1Sa 17: "The giants of our past often make havock of our
present" (TMD 30). Returning day after day, to challenge us -- until we put them
to rest once and for all.
Godly leadership: looks for opportunities to make a difference
(vv 20-24); has ability to see the real issue (v 26); is an encourager of men (v
32a); is willing to be personally involved (v 32b); values past accomplishments
for present challenges (vv 33-36); has an unquestionable dependence on God for
victory (v 37); avoids doubters (vv 28,33); never leads in someone else's armor
(vv 38-40); always sizes up the opposition and makes sure it has adequate
resources to do the job (v 45); remembers whose battle it really is (v 47);
never backs off from a formidable challenge (v 48); makes doubly sure the enemy
is defeated (v 48); is usually sought by others (vv 55-58).
THE PHILISTINES: See Lesson, Philistia in prophecy. The
name "Philistine" has found a place in the English language as a common noun,
describing those who are ignorant and uncultured, those who are "of the earth,
and earthy" (1Co 15:47), without the least aspiration toward higher things.
THE PHILISTINES GATHERED THEIR FORCES FOR WAR: Had they
heard of Samuel's rejection of Saul, and his poor state? Do they now seek the
best opportunity to avenge their earlier defeats at his hand?
SOCOH IN JUDAH: A few miles southwest of Jerusalem, at
the border of Israel and Philistia.
EPHES DAMMIM: Sig "the border of blood". This site was
a little south of Jerusalem and halfway over toward the Mediterranean Sea, at
the border between the Israelite hills and the Philistine plain. The "border of
blood" marked the crest, or high point, of human power -- the point where it was
to be broken and turned back. "This far you may come and no farther; here is
where your proud waves halt" (Job 38:11). As such, "Ephes Dammim" typifies
Golgotha in the past, and Armageddon in the future: the sites where "sin"
reaches its high-water mark and is afterward repulsed by the Hand of God.
(Linguistically, Ephes Dammim is closely related to "Aceldama" -- the "field of
blood", where the traitor Judas met his fate: Acts 1:19.)
ELAH: Fem "ail", sig "great tree". Oak sym the
righteous (Isa 61:3; 65:22; Psa 1:3).
Mountains in Scripture often represent military powers (Zec
6:1), while valleys are places of sorrow, humiliation, and trial -- and
sometimes of destruction, such as the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:12), where
the serpent-power of the Gentiles will be broken. Like David, Jesus had to go
into "the valley of the shadow of death" (Psa 23:4) to conquer the "giant" of
sin. Figuratively, too, Israel will have to go through the "valley of Achor
(trouble)" (Hos 2:15), and the "valley of Baca (tears)" (Psa 84:5-7) before
finally reaching the Kingdom of God.
CHAMPION: Heb "benayim" = lit, a double space, or the
space between. "The man who stands between", ie the 2 camps. Cp Psa 8n
GOLIATH: Sig "exile". From rt "to be naked", or "to be
carried captive". Cp Heb 2:15: this was the man who sought to enslave the men of
GATH: Heb "winepress", ie of the wrath of God (Isa
63:3; Rev 14:20).
NINE FEET: Lit "six cubits": 6 -- a number pointing to
the race of giants (cp 2Sa 21:20). Cp Rev 13:18 (666).
BRONZE: Sym the flesh (Num 21:6-9). He was the human
equivalent of the bronze, or brass, serpent of Num 21 -- the power of sin
destroyed by Christ on the cross (John 3:14). He was arrayed in armor and
weapons of the flesh, in contrast to the spiritual arsenal of Eph 6:13-17, which
was David's trust (1Sa 17:45), as well as Christ's.
LIKE A WEAVER'S ROD: Not size but appearance and shape.
A spear with a leash or cord, increasing leverage, and thus enabling the soldier
to throw it a greater distance. Refd in 1Sa 17:7; 2Sa 21:19; 1Ch 20:5; 11:23
SERVANTS OF SAUL: Sadly, this is true: they followed
Saul and not God!
ALL THE ISRAELITES WERE DISMAYED AND TERRIFIED: Ct 1Sa
11:5-11; 14:47 -- when God's Spirit was in Saul. It was a sad, shameful
spectacle; not a man of Israel , not even King Saul (himself a giant: 1Sa
10:23!), had the faith and courage to confront this blasphemer.
BETHLEHEM: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you
are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be
ruler over Israel" (Mic 5:2).
EIGHT SONS: Only 7 in genealogy (1Ch 2:15). "8" sym new
birth, circumcision, resurrection.
