David vs. Goliath: Is There Evidence?
by Steve Law
And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. – 1 Samuel 17:4 (ESV)
It is one of the most striking scenes in the Bible. The champion of Israel’s archenemies, the Philistines, strides to the front of the battle lines shouting curses at the Israelites and their God. He is a battle-hardened giant named Goliath, and when he repeatedly calls out for someone to meet him in one-on-one combat, none are brave enough to answer the challenges. David, a youth visiting his brothers in Israel’s camp, hears the blasphemous roaring and goes forward with providence, but without armor or sword, to defend the name of his God and his people. He picks up five smooth stones and with his shepherd’s sling brings down Goliath with a single throw.
In the eyes of most mainstream scholars, the Bible’s account of David defeating Goliath is either complete fiction or an embellished legend based on faded memories not written down until several centuries after the event. After all, with the passing of 3,000 years, what physical evidence would still exist that could support the authenticity of such a confrontation?
Actually, there may be more evidence than one would expect, including a possible first-hand report of the incident.
In a Haaretz magazine article last week titled “Huge if True: The Archaeological Case for Goliath,” Philippe Bohstrom profiled several archaeological discoveries that may make skeptics of the David and Goliath story take notice…