Elhanan son of Jair

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Elhanan son of Jair-Oregim the Bethlehemite appears in 2 Samuel 21:19, where he is credited with killing Goliath, although the translators of the King James Version modified the text to make it read as if he had slain Goliath's brother: "And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare–oregim, a Beth–lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam." (KJV) As this contradicts the better-known story in 1 Samuel 17 in which it is the famous David who kills Goliath, the 4th century BCE Book of Chronicles explains the second Goliath by saying that Elhanan "slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath", apparently constructing the name Lahmi from the last portion of the word "Bethlehemite" ("beit-ha’lahmi").[1] The King James Bible translators adopted this into their translation of 2 Samuel 21:18–19, although the Hebrew text at this point makes no mention of the word "brother". "Most likely, storytellers displaced the deed from the otherwise obscure Elhanan onto the more famous character, David."[2] The medieval Jewish authors of the Targum Jonathan solved the problem by explaining Elhanan as an alternative name for David, a solution which still has supporters among ultra-conservative Christians and Jews.[3]


  1. ^ Ralph W. Klein, Narrative Texts: Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, see section "Representative Changes in Chronicles of Texts Taken from Samuel-Kings". Compare 1 Samuel 16:1, "I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite (beit-ha’lahmi), for I have found among his sons a king for me."
  2. ^ David’s Secret Demons, Baruch Halpern, (2004), p.8
  3. ^ Miqraoth G'doloth Samuel at Hebrewbooks.org - Page 414