Bible Notes

"The heaven of heavens" (Deut. 10:14)—Some scholars take this as equivalent to "the highest heaven," in accord with a well-known Hebrew idiom. Compare such phrases as: "Holy of holies" ("most holy"—Ex. 26:33); "vanity of vanities" (i.e., absolute vanity) in Ecclesiastes 1:2 (see Davidson: Hebrew Syntax, p. 49). Moffatt renders: "the highest heaven"; and Smith: "the highest heavens."

"Six cubits and a span" (I Sam. 17:4)—The cubit (literally "forearm") was the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, and is generally counted as from 18 to 21 inches; while the "span"—the distance from the tip of the thumb to that of the little finger of the outstretched hand—is reckoned as equivalent to half a cubit. In other words, Goliath's height must have been somewhere between 9 feet 9 inches, and 11 feet 4 inches. (Cf. Kirkpatrick: Cambridge Bible, "I Samuel," p. 153.)

"He was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass" (I Sam. 17:5)—The Hebrew word translated "coat" is taken to mean "body-armour, perhaps more exactly breastarmour" (Brown, Driver, Briggs: Hebrew Lexicon, p. 1056). The term translated "mail" is "kashkashim," ordinarily used to describe the "scales" of a fish (cf. Lev. 11:9), but here evidently referring to "scale like plates" of "brass" or rather bronze (Brown, etc., loc. cit.), used to form the giant's defensive armor. Driver notes that "5000 shekels of bronze was probably about 200 pounds avoirdupois" (Notes on the Hebrew Text of Samuel, p. 139); while Kirkpatrick contends that what Goliath wore was " 'a cuirass of scales' made of overlapping plates of metal, protecting the body down to the knees" (I and II Samuel, p. 140), adding that "armour of this kind is represented in the Assyrian sculptures." Moffatt translates: "He wore a bronze breast-plate of scaled armour, weighing about 200 pounds."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Testimony of Healing
Christian Science has brought into our home much harmony...
March 16, 1935

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.