From 1 Samuel 15-17
1 Sam 15.1-35; Story; The LORD Rejects Saul
1 Sam 16.1-13; Story; David Anointed King
1 Sam 16.14-23; Story; David in Saul’s Service
1 Sam 17.1-58; Story; David and Goliath
Passage and Comments
Today we read about a great and well known battle. The armies of Israel and the Philistines face each other off from different mountainsides. Between them was a valley. From the Philistines came their champion. A mountain of a man, he stood just short of three metres. Not only was he big and strong. He wore heavy armour, a shield, carried powerful ranged and melee weapons.
His name was Goliath.
Goliath cried out to the army of Israel and challenged them to a fight. He against their champion. The side who loses will agree to serve the other nation. Israel was afraid and Goliath kept challenging Israel over forty days. None in Israel dared to fight him (1 Sa 17.1-18).
Until the David, the LORD’s anointed came.
David was not at Israel’s camp on the mountainside. His older brothers were. David was not there because he was looking after the families sheep. When David came he heard Goliath’s challenge and ridicule. David cannot understand why the people of Israel, including his brothers, allowed Goliath to taunt them and ridicule the LORD’s armies as he did. His brother and some others criticise him in response. This is where our passage picks up.
31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1 Sa 17:31–32)
David volunteers to fight Goliath where no one else did. Not even King Saul went up to fight for the LORD. Saul doubts David will win.
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!” (1 Sa 17:33-37)
David is a shepherd. In the course of looking after his sheep he has killed lions and bears. This is quite amazing in itself. David compares Goliath to one of the lions and bears he has dealt with. To David they are no different. The reason why is because he has ‘defied the armies of the living God’.
David is concerned for the LORD’s name.
He recognises the LORD is the one who delivered him from the lions and the bears. This Philistine will be no different. David trusts the LORD. Saul lets him go up and fight with a blessing.
38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. (1 Sa 17:38-40)
Saul offers David his armour. David hadn’t ‘tested’ it. Perhaps it was too heavy for him. Perhaps the wrong size. Either way David didn’t want to fight the way Saul did. He would fight another way.
David will depend on the LORD for victory.
David took up a staff, some stones and a sling. He’s a shepherd. Then he confronted Goliath.
41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” (1 Sa 17:41-44)
The Philistine looked and disdained him. He cursed him by his gods. He predicts David’s downfall. He wants to give David’s flesh to the birds and animals to feed on.
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and 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. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds 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 that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Sa 17:45-47)
David is bold as a lion. He cries out in the name of the LORD. He cries out in faith that the LORD will grant him victory. He predicts Goliaths downfall. He will strike him down and cut off his head. Then the Philistine armies will be defeated and they will become food for the birds and the animals.
So all the earth will know there is a God is Israel, he is the one who saves and not by the weapons of this world.
They both draw in for battle.
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. (1 Sa 17:48-51)
David prevailed over Goliath. Not with sword and spear. But with sling and stone. Goliath was downed with a single shot.
The LORD uses courageous and faithful people.
He had no sword, so he used Goliath’s own sword to kill him (he wasn’t dead yet) and cut off his head. The Philistine armies fled and the army of Israel pursued them.
52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent. (1 Sa 17:52-54)
David’s prediction came true. The Philistine armies were defeated and their bodies became food for the birds and animals. David takes Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and his armour for himself.
55 As soon as Saul saw David go 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.” 56 And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” 57 And as soon as David returned from the striking down 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 are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” (1 Sa 17:55–58)
Israel was meant to watch the man. Watch him stand up for the LORD, defeat his enemies and then recognise him as God’s chosen King. The son of Jesse.
Story of Israel
David’s actions suggest something is significant about him. David’s ancestry was questioned. Rightly it was, because for a long time his bloodline has been watched. He is Jesse’s son, of the line of Judah. Further into Israel;’s history, Jesse is again named. Another one would come of the line of David.
11 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. (Is 11:1–10)
Who will this man be and what victory will he fight and win?
Story of Jesus
Like David, Jesus also had his own battle to fight. In the gospel, the story of Jesus. The battle is related.
15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Co 15:1–5)
Like David, we are meant to watch Jesus. He is the anointed King. He stands up for the LORD, he defeats his enemies and we are meant to recognise him as our King.
Jesus’ enemies were not giants with armour, swords and spears. His were bigger and meaner. They are sin and death. These are our enemies as well. He took them on in his death, he won over them in his resurrection. Speaking about resurrection in the end times Paul says;
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Co 15:54–57)
David killed Goliath and chopped his head off. Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the victory over sin and death.
The gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Rom 1:1–4)
Like Saul, If one was to ask, ‘Whose son is this young man Jesus?’
The answer would rightly be – he is the Son of God.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.