Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sanskrit origins of the names David and Goliath ? - LexiLine Journal 418

> The late Graham Millar traced the myth of David and Goliath to the
> ancient myth of Indra killing the dragon Vrtra in India. He indicated
> that the myth is represented in the constellations. David is
> represented by the constellation Bootes and Goliath is represented by
> the constellation Orion. Millar wrote that the names David and Goliath
> are of Sanskrit origin. Does anyone know what the Sanskrit origins of
> the names David and Goliath are?
> Keith Davis


The Wikipedia account of the Biblical tale suggests to us that the "story" of David and Goliath, if taken literally as a historical reality, rather than to be viewed as the application of an older myth, is troublesome:

"Textual conflicts

David may not have been the one to kill Goliath. Elhanan, the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite, is given credit for killing Goliath in 2 Sam 21:19. The KJV adds the phrase "the brother of" before Goliath's name in order to avoid contradicting the story of David's victory.

The KJV insertion is justified by the parallel account of Elhanan's deed at 1 Chron 20:5b, which states that "Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath." The word "Jair" here is "Jaare-oregim" at 2 Sam 21:19b; "oregim" is Hebrew for "weavers," which also appears at the end of both verses. Also, "Lahmi" (Hebrew "´eth-lach·mi´," where "´eth" simply means that Lahmi is the object of the verb "slew") in the former becomes "behth hal·lach·mi´" ("Bethlehemite") in the latter. Hence many scholars view 2 Sam 21:19b to be the result of two scribal errors, with 1 Chron 20:5b as the correct account....

However, other scholars argue that Elhanan may have been the victor over Goliath, but that David was later credited with the deed in order to enhance his reputation. It has been contended that, because of David's introduction to Saul in 1 Samuel 16:19-23, Saul should have known who David was in 1 Samuel 17:55-58 and would not need to ask whose son David is, especially since Jesse, David's father, is also mentioned in the earlier passage.

One response to this is to argue that the earlier passage only implies that the servants of Saul knew that David was the son of Jesse. There is no reason to believe Saul had to have known that Jesse was David's father two years later in Chapter 17.

Another problem is that David is said to have brought Goliath's head to Jerusalem (1 Sam 17:54), though Jerusalem belonged to the Jebusites at the time, which casts some doubt on this detail of the story.

"Jabar" ( is this the same origin as Jair, Jaare ?) is an ancient name for Orion, so there might be some mythical astronomical connection, though I think that Millar's setting of David and Goliath as equivalent to Indra and Vrtra in Sanskrit would be an error, since Vrtra, the dragon of heaven, never applies to the constellation Orion.

The "Star of David" was of course the six-sided Hebrew star (hexagram) and could also well have a stellar origin in view of the Hebrew meaning of Mogen David (Star of David) as the "Shield of David" but also as the "Seal of Solomon".

The hexagram as an important symbol in ancient days is in fact related to an ancient Hindic symbol and to ancient comology:
"Six pointed stars have also been found in cosmological diagrams in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The reasons behind this symbol's common appearance in Indic religions and the West are lost in the mists of antiquity. One possibility is that they have a common origin, or the other possibility is that artists and religious people from several cultures independently created the Star of David shape, which after all is a relatively simple and obvious geometric design.

Within Indic lore, the shape is generally understood to consist of two triangles--one pointed up and the other down--locked in harmonious embrace. The two components are called 'Om' and the 'Hrim' in Sanskrit, and symbolize man's position between earth and sky. The downward triangle symbolizes Shakti, the sacred embodiment of femininity, and the upward triangle symbolizes Shiva, or Agni Tattva, representing the focused aspects of masculinity. The mystical union of the two triangles represents Creation, occuring through the divine union of male and female. The two locked triangles are also known as 'Shanmukha' - the six-faced, representing the six faces of Shiva & Shakti's progeny Kartikeya. This symbol is also a part of several yantras and has deep significance in Hindu ritual worship and mythology.

In Buddhism, some old versions of the Bardo Thodol, also known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, contain a hexagram with a Swastika inside. It was made up by the publishers for this particular publication. In Tibetan, it is called the 'origin of phenomenon' (chos-kyi 'byung-gnas). It is especially connected with the cult of Vajrayogini, and forms the center part of Her mandala. In reality, it is in three dimensions, not two, although it may be portrayed either way.

