1 Samuel
Introduction 1-3 The Philistines and the Israelites 4-7 Goliath 8-11 Goliath Defies Israel 12-19 Jesse Sends David to His Brothers 20-24 David Comes into the Army 25-27 The Reward That Saul Promises 28-30 David Arouses the Anger of Eliab 31-37 David Says He Will Defeat Goliath 38-40 The Armor of Saul and of David 41-44 The Philistine Despises David 45-47 The Creed of David 48-51 David Defeats and Kills Goliath 52-54 Consequences of the Victory 55-58 Saul Asks Who David Is

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.

The Philistines and the Israelites

1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.

Two armies have drawn up in battle array. There is no fight yet. Both armies stand on a mountain slope. A valley separates them. There is no connection between the people of God and those who are not.


4Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5[He had] a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. 6[He] also [had] bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin [slung] between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear [weighed] six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.

Goliath shows up. He is a giant belonging to a giant family, which indicates his demonic origin (cf. Gen 6:44The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore [children] to them. Those were the mighty men who [were] of old, men of renown.). The race of giants is mentioned again in the account of the wars David waged with the Philistines (2Sam 21:15-2215Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary.16Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred [shekels] of bronze in weight, was girded with a new [sword], and he intended to kill David.17But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel.”18Now it came about after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among the descendants of the giant.19There was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.20There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of [great] stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant.21When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down.22These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.; 1Chr 20:4-84Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued.5And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear [was] like a weaver’s beam.6Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of [great] stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six [fingers on each hand] and six [toes on each foot]; and he also was descended from the giants.7When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.8These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.). Goliath is the leader of the Philistines and he is the Philistine par excellence. He is not only “a” champion, but “the” champion (verse 2323As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard [them].), the famous champion. The whole army of the Philistines owes its strength to him.

The description given of him, shows what an impressive stature Goliath is. With his length and armor the number six is connected, which is the number of a man and of the beast (Rev 13:1818Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.). Against those weapons and that greatness, the natural human begins nothing at all. Even Jonathan, who has previously defeated a Philistine section in the power of faith (1Sam 14:11-1411When both of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, the Philistines said, “Behold, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.”12So the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor bearer and said, “Come up to us and we will tell you something.” And Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hands of Israel.”13Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor bearer behind him; and they fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer put some to death after him.14That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bearer made was about twenty men within about half a furrow in an acre of land.), fails here.

Goliath Defies Israel

8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Goliath comes forward and speaks his challenging words. His defiance is that he calls the Israelites “servants of Saul”. With his blasting language he challenges Israel to fight him. It means the destruction of the giant, for he defies, but he has no knowledge of God. If God in Israel has a people on earth, the giant will have to deal with Him, even though there is so little of God to see as far as Israel is concerned. When the Philistine sees Israel he may think that it has no God, but unbelief never looks beyond what it perceives with the eye. Also the stories from the past that clearly prove the existence of God are rejected by unbelief as fabrications.

On the other hand, it is shocking to see that the awareness of the people that they are the people of God is not present in the people themselves either. The defiant words of Goliath, as it were his profession of faith, bring fear to Saul and the whole people. The whole scene shows the powerlessness of God’s people and the absolute need for a deliverer. He is found in David, the man whom no one thinks of. We are not reading about Jonathan. He is a hero of faith, but not of the quality of David, he does not reach to his level. David is a picture of the Lord Jesus, Jonathan of a believer.

The fact that Goliath’s language is nothing but cutting, is also apparent when he is defeated. When he was killed, the Philistines did not keep their word and did not submit to Israel as servants.

Jesse Sends David to His Brothers

12Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced [in years] among men. 13The three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. 16The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand. 17Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers. 18Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of [their] thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. 19For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”

Verses 12-1512Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced [in years] among men.13The three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.14David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul,15but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. explain why David is not with Saul. He is back to his father’s sheep. When he was called to be anointed, he was there (1Sam 16:1111And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”). When he was called to go to Saul, he was there too (1Sam 16:1919So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David who is with the flock.”). He can be found there every time. If he is shortly called to go to the army, he is there as well (verse 1515but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem.). Every time David is called, he is found to be faithful busy in his daily work.

