1 Samuel 17:4 Hebrew; Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll and Josephus four (cubits)
4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
This bizarre ESV footnote reading is really something to think about. It is used to doubt the text which occurs several hundred places in the ESV. Time for some analysis:
If the average man of Israel was about 5’.4”, then you would expect some of the much taller than average would be in the low 6’ range. Saul being taller from his shoulders (not head) than the tallest of the tall would have been likely 7’ – 7.5’ tall. He was THE giant of Israel. Still with Goliath being close to 9 ½’ tall compared to Goliath, Saul would have been a shrimp and knew better than to take on a giant greater than 6 cubits (Saul not having the faith of David).
If we go by a 4 cubit Goliath, this would put him around 6.6’ at best. He would definitely been shorter than Saul.
Now, if Goliath was 4 cubits, than Saul would not likely have exceeded 3 cubits and since Saul was taller at the shoulder(1st Samuel 9:2) than any other Israelite, the “tall” Israelites would have been 2.5 cubits with the average Israelite at 2 cubits which is around 3 feet tall. NOT!
But there is more… 1 Samuel 17 gives the weight of the armor of Goliath which would have been about 200lbs(90kgs), not counting the spear whose iron tip would have been around 15 lbs or 7kgs. Add to this the rod of Goliath’s spear being as a weaver’s beam and there is no way a 4 cubit man would be able to fight in battle under this weight. For a 6 cubit and a span warrior, this would be no problem.
You will notice that no knowledge of Greek is needed to deal with this issue.
Such ridiculous scholarship of the ESV casts doubt on their ability to deal with any important issue honestly.