1 Samuel 17-18
Chapter 17: David and Goliath
The Philistines and the Israelites gather together their armies for battle, each on opposing hills with a valley in between them. Both sides are just standing around, but no real battle has begun. Here is where we read about one of the more famous people of the Bible, Goliath. Goliath comes out and challenges the Israelites, telling them that if they find a man to fight him and win, then the Philistines would be subject to the Israelites. But if Goliath wins, then the Israelites would be subject to the Philistines. This is a winner take all battle between two people.
The Israelites are a little uncomfortable with fighting Goliath and for very good reasons! So who is Goliath?
Goliath is from Gath and came from a Philistine camp, he was a champion fighter. Goliath was 9 feet tall, and only shy of 0.8 ft from the top of the backboard on a NBA basketball hoop. Essentially the top of the basketball hoop is at eye level with Goliath. He wore a coat of mail that weighed 200 lbs and a spear, whose spear head alone weighed 24 lbs!
This terrifies the Israelites, but Goliath steps out and offers this battle every day for 40 days, with no takers! During this same time we learn that David’s three oldest brothers are in army (Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah). David is serving Saul halftime, while still tending to his father’s sheep. David comes out to meet his brothers on the battle field on the 40th or 41st day that Goliath once again issues his challenge. When Goliath comes out to issue this challenge the Israelites are so afraid that they run in the opposite direction. David talks to some of the other men on the battle field about this and one man tells David that the man who defeats Goliath gets money, exemption of taxes and Saul’s daughter to marry. Eliab (Saul’s brother) is very unhappy that David is talking to the other soldiers.
Eliab asks David what he is doing here, and burns with anger as he asks him. David brushes it off and turns to talk to another soldier. Word gets to Saul about this and Saul calls for David. David tells Saul to not “lose heart” and to stay positive, he tells Saul that he will go and fight Goliath. Saul of course is not very comforted by this and tells David that Goliath is a warrior since birth and that he is just a boy. But after some time, David convinces Saul to let him try by telling his that he has killed a lion and a bear when they tried to attack his sheep.
Saul tells David to go with the Lord. They prepare David to go to battle and put all the armor on him. But David is not used to it and can barely even move with all of it, so he takes it off and grabs a staff and 5 smooth stones from the river. David then approaches Goliath.
When Goliath sees that they sent a little boy to battle him, he says;
“…Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?” (1 Samuel 17:43)
David responds by saying;
“…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 has defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee…” (1 Samuel 17:45-46)
From here we find out that Goliath goes to strike David, but David slings a stone at him which strikes him in between his eyes. This stones sinks into his forehead, which caused Goliath to fall face first to the ground. David then cuts off Goliath’s head with his own sword. After this happens the Philistines retreat and the Israelites pursue after them. David then takes the head of Goliath to Jerusalem and brings Goliath’s weapons into his own tent.
Abner brings David before Saul and asks David who is father is, David tells Saul that he is Jesse’s son.
Chapter 18: David Marries Michal
After the defeat of Goliath, David and Jonathan become very good friends. Saul decides to keep David in service full time, which means that David no longer has time to tend to his father’s sheep. Jonathan gives David his armor, and Saul gives David a high rank in the military. David’s new position is welcomed by both the people and the soldier below him.
Saul however begins to be filled with jealousy. Because the women in the Israelites towns sing songs in the street about how Saul has slain thousands, and David tens of thousands. This makes Saul really jealous and nervous that David might take his kingdom from him.
The following day, Saul is plagued by the evil spirit again and attempts to kill David, twice. Each time David eludes him. So Saul, because of his fear of David, decides to send him off on a campaign with a thousand men. This of course is a very successful campaign, because the Lord is with David.
Saul comes up with the idea to have his daughter Merab marry David. But David refuses and tells Saul that he is not worthy to be the king’s son-in-law. Later Saul finds out that his other daughter Michal is in love with David. So Saul decides to give David a task that would give him more credit into the family. He tells David to go and get him 100 Philistine foreskins. David goes and does what Saul asks and is successful at it, so successful that David brings back 200 foreskins!
David marries Michal and continues to be successful and well known throughout all the land!