corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

1 Samuel 17

 

 

Introduction
1The armies of the Israelites and Philistines being ready to battle,
4Goliath challenges a combat.
12David, sent by his father to visit his brethren, takes the challenge.
28Eliab chides him.
30He is brought to Saul;
32shews the reason of his confidence;
38and slays the giant.
55Saul takes notice of David.

Verse 1
Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.
gathered
7:7; 13:5; 14:46,52; Judges 3:3
Shochoh
Joshua 15:35
Socoh
2 Chronicles 11:7
Shoco
2 Chronicles 28:18
Shocho
Azekah.
Joshua 10:10,11; 15:35; Jeremiah 34:7
Ephes-dammim
or, the coast of Dammim.
1 Chronicles 11:13
Pas-dammim

Verse 2
And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
the valley
19; 21:9
set the battle in array
Heb. ranged the battle.

Verse 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.
Goliath
23; 21:9,10; 2 Samuel 21:19; 1 Chronicles 20:5
of Gath
27:4; Joshua 11:22; 2 Samuel 21:16-22; 1 Chronicles 20:4-8
whose height
Deuteronomy 3:11; 1 Chronicles 11:23; Amos 2:9
six cubits
According to Bp. Cumberland's calculation, the height of Goliath was about eleven feet ten inches; but Parkhurst estimating the ordinary cubit at seventeen inches and a half, calculates that he was nine feet six inches high. Few instances can be produced of men who can be compared with him. Pliny says, "The tallest man that hath been seen in our days was one name Gabara, who, in the days of Claudius, the late Emperor, was brought out of Arabia: he was nine feet nine inches." Josephus mentions a Jew, named Eleazar, whom Vitellius sent to Rome, who was seven cubits, or ten feet two inches high. Becanus saw a man near ten feet, and a woman that was full ten feet. And, to mention no more, a man of the name of John Middleton, born at Hale, near Warrington, in Lancashire, in the reign of James the First, was more than nine feet high. Dr. Plott, in his history of Staffordshire, says, that "his hand, from the carpus to the end of the middle finger, was seventeen inches, his palms eight inches and a half broad, and his whole height was nine feet three inches; wanting but six inches of the height of Goliath of Gath."

Verse 5
And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
armed
Heb. clothed.

Verse 6
And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
target of brass
or, gorget.
1 Kings 10:16; 2 Chronicles 9:15

Verse 7
And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
the staff
2 Samuel 21:19; 1 Chronicles 11:23; 20:5

Verse 8
And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
servants to Saul
26; 8:17; 2 Samuel 11:11; 1 Chronicles 21:3

Verse 9
If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
and serve us
11:1

Verse 10
And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
I defy
25,26,36,45; Numbers 23:7,8; 2 Samuel 21:21; 23:9; Nehemiah 2:19
give me
Job 40:9-12; Psalms 9:4,5; Proverbs 16:18; Jeremiah 9:23; Daniel 4:37

Verse 11
When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
dismayed
Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9; Psalms 27:1; Proverbs 28:1; Isaiah 51:12,13; 57:11

Verse 12
Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
David
58; 16:1,18; Ruth 4:22; Matthew 1:6; Luke 3:31,32
Ephrathite
Genesis 35:19; Psalms 132:6; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1,6
eight sons
16:10,11; 1 Chronicles 2:13-16

Verse 13
And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
the names
28; 16:6-9; 1 Chronicles 2:13
Shammah
2 Samuel 13:3,32; 21:21
Shimeah

Verse 14
And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
the youngest
16:11; Genesis 25:23

Verse 15
But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
returned
16:11,19-23

Verse 16
And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
forty days
Matthew 4:2; Luke 4:2

Verse 17
And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
Take now
Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13
parched corn
25:18; Ruth 2:14; 2 Samuel 17:28

Verse 18
And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
carry
16:20
cheeses
Heb. cheeses of milk.
2 Samuel 17:29; Job 10:10
their thousand
Heb. a thousand. look.
Genesis 37:14; Acts 15:36; 1 Thessalonians 3:5,6

