1 Samuel 17:   “The Story Of David And Goliath


Jim Bomkamp

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1.     INTRO:


1.1.     In our last study, we looked at chapter 16 of the book. 


1.1.1.  We saw how that the Lord guided Samuel to David who would be the next king over Israel.


1.1.2.  We saw that David had none of the qualities for a leader which people valued in that day (nor in our day for that matter), as had been the case with Saul, who turned out to be a great big flop as a king.


1.1.3.  We saw that the Lord told Samuel that David was a man after his own heart, and that the Lord looks upon the heart when He selects His leaders.


1.1.4.  We discussed what characteristics about David’s life and writings demonstrated that he was a man after God’s own heart.  We saw how from his writings that David demonstrated that he was a man after God’s own heart.


1.1.5.  We saw though that David was not perfect and that the Lord had His troubles with David just as He has his troubles with all of us.


1.1.6.  We concentrated in that study upon the fact that even today the Lord is looking for a man or woman who is after His own heart.


1.2.                     In our study today, we are going to look at chapter 17 and the story of David and Goliath.


1.2.1.  Besides perhaps the story of Samson, no Old Testament Bible story has generated more interest for people of all ages and cultures than this story of David and Goliath.      Movies have been made about this story, and this story has held such a high place of interest to people that in our world today that the story is often used for example’s sake even by people who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior.      Children particularly have been drawn to this incredible story because the hero of the story is a young man named David.      The story line is classic, for it is the story of the out-gunned and under equipped underdog winning a great victory over the much superior and more powerful evil bully.      However, as we will see today, many miss the real point of this story.  The story is meant to teach us how that God can empower and use mightily anyone who submits themselves completely to the Lord and places their complete trust in Him.


1.2.2.  In our last chapter, we saw that David had been called upon to play the harp for Saul, however we see in this chapter that he had still remained shepherding his father’s sheep when he wasn’t with Saul playing the harp.


1.2.3.  Saul and the army of the Philistines however will pull up in battle against each other, each upon a mountain with a valley in between.  Then, for forty days a giant named Goliath will come out twice a day and taunt Israel to send out a representative warrior for him to fight, saying that if their warrior wins that the Philistines will serve Israel.  However, if he wins then Israel will serve the Philistines. 


1.2.4.  Everyone in Israel is in fear and dismay at the awesome size and appearance of this giant, and no one is willing to risk his life and step out to fight as a representative of God’s people. 


1.2.5.  David happens upon the battle scene as he is bringing supplies for his brothers on the front line.  Then, when David happens to see and hear the giant give his taunt of Israel, he is offended that anyone would dare to defy the God of Israel, and he ponders going himself out to fight against the giant as he inquires as to what reward was offered to the man who would kill the giant.


1.2.6.  David then convinces Saul to give him a chance to defeat Goliath when he explains that even though he is a young man that he has already had the Lord give him mighty victories in battle when he as a shepherd had killed with his own hands a bear and a lion. 


1.2.7.  Then, Saul tries to persuade David to use his own armor and sword to fight with.  We will see though that David cannot use Saul’s armor and weapons for he has not battle tested them, plus David knew that it was the Lord who was going to give him the victory, not the weapons he might choose for the fight.      We will look at the fact that this symbolizes the fact that the reason that the church has been ineffective in its mission of winning the world to Christ, making disciples of all nations, is because either they have been disqualified from being able to use spiritual weapons in their warfare or they have relied upon carnal weapons of the flesh for the battle.


1.2.8.  As David begins to consider going up in battle against Goliath, we will see that he faces opposition on every side.  His brother chides him, Saul tries to discourage him, and Goliath himself ridicules, curses, and threatens him.      Just like David, we must never allow opposition to hinder us from being used by the Lord.


1.2.9.  In this story the main characters can be looked at as symbols:      Goliath, the representative warrior of the Philistines, symbolizes Satan our might adversary who appears as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.      David, the representative warrior of Israel, God’s people, represents Jesus Christ who by His mighty victory over the enemy upon the cross of Calvary opened up the way that we as God’s people may have victory over our all of our foes.      Saul, the king of Israel at this time, represents the world.  Saul’s dependence was upon carnal weaponry of the flesh and thus he was powerless to even attempt to come up in battle against mighty Goliath who would have easily overpowered him.


