Giants are mentioned several times throughout the Bible, but who were they exactly? Were these giants in fact gigantic or were they of normal size? Where were they located? There are a lot of questions about these giants and a lot about them remains unknown. The article “Giants in the Bible” found on answersingenesis.org written by Tim Chaffey does an excellent job at explaining when and how giants are referenced in the Bible. Today we are going to talk about just a few of these many instances in hopes of learning more about these giants.
Educated guesses have been made suggesting these giants ranged anywhere from 6 feet to over 30 feet tall. So, while all of these people or groups of people are referred to as giants, some may be as tall as people are today. The height of these giants has always been a controversial topic. Experts have ranging opinions on how large these giants were based on different facts and beliefs.
Let’s start out with the Amorites, a group of mountaineers who resided in Canaan. They were mentioned more than 80 times throughout scripture and were descendants of Canaan, Noah’s grandson. Amos 2:9 describes the Amorites as giants saying, “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was as strong as the oaks...”. It is these characteristics that leads us to believe that the Amorites were in fact considered to be giants.
Rephaim is a term that is used quite frequently to describe giants throughout the Bible. The Nephilim is the earliest mention of giants in the Bible. There is a whole post dedicated to these fallen angels or Nephilim and how they were considered giants already on this blog titled The Patrick Heron Theory. In short, the Nephilim were offspring of the fallen angels who mated with earthly women. The Nephilim were extremely violent giants who eventually got wiped out by the Lord during Noah’s flood.
The Anakim are argued to be some of the most commonly known giants in the land of Canaan during Exodus. In the Bible Joshua fought numerous battles with the Anakim and the Amorites. It is explained in Joshua 11:21-22 that Joshua “cut off the Anakim from the mountains:...Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. None of the Anakim were left in the land of the children of Israel; they remained only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod.” This act is what led up to Goliath in the first book of Samuel.
The final giant we will be discussing here is Goliath. Goliath is one of the most recognized giants in the Bible. He was a Philistine who was eventually killed by David after he was hit with a stone. 1 Samuel 17:4 talks about Goliath saying, “And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.” Goliath is from Gath, one of the three places where the Anakim remained after Joshua fought them off. It is because of this that Goliath is believed to be a descendant of the Anakim. Six cubits and a span is believed to be around 9’9” but this is debatable depending on who you ask. Now though Goliath is not directly addressed as a giant, there are other factors that lead people to believe he was one. For example, 1 Samuel 17:5-7 says “He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.” The weight of his armor alone suggests that Goliath was in fact a giant man. The average man would not have been able to carry all that and fight effectively at the same time. It is said that his coat alone weighed around 125 pounds and that is before all of his other armor and his weapon is added to that.
These were just a few accounts of giants being mentioned or alluded to in the Bible. While they varied in height and description, they all somehow managed to fall under the same general category and become known as the Biblical giants. While many of them lived near Canaan, they were found numerous places throughout biblical times.