In Nouga Kogen of Midland Japan, there rests an ancient idol monument (now enclosed in a preserving pyramid) on which there rests a stone that has on it a hexagram. Its roots trace back to the ancient, local Japanese belief that thousands of years ago, a "god" from the sky came to a temple in Nouga Kogen, the same temple from which the stone was found."

In this manner, the story of David and Goliath, if it had any ancient mythological comparables in the stars, could be followed - but it would be quite a shot in the dark, and veritably impossible to prove. There is no doubt that many of our myths are rooted in celestial beliefs from prehistoric days, but tracing them back is a difficult task.

Keith Davis replied:

Thank you Dr. Kaulins for that detailed information. I am conducting some more research into the origin of the names David and Goliath and should post the message on LexiLine some time this summer. I noticed that one Lexiline posted a message stating that the name Saul derives from the Latvian word for sun.


William Glyn-Jones replied:

If we are looking for a very ancient Orion myth present in many cultures then we probably don't need to look much further than the hammer/mace/club brandishing dragon slaying giant/god figures who stand on mountains that are to be found in Hittite, Phoenician, Vedic, Egyption, and Nordic traditions. Whether Teshub, indra, or some Baal figure, they are invariably shown in the Orion pose, with the mace/hammer/club/smiting Pharoah (or egyptian hunter in the Field of Reeds) brandished up above the the head, the other hand often stretcvhed in fornt as a counterbalance, and often mid stride.

Very old.


Keith Davis wrote:

Wikipedia states that the name Goliath is a Semitized Indo-European name.

There is much more information on the name David. Traditionally the
name David is said to have been derived from Hebrew Dawidh (beloved,
friend), closely related to Hebrew dodh (beloved, uncle).

In an article on the Habiru, suggests that Dawidh
may be derived from the Hurrian name Dudya (beloved of God); dud
(beloved), Ya (God). The Theoligical Dictionary of the Old Testament
Volume III, page 143 compares the Hebrew word for love (w/ydd) to the
Hurrian word for love (tat).

In another article on David, says that King David
was the pharoah Psusennes II. This pharoah had a star symbol similar
to the Star of David. Dawidh is said to be derived from the Egyptian
word djuat (star).

Some people have suggested that Dawidh comes from the name Toth but
this theory has no substantial support and is very unlikely.

The Lexicon Totius Latinatus Volume V, Onamasticon, page 463 and the
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, Supplementum Nomina Propria Latina, Volume
III, page 60 both state that David derives both from Hebrew dodh
(beloved) as well as from Hebrew day (strong) yad (hand). They cite
the works of two bishops Augustinus (4th century) and Faustus (5th
century, as well as Psalm 34 for the origin day yad. Psalm 34
commemorates the incident described in 1 Samuel 21:10 when David
(Dawidh) was trying to hide among his enemies at Gath. When he was
recognized by some people he pretended to be insane so that the king
would send him away. Is it possible that Dawidh called himself Dayyad
to trick his enemies?

I checked the name Dayyad. Dayyad the Hunter was a sort of mythical
Assyrian Hercules. Could the myth of Dayyad the Hunter be the basis
for the legend of David and Goliath? Anyway, it is fairly common for
one name to have two or more origins. Dayyad could have assimilated to
the name Dawidh over a period of time.

Andis Kaulins wrote:

Let me say that I generally agree with F. Graham Millar, who was a perspicacious intellect, that the Biblical story of David and Goliath reflects an ancient tale of the stars (see at et seq.). It may or may not also reflect a later historical event - but that is not the issue here at the moment.

Millar identifes David with Bootes, his sling with Corona Borealis and Goliath with Orion.

Based on the name information provided to the LexiLine list by Keith Davis, which makes plausible the equating of David with Dayyad and the Assyrian Hercules, we actually do get a better fit in terms of the shape of the stellar constellations, since this would mean that David was originally Hercules (+ Ophiuchus, an interpretation also possible by Millar's own analysis), Bootes the sling, and Corona Borealis the stone for the sling.

The simplest connection to Orion is that as the stars of Orion set in the sky, the stars of Hercules rise in the sky on the other side of the horizon. These are "rival" stars. David is in this manner the eternal opponent of Goliath (Orion) in the heavens.

