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Eliab (Hebrew: אליאב, ʼElīʼāḇ; "Name means::My Father is God") (b. ca. Born::2912 AM) was the eldest brother of King David. (1_Samuel 17:28 )


grandson of::Obed
son of::Jesse
brother of::Abinadab
brother of::Shimea
brother of::Nethanel
brother of::Raddai
brother of::Ozem
brother of::David
brother of::Zeruiah
brother of::Abigail

Date of Birth

Eliab and his two brothers Aminadab and Shimea were the only three of eight brothers who were serving in the army of King Saul when, in 2937 AM (1067 BC), Goliath challenged the Israelites to send a single-combat champion to fight him. (1_Samuel 17:13 ) Floyd Nolen Jones infers this date after first inferring that David, who actually fought against Goliath, was eighteen years old at the time and had been born in 2919 AM.[1] Thus if Eliab was the oldest of eight brothers, and the youngest brother was eighteen years old, then Eliab was twenty-five years old at the time and was born in 2912 AM.

Visit of Samuel

In 2934 AM, Samuel visited Bethlehem, the home of Eliab's father Jesse. Samuel said that he had come to make a sacrifice, and asked Jesse and his eight sons to attend. He then asked each of the sons of Jesse to pass in review before him. Eliab was the first, because he was the oldest. When he and six of his brothers had passed before Samuel, Samuel asked Jesse whether he had any more sons. Jesse then called David, who was fifteen years old at the time, and Samuel anointed David and said that David would someday become a king.[2] (1_Samuel 16:4-13 )

Battle of Elath

In 2937 AM, matched Philistine and Israelite forces faced each other across the Valley of Elath. The Philistines had a champion named Goliath, from Gath, who offered single combat against any Israelite. Goliath's great height deterred most of the Israelites from accepting this challenge.

Rumors in the camp of Israel had it that King Saul would pay a great bounty to anyone who killed Goliath, and would offer that man his daughter's hand in marriage and exempt that man and his household from taxation for a year. (1_Samuel 17:25 ) Then Eliab noticed that his younger brother David was in the camp and was trying to verify those rumors of the great rewards that the king was allegedlly offering.

Eliab confronted his younger brother in anger, and accused David of coming to the camp on a false pretext so that he could watch the battle. David was at this time training to be the king's armor bearer, so the only circumstance in which Eliab's accusation could have any merit was that David was under the military age.[1]

David politely answered his brother that he had done nothing for which Eliab could reproach him, and was simply asking a question, i.e. what reward might a man earn for fighting and killing Goliath? (1_Samuel 17:29 )

King Saul sent for David shortly thereafter, and David volunteered to fight Goliath. The next day, David fought him and killed him. The Philistines ran in disorderly retreat, and the Israelites took great spoil.[2]

Further History

Eliab had a daughter, Abihail, who married one of David's sons, named Jerimoth. Their daughter, Mahalath, married King Rehoboam and bore three sons to him.[2] (2_Chronicles 11:17-19 )

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, pp. 94-96.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Blank W, "Eliab," Daily Bible Study, March 25, 2007. Accessed January 27, 2009.