1.2.10.                     As we study this chapter, I want you to consider something.  How shall you apply the events in this story in your own life? Will you consider that this is just an interesting fairy tale for children about fictional characters and a fictional battle? Will you consider that this was indeed a mighty way in which the Lord gave victory to David, however the Lord does not work like this in our lives and in our day? Will you consider that this story is meant to show you how that the Lord can and will also give you mighty victory over your foes as you take risks and step out boldly trusting in the Lord to use you? What are the giants in your life?


2.     VS 17:1-3  - 1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. -  The Philistines gathered their armies for battle against Israel and the Philistines were gathered together on one mountain and the Israelites on another mountain, with a valley inbetween them


3.     VS 17:4-7  - 4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. -  A champion of the armies of the Philistines named Goliah steps out from their midst and appears before Israel


3.1.                     How impressive on this day was Goliath, this huge and mighty warrior dressed in his glistening battle armament which consisted of a bronze helmet, bronze scale-armor for his body, bronze greaves to protect his legs, his huge bronze javelin which he kept between his shoulders, and his huge iron spear.


3.1.1.  A cubit is believed to have measured 18” and a span 9,” therefore Goliah was about 9’ 9” tall.  He was a good 2 feet taller than the tallest player to ever play basketball in the NBA (National Basketball Association). 


3.1.2.  Not only was Goliath tall but he was also very strong and athletic.  His armor weighted about 125 lbs. and his sword about 15 lbs.


3.2.                     Goliath was from the city of Gath and was a remnant of the now extinct race of the Anakim (Giants) who once lived in the land of Canaan.  Remember that 10 of the 12 spies whom Moses sent into the land of Canaan after Israel had left Egypt and crossed through the Red Sea brought back a discouraging report about the possibility of the army of Israel conquering the land of Canaan, and the primary reason for their pessimism was that they viewed these Anakim in the land and did not think that they had the means to conquer and destroy this race of men, as they had been commanded to do upon entering the land.


3.2.1.  However, what is impossible in the eyes of men is easily accomplished when the Lord fights your battles for you.


4.     VS 17:8-11  - 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9 “If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. -  Goliath came out and taunted the army of Israel to send out a representative from them, a man to fight him, and if this man were to win then the Philistines would serve Israel, however if he (Goliath) were to win then the Israelites would serve the Philistines


4.1.                     Notice here that on this day that Israel was drawing ‘up in battle array’ which means that they were preparing to fight the Philistines, mustering together their army and all of their equipment.


4.2.                     Evidently, it was common in olden times for nations to sometimes seek out a representative warrior from among them to fight a representative warrior of another nation to determine who would serve who.


4.3.                     When the Israelite army heard Goliath taunt them with a mighty voice, to a man they were trembling in fear, or as it says here they ‘were dismayed and greatly afraid.’


5.     VS 17:13-15  - 12 Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men. 13 The three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. -  The three oldest sons of Jesse served in Saul’s army, however David would come to the battle lines to play the harp for Saul when he was requested, but then David would leave afterwards and go back to tending his father’s sheep


6.     VS 17:16-22  - 16 The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand. 17 Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers. 18 “Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. 19 “For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.” 20 So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army. 22 Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. -  For forty days, twice a day Goliath would come out and taunt the Israelites to send out a representative warrior to fight him, on the 40th day of his taunting Jesse sent his son David to bring supplies to his brothers who served in Saul’s armies


6.1.                     Day after day, the children of Israel keep assembling themselves in battle array against the Philistines, however they were paralyzed from actually going to war to battle them. 


6.1.1.  There is a parallel to the church seen in this I believe.  So often today the church assembles herself in battle array and yet really does nothing significant in building the kingdom of God.      Christians get all pumped and fired up when they are together yet that seldom carries over to being effective witnesses for Christ and winning souls for Christ.      Churches often are dressed in their religious garb, just as the Israelites were dressed in the battle array, however the end result is that they just end up being and acting religious, there is no spiritual victory, no beating back the gates of Hell, and no saving souls from the fires of hell.


6.2.                     When Goliath, the greatest and most powerful of Philistine warriors, paraded himself back and forth asking the Israelites to send out their greatest and most powerful warrior, who was it that was the greatest in stature among them?  It was Saul. 


