A. Goliath challenges Israel.
1. (1-10) The Philistine Goliath challenges Israel.
Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
a. They encamped in the Valley of Elah: The green rolling hills surrounding the Valley of Elah still stand today and they witnessed one of the most remarkable battles in the Bible. It began when the Philistines, constant enemies of Israel during this period, assembled their army on a mountain, and on an opposite mountain stood the army of Israel.
b. And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath: He was a large man (six cubits and a span can be anywhere from 8’5” to 9’2” – that is, 256 to 280 cm), and he had armor and weapons to match his size.
i. Goliath was tall, but his height is not unheard of in history. Poole on Goliath’s height: “Besides the giants mentioned in the Scriptures, Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Pliny, and others, make mention of persons seven cubits high, which is near double to an ordinary man’s height.” Youngblood mentions the documented case of Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was eight feet eleven inches tall at the time of his death on July 15, 1940, at the age of twenty-two.
ii. Goliath was from Gath and Joshua 11:22 says that a people known as the Anakim were still there in Joshua’s day. That was some 400 years before this, but it shows how there may have continued to be men of unusually large size from the city of Gath.
iii. Different sources give different estimates, but Goliath’s armor and weapons together probably weighed somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds. This was a big man, and strong enough to carry and use these huge weapons.
c. Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.… I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together: Goliath issued a bold challenge to the army of Israel. Adam Clarke says that the word champion really comes from the Hebrew word, “a middle man, the man between two.” The idea is that this was a man who stood between the two armies and fought as a representative of his army.
2. (11) The fear of Saul and all Israel.
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
a. They were dismayed and greatly afraid: This was Goliath’s exact intention in issuing the challenge. The reason why he came out with full battle equipment and paraded in front of the Israelite army was that he wanted them to be dismayed and greatly afraid. Goliath defeated the Israelites with fear alone.
i. In any contest, it’s always useful to demoralize your opponent and strike fear into their heart. First, it may keep them from ever going to battle with you because they are so afraid. Second, if it does come to battle they will fight with fear and apprehension and so with your words, you’ve done a lot to win the battle before it even begins. This is a significant strategy of the devil against believers.
b. When Saul…heard these words: Saul had a special reason to be afraid. Goliath was the giant among the Philistines and Saul was head and shoulders taller than other Israelite men (1 Samuel 9:2). Saul was the logical choice to square off against Goliath, and we can expect that others assumed that he should fight Goliath.
c. Dismayed and greatly afraid: As the battle loomed, this was Saul’s state. At one time he was known as a fierce and successful military leader (1 Samuel 14:52). But that was before the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). As the Spirit left Saul so did his courage.
B. David comes to the camp of Israel.
1. (12-15) David, the youngest of eight brothers, splits his time between the palace and the pasture.
Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse, and who had eight sons. And the man was old, advanced in years, in the days of Saul. The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone to follow Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. David was the youngest. And the three oldest followed Saul. But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
a. David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep: It seems David was only called to the palace as needed, when Saul was afflicted by the distressing spirit.
b. David was the youngest: David is said to be the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. Yet Psalm 89:27 calls David God’s firstborn, demonstrating that “firstborn” is as much a title and a concept as a description of birth order. Therefore, when Paul calls Jesus firstborn over all creation in Colossians 1:15, he isn’t trying to say that Jesus is a created being who had a beginning. He is simply pointing to the prominence and preeminence of Jesus.
2. (16-21) David brings gifts from home and comes into Israel’s camp.
And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening. Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle. For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, army against army.
a. And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days: Day after day, Goliath taunted and mocked the armies of Israel, exposing them all (and especially Saul) as cowards.
b. Left the sheep with a keeper: This little observation shows the shepherd’s heart of David. If he left the sheep to run an errand for his father he made sure the sheep were still well cared for.
c. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle: This must have been the approximate scene for forty days. The armies gathered on each hillside, screaming and shouting at each other across the valley. Goliath made his parade and shouted his insults, and after a while the Israelites slinked away in shame.
3. (22-24) David sees Goliath’s challenge and the fear of Israel’s soldiers.