The contrast with his three oldest brothers is great. They are afraid of the work that is expected of them as soldiers. Like Saul, they represent the glory of man. They are only of slightly lower quality than Saul and just as powerless as he is to fight Goliath.

While David faithfully does his work, the Philistine comes forward twice a day on the battlefield to let his cuddly and defiant words run high. With this he demolishes the state of mind of Saul and his army. Forty is the number of trial. Saul, Israel and the brothers of David are all being tried. Man has always been put to the test whether he can do something against the power under which he suffers as a slave. But nobody can stand up to the dragon.

While God’s people are afraid of the enemy and the enemy boasts of his power, the father speaks to the son that he must go to his brothers in the army (verse 1717Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers.). Thus once Jacob spoke to Joseph (Gen 37:1313Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing [the flock] in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “I will go.”). It is a beautiful picture of God Who says this to His Son in view of people who are in the power of Satan. David is sent when the situation is hopeless. There is no one who has any courage to fight.

When Jesse sends David, he gives him blessings to distribute. Thus the Lord Jesus came into the world not to judge the world, but with blessing for the people. Jesse also asks him to “bring back news of them”. He wants something shown to him as proof that they are doing well. Jesse wants to know if they live and also how they live.

We see here the care that God-fearing parents have for their children when they are no longer at home, for example because of study. They will want to know how they are doing, where they are staying, which places they visit, whether it are places of temptation. They are concerned about how they behave and in what company they are. It is good that children behave worthy their upbringing and remember that if they are not under the eye of their parents, they are under God’s eye.

David Comes into the Army

20So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took [the supplies] and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army. 22Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. 23As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard [them]. 24When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid.

David goes, but not without taking care of the sheep. He goes, because he has received a command from his father.

When he comes close to the army, everyone is in turmoil, because the army has to draw up in battle array. Yet it is nothing more than an outward display, because there is only fear for the enemy. The noise can impress someone who knows nothing about battle, but in reality it means nothing. It is camouflage of the real impotence that prevails.

God’s providence brings David to the army at the right time, as both armies prepare for battle. On both sides one positions oneself in battle array. When David sees all the movement, he hurries. He is aware that something is going to happen and feels that it is important to be there. In his rush to get there he makes sure his baggage is in safe hands. Before he does anything else, he complies with his father’s request and asks his brothers about their prosperity. While he is speaking with them, Goliath appears and makes his roaring language heard. It is so remarkable that David hears the words of the Philistine. The Lord also hears all the vain words that people speak and will judge them on that basis (Mt 12:3737For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”).

Also all the men of Israel see the Philistine and hear what he says. The appearance of the giant frightens the whole army to death and they run. All the men of Israel are still afraid, even though Goliath has been doing it for so many days. They don’t get used to it. This is because they do not trust in God and He must therefore leave them and leave them to themselves (cf. Deu 32:3030“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the LORD had given them up?

David is an exception. He is not afraid because he knows that the LORD is with him. He is rightly a man who we can say is skilled in his work and therefore on the way to promotion. He will be put in the service of the king (Pro 22:29a29Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.

The Reward That Saul Promises

25The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” 26Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” 27The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.”

The Israelites talk to each other about whether they have seen the giant. There is no thought of God in them. They also talk about Goliath defying Israel. They don’t think of the fact that he defies God. Another topic of conversation is Saul’s promise that whoever will defeat the Philistine will receive a reward. In fact, three rewards are involved: great wealth, becoming his daughter to wife and thus becoming son-in-law of the king and being free from all charges, like taxes and conscription, for all who belong to him.

Here we see a picture of the reward the Lord Jesus received for defeating the enemy, the devil. What Saul promises, the Lord Jesus received from God: great riches, i.e. all power in heaven and on earth and a bride, the church. Also all of His family are free from all charges: they are in the freedom of God’s children, they are free from the law.

