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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 17

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-58

1 Samuel 17:1-58 David and Goliath - The story of David and Goliath is perhaps the most popular story in the Old Testament. Many preachers have described this battle as being between good and evil, between the power of God and the power of Satan. This symbolism is very accurate. Any child of God who has ever taken a promotion into a job environment and faced harsh opposition knows such battles. He or she knows that there are demonic strongholds that must be torn down. He quickly sees these strongholds manifested in particular individuals who stand in opposition against the things of God.

In the same way, Goliath stood as a stronghold of Satan, being used by the Evil One to bring fear to God’s people. When David killed Goliath, he broke a major stronghold of Satan. David continued the battle, but none were as important as the victory that came from the first battle.

Such is the experience to a child of God who stands for righteousness in a new job environment, or on a mission field. Once this major opponent is defeated, the other battles seem less formidable. I have gone through a number of these spiritual battles.

In 1993, I was promoted to a supervisor with an apartment maintenance company. I will never forget walking into the office and hearing country-western music, smelling cigarette smoke and listening to profanity. When the other staff members had gone home that evening, I walked the office and stood against the powers of darkness. At one point, I had to confront hatred and rebellion with a colleague, but the Lord took me through this time safely and the other battles were much easier.

Such an experience happened when I first came to the mission field in 1997. After about 18 months, my pastor had to call me home on furlough while he organized legal action against some corrupt directors on the Christian television ministry. This battle came with death threats and much anger, but was won when we stood for righteousness. I was given the job to manager the television station after this ordeal, but the biggest stronghold had been defeated.

David was a man of war. He did more to conquer the kingdom of darkness than any other individual in the Old Testament. Every piece of ground that he gained positioned him for greater victories, until he became the most powerful king of his day. God will always stand with His children when they are asked to take a stand for righteousness.

1 Samuel 17:4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

1 Samuel 17:4 “whose height was six cubits and a span” Comments - According to the Masoretic Text, which the KJV follows, Goliath stood about nine feet, nine inches tall. However, the text of the LXX, the Dead Sea Scrolls, [32] and Josephus read four cubits and a span, or about six feet, nine inches.

[32] James C. VanderKam says, “In some of the major Greek manuscripts, Goliath shrinks to a mere four cubits and a span 6’9” (no text gives David’s height). The first copy of Samuel from cave 4 also reads four as the number of cubits in Goliath’s stature.” See James C. VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (London: SPCK Publishing, 1994), 130.

Brenton, “And there went forth a mighty man out of the army of the Philistines, Goliath, by name, out of Geth, his height [was] four cubits and a span .”

“Now there came down a man out of the camp of the Philistines, whose name was Goliath, of the city of Gath, a man of vast bulk, for he was of four cubits and a span in tallness,”(Josephus, Antiquities 6.9.1)

1 Samuel 17:4-10 Comments The Description of Goliath Note how the author lingers on the details of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:4-7) even before he speaks. His size was intimidating. He armour was threatening. He words were frightening (1 Samuel 17:8-10).

1 Samuel 17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

1 Samuel 17:26 Comments 1 Samuel 17:26 gives us the first words of David in the Holy Scriptures. He has come to know the Lord intimately as a humble shepherd boy. He has learned to worship the Lord through song and music in the fields around Bethlehem. He was the first individual in the Holy Bible to address God as Father. Since being anointed by the prophet Samuel, he has experienced the anointing for battle when he slew a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:35). He has now tasted of several aspects of the anointing. He now speaks of “the living God,” whom he has experiences on a personal basis, and this relationship has driven fear from his heart and replaced it with a tremendous amount of faith in God. David was now bigger on the inside than on the outside and ready to defeat the giant.

1 Samuel 17:34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

1 Samuel 17:35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

1 Samuel 17:34-35 Comments David’s Faithfulness Prior to His Anointing - David was a faithful shepherd, not fleeing from these beasts. Since he was faithful in that which was least, God knew he would be faithful over God’s children as a king.

1 Samuel 17:36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.

1 Samuel 17:36 Comments - This event happened after Samuel anointed David with oil (1 Samuel 16:13).

1 Samuel 16:13, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”

1 Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

1 Samuel 17:37 Comments Saul seems to yield reluctantly to the young man’s confidence and zeal.

1 Samuel 17:38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.

1 Samuel 17:39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

1 Samuel 17:38-39 Comments David Refuses Saul’s Armour - Saul’s armour would have been David trusting in his own strength, which would have failed. David’s armour was Christ (Psalms 18:1, Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27).

Psalms 18:1, “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”

Romans 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

1 Samuel 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

1 Samuel 17:40 “five smooth stones” Comments - Preachers gives us many different reasons as to why David chose five smooth stones. For example, Goliath had four other brothers that David was prepared to slay also.

1 Samuel 17:40 “and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook” Comments - David understood that the smoothness of stones improved their accuracy when placed in a slingshot.

1 Samuel 17:43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

1 Samuel 17:43 “the Philistine cursed David by his gods” - Comments - Goliath’s weaponry was his mouth, or tongue. James 3:6 says, “(the tongue) is set on fire of hell”. Spiritual warfare took place by the tongue. The Lord of Host's name was higher. Note:

Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”


Mark 8:32-33, “And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”

1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

1 Samuel 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

1 Samuel 17:45-46 Comments David’s Confession of Faith in God - David's real weapons were God and his faith in God's Word.

1 Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

1 Samuel 17:47 “for the battle is the Lord’s” Scripture References - Note:

2 Chronicles 20:15, “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's .”

1 Samuel 17:50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

1 Samuel 17:50 “with a sling and with a stone” Comments - David’s sling and stones were his faith in action. David believed he could prevail over Goliath (1 Samuel 17:37), but his point of faith was that he could do it with the sling and big stone. So, David used and acted upon his point of faith. There was no doubt in David's heart that God would grant David the victory when he used that sling shot.

Our point of faith must be grounded in God’s word and as we act on our point of faith, victory comes. Illustration: Note the various ways people received healing from Jesus Christ, blessed be His wonderful name.

David believed he had to do something to win the victory, and he did it.

1 Samuel 17:50 Comments - Man has prepared weapons for battle, but God determines the victory (Proverbs 21:31). Note:

Proverbs 21:31, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”

YLT, “A horse is prepared for a day of battle, And the deliverance is of Jehovah!”

1 Samuel 17:58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.

1 Samuel 17:58 Comments - King Saul had promised to bless the father of the man that killed Goliath by making him of perhaps taxes and other civil obligations. Therefore, he wanted to know the name of David’s father.

1 Samuel 17:25, “And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 17". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-samuel-17.html. 2013.
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