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How tall was Goliath?

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. 1 Samuel 17:4

The Hebrew text says Goliath was 9 foot 9 inches tall. Nearly the distance from the floor to a basketball rim (10 feet).

The Septuagint and Josephus (a Roman historian ) says 6 foot 9 inches tall.

The tallest known human who ever lived was Robert Wadlow, 8 foot 11.

The problem comes with the definition of a cubit and a span.

A cubit originally was the length from a man’s elbow to the tip of his middle finger. It could be any where from 18 to 27 inches long.

A span was the length from end of thumb to end of pinky outstretched.

These are not consistent standards of measurement to pass on to your friend picking up some PVC pipe for you at Home Depot.

In those days, a 6 foot 9 inch tall man would be big. Still is today. Certainly it’s not giant size. Yao Ming is 7 foot 6 inches tall. Andre the Giant was 7 foot 4. Dwight Howard is 6 foot 11. In today’s definition of giant, and we are taller people than Israelites back then, all of these heights are huge!

Another person of that time, Saul, was described as being a head taller than the rest. A head would be about 12 inches. Saul is described as tall, so let’s say the average Israelite was 5 foot 5, making Saul 6 foot 5. If Goliath were two heads taller than the average Israelite, 7 foot 5, he’d still be looked at as a giant. Three heads and he’s as tall as the tallest man in recorded history.

9 foot 9 inches brings a lot of physical issues with it, whether a tall man can walk around with armor and still be flexible enough to battle. Most tall men suffer from osteoporosis. Gravity hits them hard.

So let’s say this. . .GOLIATH WAS TALL, much taller, stronger and quicker than any man the Israelite army had ever seen. Tall enough to make them all step back and, as a group, admit defeat.