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ELHANAN (Heb. אֶלְחָנָן; "God has mercy"), the name of two biblical characters: (1) the son of Dodo of Beth-Lehem and one of David's "mighty men," mentioned after *Asahel in the list of the 30 warriors (II Sam. 23:24; I Chron. 11:26); (2) the son of Jaare-Oregim of Bethlehem, one of the "servants of David." According to II Samuel 21:19 Elhanan killed *Goliath, while according to I Chronicles 20:5 (where he is called the son of Jair) he killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath. The former verse contradicts the story of *David and Goliath in I Samuel 17. Among the various suggestions put forth to resolve this contradiction is B. Mazar's proposal that Elhanan the son of Jaare (יערי) is to be identified with David son of Jesse (ישי). Elhanan was David's true name before he ascended the throne, while Jaare is a corruption of Jesse (see *David). Some scholars believe that the Hebrew words ʾ et Golyat, i.e., "Goliath," in the source II Samuel, was emended to ʾ aḥi Golyat, i.e., "the brother of Goliath," in I Chronicles, in order to cover up the contradiction between the two accounts.

The aggadah, too, identifies Elhanan with David, and explains the word oregim in II Samuel 21:19 as "of those who weave (oreg) the curtains of the Temple" (Targum to this word).


Goldschmid, in: BJPES, 14 (1947–49), 122; A.M. Honeyman, in: JBL, 67 (1948), 13–25; W. Pákozdy, in: ZAW, 68 (1956), 257–9; J. Stamm, in: VT supplement, 7 (1959), 165–83. IN THE AGGADAH: Ginzberg, Legends, 6 (1946), 260; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 62. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Japhet, I & II Chronicles (1993), 363–69; S. Bar-Efrat, II Samuel (1996), 233–34; G. Knoppers, I Chronicles 1029 (2004), 736.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.