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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 17

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-58

David slays Goliath

1 Samuel 17:1 to 1 Samuel 18:5 is evidently taken from a different document from 1 Samuel 16:14-23. In 1 Samuel 16:14-23; David is a man of war, and skilful in speech, and an expert harper, and has already become Saul’s musician and armourbearer. In 1 Samuel 17 he is still a shepherd lad, who is personally unknown to Saul. LXX tries to get rid of the difficulty by omitting several vv., but the attempt is not altogether successful.

1. Shochoh] identified with Shuweikeh, ’a strong position isolated from the rest of the ridge,’ W. of Bethlehem. It was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7). Azekah] mentioned in Joshua 15:35 in connexion with Shochoh.

4. Six cubits and a span] about 9½ ft.

5. Brass] This is really copper: cp. Deuteronomy 8:9. Five thousand shekels] It is uncertain what was the weight of the shekel at this time.

6. Target] RV ’javelin.’

10. I defy] rather, ’I have insulted.’

12. An old man] It is intended to explain why Jesse sent his sons to the war but did not go himself.

15. Went and returned] RV ’went to and fro.’

17. Parched corn] ears of corn plucked just before they are ripe and roasted in a pan or on an iron plate. It is still a common article of merchandise.

18. Take their pledge] ’bring back from them some proof that you have fulfilled your mission.’

20. Trench] RV ’place of the wagons.’ It was a rude rampart or barricade formed of wagons.

22. His carriage] i.e. what he was carrying: cp. Acts 21:15.

25. Free] from forced labour or contributions: cp. 1 Samuel 8:11.

28. The wilderness] answered to our ’downs’ or ’common.’ It was land suitable for grazing cattle, but not divided up into fields.

37. The Lord be with thee] RV ’shall be.’ It is an encouragement rather than a prayer.

38. Armed David with his armour] RV ’clad David with his apparel.’ This was probably some close-fitting garment worn under the armour, or on occasion without it.

39. Assayed] LXX ’wearied himself’: cp. Genesis 19:11. Proved] He was not accustomed to wearing heavy armour, and it soon became burdensome.

43. Staves] i.e. with a mere stick (1 Samuel 17:40) instead of weapons.

46. In true Oriental fashion David replies to the Philistine’s brave words with equally bold language, heightened to something far bolder by his confidence in Jehovah.

52. The valley] LXX reads ’Gath.’ This strong fortress of the Philistines, like that of Ekron, checked the pursuit (cp. the end of the v.). Gath was not far W. of Shochoh, and therefore it would seem that at Shaaraim the stream of fugitives would part, some going on southwards to Gath, others northwards to Ekron.

54. Brought it to Jerusalem] But Jerusalem was still a non-Hebrew city (2 Samuel 5:4.). A little later we find the sword of Goliath at Nob (1 Samuel 21:9), and hence some think that Nob is intended here. Stanley and Robinson place Nob on the Mount of Olives.

Others think that David brought the head of Goliath to Jerusalem at a later period (2 Samuel 5:7). Another reference to Goliath should be noted, which implies the existence either of other traditions, or of more than one Philistine champion of the name (2 Samuel 21:19).

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 17". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-samuel-17.html. 1909.
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