17:4 champion. Trial by single combat, where the outcome of a fight to the death between two champions is taken as the will of the gods, is rare in the Old Testament (compare 2 Sam. 2:14–16). It is well attested, however, among some of Israel’s neighbors.
six cubits and a span. That is, nine feet, nine inches. The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament translation), Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus (Antiquities 6.9.1) all have four cubits instead of six, making Goliath six and a half feet tall, still a remarkable height by ancient standards.