Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 17

David had killed the lion and the bear

1 Samuel 17:34-36

Originally, Saul would not allow David to fight Goliath (17:33). Saulís reason was simply that Goliath would be stronger than David. David was young and he did not have the experience to fight such a capable enemy as Goliath. David was likely to die, and his death would benefit nobody.

Often people wrongly imagine that they are acting in faith (in other words, that they are trusting God). Really, they are acting in a foolish manner, as if the danger is not real. They are not trusting in God, but in their own thoughts, hopes and desires.

Davidís reply to Saul shows us his attitudes. This reply explains clearly why David had offered to fight Goliath. In other words, it shows how David considered himself able to defeat Goliath.

Like many boys and young men in Israel, David had worked as a shepherd. That is, he looked after sheep. He was responsible to look after those sheep in every way. In particular, he had to protect them from wild animals.

Lions and bears are some of the fiercest large wild animals. They were common in Israel at the time of the Bible. They are much stronger than a man (see for example 1 Kings 13:24 and 2 Kings 2:24). Only the bravest and strongest men were able to kill a lion (Judges 14:5-6; 2 Samuel 23:20). However, David had killed both a lion and a bear. He had killed animals that were stronger than him.

David did not believe that the strongest man would win the fight. David had a close relationship with God; he was trusting God to rescue him (17:37). David was not pretending that there was no danger. However, Godís Holy Spirit was active in Davidís life (16:13). By the power of his Holy Spirit, God had given David the faith (trust in God) to fight Goliath. Because David really was trusting God, there was no reason for him to be afraid of Goliath.

Next part: How a weak person can defeat a strong enemy (1 Samuel 17:37)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.