1The Philistines got ready for war and brought their troops together to attack the town of Socoh in Judah. They set up camp at Ephes-Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. 2-3King Saul and the Israelite army set up camp on a hill overlooking Elah Valley, and they got ready to fight the Philistine army that was on a hill on the other side of the valley.
4The Philistine army had a hero named Goliath who was from the town of Gath and was about three meters tall. 5-6He wore a bronze helmet and had bronze armor to protect his chest and legs. The chest armor alone weighed about 57 kilograms. He carried a bronze sword strapped on his back, 7and his spear was so big that the iron spearhead alone weighed about seven kilograms. A soldier always walked in front of Goliath to carry his shield.
8Goliath went out and shouted to the army of Israel:
Why are you lining up for battle? I'm the best soldier in our army, and all of you are in Saul's army. Choose your best soldier to come out and fight me! 9If he can kill me, our people will be your slaves. But if I kill him, your people will be our slaves. 10Here and now I challenge Israel's whole army! Choose someone to fight me!
11Saul and his men heard what Goliath said, but they were so frightened of Goliath that they couldn't do a thing.
David Decides To Challenge
12David's father Jesse was an old man, who belonged to the Ephrath clan and lived in Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons: 13-14the oldest was Eliab, the next was Abinadab, and Shammah was the third. The three of them had gone off to fight in Saul's army.
David was Jesse's youngest son. 15 He took care of his father's sheep, and he went back and forth between Bethlehem and Saul's camp.
16Goliath came out and gave his challenge every morning and every evening for 40 days.
17One day, Jesse told David, “Hurry and take this sack of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers at the army camp. 18And here are ten large chunks of cheese to take to their commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring back something that shows that they're all right. 19They're with Saul's army, fighting the Philistines in Elah Valley.”
20David obeyed his father. He got up early the next morning and left someone else in charge of the sheep; then he loaded the supplies and started off. He reached the army camp just as the soldiers were taking their places and shouting the battle cry. 21The army of Israel and the Philistine army stood there facing each other.
22David left his things with the man in charge of supplies and ran up to the battle line to ask his brothers if they were well. 23While David was talking with them, Goliath came out from the line of Philistines and started boasting as usual. David heard him.
24When the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath, they were scared and ran off. 25They said to each other, “Look how he keeps coming out to insult us. The king is offering a big reward to the man who kills Goliath. That man will even get to marry the king's daughter, and no one in his family will ever have to pay taxes again.”
26David asked some soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and stopping him from insulting our people? Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He's making fun of the army of the living God!”
27The soldiers told David what the king would give the man who killed Goliath.
The Philistines have more than recovered from their defeat at the hands of Saul (vv 13-14). Now, twenty some years later they have a not so secret weapon. The weapon’s name is Goliath.
To this day the valley of Elah is a completely open area, no buildings in sight. On that day it was crawling with Philistines, horses and Israelites!
Jesse must have been anxious, he had three sons in the army at a time when King Saul was becoming increasingly unfit for his role and the enemy seemed invincible.
But when things could not have been worse for Israel from a human perspective, from the divine perspective hope was dawning in the person of young David! Not only was he an excellent harpist, he had a natural, open inquisitiveness about what was going on around him. He asked questions; just to be sure he fully understood what he was seeing.
What is the reward for the man who fights Goliath? Who is this man who dares to defy God? He asks his questions repeatedly, just to be sure he was getting it straight.
David was beginning to see the whole picture from the perspective of God.
Do I usually see my surrounding from a human perspective only, or do I think to consider my environment from God’s perspective?
Do I take the time to ask questions of clarification? Of enough people? Or do I jump to conclusions too quickly?
Father, help me to view my circumstances from your point of view today. Help me to see what you are doing, right around me! Give me a heart to perceive and eyes to see.