6.2.1.  Since Saul is now backslidden and never gets himself right with God from here on out, he also is never once courageous in any battle.  He is just sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else fight.      Like Saul, there are many backslidden Christians who have been just sitting on the sidelines watching other believers do all of the fighting.


6.3.                     In Israel in this day, if a man served in the army he had to also provide for his own upkeep.  David, having been sent by his father here, is bringing food for his three brothers who are under Saul’s army.


6.4.                     We see here that when David arrives he goes straight to the front lines just as Israel and the Philistines again draw up in battle array against each other.


7.     VS 17:23-30  - 23 As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. 24 When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. 25 The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” 26 Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will 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 taunt the armies of the living God?” 27 The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.” 28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” 29 But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?” 30 Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before. -  David hears Goliath make his taunt to the Israelites to send out their representative warrior to fight him, and then he inquires as to what reward will be given to the man who kills Goliath


7.1.                     What bothers David about what this Philistine says and does on this day is that he is openly defying the God of Israel, and David cannot stand to see this happen.  David says of Goliath, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the Living God?


7.2.                     Saul and the rest of the Israelite army aren’t that concerned that Goliath is blaspheming their God.


7.3.                     Whenever we take a stand for the Lord there is going to be opposition to us, and just as happened with David on this day, it is often the case that the worst opposition actually comes from God’s people.  The ones who are the most critical of us are usually the ones who aren’t themselves serving they are just standing on the sidelines criticizing those who are doing the serving.


7.3.1.  As happened with David also, many times the opposition that we face when we step out to take a stand for the Lord begins right in our own home.


7.3.2.  David isn’t deterred by his brother’s chiding of him.


7.4.                     David discovers that there is promised great reward and honor for the man who kills Goliath, for king Saul has promised that for that man he will:


7.4.1.  Enrich the man with great riches.


7.4.2.  Give him his daughter in marriage.


7.4.3.  Make his father’s house debt free in Israel (he wouldn’t have to pay taxes).


8.     VS 17:31-37  - 31 When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted 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, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” -  David explains to Saul how that he had already experienced the Lord giving him great strength when he had killed with his bare hands both a lion and a bear while tending his sheep


8.1.                     There was no one in Israel who would even consider coming up against Goliath in battle, therefore when David began to seriously consider being the man to go up against him, the word was sent to Saul and he immediately called for David.


8.2.                     Notice here how that there is further opposition to David stepping out and going up in battle against Goliath.  Saul tries to discourage David because David was just a youth, however Goliath had been a warrior since his youth.


8.2.1.  As was mentioned before, whenever we step out to be used by the Lord we are going to face opposition, but we must not be deterred by this.


8.3.                     David explains to Saul that he has already been tested, for he has had the Lord give him some mighty victories over the enemy already.  While tending his sheep, he has killed with his bare hands both a bear and a lion who had grabbed one of his sheep.


8.3.1.  As an application for us as Christians, we need to first gain victories in our life and use our spiritual gifts right in the privacy of our own homes before we are used in public ministry.   


9.     VS 17:38-39  - 38 Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39 David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. -  Saul tries to get David to use his armor and weapons


9.1.                     Saul tries to persuade David to use his own armor and sword, however these are cumbersome to David and he hesitates using them because he has not battle tested them. 


9.1.1.  For us as Christians, we should not try to emulate someone else and their spiritual gifts.  We are all made uniquely by the Lord and thus intended to be used uniquely by Him.


9.1.2.  Saul’s weapons symbolize the weapons of man and of the flesh.  David knew that if he would have victory that his victory would come because of the Lord giving it to him, not because of his having superior weaponry.  This symbolizes what has always been a problem for the church:  attempting to utilize the weapons of the world and of the flesh in serving the Lord.  Carnal weapons will never win a spiritual conflict.      Eph. 6:12, “12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.      2 Cor. 10:4-5, “4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”


10.            VS 17:40-50  - 40 He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. 41 Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43 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 also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted. 46 “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and 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 does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” 48 Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. -  David kills Saul using a smooth stone and his sling


10.1.                As a shepherd, David had become skilled at using a sling and rocks to ward off the predators and thieves.  Therefore, this was the weapon that David chose to use to fight Goliath.