As written by Arif Babul :
"[T]he use of stories and poetry to remember the various constellations in the sky and their relative positions was a common feature of the Near/Middle East and Mediterranean civilizations. These stories or mnemonic devices in time became entwined with existing stories and legends or may have even taken on a life of their own (so to say), and come down to today in the form of myths ."
We thus find the following statement in a discussion at, posted by nogodnomasters:
"The Persians figured that Ursa Minor was the Myrobalanum (plum fruit used in dyeing), or date-palm seed or fruit, which the group stars was thought to resemble. The date palm is seen as a symbol of the world axis (or polar axis), or Tree of Life. ("The righteous shall flourish like the date palm" -Psalm 91: 12). In their Eden or Eridu as it was called the tree was called "the shrine of the two". On an Assyrian cylinder the early couple is pictured as sitting by the seven branched tree with a serpent by the woman."


William Glyn-Jones wrote:

Regarding the tree as the axis of the sky, might the serpent twined within it then be Draco? My research has lead me to the conclusion that this serpent around the pole became the vine in Greek tradition, the one that twines up around the mast of the ship of Dionysos, the pole (thyrsos) of the maenad, the pine tree above the tomb of Ikarios and so on. The logic behind this is that the constellation is circumpolar, circling the pole, like a the vine round around and around the thyrsos pole.
Every aspect of the ship/chariot of Dionysos is a constellation, as Titian understood.

Keith Davis wrote:

Dr. Kaulins, Thank you very much for your reply. Thanks to your insights a much clearer picture is beginning to emerge for me.

Keith Davis wrote:
Ralph Ellis in his book "Solomon Falcon of Sheba" contends that King
David of Israel was Pharoah Psusennes II of Egypt. He derives David
from th Egyptian word djuat (star) since Psusennes II had a star
symbol. Ellis attempts to demonstrate that David's ancestry and
Psusennes' ancestry are actually the same.

If you check the website:
you will find a review of Ellis' book "Solomon Falcon of Sheba". This
review is written by Michael Tunnicliffe, lecturer on Ancient Egypt
and Biblical History/Archaeology at the universities of Liverpool and
Manchester. Tunnicliffe severely criticizes Ellis' theory.

I encourage LexiLine members who are interested in this topic to check
out this information for themselves and to draw their own conclusions.

Andis Kaulins wrote:

It is in my opinion impossible that Psusennes II of Egypt was the same as King David of Israel because the chronologies are simply too far apart.

As I have previously suggested in my Absolute Chronology of the Ancient World by Astronomy at, I think that King David is equivalent to Pharaoh Sethos I, with King Saul = Echnaton (Akhenaten), King Solomon equivalent to Ramses II and Ramses III equivalent to Shishak. There are many possibilities for corroboration of this alleged equivalence, as posted to my Ancient Egypt Blog at .

In addition, we should note that the newly published incontrovertible dating of the explosion of the volcano Santorin on Thera - see - clearly indicates that the chronology of the ancient world must be dated BACKWARDS in time and not forward. This would put the reign of King David at the time of Pharaoh Sethos of Egypt and would mean that the Biblical Hiram of Tyre = Harem-hab. In fact, Haremhab's cartouche has the hieroglyph of the arm holding an object (Latvian TUR "hold" = TYRE), which I think reads TYRE.

The Lion Handbook to the Bible states about the Phoenician Hiram (Hebrew חִירָם "high-born") that he was "King of Tyre, in alliance with David and Solomon; supplied cedar and skilled labour for the temple; joined with Solomon to operate a Red Sea trading fleet...."

In fact, one of the reliefs of Haremhab (Hiram of Tyre) at Saqqara clearly show him with a Phoenician one-horned helmet.

It is instructive that Haremhab's mummy did not appear among those of the Pharaohs found in the mummy depots, which contained the pharaohs of this period, and we can fairly safely presume that the Egyptologists have soundly erred in his identification.

William Glyn-Jones wrote:

Andis, my Biblical knowledge is almost non-existant, but I am just wondering - if David is an Egyptian pharaoh and in the Bible he is the guy who feels compelled to build the temple the manifestation of which is brought about by his son Solomon, would you then say that the temple in question is really one in Egypt, or that the temple in Jerusalem was originally of pharoanic commission, or simply that the story relating to its construction was appended onto the characters of David and Solomon later on?

Keith Davis wrote:

Since King David of Israel was Pharoah Sethos I rather than Pharoah
Psusennes II would the name David still be derived from Egyptian djuat
(star) in reference to the symbol of the Star of David?

Andis Kaulins wrote:

Here is what I have previously written on this topic at the LexiLine website at :

Floors of Gold in Pi-Ramesse (Per-Ramses)

One of the most amazing discoveries of all time occurred in 1999 in Egypt. In 1999 Archaeologist Edgar Pusch of the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim, Germany discovered the floor remains of an immense temple ruin with the gold dust floors still intact under nearly sixty centimeters of Nile mud about 100 kilometers north of Cairo, Egypt, in the area assigned by Biblical literature to the dwelling place of the Hebrews in Egypt.