Verse 19
Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
the valley
Dr. Richardson says, that in about twenty minutes, in an easterly direction, form the cave of St. John, (which is about two hours or six miles, in a westerly direction, from Jerusalem,) they came to the valley of Elah; which position seems to agree with that of Shochoh and Azekah. He describes it as "a small valley, and the place of the encampment is pointed out where it narrows into a broad, deep ravine; part of it was in crop, and part of it was under the plough, which was drawn by a couple of oxen. A small stream, which had shrunk almost under its stony bed, passes through it from east to west, from which we are informed that David chose out five smooth stones, and hasted and ran to meet the haughty champion of Gath. A well of water under the bank, with a few olive trees above, on the north side of the valley, are said to mark the spot of the shepherd's triumph over his boasting antagonist. Saul and his men probably occupied the side of the valley which is nearest to Jerusalem, on which the ground is higher and more rugged than on the other side."

Verse 20
And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
left the sheep
28; Ephesians 6:1,2
trench
or, place of the carriage.
26:5; Luke 19:43
fight
or, battle array, or place of fight.

Verse 22
And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
his carriage
Heb. the vessels from upon him. saluted his brethren. Heb. asked his brethren of peace.
Genesis 37:14; Judges 18:15; Matthew 10:12,13; Luke 10:5,6

Verse 23
And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
according

Verse 24
And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
him
Heb. his face.
13:6,7
sore
11; Leviticus 26:36; Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 7:2; 30:17

Verse 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.
the king
18:17-27; Joshua 15:16; Revelation 2:7,17; 3:5,12,21
free in Israel
Ezra 7:24; Matthew 17:26

Verse 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?
reproach
11:2; Joshua 7:8,9; 2 Kings 19:4; Nehemiah 5:9; Psalms 44:13; 74:18; 79:12; Daniel 9:16; Joel 2:19
uncircumcised
36; 14:6
defy
10; Deuteronomy 5:26; Jeremiah 10:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 John 5:20

Verse 27
And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
So shall it

Verse 28
And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
Eliab's anger
16:13; Genesis 37:4,8,11; Proverbs 18:19; 27:4; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Matthew 10:36; 27:18; Mark 3:21
with
I know
16:7; Psalms 35:11; Jude 1:10

Verse 29
And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
Proverbs 15:1; Acts 11:2-4; 1 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Peter 3:9

Verse 30
And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
manner
Heb. word.
26,27

Verse 31
And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.
sent for him
Heb. took him.
Proverbs 22:29; The preceding twenty verses, from the 12th to the 31st inclusive, the 41st, and from the 54th to the end of this chapter, with the five first verses and the 9th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, and 19th, of ch. 18, are all wanting in the Vatican copy of the LXX.; they:; have been misplaced; their true place being between the ninth and tenth verses of ch. 18. Let them be removed there, and the whole apparent disorder will be removed.

Verse 32
And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
Let
Numbers 13:30; 14:9; Deuteronomy 20:1-3; Isaiah 35:4; Hebrews 12:12
thy
14:6; 16:18; Joshua 14:12; Psalms 3:6; 27:1-3

Verse 33
And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
Thou art not
Numbers 13:31; Deuteronomy 9:2; Psalms 11:1; Revelation 13:4
for thou are but
42,56

Verse 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:
lamb
or, kid.

Verse 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.
smote him
Judges 14:5,6; 2 Samuel 23:20; Psalms 91:13; Daniel 6:22; Amos 3:12; Acts 28:4-6; 2 Timothy 4:17,18

Verse 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.
this
26; Ezekiel 32:19,27-32; Romans 2:28,29
seeing
10; Isaiah 10:15; 36:8-10,15,18; 37:22,23,28,29; Zechariah 2:8; 12:3; Acts 5:38,39; 9:4,5; 12:1,2,22,23

Verse 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.
The Lord
7:12; Psalms 11:1; 18:16,17; 63:7; 77:11; 138:3,7,8; 2 Corinthians 1:9,10; 2 Timothy 4:17,18
Go
20:13; 24:19; 26:25; 2 Samuel 10:12; 1 Chronicles 22:11,16

Verse 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.
armed David with his armour
Heb. clothed David with his clothes.

