The Place of the Skull

The story of David and Goliath is one of the best known Bible stories. We know it so well that we sometimes overlook things. For example, Goliath made his blasphemous boasts before the army of Israel for forty days. Forty is the number of testing. Jesus was tested in the wilderness for forty days. The Israelites were being tested by the Philistines.

Also, David chose five smooth stones and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. Was this because he knew that Goliath had four brothers who were giants also? (II Samuel 21:22) This story also contains the statement to Goliath that declared David’s faith in the Lord, “for the battle [is] the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.” (I Samuel 17:47)

After the stone from David’s slingshot sunk into the forehead of the giant, and he fell facedown before David, David took Goliath’s sword and cut off his head. And here is the remarkable part; Scripture says that David took the head to Jerusalem. At this time Jerusalem was under the control of the Jebusites. Some speculate that David took the skull of Goliath to Jerusalem when he conquered that city many years later, but Scripture says “head” and not “skull.” Others speculate that David took the head of Goliath to Jerusalem as a warning to the Jebusites that the God of Israel was able to overcome even the mighty.

The Bible does not tell us what David did with the head of Goliath in Jerusalem. Perhaps David, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, buried the head just outside of Jerusalem. Then, over one thousand years later, the prophesied descendant of David, Jesus the Messiah, was crucified on Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” I do not know if this refers to the skull of Goliath.

I do know that Calvary or Golgotha is not necessarily on a hill. We have been taught by hymns that the Cross was on a hill, but Christian hymns are not Scripture. The Gospels do not tell us that Calvary or Golgotha was on a hill.

The Greek word golgotha in the New Testament is derived from the Hebrew word gulgolet (Strong’s H1115) which also means “skull.” The letters that spell gulgolet tell an interesting story. It is spelled gimel lamed gimel lamed tav. According to the rabbis, gimel means loving kindness and culmination, and lamed means teaching. These two letters are repeated, giving an emphasis to loving kindness and teaching. The Lord repeats statements when He wants our attention. The tav means truth and perfection. It appears that the word gulgolet tells us of being taught about loving kindness. It also speaks of culmination.

The sacrifice Jesus made at the Place of the Skull was done in loving kindness, and it was the culminating sacrifice. No further sacrifice for sin is needed. And the final letter of gulgolet, the tav, completes the statement in “truth and perfection.” The sinless Lord Jesus is truth and perfection. (John 1:14)

May His wonderful name be praised throughout eternity!

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