1 Samuel Chapter 17

The Israelites were in an ongoing fight against the Philistines. Saul was the acting king of Israel, but he no longer had the support of the Lord or His spirit. David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but he was still young at this point. He had been chosen to be the armor bearer of Saul, and played the harp for him when Saul was feeling troubled. The war with the Philistines continues in the chapter, which begins:

1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

In the land of Judah, a Philistine army gathered together to fight against Israel. Saul prepared his men for the fight. Both armies camped on the opposing sides of a valley.

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.
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

The Philistines chose to take a different approach, and sent out their champion to represent them. The champion was a giant, named Goliath. He was from Gath, where the remaining giants had been in the land. He was around 9 feet tall and very large. He was heavily armored over nearly his whole body. He and a man bearing his shield, went out of the Philistine camp. He stood and challenged the Israelite army to choose their own champion to fight him. He dared the Israelites to choose anyone who would be able to fight him. Saul and his people were afraid.

12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Beth-lehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Beth-lehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

Three of the oldest of eight sons of Jesse (Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah) had gone to the battle front with Saul. These sons followed Saul. His youngest son, David, had returned home to the work of a shepherd, when Saul had left to fight. For forty days, Goliath challenged the Israelite army. Meanwhile, Jesse sent David to the battle lines, with food for his sons. He wanted to know how his sons were doing and I think to make sure they were okay.

20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.
26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

David arrived at the trenches, as the host of Israel went out to fight. David ran out to find his brothers, and as he greeted them, Goliath challenged the Israelites again. David heard the words and saw that the Israelites ran away in fear. They told David that any man who killed him, would be blessed by the king with riches, the hand of his daughter, and a family who was free in Israel. David tried to remind the men that this champion was an uncircumcised Philistine, and could not challenge the armies of the Lord.

28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

David’s brother, Eliab, became angry with him for coming and saying these things to their men. He asked why David had come and left his sheep. He called David prideful for desiring to come see the battle instead of doing his own work. David asked what he had done?

30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.

Instead of leaving after the harsh words of his brother, David turned to another and asked the same questions. He got the same reply from others. Eventually Saul heard the words of David and sent for him. David’s steadfastness and determination earned him an audience with the king.

32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

David went to Saul and said the king should not worry about another man fearing, because he would go and fight Goliath. David had the faith and courage to do what was necessary, and did not fear Goliath more than he trusted God. Saul told David he could not do this, because he was just a young man, and Goliath had been trained in battle since he was young. David to Saul that he had had to face a lion and a bear, which had attacked his flock of sheep, and that he had fought them, and after getting his lamb, the animal got up and he killed it and brought his lamb back. David believed Goliath was like the animals, and since the Lord had delivered him against them, he would deliver him out of the hand of the Philistine. Saul allowed David to go and fight Goliath.

Sometimes it is hard to trust that youth can do great things. David was seen as a young man compared to the great men of war around him, and yet he had the faith to do what others could not do. If Saul had already known his servant, he would probably have had more faith in David from the beginning, but he did not and needed to be persuaded by learning of the things which David had been able to do with the help of the Lord. We can have greater trust in our own youth, if we help them to be faithful to the Lord.

In my personal experience, the Lord gives us small steps to build our trust in him, before sending us the Goliaths in our own lives. For David, the Lord had given him the experiences with the lion and the bear, so that he would feel confident in receiving help from the Lord. David knew he was not gifted with strength, and may have cowered with the rest of the army, if he had not been prepared with the other experiences. Because he had chosen to have faith before, he knew the Lord would bless him again. If we accept the challenges that are smaller, and face them head-on with faith in the Lord, we will gain the confidence and trust in God that we will need for the more difficult things in our future.

38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

Before sending him off, Saul put his armor on David. David attempted to make due with the armor and sword, but it was not working for him. David told Saul he could not use them and then he took them off. Instead, he grabbed his own staff and five smooth stones from the brook. He armed himself with his sling and went out to meet Goliath. Goliath and the man who bore his shield, went out to meet David. Goliath looked around for who had come, but when he saw David, he did not see him as a worthy opponent. Goliath felt this was a bit of a joke, like their amry was sending a dog to play with him, and Goliath cursed David by his own gods. Goliath threatened David by saying he would fight him and then give his body to the birds and beasts. David told him that he might come at him with weapons and a shield, but that he came with the Lord of Israel whom Goliath had challenged. David knew that the Lord could deliver Goliath into his hands, so he told Goliath this, and that his death would show to the Philistines the power of the God of Israel. It would show all the host of the Philistines that God could win the battle without the weapons of men, because this was God’s battle with the Philistines. Goliath came closer to David and David quickly went towards him. David grabbed a stone from his bag, and used his sling to hit Goliath in the forehead. The stone hit so hard that it went into his head and Goliath fell face-down upon the ground. David had beaten Goliath with only a sling and stone, so he went to the body and removed Goliath’s own sword, and cut off his head. The Philistines saw this and were afraid, so they ran away. The Israelites went after the Philistines, destroying them. Then they went back to the camp of the Philistines and took their spoil. David took the head of Goliath to Jerusalem, and took his armor to his own tent.

55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
56 And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is.
57 And 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.
58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.

Saul saw David go against the Philistine and asked the captain of his army who the boys father was. The captain, Abner, did not know. Saul told him to find out. Abner brought David before Saul. Saul asked David who his father was, and David replied that his father was Jesse of Bethlehem.

It is amazing to think of the kind of faith and trust that David had in the Lord. Here, he was among men of war, who would have been strong and brave. By the world’s standard, he was nothing in comparison to them. To men, he was nothing in comparison to the man, who the entire Israelite army feared. This did not matter, because David knew that God would fight the battles with their enemies, if they had faith in Him. The opinions of the world and even our own families, do not matter when we put our faith in God. God matters, and if He has chosen us for some purpose in this life, great or small, God can make it possible. I think about my own purposes in life. Right now, my life is filled with the responsibilities of motherhood. God has called me to this position in life. He has given me my children and placed them in my earthly care. In this calling, I have many battles to fight, especially with the outside influences of the world. What the world may say about how I choose to raise my children, does not matter. What matters is that I trust in God and act in faith. These are His children. These are His battles. God will help me to be victorious. Even though I may seem weak and incapable, with God I have the power to do all that is necessary for my children to have what they need and be faithful and successful in those things that matter most. This is true for anything which places our faith in direct conflict with something of the world. No matter what we may stand against, if our faith is stronger, the Lord will help us.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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