David and Goliath

In the Bible: 1 Samuel 17

A young shepherd David

A young shepherd David

Israel was at war with Philistine.

The armies were camped in the hills on either side of the Valley of Elah, ready to do battle.

A common way wars were fought back in those days was to allow a champion from both sides do battle. The winner of that fight would proclaim victory for his army, while the other side would be required to surrender.

David and Goliath fact: Most biblical scholars believe that David was born in Bethlehem around 1085 B.C.

Out of the camp of Philistine, a giant warrior called Goliath emerged to challenge Israel.

Goliath was over nine feet tall. He wore armor over his head, chest, and legs made of brass. He carried a sword, a spear and a shield weighing about 150 pounds all together.

He called out to the Israelite army, “Is there no one willing to challenge me? Choose someone amongst yourselves to do battle with me! If he wins, my people will become your slaves. If I win, you will become slaves of the Phillistines.

Goliath was arrogant. He continued to taunt the Israelites, “I defy the armies of Israel. Come, do battle with me today!”

David and Goliath fact: Earlier in the book of Samuel (ch. 8), Israel had forced Samuel to anoint a king “like all the other nations” around them so the king could go out and do battle. By doing so, they rejected God as their savior and protector. We see here, the results of that decision.

When the Israelites heard Goliath, they were really afraid. None of them wanted to do battle, because they thought they would die. They had forgotten to trust God.

David, son of Jesse in Bethlehem, was asked by his father to deliver bread, cheese, and roasted grain to three of his brothers on Israel’s front lines. So David gathered the food, and with one of his shepherd friends, set off to deliver the goods.

David was familiar with King Saul and his officials because he had served the king as a musician when he was younger. After a little time though, he had returned to his father to take care of his sheep.

David, the youngest of eight brothers, arrived at the camp as the Israelite army was preparing to go into battle. The battle cries could be heard for miles.

He delivered the goods and began chatting with the soldiers. Not long after he had been chatting, Goliath came up once again, to challenge the Israelite army. He had been doing this for the past forty days and nights and he spoke the same words he had from the first time. All the soldiers ran back to their tents out of fear of the giant.

David and Goliath fact: Soldiers were not paid back in those days. However, they were “maintained” (fed, armed, and clothed). The items David brought were no doubt considered a “treat” at the time.

However, David heard him, and was angry at what he heard. He also heard the Israelite soldiers saying, “The king will give the man who kills Goliath great riches, give the man his daughter in marriage, and make his father’s house free from taxation in all the land.”

David prepares for battle

David prepares for battle

David began asking the other soldiers about what he had heard. The soldiers confirmed what had been said.

Then David’s oldest brother, Eliab heard that David had been asking about Goliath, and came to David saying, “What are you doing here? I know that you are proud, and full of yourself. You came here to see the battle.”

“What did I do?” replied David. “Is there not a cause to fight for?”

He ignored his brother and turned to the soldiers he had been talking to. The soldiers took David’s words to King Saul, who summoned David.

David told Saul, “Don’t let any man here be afraid because of Goliath. I will go and fight with this Philistine.”

Saul replied, “You can’t fight him. You’re just a boy, and he has been a warrior from the time he was little.”

David and Goliath fact: David had been chosen and trained by God for this very purpose. David had courage because he had faith in God.

“I have been tending sheep since I was very young. I have killed both a lion and a bear while protecting my flock, and retrieved the stolen sheep from their mouths. This arrogant Philistine is no different from them. The Lord God delivered me from the lion and bear, he will also deliver me from him because he has defied the armies of the living God.”

Saul saw the strength in David and told him to, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

Saul fitted David with armor and provided him with a sword and a shield. But they were too bulky for David, and he could not wear them, saying, “I’m not used to these, I cannot wear them.”

David and Goliath fact: In contrast to the Israelite army, who put their trust in weapons and armor, David put his trust in God when entering into battle. The Bible speaks of putting on the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18

David took the armor off, took his staff in his hand, and picked up five smooth stones out of a nearby brook. He put the stones in his shepherd’s bad and carried his sling in his hand, and drew near to the Philistine Goliath.

As they drew near each other, Goliath noticed that David was only a boy. He was angry that they would send such a small man to challenge him.

“Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks?” he snarled. “Come to me boy, and I will feed you to the birds of the air.”

David hurls a stone at Goliath

David hurls a stone at Goliath

David was not afraid and hollered back to Goliath, “You come at me with a sword, a shield, and a spear, but I come against you in the name of the Lord God of Israel. God will give you to me and I will feed you to the birds of the air so that all who see will know that there is a God in Israel!”

David continued, “Everyone here will 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!”

David and Goliath fact: David wrote a good portion of the book of Psalms. He was not only rugged and handsome, but talented in the literary and musical arts.

At that, Goliath arose and charged David.

David grabbed a stone from his bag and put it into his sling. He spun the sling over his head and let the stone fly. It sailed through the air and smashed into Goliath’s forehead. Goliath crumpled to the ground.

When the Philistines saw that their hero had been killed, they fled for their lives. The Israelite army chased after them and looted their camp, bringing back all the plunder to their own homes.

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