10.2.                J. Vernon McGee has pointed out that David did not pick out 5 smooth stones to kill Goliath because he wanted to have extra stones in case he missed the first time. With the Lord’s empowering, he planned on killing Goliath with his first stone.  However, he knew that Goliath had four sons and in case he had to kill Goliath and his sons he wanted to have enough stones.  2 Sam. 21:22 tells us about these sons of Goliath, “22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.


10.3.                In verse 43 and 44, Goliath here ridicules, curses, and threatens David saying, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”


10.4.                David knew the source of his strength was the Lord for he chose on this day to trust that the Lord would give him a mighty victory over the giant.  I love these awesome and bold words of David replying to Goliath’s threats and curses of him:


You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted. 46 “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and 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 does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”


10.5.                David could not bear to hear anyone defy and blaspheme the living God, the God of Israel, and thus he chose on this day to risk his very life and step out and be used by the Lord to conquer this giant who was a representative of the enemy of Israel.


10.6.                David’s stone either pierced through the giant’s bronze helmet to embed in his forehead or Saul had taken off or opened up his helmet when he was taunting David and David quickly came up and threw the stone before Saul had gotten back on his helmet.


11.            VS 17:51  - 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.  52 The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. 53 The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. 54 Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent. -  David cuts Goliath’s head off using Goliath’s sword, and then the men of Israel pursue the fleeing Philistines and have a great victory over them


11.1.                We find later in the scriptures that David kept the head of Goliath, as well as his sword and armor as souvenirs of the great victory that the Lord gave him on this day.  The sword ends up with the priests in Nob (1 Sam. 21:1-9), and Goliath’s head later ended up in Jerusalem, which was called Jebus in this day.


11.2.                When Goliath’s is killed, the army of the Philistines flee in terror, for their invincible champion is vanquished.


11.3.                The Philistines didn’t keep up their end of the bargain and submit themselves to serve Israel after Goliath was slain, instead they just flee any and everywhere in fear as Israel pursued them.


12.             VS 17:55-58  - 55 Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” And Abner said, “By your life, O king, I do not know.” 56 The king said, “You inquire whose son the youth is.” 57 So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. 58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” -  After the battle Abner brings David to Saul and Saul inquires as to who the father of David is


12.1.                We see here that David evidently went with the army of Israel pursuing and slaying the Philistines in the battle that ensued after David killed Goliath.


12.2.                A question always comes up here concerning the sequence of these events of this story.  The question is, “Why if David in chapter 16 was made Saul’s armor bearer (along with playing the harp for him when the demon would terrorize him), then why isn’t David with Saul’s army here?  Also, does Saul recognize David here, and if so then why does he ask who David’s father is?” 


12.2.1.                     The events are sequential (thus David met Saul in chapter 16 of 1 Samuel), however in chapter 16 when it reads that David became Saul's armor bearer, he didn't actually begin to undertake that role until after he had slain Goliath.  David for a time continued to just tend his sheep and then come and play the harp whenever Saul was tormented by a demon. 


12.2.2.                     Josephus, the Jewish historian under employ of Rome who lived during the time of Jesus' ministry, wrote that the events of chapter 17 of 1 Samuel occurred right after the events of chapter 16, and if this is true it could explain why David’s becoming Saul's armor bearer is written about in chapter 16 yet not actuated until chapter 17. 


12.2.3.                     Also, when Saul asks who David's father was, this doesn't mean that Saul didn't know who David was, he just didn't know who his father was.  He probably had known previously who he was but had forgotten this.  Saul needed to know who David's father was so that he could make his father’s property free of debt, which was one of the rewards that Saul had promised to the man who would slay Goliath.


13.            CONCLUSIONS:


13.1.                As you consider the incredible events of this story, how will you apply them to your own life? 


13.1.1.                     Will you be willing to follow David’s example and take a risk as you step out and trust the Lord to use you mightily for His kingdom? You don’t have to use anyone else’s armor, nor fight anyone else’s battle, you will only have to use your own gifts and fight the battles that the Lord brings into your life. The Lord can and will use you mightily if you will like king David trust completely in the Lord and His resources, forsaking every carnal weapon of the flesh. All of those impossible situations in your life you can trust the Lord with and know that He will give you the victory.                   



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