Feb. 17, 2000

(RNS) An Israeli neurologist says he knows the real reason the biblical King David triumphed over the Philistine giant Goliath, and it's no giant act of heroism.

"It was a miracle that such a small and young shepherd could defeat Goliath in battle," said Professor Vladimir Berginer on Thursday (Feb. 17). "But now I have found an explanation for it."

Goliath -- who was about 10 feet tall, according to the Old Testament -- suffered from a pituitary gland disease known as acromegaly, said Berginer. He said he reached his conclusion after years of analyzing the biblical story.

"This is the only disease where sufferers can grow to such a height," Berginer said.

He said an advanced form of the disease impaired Goliath's vision so that the giant could not see David clearly, making it easy for David to surprise Goliath with a stone thrown to the head.

"I am sure that from time to time, Goliath did not see David because in the Bible it was written a few times that Goliath was very slow, but David ran," said Berginer.

Berginer said the stone thrown by David damaged Goliath's skull but was not his actual cause of death. Once Goliath was knocked unconscious, David was able to kill him with a sword.

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