Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 17

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-58

Shall we turn in our Bibles to the seventeenth chapter of first Samuel? In the seventeenth chapter of first Samuel, we read where,

The Philistines had gathered their armies together [against the children of Israel, Of course] king Saul had gathered his armies together, [They were setting their battle lines. They were digging their foxholes and setting up their battle array on either side of the Elah Valley] ( 1 Samuel 17:1-2 ).

Now the Elah Valley is an area that is south and west of Jerusalem, maybe fifteen miles. A beautiful little valley but of course anything can be made ugly by war.

And so on the mountain on the one side was the camp of the Philistines, on the mountain on the other side was the camp of Israel ( 1 Samuel 17:3 ):

In those days they would take their time in getting started into a real battle. They'd come and they'd yell and they'd have their shouts, and they'd try to psyche each other out. The children of Israel had been pretty well psyched out by this fellow Goliath, who came out every day for forty days.

The champion from the Philistines, he was from the city of Gath, he was nine feet six inches tall. He had a brass helmet, a brass coat of mail; that weighed [five hundred or] five thousand shekels. [Was it?] And he had these plates of brass on his legs, he had a brass chest protector. His spear was like a weaver's beam; [Huge spear and man, he'd come out there and stand and he was an awesome sight in the eyes of the children of Israel.] ( 1 Samuel 17:3-7 ).

And daily he would challenge them. He would say, "Look facing off here in battle. We can settle it easily. Send out a man to fight me, for I'm a Philistine, you're the Israelites, and if you've got a man in your army that's able to fight me, if he can defeat me, we'll be your servants. If I can beat him, then you'll be our servants." He was daily challenging them for forty days.

Meanwhile back in Bethlehem Jesse called his young son David in and said, [David, I want you to go out to the battlefield and check with your brothers and see how things are going.] Take these loaves of bread for them and this bushel of parched corn, and take these cheeses for their captains, and just find out how things are going, [and bring us news again of the condition of your brothers. And so David headed off on a chariot towards the battlefield in Elah Valley from Bethlehem, about twenty miles distance. And as he came near and he could see the camp of the Israelites, and the Philistines,] he got off the chariot, and ran to meet his brothers. [And of course he started sharing with them the parent's concern, How's everything going, and are you warm enough at night, is everything okay? As he was talking to them, this fellow Goliath came out and made his daily challenge.] So the fellows when they saw this man, they fled from him, and they were very afraid. And the men of Israel said to David, Have you seen this fellow that comes out every day? to defy Israel: the king said if any man can kill him, the king will make him very rich, he'll allow his family to become tax free in Israel, and he'll give his daughter for a wife. [And David said, The king will do what? They said, "Well, he's gonna give the guy a lot of riches, and his daughter to wife, and his family will be tax free."] ( 1 Samuel 17:17-25 ).

And so David's brother Eliab saw David's interest in this thing, and he said to David, "Who's watching over your sheep back there in the wilderness kid? You better get on home in a hurry. I know your heart, you're just-dad probably didn't send you down here. You're just down to see what a war looks like and you go home in a hurry." His big brother is trying to sort of protect him.

And David said, Hey wait a minute what have I done? There's a cause here? ( 1 Samuel 17:29 )

This fellow is defying the armies of the living God, and if none of you fellows want to go out and fight him, I'll go out and fight him. So a fellow ran and told Saul the fact that they had a volunteer who had volunteered to go out and fight: David. And so they brought David in to fight Goliath. They brought David in unto Saul and Saul said, "Oh, you can't fight him son. That man is a man of war."

you're just a youth and he's been a man of war from his youth ( 1 Samuel 17:33 ).

You can't go out and fight him.

David said, [Wait a minute, don't reject me so fast. He said,] One day when I was watching my father's sheep, a lion and a bear came out and grabbed a sheep and began to drag them off. And I grabbed the sheep out of the lion's mouth: so he turned on me, and I took him by the beard, and I killed him. And I also killed the bear: and the God who delivered the lion and the bear into my hands will deliver also this uncircumcised Philistine. So Saul said, Well give you a try. Here take this helmet and this armour plate, [and so forth] and so they put this armour on David and the helmet, [And he's probably just a little kid and the helmet probably came down over his ears, and you know the armour plate's so heavy] He said, If you don't mind, I haven't tested this stuff. I don't think I better use this. I'll just go out as I am. And so David headed toward the giant ( 1 Samuel 17:34-40 ).

Now one interesting thing about the Elah Valley, there is a dry streambed in the bottom. Of course it's got water in it when it rained, but it's one of those typical Southern California type of rivers that only gets water when it rains.

But interestingly enough when God created the earth, I have in my office actually, some-and I should've brought some out tonight, but when God created the earth, knowing what was going to transpire in this particular valley, when God made this valley and this particular little stream bed, God just placed thousands of smooth round stones in this particular streambed. I've never seen any streambed with so many smooth, round stones. Beautiful stones for a sling. I've got a bunch of them in my office. I like to pick them up out of that stream, maybe because they're so perfect for a sling.

So David stopped by and he picked up five smooth round stones, [And there's just bundles of smooth round stones in this stream bed.] and he headed up the hill towards the giant. Put them in his little shepherd's sack, and headed up the hill. But when Goliath saw David coming he was outraged. He said, Am I a dog that you'd send a child out to fight me? And he began to curse David by his gods. He said, [All right kid you're asking for it,] I'll chop you up and feed you to the birds. And David said to the Giant, You come against me with a sword, and a spear, and a shield: but I come against you in the name of Jehovah of hosts, the God that you have defied. And he's gonna deliver you into my hand; and I'm gonna chop up your whole army and feed it to the birds. [David was assured victory not only over the giant, but over the whole host of the Philistines.] And so David took one of the stones out of his little pouch, put it in his sling, and let it fly towards the giant, and he sunk the stone right into the forehead of the giant; and the giant fell down. And David went running up, [because he didn't even have a sword. All he had was a sling, he didn't even have a sword.] He pulled the sword out of the sheath of the giant, his own sword, and David used it and hacked off his head. [Then he grabbed it by the hair and held it up. Probably began to swing it around yelling.] And all the Philistines when they saw this, [their champion destroyed by a child, panic gripped them and] they began to flee ( 1 Samuel 17:41-51 ).

And of course the men of Israel, when they saw this, their hearts were encouraged, and they all came out of their tents and began charging after the Philistines. And there was a great slaughter of the Philistines that day. So the Lord delivered the Philistine there in the hands of David.

Now when Saul saw David go out against this fellow, he said to his captain Abner, Who is this young fellow? [Who is his dad?] And Abner said, [I don't know,] as thy soul live I can't tell you. And so the king says, Inquire and find out whose son he is. And so as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine still in his hand ( 1 Samuel 17:55-57 ).

It was a trophy that David had, and he wasn't gonna let the thing go. He was gonna carry it around for a few days. Must have been a big head too, you know, the guy's nine foot, six inches tall.

And he said, Whose son are you David? and David said, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite ( 1 Samuel 17:58 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 17". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-samuel-17.html. 2014.
Ads FreeProfile