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Golyat ("Goliath") was a gigantic warrior from Gath (Tell es-Safi), along with Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron, one of five city states of the Plištim (Philistines), who were descended from Casluhim son of Mizraim (Egypt); Ham's sons Mizraim, Cush, Phut, and Canaan were grandsons of Noah. (The name Palestine is derived from the Philistines.) The Philistines were not mentioned among the 10 nations Abraham's descendants would displace in Genesis 15:18-21, and in Genesis 21:22-27 Abraham agreed to a covenant of kindness with their king Abimelech and his descendants, and in Genesis 26 Abraham's son Isaac also concluded a treaty with them. They were also omitted from the list of nations Moshe (Moses) told his followers they would conquer in Deuteronomy 7:1, 20:17, and God directed them away from the Philistines in Exodus 13:17. Nevertheless, they became the Jews' primary foes until subdued during the reign of David in the 10th century BCE. 1 Samuel 5.2–7 related that they captured the Ark of the Covenant bearing the Ten commandments Moshe had received from God and took it to the temple of Dagon temple in Ashdod. The following morning the god's image ("upward man / And downward fish," according to John Milton) was found lying prostrate before the ark; it was set upright but the next day it was again found prostrate with its head and hands severed. After Saul's defeat at Mt. Gilboa the Philistines took his head to the temple of Dagon.
According to the Talmud Yerushalmi, a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Jewish oral tradition known as the mishnah, which Judah the Prince finalized ca. 200, Goliath was born by polyspermy and had about 100 fathers. In Sotah 42b of the Talmud Bavli (the Babylonian Talmud, compiled between the 3rd and 5th centuries), Goliath was a son of Orpah, the sister-in-law of David's great-grandmother Ruth, a Moabite who had converted to Judaism. The Midrash Rabbot, first published in Venice in 1545, included the "Ruth Rabbah" which interpreted the Book of Ruth verse by verse, first in a literal then an allegorical sense; according to ths source Orpah pretended to accompany her full sister Ruth but after 40 paces left her and then led a dissolute life. In these late sources, Goliath challenged the Jews to combat twice a day to disturb their morning and evening prayers and boasted that he had been the one who had captured the Ark and taken it to Ashdod, and it was said that on his death it was found that his heart bore the image of Dagon. The First Book of Samuel claimed his bronze armor weighed 125 pounds and the iron tip of his spear weighed 15 pounds; but the 3rd century rabbi Hanina sid his armor weighed 60 tons, which rabbi Abba bar Kahana doubled. The oldest manuscripts (the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel, the 1st-century historian Titus Flavius Josephus, and the 4th-century Septuagint translation of the Old Testament) claimed Goliath was "four cubits and a span" (6 ft 9 in, 2.06 m), but the Masoretic translation, done between the 7th an 10th centuries, elevated him to "six cubits and a span" (9 ft 9 in, 2.97 m).
According to 1 Samuel 17, when the Jews' first king, Saul ("asked for, prayed for") was camped in the Ella valley near Azekah and Socho, twice a day for 40 days Goliath, "the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam," challenged him to send a warrior to fight him in single combat. Though Saul was portrayed in 1 Samuel 9:2 as being a head taller than anyone else in all Israel, he demurred but offered any challenger of his daughters as a wife and his family's exemption from taxes. Finally, Saul's young shield-bearer, the future king David, boasted, "I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats. When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Armed only with a sling, David then taunted Goliath, "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that God saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is God's, and he will give you into our hand." The "Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum" (the so-called "Pseudo-Philo," perhaps composed between 35 BCE and 70 or later), which initiated the connection between David and Goliath's descent from Ruth and her sister, claimed David had picked seven stones and inscribed each with his name, his ancestor's names, and God's name. David slung one of his stones into Golith's forehead, knocking him to the ground; according to "Pseudo-Philo," Goliath told him to "Hurry and kill me and rejoice," but David countered, "Before you die, open your eyes and see your slayer;" Goliath saw an angel and told David that it was the angel who slew him. Then David beheaded him with his own sword (which Abba bar Kahana claimed had magical powers). The Philistines fled "as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron" with the Jews in pursuit, while David put the giant's armor in his tent and sent the head to Saul. The Qur'an (2: 247–252) account was similar to the one in Samuel, but Goliath was called "Jalut;" the traditional Muslim interpretation of the battle was that it prefigured Muhammad's battle of Badr in 624, in which his chief opponent Abu Jahl was slain. (Oddly, in 2 Samuel 21:19, Goliath's killer was identified as ’Elḥānān ben-Ya‘rê ’Ōrəḡîm Bêṯhallaḥmî, Elhanan son of Jair-Oregim the Bethlehemite. The Books of Samuel were probably composed in the late 7th century BCE and revised in the 6th century BCE during the Babylonian exile, but in the the 4th-century BCE, 1 Chronicles 20:5 tried to explain this discrepancy by saying that Elhanan "slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath.")
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