HE (Jesse) WAS OLD AND WELL ADVANCED IN YEARS: Sig the end of
the old, and the beginning of the new!
The 3 eldest sons sym natural Israel: "Eliab" = "El is father"
-- the origin of nation (Exo 4:22; Hos 11:1). "Abinadab" = "father is willing,
or gracious" (Rom 10:22). "Shammah" = "desolation, ruin" -- the end of the
nation (cp Jer 4:7). Thus the "3 days" of Israel's history; in the 3rd day,
David (Christ) raises them up (Hos 6:2).
While David preserved his father's sheep, Saul lost his
FORTY DAYS: The number of probation, ruin, judgment:
Flood, Moses, Nineveh, Christ in wilderness.
EVERY MORNING: Manna given (Exo 16:21). Fire on the
altar (Lev 6:12). Incense offered (Exo 30:7). Praise offered (1Ch 23:30).
Service offered (1Ch 9:27). Sacrifice presented (2Ch 2:4; 13:11). God visits
(Job 7:18). God is their arm (Isa 33:2). His compassions new (Lam 3:23). The
Philistines present themselves (here). God silences the wicked (Psa 101:8).
Judgment (Zep 3:5). Administer justice (Jer 21:12).
David is sent by his father with bread for his brethren (cp
Joseph in Egypt).
AS JESSE HAD DIRECTED: "Here I am -- it is written
about me in the scroll -- I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb
Why does not Jonathan, who is surely faithful and brave, take
up the challenge? Is he waiting for David too?
Where was the priest, the spiritual leader, to speak to and
strengthen the faith of the soldiers? See Deu 20:1-4.
Even with such inducements, no one will venture forth to
challenge the Philistine giant.
GREAT WEALTH: Cp Rom 2:4; 11:33; Eph 1:7,18;
The "boy" cannot understand the actions of the "men"! "He saw
that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so
his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his
head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a
cloak" (Isa 59:16,17).
DAVID'S OLDEST BROTHER: Fear and jealousy: the oldest
son was afraid; the youngest was not.
THOSE FEW SHEEP IN THE WILDERNESS: The few sheep may be
scoffed at by the wicked, but the greatest work is their care; it is God's work!
Cp Luk 12:32. Cp also brethren's treatment of Joseph and Moses. "If I were still
trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal 1:10).
YOU COME DOWN ONLY TO WATCH THE BATTLE: Since David has
no gifts with him (v 22), his coming is misconstrued. See Joh 1:11: "He came to
that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."
NOW WHAT HAVE I DONE?: "If I said something wrong,
testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"
CAN'T I EVEN SPEAK?: "Is there not a cause?" (AV; ASV).
'Isn't there a reason either for my coming to the camp?' Or 'Isn't there a
reason for my being sent by my father?' (Cp sacrifice of Christ: "For this very
reason I came to this hour": Joh 12:27.)
LET NO ONE LOSE HEART: "Do not let your hearts be
troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me" (John 14:1).
"When confronted with a Goliath-sized problem, which way do
you respond: 'He's too big to hit"... or, like David, 'He's too big to
YOU ARE ONLY A BOY: But David was already a brave
warrior: 1Sa 16:18.
"Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling
over a helpless people" (Pro 28:15).
GO, AND THE LORD BE WITH YOU: Coming from Saul, these
are idle and empty words!
A BRONZE HELMET: Such a helmet (v 5) was to do Goliath
no good (v 49)!
No power of flesh is needed: no titles, no elaborate dress or
weapons, no ritual. David wisely refuses Saul's offer of armor. The children of
the Spirit are no match for the children of the flesh if they attempt to meet
them on their own ground and do battle with their own weapons. The "seed of the
woman" will always be outclassed by the "seed of the serpent" in numbers,
experience, prestige, and learning. Their defense -- and offense -- must be in
the "shield" of faith and the "sword" of the Spirit (Eph 6:16,17)!
STAFF: "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psa
Why 5 stones? Because Goliath had 4 brothers/sons: 2Sa
21:15-21. Also, 5 books of LM: the word of God is the true "sword of the Spirit"
(Eph 6:17)! The victory of Christ (the little stone) introduces the 5th great
empire (Dan 2).
SMOOTH: Smooth stones fly straighter. Stones whose
rough edges have been rounded off, by living water (Psa 119:9; Joh 4:4-14;
7:37-39). Stone = Christ (Psa 118:22; Dan 2:34).
STREAM: "He will drink from a brook beside the way;
therefore he will lift up his head" (Psa 110:7). Stream sig God's word in Psa
119:103; 36:8,9; 42:1.
