How Tall was Goliath?


We’ve seen the fight between David and Goliath depicted many times by Hollywood, but what do the bible and other sources say about Goliath’s real height?

According to Jewish scripture, Goliath was about twelve feet tall.  The Jewish organization Chabad interprets the Hebrew scriptures this way:

The sight of the fierce giant, six cubits and a span tall (about twelve feet), towering over the hill, clad in armor and iron and brass from head to foot, filled the Jews with great terror. There was not a single man in the Jewish camp who dared accept the challenge.

shaquille-onealIn Reconsidering the Height of Goliath, author J. Daniel Hays posits that Goliath was instead about “4 cubits” tall, or just under 6′.

Hays’ conclusion seems to be supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls, which in the Book of Samuel puts Goliath’s height at 6’9″, making the giant three inches taller than Michael Jordan, but four inches shorter than Shaq.

Goliath must have been an intimidating man for the Jews who faced him in biblical battle, especially since the average height of a man at the time was about 5’3″.  But whatever Goliath’s height, he was of course defeated by David, who supposedly went on to be one of the most famous monarchs in human history.




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