David's victory over Goliath

David's victory over Goliath
Дмитрий Тесленко
Врач-нейрохирург. Медицинский стаж: 17 лет (11 лет по специальности). Приоритетные направления практической и научной работы — заболевания гипофиза, нейроонкология.

We all have heard about the battle between David and Goliath.

Goliath was a huge Philistine warrior. Young David, the future king of Judah and Israel, defeats Goliath in a duel with a sling, and then chops off his head. David’s victory over Goliath laid foundation to an offensive by Israeli and Jewish forces, who drove the Philistines from their land.

Goliath was an unusually strong warrior of great stature, a native of the city of Gath. The height of Goliath was 6 cubits with a span, or 2.89 m (1 elbow = 42.5 cm, 1 span = 22.2 cm). The Philistine giant was dressed in scaly armor weighing approximately 57 kg (5,000 shekels of copper, 1 shekel = 11.4 g) and copper kneecaps, with a copper helmet on his head, and a copper shield in his hands. Goliath carried a heavy spear, one tip of which weighted 600 shekels of iron (6.84 kg), and a large sword.

David, in turn, had no armor at all, and his only weapon was a sling. The Philistine giant considered it an insult seeing a young man, just a boy, to came out to fight with him. Goliath and David were elected by their fellow tribesmen for single combat, which was to decide the outcome of the battle: the victor in the fight won the victory. It seemed to everyone who watched what was happening that the outcome of the fight was predetermined, but not always the outcome of the battle was determined by physical strength. Details of the fight of Goliath with David, which took place in the oak valley between Sukhof and Azekah, south-west of Jerusalem, are described in the Bible.

From a medical point of view, it is interesting that the description of Goliath may suggest that he had acromegaly.

The fact is that, first of all, acromegaly, is manifested in gigantism – a person can grow to two or more meters. From this point of view, it becomes clear that the very look of Goliath and his voice inspired terror to the Jews: with acromegaly, the facial features become roughened, in particular, the eyebrows and zygomatic bones increase; soft tissue grows. The disease changes the voice making it very rough due to changes in the vocal cords. In addition, various diseases of the legs often develop in acromegaly sufferers, and therefore the knee pads mentioned in the description of Goliath’s armor were needed, probably not so much for protection, but to help the weak ligaments of the legs to support enormous body weight.

A tumor (pituitary adenoma – somatotropinoma), which causes acromegaly, compresses the optic chiasma, as a result of which, people suffering from this disease have poor vision. In fact, they can loose their side vision: they can only see what is located directly in front of them, and at the same time they often have double visions. Therefore, it becomes clear why Goliath needed an armor-bearer for for the straight fight, or namely a shield-carrier who walked in front of him — most likely it was a guide telling Goliath where he should move.

It is due to impaired vision that Goliath does not immediately notice David, but when he did, he asked why he goes at him with sticks, although David has only one stick in his hands – Goliath had double vision.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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