And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.
a. Dreadfully afraid: All of the Israelite army was dreadfully afraid. There was not one man among them who would take on Goliath. Every one of them fled from him when Goliath came out.
4. (25-27) David hears of Saul’s reward to the man who beats Goliath, but he speaks of God’s honor.
So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.” Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
a. The man who kills him, the king will enrich: The situation had become so desperate that Saul needed to offer a three-part bribe including a cash award, a princess, and a tax exemption – to induce someone, anyone to fight and win against Goliath.
b. Who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel…. who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? Other soldiers focused on the danger of the battle or the material rewards to be won. It seems that David alone focused on the reputation of Israel and the honor of the living God.
i. This truly shows David to be a man after God’s own heart. He cares about the things God cares about. He saw the problem in spiritual terms, not in material or fleshly terms.
· When the men of Israel said, “This man,” David said, “This uncircumcised Philistine.”
· When the men of Israel said, “Surely he has come up to defy Israel,” David said, “That he should defy the armies of the living God.
· When the men of Israel said, “The man who kills him,” David said, “The man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel.”
· David saw things from the LORD’s perspective, but the men of Israel saw things only from man’s perspective.
5. (28-30) David is misunderstood and falsely accused by his brother.
Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did.
a. Eliab’s anger was aroused against David: We might have thought that David’s visit would please Eliab, especially considering all the things he brought from home. But David’s words angered Eliab and there were many reasons why.
i. First, he was angry because he felt David was an insignificant, worthless person who had no right to speak up, especially with such bold words (Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?).
ii. Second, he was angry because he felt he knew David’s motivation (I know your pride and the insolence of your heart), but he didn’t really know David’s heart. “Here he taketh upon him that which belongeth to God alone (Jeremiah 17:10), and judgeth David’s heart by his own.” (Trapp)
iii. Third, he was angry because he thought David tried to provoke someone else into fighting Goliath just so he could see a battle (you have come down to see the battle). Eliab himself was a tall man of good appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), and he may have felt David was trying to push him into battle.
iv. Finally, he was angry because David was right! When you are dismayed and greatly afraid or dreadfully afraid, the last thing in the world you want is someone telling you to be courageous.
b. What have I done now? Is there not a cause? David stuck to his position. There is no doubt that what his brother Eliab said hurt him, but he would not let it hinder him. David remained concerned with God’s cause before everything. Before his own personal safety, before his own personal glory, before his only personal honor, he had a passionate concern for God’s cause.
i. David was more concerned with God’s cause (Is there not a cause?) than with his own feelings. When David was misunderstood and publicly rebuked by his own brother, probably amid the laughs of the other soldiers, he could have quit. But he showed the strength of the armor of God in his life and replied rightly. He didn’t care about his glory or success, but only for the glory and success of the LORD’s cause. Goliath was a dead man right then. This is where the battle was won. If Eliab’s hurtful words could get David in the flesh and out of step with the Spirit of the LORD, then David’s strength would be gone. But when David ruled his spirit and answered softly, he was more in step with the Spirit of the LORD than ever. Goliath was defeated right then.
ii. “Immediately before the encounter with the Philistine he fought a battle which cost him far more thought, prudence, and patience. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and with king Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than going forth in the strength of the Lord to smite the uncircumcised boaster. Many a man meets with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries.” (Spurgeon)
C. David prepares to fight Goliath.
1. (31-32) David’s confident words become known to Saul.
Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
a. They reported him to Saul: It wasn’t as if David’s words were all that bold. He never said, “If I went out to fight against that Philistine, I would whip his tail. He’s nothing.” David didn’t talk like that, but at least he stood up to Goliath. David didn’t show a lot of backbone, but he showed more courage than anyone else in Israel, so it was worth reporting to Saul.
b. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine: Saul waited a long time – at least 40 days – to hear someone say these words. But to hear them now, from the mouth of this boy, almost seemed like a cruel joke. “The good news is that someone finally wants to fight Goliath. The bad news is that he is a little shepherd boy.”
i. David’s words to Saul almost made the matter worse. Let no man’s heart fail because of him almost sounds like, “All right everyone, calm down, I’ve got the situation completely under control.” It seemed ridiculous coming from this teenage boy. It seemed like youthful pride and overconfidence, but it wasn’t.
c. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine: These are bold words. This is the first time David specifically volunteered to battle against Goliath. It is one thing to say, “Someone should do something about the enemy.” It is entirely another thing to say, “I will do something about the enemy.”
