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In 2 Samuel, we are told that Goliath was killed by Elhanan:

19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.   NIV1984

But previously Goliath was killed by David:

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.  NIV1984

How is this possible - is this a contradiction in the Bible?

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The KJV does a better job by inserting the text "the brother of". It's critical in Bible translation/exegesis to always look at the parallel passages in the Bible. – Lance Roberts Jan 11 '12 at 15:14
@LanceRoberts lesson learned my friend... – Gerep Jan 11 '12 at 15:16
@LanceRoberts interestingly this is one of the passages that differs between NIV1984 and NIV. I found the footnotes in the NIV, ESV and NASB interesting too. – Jack Douglas Jan 11 '12 at 15:34
Good work at pulling a great question out of yesterday's drafts. It seems like potential contradictions could be a rich vein to mine for questions in. – Jon Ericson Jan 11 '12 at 15:51
@Jon Enricson thanks to you and Jack =) – Gerep Jan 11 '12 at 15:57
up vote 11 down vote accepted

See: 1 Chronicles 21:25:

And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver's beam.

Goliath in Samuel 21 is actually Goliath's brother.

It could be that the original audience of the Bible understood that the name Goliath could refer to both siblings or the text in Samuel may be slightly corrupted.

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