David was boldly telling Israelís men that God would support them against their enemy, Goliath (17:26). They must not feel hopeless; God was on their side. They should trust God, he would rescue them.
Davidís brother Eliab heard these words and he became angry. Eliab told David that he (David) was not even a proper soldier. David had no right to speak in such a manner. His duty was to look after the familyís sheep. He should not have come to the armyís camp. He had become proud and wicked. That was what Eliab said.
David could have answered all of Eliabís statements. Jesse, Davidís father, had sent David. Jesse had greater authority in the family than Eliab had. David had come to provide food for Eliab; that was a necessary and important task (17:17). The family had paid someone to look after the sheep while David was away (17:20).
However, David chose not to explain any of these things to Eliab. David did not even try to defend himself. He simply insisted that he had a proper reason to speak. Then he continued to encourage Israelís soldiers.
It seems likely that Eliab was jealous of David. Eliab had been present when Samuel anointed (poured oil upon) David (16:13). We do not know whether Eliab understood clearly the real meaning of that ceremony. However, Eliab would have understood that God was separating David to do special work for him. God had chosen David; he had not chosen Eliab (16:6-7).
Since then, David had been acting in the power of Godís Holy Spirit (16:13). He had even been serving King Saul as a sacred musician (16:23). Now David was starting to speak with authority to Israelís soldiers (17:26). Eliab felt angry and jealous then, but later he too would support David (22:1).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.