2. (33-37) David’s training as a shepherd prepared him.
And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
a. You are not able…for you are a youth: Saul thought David was disqualified because of his age, size, and inexperience. This shows that Saul looked at the battle purely in natural, outward terms. The outward “tale of the tape” said there was no way David could win. The “tale of God’s tape” said there was no way David could lose.
b. You are a youth and he a man of war from his youth: Saul essentially told David, “He’s been a soldier longer than you have been alive. How can you ever defeat him?” Again, this shows that Saul only looked at the outward, not the spiritual dimensions of this battle.
c. Your servant has killed both lion and bear: God prepared David for this exact battle when David was a lowly shepherd. A lion attacked the lambs and David fought the lion. A bear came against the sheep and David battled with the bear. All along, God prepared David to fight Goliath. How long did David prepare to fight Goliath? All his life, up to that day.
i. This is generally God’s pattern for preparation. He calls us to be faithful right where we are and then uses our faithfulness to accomplish greater things. If David ran scared at the lion or the bear, he would never have been ready to fight Goliath now. But he was faithful then, so he will be faithful now.
d. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them: David increases in boldness as the story progresses. First, he said someone should fight Goliath for a righteous cause (1 Samuel 17:26, 29). Then he said he would fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17:32). Now he says he will kill Goliath.
e. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine: As a shepherd facing lions and bears, David had no idea he was being trained to fight a giant. In the midst of our preparation we rarely see how God will use it. Yet now, David can look back and know that the same God who delivered him before will also deliver him now. David knew that God’s help in times past is a prophecy of His help in the future.
3. (38-40) David prepares to fight Goliath.
So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
a. So Saul clothed David with his armor: Saul was still in the natural, in the flesh, in the things that are merely outward. He figured that if this boy were going to beat Goliath, he needed the best armor in all Israel – the armor of the king.
b. Tried to walk…. David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them”: Saul tried to put his armor on David, but it didn’t work. It didn’t work because Saul’s armor did not physically fit David. Everything was too big, and David could not move well with Saul’s armor. It also didn’t work because Saul’s armor did not spiritually fit David. Armor, military technology, or human wisdom would not win this battle. The LORD God of Israel would win this battle.
i. Often people try to fight with another person’s armor. They see God do something wonderful through someone else and they try to copy it without really making it their own. God’s work is never most effectively done in this way.
ii. Sadly, many people would say the same about the armor of God: “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” Are you more familiar with the weapons and armor of the flesh or the weapons and armor of the Spirit? “Press some people to their exercise of prayer, or any other piece of the armour of God, and they must say, if they say truly, as here, I cannot do withal, for I have not been accustomed to it.” (Trapp)
c. So David took them off: David had to renounce Saul’s armor. He had to vow, “I will not fight with man’s armor. I will trust in the LORD and His armor instead.” Often, we want a safe “middle ground” where we try to wear both kinds of armor. God wants us to trust in Him and Him alone.
d. A staff in his hand…five smooth stones…a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand: David used the same tools he used before as a shepherd to kill the lion and the bear. What God used before, He would use again.
i. A charming – but purely legendary – Rabbinical story says these five particular stones called out to David from the brook and said, “By us you shall overcome the giant!”
ii. Why did David choose five stones? He only needed one to kill Goliath. Some suggest – somewhat humorously – that it was because Goliath had four relatives who were also giants, whom David and his associates later killed (2 Samuel 21:18-22).
e. And he drew near to the Philistine: This is where it mattered. David could have said the bold words, renounced Saul’s armor, trusted in God’s armor, and gathered his shepherd’s tools. But if he never went into the battle, what would it matter? Ultimately, David had the faith not just to talk, not just to renounce, not just to prepare, but also to actually draw near to the Philistine. That’s real faith.
