Is Samson the father of Goliath?

I heard of a theory/rumor that when the shorn, blinded Samson was imprisoned, “grinding grain” was a wink-wink nudge-nudge biblical codeword for “put out to stud”.

The logic being, this super-soldier invading Canaan and slaying all the Phillistines could be used to breed the next generation of Canaanite super-soldiers…of which Goliath apparently was.

Any biblical scholars want to chime in?

Zev Steinhart?

No, but Goliath was the nephew of Delila’s college roommate’s gynecologist’s stepsister.

Two things.

  1. Darren, please don’t be a jerk toward threads.

  2. I’m going to move this to GQ. I think it’ll get more action there.


1.) both Sampson and Goliath are fictional characters and
2.) the primary source does not mention or imply any relationship between Sampson and Goliath,

my fanon is equally valid to any other fan-fictions that may be mentioned in this thread.

The whole point of the story is that Samson’s power was not something inherent, but rather a gift from God that God could take away- and restore - whenever He wanted. It wasn’t something inheritable.

And this thread should really be in CS.

Moderator Note

Your response would have been even more inappropriate as a first response in GQ. Don’t do this again. Further responses of this kind in GQ could be subject to a warning.

General Questions Moderator

Ok, it’s been a while, but here goes.

  1. Samson is in the time of the Judges, Goliath is with David. Possible, yes, but the Judges period was hella long and peripatetic from what I remember, and I seem to recall them not exactly being inclusive or entirely in chronological order, so unlikely just on the face of the timing and locations of what happened when and where.

  2. pre-existing theory has that Goliath is the descendent of the transgressive union between the fallen angels and men mentioned back in the beginnings of Genesis - in other words, he’s an atavist: a throwback. Given the generally-accepted origins of these particular stories as true but moralistic or as thematic precursors or foretellings of the later likely exploits of the Messiah (either the Christian Jesus or the not-yet-appeared Jewish one) then you have the origins of the Goliath story as demonstrating the power of faith and obedience to G-D in the face of an opponent who is read as ‘demonic’ or simply as the horrid result of disobedience to G-D.

That interpretation is more powerful and useful for study and inspiration than the potential interpretations of G-D allowing his limited and specific divine gift to Samson to be passed along to the enemies of his people by Samson getting farmed out as a stud.

Besides which, it’s not exactly easy to put humans “out to stud”, as we can and very often do refuse mates we didn’t choose ourselves. Samson was capable of being seduced, but it took a lot of work on Delilah’s part, and one would expect he would be even more leery of such tactics afterwards.

IIRC Despite the popular image, Delilah didn’t seduce the secret of his strength from Samson. She annoyed him incessantly and ‘vexed him sore’ til he told her ‘It’s the hair, babe’ to shut her up.

Your admonishment to Darren puzzles me. Pointing out that this question about fictional characters doesn’t make much sense seems an appropriate response to me.

Obviously the OP was asking if that was the case according to canon or tradition.

As I understand it, with myths and legends the core characters are usually real, albeit highly embellished and often syncretised. Something prompted the story. There was a Troy. There was a lion gate in Mycenae. There was an Artorius Riamothus. And so on. So there probably was a Goliath, and a Samson, and possibly a Delilah. Also note that David, a king, killed Goliath, so Goliath is more likely to be remembered.

As for Samson being put to stud, it was commonplace for Roman gladiators. Slavery in the ancient world was mostly very different to the modern American idea of slavery, though the latter did exist - in Roman times people like Crassus had huge farms, all run by slaves and slaves were worked to death in the mines.

Legends might have some historical basis, but it’s not a good idea to conclude that the basic outline of a story therefore is likely to be true, or based on historical events.

I mean, there was a George Washington. That’s historical fact. But he didn’t chop down a cherry tree. All sorts of things that George Washington supposedly did were consciously invented by people who wanted to use George Washington as an instructional parable for children. And so just because there was an Israelite king named David, that doesn’t mean a damn thing about the historicity of the stories from the Bible. Yes, there was a country called Egypt, that doesn’t make the story of Joseph factual.

Also, there really was a guy called Nicholas. He’s the real-life historical figure behind the popular legends of Santa Claus. But Nicholas didn’t live at the North Pole, he didn’t have a sled pulled by reindeer, he didn’t employ elves to make toys, he didn’t give gifts to children at Christmas, and so on and so on. He also didn’t fight Heat Miser or Snow Miser, he didn’t have a brother named Fred, and so on.