David asks once more about the reward for defeating the Philistine. He is, as it were, surprised at such a great reward for one in his eyes, the eyes of faith, so simple thing. The reason for David’s calm is clear. He does not measure the giant against himself but he understands that it is a matter between the Philistine and God.

His words about the Philistine show that he speaks of him with contempt. David’s concern is not with the reward, but with the reproach that is done to the LORD. He speaks of the army of Israel as “the armies of the living God”. It is also the struggle of “the living God”, an expression that contrasts God with the false and dead idols (1Thes 1:99For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,). Faith does not see the enemy against the insignificant man, but against the almighty God.

David Arouses the Anger of Eliab

28Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” 29But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?” 30Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before.

When Eliab hears what his youngest brother says, his anger burns. He accuses David of sensationalism, that he only comes to see the battle. That is a bit exaggerated, because there is no battle at all. That is why Eliab’s reaction is also very unfair. The reaction can be explained logically, because David’s words are an accusation of the whole army. Then the only reaction is to start to skim, to grumble on the remarks made.

This leads to false statements and accusations. Eliab skims about the flock and doubts that David has made sure that the sheep are safe during his absence. He is not aware that he treats the deliverer despicable

The herd does not seem to have been large. Eliab talks about “those few sheep”. This makes it clear that David is faithful in the small and insignificant and that therefore the LORD can entrust him more. Faith that relies on God cannot prove to unbelief that nothing of the accusations is true. Therefore David does not defend himself. He resembles the Lord Jesus Who also reacted like that on accusations of the leaders (1Pet 2:23a23and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting [Himself] to Him who judges righteously;).

The anointing of David will not have made much of an impression on Eliab. Little was said and he will not have understood its meaning. For him at least David is not the future king, but a younger little brother who is curious. The outburst of anger of David’s brother doesn’t make David give up. He quietly goes through the army and informs everywhere. This is how it becomes known that there is a man of faith walking around in the army who, in simple confidence, testifies that there is a God in Israel.

David Says He Will Defeat Goliath

31When the words which David spoke were heard, they told [them] to Saul, and he sent for him. 32David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are [but] a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued [it] from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized [him] by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.”

The words David speaks also reach Saul’s ear. David has made himself known through his words. They are words of faith. This is how the news becomes known that there is someone who is not affected by what the Philistine blares. When David has come to Saul, he repeats the language of faith. David does not yet speak directly about the LORD. He has the right characteristics to be able to speak in this way, without mentioning the Name of the LORD. It will be clear from his actions that he only relies on the LORD.

David is not satisfied with not having any personal fear, but wants to encourage everyone to have the same security. He wants to fill all with the same trust he possesses. In this is expressed his deep connection both with the LORD and with His people.

Saul’s reaction is the language of sober perception, without faith. Therefore Saul does not understand what David says. He has no eye for the power source available to David. David not only says what he intends, but also that he has already proven to fight and defeat enemies. It’s not the first time he’s fighting the enemy. He knows what it is like to put his life at risk for the defenseless. The people are the flock of God and David will put his life at risk for them.

The Lord Jesus not only promised to give His life, He did it. He also first overcame Satan in the secret of temptation in the desert (Mt 4:1-111Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.2And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.3And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”5Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,6and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
7Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”8Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;9and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”10Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”11Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and [began] to minister to Him.
). Then He gained the open victory over him over and through the cross (Col 2:1515When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.). David is a picture of the Lord Jesus Who could say that He kept the sheep in the Name of the Father (Jn 17:12a12While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.). Therefore, when they come to take him prisoner, he says: “if you seek Me, let these go their way” (Jn 18:88Jesus answered, “I told you that I am [He]; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,”).

When David tells Saul of his victories, he does not speak of the power of the LORD. Yet he is well aware that he has been given the power of the LORD for it and he says so now. He counts on God’s faithfulness to Israel in all circumstances. He knows that he is God’s object of care, for that is how faith always reason. He is God’s object of interest, all the more so because his only desire is to maintain the glory of the LORD. Saul reacts with a pious wish that the LORD will be with David. Unfortunately, this desire is not the language of his heart.