D. David defeats Goliath.
1. (41-44) Goliath curses David and his God.
So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
a. So the Philistine came…and the man who bore the shield went before him: Obviously, because of Goliath’s size and experience, it was not a “fair” fight. Added to that, it was two against one because Goliath had an armor bearer with him.
b. When the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him: The idea behind looked about is almost that Goliath had to look around to find David. David was so small compared to this man that Goliath had a hard time even seeing him. But when he did see him, he disdained him. There was nothing – nothing – in David that struck fear or respect in Goliath’s heart. Goliath felt insulted that they sent David (Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks?).
i. When Goliath asked, “Am I a dog?” it was worse than it sounds. The Hebrew word for dog (kaleb) is used in passages like Deuteronomy 23:18 for male homosexual prostitutes. Goliath felt that sending David was an insult to his manhood.
c. And the Philistine cursed David by his gods: If it hadn’t been established before, it is certainly settled now. This is not a fair fight. It isn’t Goliath and his armor bearer against David. It is Goliath and his armor bearer against David and the LORD God of Israel. The battle is over. Anyone with any spiritual understanding could finish the story from here.
d. Come to me: “Bring it on, little boy!” David will be more than happy to oblige Goliath’s request.
2. (45-47) David, full of faith, replies to Goliath.
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
a. Then David said to the Philistine: We can imagine Goliath’s deep, deep, bass voice reverberating against the tall hills surrounding the Valley of Elah. The sound struck fear into the heart of every Israelite soldier, and probably even some of the Philistine soldiers! Then David answered with his teenage voice; perhaps even with his voice cracking. The Philistines laughed when they heard David practically screaming in his cracking voice and the Israelites were both horrified and embarrassed.
b. You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied: David makes a contrast between himself and Goliath without giving credit to Goliath himself. “Those are some pretty fancy weapons you’ve got there, mister. But I’ve got something far better than your weapons.”
i. To say, “I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts” is to say, “I come as a representative of the LORD of hosts, the God who has heavenly armies at His command. I am a sent man, a man on a mission from God.”
c. This day, the LORD will deliver you into my hand: David is bolder and bolder. It is one thing to tell Saul he will kill Goliath (1 Samuel 17:36). It is an entirely different thing to tell Goliath he will kill Goliath, and to say the LORD would do it this day. Adding I will strike you and take your head from you is a nice, vivid detail.
i. David was careful to say, the LORD will deliver you into my hand. David was bold, but bold in God not in himself. He knew the battle belonged to the LORD.
d. That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel: This whole incident made David famous. But that was not why he did it. He did it for the fame and the glory of the LORD, not his own name. He wanted all the earth to know that there is a God in Israel.
e. Then all this assembly shall know: At this point, it wasn’t enough for all the earth to know that there is a God in Israel. Israel needed to know that there was a God in Israel! Saul and the rest of the soldiers of Israel thought that the LORD only could save with sword and spear. They didn’t really believe that the battle is the LORD’s but David will give them proof.
f. He will give you into our hands: Again, notice David’s humility. It isn’t He will give you into my hands. David knows this was an “our” battle, that he fought on behalf of all Israel. If they weren’t trusting in the LORD, David would trust for them.
3. (48-49) David kills Goliath.
So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
a. When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine: What a scene! Goliath, enraged at David’s boldness, drew near to quickly kill David. David didn’t run away. He didn’t hide. He didn’t panic. He didn’t drop to his knees and pray. Instead, David hurried and ran…to meet the Philistine.
i. Many Christians struggle at this very point. Is God supposed to do it or am I supposed to do it? The answer is, “Yes!” God does it and we do it. Trust God, rely on Him, and then get to work and work as hard as you can – run right at the enemy. That is how the work of God is done.
