A Bible Story

1 Samuel Chapter 17: David and Goliath.

We all know the story. A small and nimble David volunteers to battle the large and strong Goliath. Foregoing all armor and weaponry besides his staff and slingshot, he wins the battle after striking Goliath in the forehead with a stone. His victory has left the world with one of the greatest underdog narratives of all time.

The Bible portrays Goliath as being “six cubits and a span” in height. That estimates him to be over 9 feet tall.

UntitledScientifically, this puts him in the category of gigantism, also known as acromegaly – a condition that is the result of an excess of growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland, which can create the hormonal imbalance in the presence of a tumor.

Pituitary tumors can affect more than your physical appearance. It can also result in impaired vision from visual field loss.

Visual field loss is often described as tunnel vision – the loss of vision in the corner of the eyes, which often goes unnoticed. It can cause people to miss a step or bump into objects in their periphery. When pituitary tumors are involved the vision can be quite constricted, creating what’s known as a bitemporal hemianopia.

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This means that Goliath’s size might have been caused by a tumor, which also caused poor vision. If Goliath had a pituitary tumor, it would make it very hard for him to see a tiny rock hurling at him until it was very, very close.

Waging war with small, speedy opponents – another reason to make sure you’ve had an up-to-date sight test.

Happy Easter!




Berginer V.M. “ Neurological Aspects of the David-Goliath Battle: Restriction in the Giant’s Visual Field”. Medical Archaeology. IMAJ. Vol 2, 2000. Pg 725-727.

Donnelly and Morrison. “Hereditary Gigantism – the biblical giant Goliath and his brothers”. Ulster Medical Society.

Disclaimer: The content in this post is for general information purposes only. It is not meant to be a religious commentary for or against the accuracy of Scripture. It’s just a neat hypothesis that I thought was worth sharing.

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