(1 Sam. 17:50) Who killed Goliath—David or Elhanan?

CLAIM: In one account, David is said to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-51). However, in another account, Elhanan kills Goliath (2 Sam. 21:19). Which is true?

RESPONSE: The passage in 2 Samuel 21 is an obvious transmission error. That is, a copyist must have erred in copying this portion of Scripture. Of course, as Christians, we only believe in the original autographs as fully inspired—not the later copies which could be wrong. 1 Chronicles 20:5 states that Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath. Therefore, this was probably mistaken by the copyist.