittite - Here is a most manifest corruption of the text, or gross mistake of the transcriber; David, not Elhanan, slew Goliath. In 1 Chronicles 20:5, the parallel place, it stands thus: "Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear-staff was like a weaver's beam." This is plain; and our translators have borrowed some words from Chronicles to make both texts agree.”
John Gill comments: “Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew [the brother of] Goliath the Gittite - the word "brother" is rightly supplied from (1 Chronicles 20:5) ; where his name is said to be Lahmi, for not Goliath himself was slain, though some so interpret it, and take Elhanan to be David; so Jarchi, and with which agrees the Targum; but he was slain not at Gob, but in the valley of Elah, nor had David any such name as Elhanan.”
David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible - Verses18-22 - Three more Philistine giants are killed (Saph, Goliath's BROTHER, and an unnamed giant) 1 Chronicles 20:5 makes it clear that Elhanan killed Goliath's BROTHER, not Goliath himself.”
Matthew Henry comments on 2 Samuel 21 saying: “The rest of the giants fell by the hand of David's servants. 1. Saph was slain by Sibbechai, one of David's worthies. Another, WHO WAS BROTHER TO GOLIATH, was slain by Elhanan, who is mentioned 2 Samuel 23:24.”
Charles H. Spurgeon likewise comments: “we should certainly read, as in the parallel text, "and Elhanan the son of Jair, slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath."
Notes from the Internet
Another KJB believer writes:
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