ii. “The lazy-bones of our orthodox churches cry, ‘God will do his own work’; and then they look out the softest pillow they can find, and put it under their heads, and say, ‘The eternal purposes will be carried out: God will be glorified.’ That is all very fine talk, but it can be used with the most mischievous design. You can make opium out of it, which will lull you into a deep and dreadful slumber, and prevent your being of any kind of use at all.” (Spurgeon)
b. He slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face: David had the calm hand and careful aim of someone who really trusted God. He used the sling – a leather strap with a pouch in the middle – to hurl a stone, killing Goliath.
i. This battle was won out with the sheep. In those lonely hours alone with the lambs, David talked to God and took a lot of target practice with his sling. Now his communion with the LORD and his skill with the sling are both used by God. “In the use of the sling it requires much practice to hit the mark; but when once this dexterity is acquired, the sling is nearly as fatal as the musket or bow.” (Clarke)
ii. Everyone else thought, “Goliath is so big, I can’t beat him.” David thought, “Goliath is so big, I can’t miss him.” “A man of less faith might have been too nervous to take the proper aim.” (Blaikie)
c. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face: Just as the Philistine god Dagon fell on his face before the LORD (1 Samuel 5:2-5), so now the worshipper of Dagon falls on his face.
4. (50-54) David beheads Goliath and Israel romps over the Philistines.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.
a. David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it: First, David made certain the enemy was dead. You cannot stop short in dealing with sin or your spiritual enemies; you must kill them dead. Second, David used Goliath’s own sword to cut off his head.
i. Later David wrote in Psalm 57:6: They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; they have dug a pit before me; into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. God loves to use the devil’s weapons against him.
b. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled: They agreed to surrender to Israel if their champion lost (1 Samuel 17:9). We should never expect the devil to live up to his promises. But the soldiers of Israel pursued and defeated the Philistines. David’s example gave them great courage and faith in the LORD.
i. David never read 1 Timothy 4:12, but he lived it: Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. David led by example and led Israel to a great victory.
c. David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent: Since it was many years later that Jerusalem was conquered (2 Samuel 5:6-10), this likely means David eventually brought Goliath’s head to Jerusalem. But David will use the sword of Goliath later (1 Samuel 21:9). David had some enduring reminders of God’s great work.
i. “Presumably David had the head pickled and hung it in his banqueting hall after he had captured Jerusalem.” (Ellison)
5. (55-58) Saul meets a victorious David.
When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.” Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
a. Inquire whose son this young man is: This doesn’t mean that Saul did not recognize David. Perhaps Saul did recognize David, and he simply asked about David’s family background (inquire whose son this young man is). Saul promised his daughter to the man who killed Goliath, and Saul wanted to know something about his future son-in-law.
i. Or, it may be that Saul indeed did not recognize David. Some think that David played behind a screen or a curtain for Saul so Saul never saw his face. Others think that because of the distressing spirit, Saul was not entirely in his right mind. We also know that David did not spend all his time at the palace but went home to tend sheep (1 Samuel 17:15). It’s possible that David’s appearance changed during a time when he was away from Saul, so Saul didn’t immediately recognize him. When Saul called David a “young man” the word means someone who is full-grown, mature, and ready to marry.
b. David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine: David won a great victory, but not greater than the victory Jesus won at the cross. David’s victory over Goliath is a “picture in advance” of the victory Jesus won for His people.
· Both David and Jesus represented their people. Under the proposal of 1 Samuel 17:8-9, whatever happened to Goliath would happen to the Philistines, and whatever happened to the Israelite who fought Goliath would happen to the Israelites.
· Both David and Jesus fought the battle on ground that rightfully belonged to God’s people, ground they had lost.
· Both David and Jesus fought when their enemy was able to dominate the people of God through fear and intimidation alone.
· Both David and Jesus were sent to the battleground by their father (1 Samuel 17:17).
· Both David and Jesus were scorned and rejected by their brethren.
· Both David and Jesus fought the battle without concern for human strategies or conventional wisdom.
· Both David and Jesus won the battle but saw that their enemies did not then give up willingly.
· Both David and Jesus fought a battle where victory was assured even before the battle started.
© 2022 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – email@example.com