They came from the south …
at least that is what some say. Mean-looking fellows. And in this case, their looks matched up with who they were.
These thuggish men were born and bred for battle, and intimidation, and violence. Bullies, they were. Bullies indeed. They were the bad-guys of the Hebrew Bible, residing in a place called Phillistia. Phillistia went from Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north. A giant of a man, Goliath, traveled with these fighters who had been pushing their way into the Valley of Elah toward a place known as Judah; a place controlled by Israel. Now, just a few thoughts about giants:
Goliath was 13 ft. Gath, Goliath’s stomping grounds … no pun intended … was a place where other giants lived. It is believed that Goliath had brothers who were giants there in Gath. Archaeology is producing more evidence, as time rolls on, of the reality of giants. Studies of the Nephullum, the Rephaim, the Anakim, all suggest that giants were not uncommon. It is also believed that the Philistine leaders hired giants to fight for them.
This land … the Valley of Elah … was a strategically advantageous area of real estate.
- It was close to the sea;
- It had travel routes;
- And it was a great location for a potential resort area with pool, tennis courts, free wireless, free continental breakfast … Maybe? No. ‘Wasn’t going to happen, not at 1010 b.c.
Seriously, the Philistines (from Phillistia) were on a mission. Here is a diagram that gives you a bit of a picture of what was going on. Note the red route.
The resident king, a fella by the name of Saul, was given some good intel about these boys from Phillistia coming up into the Valley of Elah. The alarm was sounded, and the Israelite military guys high-tailed it to Socoh, where they blocked the Philistines. There was a ridge on the south of the Valley of Elah, where the Philistines gathered up, established their camp, drew up their battle line. Across the Valley of Elah, on the north side, there was another ridge where the fellas from Israel gathered, set up camp, and drew their own battle line. You probably know the rest of the story. One of my paraphrased versions of what happened, there, in the Valley of Elah is found in another one of my posts that is similar to this post.