Verse 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.
put them off
Hosea 1:7; Zechariah 4:6; 2 Corinthians 10:4,5

Verse 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.
staff
Judges 3:31; 7:16-20; 15:15,16; 20:16; 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
brook
or, valley. bag. Heb. vessel.
Matthew 10:10

Verse 42
And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
disdained
1 Kings 20:18; 2 Kings 18:23,24; Nehemiah 4:2-4; Psalms 123:3,4; 2 Corinthians 11:27-29
a youth
33; 16:12

Verse 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.
Am
24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 9:8; 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13
cursed
Genesis 27:29; Numbers 22:6,11,12; Judges 9:27; Proverbs 26:2

Verse 44
And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
Come to me
1 Kings 20:10,11; Proverbs 18:12; Ecclesiastes 9:11,12; Jeremiah 9:23; Ezekiel 28:2,9,10; Ezekiel 39:17-20
I will give
Parallel instances of vaunting occur in some writers of a more recent date:--The conspirators against the emperor Maximinus having slain him, his son, and several of his best friends, threw out their bodies to be devoured by dogs and the fowls of the air. This custom appears to have been frequently threatened; and, however shocking to human feelings, was often carried into effect.

Verse 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.
Thou comest
Psalms 44:6
in the name
2 Samuel 22:33-35; 2 Chronicles 32:8; Psalms 3:8; 18:2; 20:5-7; 118:10,11; 124:8; Psalms 125:1; Proverbs 18:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 10:4; Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 11:33,34
defied
10,26,36; Isaiah 37:23,28

Verse 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.
will the Lord
Deuteronomy 7:2,23; 9:2,3; Joshua 10:8
deliver thee
Heb. shut thee up.
Psalms 31:8
take thine
carcases
44; Deuteronomy 28:26; Isaiah 56:9; Matthew 24:28; Revelation 19:17,18
all the earth
Exodus 9:16; 15:14,15; Joshua 4:24; 1 Kings 8:43; 18:36,37; 2 Kings 19:19; Psalms 46:10; Isaiah 52:10; Daniel 2:47; 3:29; 6:26,27

Verse 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.
saveth not
Psalms 33:16,17; 44:6,7; Proverbs 21:30,31; Hosea 1:7
the battle
14:6; 2 Chronicles 20:15-17; Psalms 46:11; Isaiah 9:7; Zechariah 4:6; Romans 8:31,37

Verse 48
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
David hasted
Psalms 27:1; Proverbs 28:1

Verse 49
And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
smote
1 Kings 22:34; 2 Kings 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:27,28

Verse 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.
So David prevailed
The tradition of the combat between David and Goliath, in which the latter was killed, is preserved among the Arabs; for he is mentioned in the Koran, where he is called Galut or Jalut. The Arabs also call the dynasty of the Philistine kings, who reigned in Palestine when the Hebrews came there, Galutiah, or Jalutiah. Achmed Al Fassi says, "Those kings were as well known by the name of Jalaut, as the ancient kings of Egypt by that of Pharaoh. David killed the Jalaut who reigned in his time, and entirely rooted out the Philistines, the rest of whom fled into Africa, and from them descended the Brebers or Berbers, who inhabit the coast of Barbary." It is remarkable that the Berbers themselves should acknowledge their descent from the Philistines. "The name Goliath, which they pronounce Sghiàlud, is very common among the Brebers, and the history of the champion of the Philistines is very well known to the Moors. When children quarrel, and the bigger one challenges the smaller to fight the latter answers, 'Who will fight with you? Enta men ulid Sgiàlud. You are of the race of Golaith.' The Jews who dwell among them, on the mountains, all call them Philistines."
21:9; 23:21; Judges 3:31; 15:15
but there was
39; 13:22

Verse 51
Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
his sword
21:9; 2 Samuel 23:21; Esther 7:10; Psalms 7:15,16; Hebrews 2:14
cut off
fled
Hebrews 11:34

Verse 52
And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
the men of Israel
14:21,22; Judges 7:23; 2 Samuel 23:10
valley
Joshua 15:33-36,45,46

Verse 53
And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
they spoiled
2 Kings 7:7-16; Jeremiah 4:20; 30:16

Verse 54
And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.
took the head
21:9; Exodus 16:33; Joshua 4:7,8

Verse 55
And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
whose son
58; 16:21,22

Verse 57
And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
the head

Verse 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.
Whose son
To account for the apparent inconsistency of Saul not knowing David, see the Note at the end of ver. 31.
I am the son
12; 16:18,19

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 17:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-17.html.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology