On the Heads of Giants

Judah captures Hebron, a city of refuge, from the hands of giants.

After the sin of Adam, God prophesied to the first couple that the Seed of the Serpent and the Seed of the Woman would have eternal enmity with each other as long as both lines continued. The Serpent would bite the heel of the Seed, but the Seed would eventually crush his head. We should not be surprised then that David and Jesus were both enthroned on the burial sites of serpentine giants.

The narrative of Judges is built on allusions to the events in Genesis. After destroying a wicked king who troubled the seventy kings of the earth, Judah goes up and captures the city of Hebron (Judges 1:10). Hebron was a significant place in Genesis: Sarah died there, and Israel met Isaac there, and Abraham and Isaac had once journeyed there. Between the time of patriarchs and the time of the Judges, Arba, one of the Anakim, in fact “the greatest” of them, took it over and turned it against God’s people. The Anakim were closely linked with the Serpent, so any defeat of a giant was a symbolic defeat of a serpent. He ruled it with his three sons: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. When Judah took Hebron at the beginning of the period of the Judges, they destroyed giants and removed them from Hebron.

Hebron then became a city of refuge for the manslayer. If a man was accused of murder, he would run to the city of refuge and await a trial. Once the High Priest died, he would be free to leave the city without any fear of being legally killed in retribution. More than that, David was installed at Hebron. He became king of Judah for six and a half years there, and a lot of the narrative of II Samuel takes place there. It is of no typological insignificance that Judah found refuge, and her kings were installed, in the city where giants were slain.

Fast forward to the first century where Jesus is possibly killed on the Mount of Olives (identified as Golgotha). James Jordan and Mike Bull both suggest that the Mount of Olives is Golgotha, the place of the skull. Jordan suggests that Golgotha is an amalgam of Goliath’s name and his birthplace, Gath, as he was a Gittite. After David killed Goliath, he took his head into Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem was a holy city, Jordan says that David would have brought his head to a place outside of the city that would have been significant enough that the people of the city would see it without defiling the city’s holiness. We can draw this out to help identify the site with the Mount of Olives. The Mount has a direct line of sight into The Place (another name for the Temple), so that the centurion could witness the tearing of the veil. Being east of the city, the centurion would look westward into the Temple to see the veil being torn at Christ’s death. The crucifixion would also have to take place near the city so that the inscription on the cross (Jesus, King of the Jews) would be visible to those in the city.

The Mount of Olives is a new Holy of Holies: God is exalted on the mercy seat, positioned between two men with outstretched arms like the cherubim of the temple. This new Holy of Holies is constructed on the top of the head of the Serpentine Priest, Goliath.

I think David was acting under the influence of the Spirit when he brought Goliath’s head to the Mount of Olives. By bringing it to the Mount of Olives, he was picturing the future defeat of the Serpent by the Son, who would have his heel bit at the same time he was crushing the skull of the serpent.

Where Judah killed giants becomes a city of refuge and a place of enthronement. Where David leaves a memorial to the death of a giant is the place where the new David is killed and declared to be the king of the world, a place where Christians turn to refuge for relief from our sins.

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