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# How tall was Goliath?

Question #113194. Asked by Zbeckabee. (Mar 03 10 10:23 PM)

gtho4

six cubits and a span
best guess is 6 ft 9 in in today's money

Just how long is a cubit? It depends on whom you ask. Noah’s cubit was somewhat longer than the Egyptian, Greek and Roman cubit. For Noah, the cubit was the measurement from his elbow to the tip of his middle (longest) finger. This inexact measurement likely caused great problems throughout the world, particularly in Africa, where a cubit could range anywhere from less than 12 inches (for pygmy cultures) to more than 36 inches (for the Watusi).

Most sources agree that a cubit in the Bible was equal to 21.8 inches, an Egyptian cubit was equal to 20.6 inches, a Greek cubit was equal to 18.3 inches, and a Roman cubit was equal to 17.5 inches.

To complicate things, there is another type of cubit. A “short” cubit is the length of the forearm, not including any part of the hand. Scholars believe that this unit was occasionally used in the Bible as well, as in the case of the height of Goliath. Said to be “six cubits and a span” tall, David’s target would have been nearly 11 feet tall using a regular cubit, but a more likely height of 6’ 9” using the “short” cubit. Because humans were shorter during ancient times, a man of that height could have been considered a giant, despite the fact that he would have had difficulty dunking on Patrick Ewing.

http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/how-tall-was-goliath-fun-with/

 Mar 03 10, 10:46 PM
gtho4

... when you read 1 Samuel 17:4 the text said that Goliath was close to ten feet tall but there was a footnote that stated that not all manuscripts read this way. Below is a break down of the various texts. They all read either six cubits and one span or four cubits and one span. A cubit is the length of a person�fs forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (i.e. 18��) and a span is the length between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the little finger when the hand is fully extended (i.e. 9��).

Hebrew Bible: 9 ft 9 in (6 cubits + 1 span)
Greek Old Testament: 6 ft 9 in (4c + 1s) [Not all Greek manuscripts however]
Dead Sea Scrolls (4QSam): 6 ft 9 in (4c+1s)
Josephus (Ant. 6.171): 6 ft 9 in (4c+1s)

All English Bibles read 9-10 feet tall except the New English Translation (NET) which reads �gclose to seven feet tall.�h Clearly the majority of translations have chosen to follow the Hebrew text. The UBS Handbook on 1 Samuel references the UBS Hebrew Old Testament Text Project and concludes that because the HOTTP fails to mention this problem the Hebrew text should be followed! (352). I am awestruck by this statement. I do however agree with the authors�f conclusion that �gThe height of Goliath will need to be expressed in an understandable form in the receptor language. But it need not be expressed in precise terms.�h

http://epistlesofthomas.wordpress.com/2007/07/05/how-tall-was-goliath/

 Mar 03 10, 10:46 PM

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