Nothing like it has ever been found in Egypt before. Because the cartouche (hieroglyphic insignia of the king) of Ramses II has been found there, the Temple has been assigned to Ramses II.

As shown in other pages of LexiLine and from the revised dating of the birth of Moses to ca. 1700 BC on the authority of Artapanus, Ramses II can only have been the famed King Solomon. Hence the temple floors discovered by Pusch belonged to the destroyed FIRST Temple of Solomon.

It is the temple in which Solomon kept the Ark of the Covenant. The floors are made of a substance into which great amounts of gold dust were mixed. When one walks on them, the shoes leave a trail of gold dust in the air behind, verifying the legend of the wealth of Solomon, according to which even the dust of the streets in Per-Ramses (Pi-Ramesse) was of gold."

Related to this issue in my opinion is the Mishnayot concerning the concealing of the vessels of the temple:

"These Mishnayot ["Records"]
were written by five righteous men.
They are:
Shimur the Levite, Hizkiyah, Zidkiyah, Chaggai the Prophet
and Zechariah, son of Ido the Prophet.

They concealed the vessels of the Temple and the wealth of the treasures
that were in Jerusalem
[The 1st Jerusalem was at Heliopolis, Giza, Per Ramses]
which will not be discovered until the day of the coming of Mashiach,
son of David, speedily in our times, Amen, and so it will be

See also

Currently, some people think that the First Temple Period applied to Solomon's SECOND Temple, which of course is absurd. Solomon's first and only temple was destroyed in Egypt at Per Ramses many years after Solomon's era when the Jews were sent into the Babylonian captivity and when the Assyrians (the invading Arabs) destroyed the First Temple, leading the Jewish priests to hide the contents of the First Temple in the Valley of Kings in King Tut's tomb (this is the account of the Mishnayot). The Second Temple Period began after that in today's Jerusalem in what is now Israel after Cyrus conquered Babylon and gave the Jews in Babylonian Captivity (these were about 10,000 ) their freedom back which allowed them to build a new temple there. It has been presumed that this temple was built on top of the old Temple of Solomon at the same location, but of that, there is not the slighest evidence. Rather, the deported Jews remained at their location in Israel, where they had regained freedom under Cyrus, and built a new, second temple at that new location.

That in any case is how I interpret the available evidence.

Andis Kaulins wrote:

I claim that King David was Sethos I - but we can not yet view this
matter as settled. We still have a long road ahead of us. Just view it
as a good, potentially profitable working hypothesis.

As for the origins of the name David, I think our ideas are still
quite conjectural, but to throw your question back to you - why or why
not djuat? I do not know the answer.

Take a look at the hierogylphs which we today translate as "Tut". What
do you actually read?

If Tut-ankh-amun is Jonathan, Jon-ATON, the son of King Saul - this is
one of my two favorite hypotheses about King Tut - who were both
killed in battle against the Philistines...

and since Jonathan was King David's best "sworn" friend (so the
description in the Lion Handbook to the Bible), then that would
explain Tut's truly royal and splendid burial, in memorium by King

but then what meaning would attach to the "Tut" in what we currently
read as King Tut's name? Would TUT then read "David" ?

William Glyn-Jones wrote:

Re Solomon's Temple: Interesting. Thanks. So presumably you think the -omon part of Solomon is Ahmoun, as with Tutankhahmoun, Ahmoun being the chief deity of the Rameside period. Sorry, I 'm probably going over old ground. Are you aware of the theories about the twin pillars of the temple of Solomon referring to Thebes (Egyptian name "The Southern Pillar") and Heliopolis, the Northern Pillar? Am interested in what you think might be the mechanism by which stories about Egyptian pharaohs became a part of Jewish tradition, but perhaps it is a long story.

Keith Davis wrote:

You have certainly raised some very good points. Ralph Ellis conjectured that Psusennes II was David. He points to 2 glyphs of Psusennes, one of a city and the other of a star. Both remind him of the City of David and the Star of David. He relates the star glyph to the Star of David. This is the basis of his etymology djuat.

I agree that this is highly conjectural. The name David may not be of Egyptian origin at all. It is more likely that Dawidh derives from Hurrian Dudya and that Dayyad later assimilated to Dawidh giving our modern name David those two derivations.

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