The Philistine battles (1 Chr 20:4-20:8)

“After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants. The Philistines were subdued. Again there was war with the Philistines. Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number. He also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, King David’s brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath. They fell by the hand of King David and his servants.”

This time, the biblical chronicler loosely follows 2 Samuel, chapter 21. The battle here is at Gezer and not Gob.   Sibbecai was one of King David’s leaders in his army. He killed this giant Philistine called Sippai or Saph as he was called in 2 Samuel, which is the only mention of him. It seems that the Philistines had a lot of giants. Elhanan, another of King David’s warriors, killed a giant named Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite in a separate battle. Here Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, but in 2 Samuel, it is Goliath who he killed. Was this chronicler trying to clean up the story since the young King David had supposedly killed Goliath? Gath was a Philistine stronghold city. There was an unnamed giant there who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. He too was descendent from the giants. When he taunted King David, Jonathan, King David’s nephew, killed him. These Philistines always seem to be fighting with King David. They seem to lose all the time, but they never go away. They are never annihilated like some other groups. They never give up. Even here it is only a few warriors and a few battles.

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The listing of David’s warriors (1 Chr 11:26-11:47)

“The warriors of the armies were: Asahel the brother of Joab; Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem; Shammah of Harod; Helez the Pelonite; Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa; Abiezer of Anathoth; Sibbecai the Hushathite; Ilai the Ahohite; Maharai of Netophah; Heled son of Baanah of Netophah; Ittai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites; Benaiah of Pirathon; Hurai of the Wadi of Gaash; Abiel the Arbathite; Azmaveth of Bahurim; Eliahba of Shaalbon; Hashem the Gizonite; Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite; Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite; Eliphal son of Ur; Hepher the Mecherathite; Ahijah the Pelonite; Hezro of Carmel; Naarai son of Ezbai; Joel the brother of Nathan; Mibhar son of Hagri; Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah; Ira the Ithrite; Gareb the Ithrite; Uriah the Hittite; Zabad the son of Ahlai; Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, a leader of the Reubenites, and thirty with him; Hanan the son of Maacah; Joshaphat the Mithnite; Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel sons of Hotham the Aroerite; Jediael son of Shimri; Joha his brother, the Tizite; Eliel the Mahavite; Jeribai and Joshaviah sons of Elnaam; Ithmah the Moabite; Eliel; Obed; and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.”

This list is much like the list in 2 Samuel, chapter 23. However there are 7 omissions and 22 additions as well as 8 name changes. For more information about these men see the notes in 2 Samuel. Of those 7 mentioned in 2 Samuel, that appeared there but did not make this list, they include: Elika of Harod, Eliphelet son of Ahasbai of Maacah, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, Paarai the Arbite, Igal son of Nathan of Zobah, and Bani the Gadite. The following 22 names were added and not in 2 Samuel: Eliphal the son of Ur, Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, Naarai the son of Ezbai, Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri, Zabad the son of Ahlai, Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, Hanan the son of Maacah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite, Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel sons of Hotham the Aroerite, Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother the Tizite, Eliel the Mahavite, Jeribai and Joshaviah sons of Elnaam, Ithmah the Moabite, Eliel, Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite. The following 8 names have been changed. Helez the Paltite has become Helez the Pelonite. Mebunnai the Hushathite has become Sibbecai the Hushathite. Zalmon the Ahohite has become Ilai the Ahohite. Heleb son of Baanah of Netophah, had become Heled. Abi-albon the Arbathite has become Abiel. Hiddai of Gaash has become Hurai. Jashen has become Hashem the Gizonite. Jonathan the son of Shammah has become the son of Shagee.

The Philistine wars at Gob (2 Sam 21:18-21:19)

“After this a battle took place with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. Elhanan son of Jaareoregim, the Bethlehemite, killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.”

Now we have a number of problems with this text. There are 2 battles at Gob, which is a difficult place to determine where this was. Sibbecai was one of David’s leaders in his army. He killed this giant Philistine called Saph, which is the only mention of him. It seems that the Philistines had a lot of giants. Elhanan, another of David’s warriors, killed a giant named Goliath the Gittite in another battle. Wait a second! Is this not the same guy that David killed with his sling shot? We have built a whole mythology around David and Goliath. However, here we find out that it was one of David’s men, not David that killed him. There is no mention of a sling or the little shepherd boy David. No wonder the other text in 1 Samuel, chapter 17, kept talking about the giant Philistine without mentioning his name. What a disappointment!