There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.” After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. (2 Samuel 21:15-22 ESV)
These weren’t the first giants we see in the Bible. David defeated the most famous of them, Goliath of Gath (different from the Goliath listed above). But even before them, it was the sight of giants by the Israeli spies that caused Israel to cry in fear and complain to Moses about going into the promised land. The spies reported, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them. (Num 13:23-33)” In the book of Amos, God describes the giants, “whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks (Amos 2:9).”
Where did they come from? The Bible doesn’t say. What is interesting is that this period of the Judges and David is known as the age of heroes in Greek history, which included the Trojan war. Even ancient histories outside of Israel point to the veracity of the history rather than lead us to doubt. It really is a biased and arrogant view to assume that because we don’t see the same things today that the Bible describes that they couldn’t have happened. It isn’t just the stories of the ancient Greek heroes that help us. It is also the creation myths of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient tales of the Sumerians (e.g. Gilgamesh) that point us back to a great flood, the story of God’s creation of the world and the entrance of evil upon it.
God, thank you for allow us glimpses of ancient history that serve to verify your Word that even your critics are silenced. May they be won over even through such extraordinary means.