David and Goliath
1 Samuel 17
1The Philistines gathered their armies for war. They met at Socoh in Judah
and camped at Ephes Dammim between Socoh and Azekah. 2Saul and the
Israelites gathered in the Valley of Elah and camped there and took their
positions to fight the Philistines. 3The Philistines controlled one hill while the
Israelites controlled another. The valley was between them.
4The Philistines had a champion fighter from Gath named Goliath. He was
about nine feet, four inches tall. He came out of the Philistine camp 5with a
bronze helmet on his head and a coat of bronze armor that weighed about one
hundred twenty-five pounds. 6He wore bronze protectors on his legs, and he had
a bronze spear on his back. 7The wooden part of his larger spear was like a
weaver’s rod, and its blade weighed about fifteen pounds. The officer who
carried his shield walked in front of him.
8Goliath stood and shouted to the Israelite soldiers, “Why have you taken
positions for battle? I am a Philistine, and you are Saul’s servants! Choose a man
and send him to fight me. 9If he can fight and kill me, we will be your servants.
But if I can kill him, you will be our servants.” 10Then he said, “Today I stand
and dare the army of Israel! Send one of your men to fight me!” 11When Saul and
the Israelites heard the Philistine’s words, they were very scared.
12Now David was the son of Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah.
Jesse had eight sons. In Saul’s time Jesse was an old man. 13His three oldest sons
followed Saul to the war. The first son was Eliab, the second was Abinadab, and
the third was Shammah. 14David was the youngest. Jesse’s three oldest sons
followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to Bethlehem, where
he took care of his father’s sheep.
16For forty days the Philistine came out every morning and evening and stood
before the Israelite army.
17Jesse said to his son David, “Take this half bushel of cooked grain and ten
loaves of bread to your brothers in the camp. 18Also take ten pieces of cheese to
the commander and to your brothers. See how your brothers are and bring back
some proof to show me that they are all right. 19Your brothers are with Saul and
the army in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
20Early in the morning David left the sheep with another shepherd. He took
the food and left as Jesse had told him. When David arrived at the camp, the
army was going out to their battle positions, shouting their war cry. 21The
Israelites and Philistines were lining up their men to face each other in battle.
22David left the food with the man who kept the supplies and ran to the battle
line to talk to his brothers. 23While he was talking with them, Goliath, the
Philistine champion from Gath, came out. He shouted things against Israel as
usual, and David heard him. 24When the Israelites saw Goliath, they were very
much afraid and ran away.
25They said, “Look at this man! He keeps coming out to challenge Israel. The
king will give much money to whoever kills him. He will also let whoever kills
him marry his daughter. And his father’s family will not have to pay taxes in
26David asked the men who stood near him, “What will be done to reward the
man who kills this Philistine and takes away the shame from Israel? Who does
this uncircumcised Philistine think he is? Does he think he can speak against the
armies of the living God?”
27The Israelites told David what would be done for the man who would kill
28When David’s oldest brother Eliab heard David talking with the soldiers, he
was angry with David. He asked David, “Why did you come here? Who’s taking
care of those few sheep of yours in the desert? I know you are proud and wicked
at heart. You came down here just to watch the battle.”
29David asked, “Now what have I done wrong? Can’t I even talk?” 30When he
turned to other people and asked the same questions, they gave him the same
answer as before. 31Yet what David said was told to Saul, and he sent for David.
32David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged. I, your servant, will
go and fight this Philistine!”
33Saul answered, “You can’t go out against this Philistine and fight him.
You’re only a boy. Goliath has been a warrior since he was a young man.”
34But David said to Saul, “I, your servant, have been keeping my father’s
sheep. When a lion or bear came and took a sheep from the flock, 35I would chase
it. I would attack it and save the sheep from its mouth. When it attacked me, I
caught it by its fur and hit it and killed it. 36I, your servant, have killed both a lion
and a bear! This uncircumcised Philistine will be like them, because he has
spoken against the armies of the living God. 37The LORD who saved me from a
lion and a bear will save me from this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” 38Saul put his own
clothes on David. He put a bronze helmet on his head and dressed him in armor.
