How Tall was Goliath?

In a recent edition of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS 50/3), there is a discussion about the "giant" status of Goliath (of "five smooth stones" fame).

Daniel Hays argues that Goliath was "only 6 feet 9 inches tall and not 9 feet 9 inches." He concludes,

Thus, Goliath was probably about the size of an NFL lineman like Flozell Adams of the Dallas Cowboys (or perhaps I should use Michael Strahan of the Giants as my illustration?). ("The Height of Goliath: A Response to Clyde Billington," p. 516)

In the same edition, Clyde Billington responds to Hays' arguments. He rejects Hays' contention that Goliath was this height because he thinks all of the best manuscripts of 1 Samuel 17:4-7 point to the traditional reading of his height being 6 cubits (around 8 feet tall). He concludes,

Hays argues that Goliath was a very large man at 6 feet 9 inches, but not a real giant. However, there are good biblical, archeological, and historical reasons for rejecting these assumptions. . . . Goliath was about 8 feet tall. ("Goliath and the Exodus Giants: How Tall Were They?" p. 489-90)

The Missing Link: However comprehensively erudite these arguments are, I believe they've neglected a crucial bit of pertinent data. I can't believe they missed it. This is a significant archeological discovery that will surely rock this in-house scholarly debate.

After careful research, I've determined that Goliath was actually 13 inches tall, and incidentally available for $24.99.

Though, I'm still not convinced that any of these findings enables the reader to understand 1 Sam 17 better.
Biblical Studies
February 1, 2008


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