The Armor of Saul and of David

38Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested [them]. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested [them].” And David took them off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in [his] pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

Saul said “may the LORD be with you”, but he does the opposite by providing David with his armor. This is a great trial for David, but he appears to be able to withstand it. If David had won the victory in Saul’s armor, the honor would have gone to Saul. The victory would have been attributed to his armor. However, the victory must be entirely the victory of the LORD.

When David has put on the armor, it turns out he can’t go in it. What did the armor mean for Saul himself? He didn’t gain the victory over Goliath either, did he? Saul’s armor is no more than a variant of Goliath’s armor.

We can compare David’s taking off of Saul’s armor with the means Paul used to put the Corinthians on the right track. Paul did not use persuasive language of human wisdom when he came to the Corinthians. He renounced it, that their faith might not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Thus David abandons all human means to go alone in trust in God. All human additions to spiritual power would, in the event of a result, only be fame for the flesh.

That does not mean that David will fight with his bare hands. He is looking for tools. Only he does this in dependence on the LORD. He knows that his aids only benefit if the LORD blesses their use. David’s tools in this battle are no different than those he used as shepherd .A shepherd goes to war.

He is looking for five smooth stones from the brook. Smooth stones have become smooth because of the flowing water. The flowing water is a picture of the Word of God that is applied by the Spirit to heart and conscience. The stones are a picture of the words from the Word of God. If we occupy ourselves with the living water of the Word of God, so that we may know it, the Spirit of God will be able to give us verses from it that we can use in the battle against the enemy.

David takes five stones with him, even though he needs only one. This shows that he is aware of his responsibility. Five is the number of responsibility. Nor does he sway in the wild, he aims well (cf. Jdg 20:1616Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.), while at the same time he knows that the victory is from the LORD.

The Philistine Despises David

41Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was [but] a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”

Goliath’s amazement is great when he sees David. He experiences it as a great insult that a boy, without armor and weapons, seemingly helpless, comes up to him to fight against him. The curses descend upon David, swung from the great mouth of a demonic man.

The weakness of the cross of the Lord Jesus is the victory over Satan. Satan is overcome by His humiliation to death. To be defeated by the cross has been unthinkable for the devil and it is still for many today. Yet the foolishness of the cross is the only way to salvation.

The Creed of David

45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’s and He will give you into our hands.”

David is not impressed by the giant’s roaring language. He goes down to him, because this Philistine has taunted the living God. In full certainty of the faith, that is to say in full trust in God, David goes down to Goliath. He lists all the mighty weapons the giant has. He is not blind to that, but he does not concentrate exclusively at it, for he knows in Whose Name he meets the giant. Against the LORD, Goliath’s weapons are completely insignificant. What Goliath expects from his weapons, David expects from the inexpressible glorious Name of the LORD.

In the most powerful language of faith, David accuses Goliath of taunting the LORD. That is the ground of his condemnation, and David shall execute the sentence. The LORD shall deliver him into the hand of David, that David may remove the head of the enemy. That means the complete settlement of the enemy, so that every force is vanished and irreversible lost. And not only Goliath will become a dead body, the same will happen to all who have taken his side. They will all become food of the animals. A dignified burial will not be there.

Faith has no difficulties and sees clearly in the hour of danger in accordance with God. It sees from the beginning the end. There is faith, a faith that gives strength and forgets itself. David is a young man, but a greater veteran on the path and in the battle of faith than anyone else in the army of Israel.

“That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” and not that such a great guy as David has achieved a great victory. This goes beyond personal faith, although this first must be present. He knows that the battle he fights is the battle of God. He does not fight for himself, but for the people. Therefore he says that God gives Goliath in “our” hands.

Once the world will see it and know that there is a God Who has everything in His hands. This is a word for “all this assembly”, for all who are witnesses of the battle. Proof is provided that God does not deliver by sword and spear, but by weakness relying on Him. Therefore, only to Him can be attributed the full victory. These are lessons of trust in God and of mistrust of ourselves (1Sam 14:66Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”; Exo 14:13-1813But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.14The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”15Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.16As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.17As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.18Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.”; Jdg 7:2,42The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’4Then the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”; 7:77The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the [other] people go, each man to his home.”; Psa 44:66For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor will my sword save me.