39David put on Saul’s sword and tried to walk around, but he was not used to all
the armor Saul had put on him.
He said to Saul, “I can’t go in this, because I’m not used to it.” Then David
took it all off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose five smooth stones from a
stream. He put them in his shepherd’s bag and grabbed his sling. Then he went to
meet the Philistine.
41At the same time, the Philistine was coming closer to David. The man who
held his shield walked in front of him. 42When Goliath looked at David and saw
that he was only a boy, tanned and handsome, he looked down on David with
disgust. 43He said, “Do you think I am a dog, that you come at me with a stick?”
He used his gods’ names to curse David. 44He said to David, “Come here. I’ll
feed your body to the birds of the air and the wild animals!”
45But David said to him, “You come to me using a sword and two spears. But
I come to you in the name of the LORD All-Powerful, the God of the armies of
Israel! You have spoken against him. 46Today the LORD will hand you over to
me, and I’ll kill you and cut off your head. Today I’ll feed the bodies of the
Philistine soldiers to the birds of the air and the wild animals. Then all the world
will know there is a God in Israel! 47Everyone gathered here will know the
LORD does not need swords or spears to save people. The battle belongs to him,
and he will hand you over to us.”
48As Goliath came near to attack him, David ran quickly to meet him. 49He
took a stone from his bag, put it into his sling, and slung it. The stone hit the
Philistine and went deep into his forehead, and Goliath fell facedown on the
50So David defeated the Philistine with only a sling and a stone. He hit him
and killed him. He did not even have a sword in his hand. 51Then David ran and
stood beside him. He took Goliath’s sword out of its holder and killed him by
cutting off his head.
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran.
52The men of Israel and Judah shouted and chased the Philistines all the way to
the entrance of the city of Gath and to the gates of Ekron.
The Philistines’ bodies lay on the Shaaraim road as far as Gath and Ekron.
53The Israelites returned after chasing the Philistines and robbed their camp.
54David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and put Goliath’s weapons in his own
55When Saul saw David go out to meet Goliath, Saul asked Abner,
commander of the army, “Abner, who is that young man’s father?”
Abner answered, “As surely as you live, my king, I don’t know.”
56The king said, “Find out whose son he is.”
57When David came back from killing Goliath, Abner brought him to Saul.
David was still holding Goliath’s head.
58Saul asked him, “Young man, who is your father?”
David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
Earlier passages confirmed that Goliath came from an area that had many tall people. Even though it wasn't unusual for two armies to send out their best soldiers to fight in place of an all-out war, the Israelites had no one to compare to nine foot-tall Goliath.
Though the Israelites feared losing to Goliath, they forgot who had called them to enter the Promised Land. Though they had seen God fight for them in many previous battles, they neglected to trust him in this one. David's focus was not on the size of the enemy, but on God.
There are certain things anyone knows not to do.... You don't fight a lion with a toothpick. You don't sneeze into the wind. You don't go bear hunting with a cork gun. And you don't send a shepherd boy to battle a giant.
You don't, that is, unless you are out of options. Saul was. And it is when we are out of options that we are most ready for God's surprises.
Was Saul ever surprised! The king tried to give David some equipment. "What do you want, boy? Shield? Sword? Grenades? Rifles? A helicopter? We'll make a Rambo out of you."
David had something else in mind. Five smooth stones and an ordinary leather sling.
The soldiers gasped. Saul sighed. Goliath jeered. David swung. And God made his point. "Anyone who underestimates what God can do with the ordinary has rocks in his head.” (From The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado)
What battle are you facing this week? Even if it's bigger than you can handle, it's not bigger than God can handle. Proceed with his backing.
Don't Be Afraid - Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 46:4; Daniel 6:27; Matthew 10:28-31; John 14:27; 2 Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 4:6; Hebrews 13:6.