In the previous chapter David was anointed in secret. In this chapter the eyes of the whole people are turned to him. Here David stands before the whole people and in the first place before God. In the previous chapter he incidentally appeared at court at Saul’s request in response to Saul’s personal need. So there has been a superficial acquaintance of Saul with David, who has also been limited in the outward renown. Now comes the moment when God brings David to the court, in connection with the needs of all the people. The fame which he thereby acquires is general. In this way he comes also permanently at the court of Saul.
The events in this chapter are intended by God as a trial of David’s faith. He has the opportunity to openly testify of the service that the LORD commands him to do. It is also the touchstone for anyone who wants to serve the Lord. For this it is important to see who the Philistines and Goliath are, and also who Saul and David are.
Goliath is the Philistine par excellence. In him is united all the power of the Philistines. He is the personalization of the evil spirit behind all the Philistines, as the dragon is the outward form of Satan. He is a giant, impressive as the dragon. Goliath is from the race of the giants. That race was eradicated by Joshua, but there are still some remaining in Gath (Jos 11:2222There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained.). Goliath is a picture of Satan as the dragon about to devour the Son (Rev 12:4b4And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.). After this chapter David becomes a fugitive, a picture of the feeing of the remnant in the great tribulation, while the Lord Jesus is in heaven.
Saul does not take up the fight. He should have done that. In a way he resembles Goliath. He is also great and his spear is also characteristic for him. And he becomes like Goliath a persecutor of David. Saul is a picture of the antichrist, Goliath is a picture of the Roman empire. They are each other’s allies in persecuting David. Goliath actually is a bloated Saul.
Why are they here Philistines? It is that people who are in the midst of God’s people in the land and are always out to deprive the people of God of their blessings. We can make an application of showing their power. Like the enemy does here, so will the enemies do in the great tribulation. They will do all they can to keep the people of God out of the land of promise and to kill those who are in it, thus depriving them of the blessings.
For us the kingdom of David already exists. In David we recognize the picture of our Lord of Whom we are servants. We also have to do with the power of Satan. Satan also wants to prevent us from occupying ourselves with the blessings of heaven. The nominal Christians (Philistines) are his faithful servants. They do their best to keep the believers away from their blessings. But among God’s people there is the true David in the Spirit. Just as David is in the army, as anointed king, but without being noticed, so the Lord Jesus is also today among of His people which is surrounded by evil powers that fight it and want to frighten it.