Thursday, June 19, 2008

What the Fuck? Part 2: Giants Again: 2 Samuel 21:15-22

This post is part of a revolutionary Bible commentary by the Church of the Orange Sky.

For no particular reason, it's time to talk about giants again. David is in the middle of one of his innumerable wars with the Philistines, and faces a series of four giants. Why? I have no clue! The Bible has a strange fetish for these mysterious creatures.

The first goes by the really cool name "Ishbi-Benob," and wields a spear with a heavy bronze head. David is old now, and for a moment it seems that Ishbi-Benob is going to kill him, but fortunately the king's life is saved by Abishai of Zeruiah. Once again the officers tell David it's simply too dangerous for him to fight with the men, and instruct him to stay back from the fighting "so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished."

Up next is Saph, who fights the Israelites at Gob. Aside from the strange names, apparently there's nothing significant about this guy; he's killed by Sibbecai the Hushathite, and that's all we know about Saph.

Then there's another battle in which Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim slays the mighty "Goliath the Gittite." Uh, what? I thought we already killed Goliath! Oh, well. Goliath dies again (the 1 Chronicles retelling actually says this is Goliath's brother, not Goliath himself), and in the process loses his mighty "spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod."

The final giant is my favourte, "a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot." Helpfully, the Bible counts them all for us, and correctly concludes that there are "twenty-four in all." The "huge man" challenges the Israelites to battle but Jonathan, David's nephew, kills him.

And that's the end of the giants, at least for the time being.