SLING: Made of animal skin, pointing to sacrifice. The
sling (sym Christ's sacrifice) gave power and direction to the stone (God's
ONLY A BOY: Faith as a child (Mat 18:3). Cp other young
men: Joseph, Samuel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Josiah, John Bapt, Jesus. "Don't let
anyone look down on you because you are young" (1Ti 4:12).
AM I A DOG?: Goliath WAS a "dog": alien, outsider,
unclean (cp Rev 22:15; cp Psa 22:16,20).
David knew the promise of Deu 20:1-4! As did Paul: "The
weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they
have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2Co 10:4). The name of Yahweh is a
strong tower (Pro 18:10).
// Eze 39:7,17; Rev 19:17,18.
Interesting contrast: "All the world... Elohim" (v 46); and
"all those gathered here (ie Israel)... Yahweh" ((v 47).
HE SLUNG IT AND STRUCK THE PHILISTINE ON THE FOREHEAD:
"Some say, that when David said he would give his flesh to the fowls of the air,
at the mention of that [Goliath] looked upwards, and what was upon his forehead
fell backwards, and then David slung and smote him; or he might put back his
helmet to talk with David, and hear and be heard the better; and having nothing
to fear from an unarmed man, might neglect to put it forward again; or there
might be some open space left in the helmet for him to look through, in at which
the stone might pass; so the Targum renders it, he smote him in the house of his
eyes, so the stone passed through the eye hole into his brain: but after all,
supposing his forehead ever so well covered, as the stone slung by David was
under a divine direction, so as to hit a person in motion, it came with a divine
power, which nothing could resist; and supposing this, of which there need no
doubt, it could as easily pass through the helmet of brass, as pierce into his
forehead and sink there" (Gill).
"See how frail and uncertain life is, even when it thinks
itself best fortified, and how quickly, how easily, and with how small a matter,
the passage may be opened for life to go out and death to enter"
THE STONE SANK INTO HIS FOREHEAD: "...and smote the
Philistine on his forehead, and the stone penetrated THROUGH THE HELMET into his
HE FELL FACEDOWN ON THE GROUND: Cp Dagon in 1Sa
The "little stone" which is Christ impresses itself into the
minds of men, and they fall down in worship before the God of Israel (cp idea,
The army of Israel, no longer cowering in their tents, take
courage from the victory of David and rush forward to help him complete the
total victory over the forces of the flesh. Cp Heb 2:15.
THE PHILISTINE'S HEAD... TO JERUSALEM: Head = governing
power of nations, is brought to Jerusalem, the city of the great King (Mat
5:35)! Cp Gen 3:15: the head of the serpent of sin, destroyed by seed of woman.
AND BROUGHT IT TO JERUSALEM: Jerusalem proper was still
in hands of Jebusites (2Sa 5:6-10). Goliath's sword was kept at Nob (1Sa 21:9),
very near Jerusalem (cp Isa 10:32; Neh 11:32). So prob Goliath's head was buried
there too. Nob may be Golgotha ('the place of a skull'). "Nob" may sig "head,
height, top" (Tes 51:225). Also, cp Heb 2:14,15.
FIND OUT WHOSE SON THIS YOUNG MAN IS: (1) Saul, beset
by mental illness and instability, and an evil spirit (1Sa 16:19-23), had
(temporarily?) forgotten David (cp v 15). These chs are not out of order. Or...
(2) Saul wants to know name of father especially. Notice that Saul and David
talk for some time (1Sa 18:1). Saul naturally wants to know the family
background of the young man whom he proposes to admit to his family (v
"What kind of man is this?" (Mat 8:27). "Who is this?" (Isa
63:1). And there is in the NT a question about the ancestry of Jesus, and its
implications: Luk 20:41. In this context, Jesus being the son of David has
WHOSE SON ARE YOU, YOUNG MAN?: "Fame and infamy are
attached to family names. Jeroboam the son of Nebat was a name to be shunned: to
be spiritually associated with it was a sin and a judgment. Son of man, a title
taken to himself by the Lord Jesus, is one we all bear. It takes us back in time
to the beginning of things when sin and death came into the world through the
first man Adam. Son of God was Christ's title by birth and spoke of divine
intervention in human affairs. It will be bestowed by adoption upon those who,
though now the sons of God, will receive the full experience of the divine
nature in the age to come. It is good for us to ask ourselves each day: Whose
son art thou? This will help us to decide the course to take, the words to use
and the thoughts to think in everyday living" (TMD).