I was referring primarily to his first post, and the fact that he was defending it on the basis of it being his own “fan fiction.” This was inappropriate, regardless of the degree to which the Old Testament may be fictional.

Any further discussion of my moderator note should be taken to ATMB.

General Questions Moderator

Dusting off my dog-eared copy of Strong’s Concordance … we find Samson’s tale in Judges 13-16 … and Goliath’s tale in 1 Samuel 17-22 … so there seems to be too big of a time gap from Samson’s birth before the Judge Period and Goliath appearing during the reign of King Saul …

Could they be related? … unlikely … we find Samson’s birth at a time when the Hebrews were held in captivity by the Philistines … however both Samson’s parents are identified as Hebrew … I suppose we could read in between the lines and suggest Samson’s mother wasn’t exactly faithful to his father … but that’s pure speculation …

Samson’s strength came from his hair … “for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb” Jud 13:5 cf. Num 6:1-21 …

*Delilah she climbed up on Samson’s knee,
Said tell me where your strength lies if you please.
She spoke so kind and she talked so fair,
Well Samson said, Delilah cut off my hair.

You can shave my head, clean as my hand
And my strength will become as natural as any old man.

If I had my way, if I had my way, if I had my way,
I would tear this old building down.

“Grinding grain” sounds suggestive to us because we use the term grinding in English slang to refer to the rubbing and thrusting motions of sex (and dancing). Is there any evidence that it was used as a euphemism in Biblical Hebrew?

There are plenty of euphemisms in Biblical Hebrew, and they tend to be well known: knew for “had sex with,” feet or thighs for “genitals,” etc.

Growing up very conservative Christian, #2 is something that would have been considered a possibility. Giants(or giant-like people) existed way back in time and maybe Goliath descended from them.

As a kid, we were pretty much just told he was a 9 ft.+ tall guy who was likely big, too. Like Andre the Giant, only taller.

Something like that. Goliath certainly came from a group that thought he was pretty exceptional. He was their top soldier.

You owe me a laptop.

I’m Jewish, and I was also taught that “There were giants in those days” were the people, or creatures, or whatever, that Goliath was descended from. And he was at most, 10 feet tall, maybe not even that tall, maybe something plausible for a human, if record-making, like 8 feet (without any kind of health problems like the other rare 8-footers have had). He wasn’t King Kong height. Someone who was just unusually tall could actually be brought down by a really lucky head shot with a rock, if it fractured his skull and caused brain bleeding.

Now, just because the story is remotely plausible doesn’t mean the characters are real, but it does mean that there could be a remnant of a real event behind it.

I always thought the David-Uriah-Batsheva triangle had a bit of authenticity, because in Genesis, there are two occasions where Abraham worries about a ruler pulling a “Uriah” on him, and Isaac worries about it happening to him once, so they tell their wives to say they are their sisters. This makes me think there must be some real event somewhere in time that inspired all these stories. Since it’s pretty unflattering to David, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out there was a real king behind the David legend who did this to someone. The end of David’s life is pretty sleazy too. I’m inclined to think that David represents a real king-- maybe even one named David, maybe even pretty close to history. The Goliath story is one of the least likely to be authentic, more like the Washington/cherry tree, but the person who first attached it to David may have known of a real story about a young and inexperienced soldier who brought down a big guy who was a soldier with a legendary reputation.

FWIW I have often looked at such terms, such as ‘grinding grain’, another such is the enslaved israelites making ‘bricks’ (IMHO it equals making their children into those who have a slave mentality, the building blocks of the egyptian society - it also could co-inside with making physical bricks). “Grinding grain” may be such a term that I also wondered about. I never took it to the point of the father of Goliath, but who knows. I do feel there is more to that term then that meets the eye.

Jesus used the term ‘talent’, a term back then that meant a form of currency, and it cited as such in many bibles in footnotes, but does have a alternate meaning today in English. The same scriptures state God created everything (John 1), so that includes the English word ‘talent’ and knowing that there would be a cross meaning. Same thing possibly here, grinding even if it wasn’t used as such a term back then could be used by God for today’s time to be understood.

Although that does involve the theologically troubling notion that the inspiration of scripture included encoding meanings that would be hidden from all but English speakers, and that would only be accessible to them from about 1500 years after the composition of the gospels.

In fact, as far as we know, the modern English sense is a product of the biblical usage. In the parables, the “talents” seem to stand for advantages and opportunities given to people that they have not earned. Hence the application of the word to natural endowments or innate aptitudes.