David Defeats and Kills Goliath

48Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung [it], and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. 51Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

The fight between the two champions burns loose. To the Philistine it seems like he has to fight a dwarf. Like an advancing mountain, covered with copper and iron, he draws near to meet David. David, however, goes faster toward Goliath than Goliath comes to him. The Spirit of God describes David’s actions in detail when he runs quickly to the enemy. He goes to “the battle line”, because in the Philistine the whole army of the Philistines unites.

One of the stones is enough to prevail over the giant. God loves to achieve great results by small, simple means. There is actually no fight. Even in the struggle in the end time, when the Lord Jesus comes, there is no struggle, no back and forth moving scenes, as if the devil could also have a chance of victory.

David conquers with a sling and a stone, nothing more. By using it correctly, all the power of Goliath and all the Philistines is completely broken in one stroke. The stone has felled the giant. The sword makes a definitive end to the giant. David kills the giant with his own sword. Thus, by dying, the Lord Jesus conquered death.

The description of the victory has in the original the form of a song. The consequence of the victory over the giant extends to all those who has joined the giant. Both David and Goliath represent a people. In defeating Goliath, the entire army of the Philistines is defeated. The defeated enemies are all fleeing. They do not keep word and do not become willing slaves of the overcomer, as Goliath has provocatively suggested in verse 99If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.”.

Consequences of the Victory

52The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. 53The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. 54Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.

The people of Satan are now persecuted by the people of God. The roles are reversed. The victory is great. This will happen for the remnant when the Lord Jesus returns. As an application to us, we can keep the enemy under when we stand in the victory of the Lord Jesus.

The whole power of the clergy is broken for those who have seen the giant fall. The understanding of what the true church is and our personal place in it in the presence of God and in His joy necessarily means the overthrowing of the false church with all its confessors. The impressive armies then suddenly become a scattered troop that proclaim in their confession their ignorance of God and Christ.

In verse 5454Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent., the Spirit of God seizes forward again. Jerusalem is currently still in the hands of the enemy, the Jebusites, but the victory over Goliath also guarantees the conquest of the city. The city is later conquered by David. The tent is not David’s either, but here it is the tabernacle. There he lays the sword of Goliath (1Sam 21:99Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take [it]. For there is no other except it here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”). He thus indicates that the honor of victory is for the Lord.

Saul Asks Who David Is

55Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” And Abner said, “By your life, O king, I do not know.” 56The king said, “You inquire whose son the youth is.” 57So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. 58Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “[I am] the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Saul’s question to Abner, whose son David is, suggests that Saul does not know David, even though David has been at Saul’s court several times already. Also Abner doesn’t know (anymore) who David is and can’t answer the question. Probably because they only know David as a harp player (1Sam 16:2323So it came about whenever the [evil] spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play [it] with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.).

Now the young man comes in a special way for Saul's attention. He looks at him in a new way. If a young man is able to achieve such a victory, he must be a special person. The question of his father is more than just getting to know his father’s name. It is more about the character of the man who has a son like David with a courage that is special. Then the question arises as to which family he belongs to, what his descendancy is. In this way people can also come under the impression of Who the Lord Jesus is, as we read in the Gospels.

Abner brings David to Saul and he asks himself the question of who David is the son of. The question shows what there is in Saul. Saul has no insight into the thoughts of God. His thoughts do not rise above the earth. He has no eye for David as God sees him. For Saul he must come from a family of violent men, a generation of gods. It is like with the Lord Jesus about Whom the question was asked: “How has this man become learned, having never been educated” (Jn 7:1515The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”)?

David answers in humility. His answer is beautiful: “the son of your servant Jesse”. Jesse means ‘Yahweh exists’ and of Him he is the servant. This makes me think of the question whether God is a concrete reality for me, if to me He is the existing God.

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