Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 17

Goliathís behaviour astonishes David

1 Samuel 17:21-24

David went to Israelís camp in order to supply food to his brothers. However, as he arrived, the army was leaving the camp for the battle. So David went with the soldiers.

As a strong young man, David would have considered it his duty to fight in the battle. He was ready to help Israelís soldiers in any way that seemed necessary. He did not have a sword, but he had learned to fight with sticks and stones (17:43; 17:49). He could help the soldiers who suffered injuries. He could carry things to or from the soldiers during the battle. So David probably thought that he had arrived at just the right moment.

Probably, David expected that the battle would begin immediately. Israelís soldiers had dressed themselves for the battle. They were carrying their swords and they were ready to fight. The commanders arranged the men into their positions at one side of the valley. At the other side of the valley, the enemyís army (called the Philistines) was doing the same thing. The men in the opposing armies began to shout at each other.

What happened next completely astonished David. A particularly large and strong man, Goliath, went to the front of the Philistines. David listened as Goliath insulted Israelís men. That offended David deeply. Goliath and the Philistines served false gods. Israel was the only nation that had a relationship with the real God. So Goliath was not merely laughing at his enemies; he was laughing at God (17:26; 17:45-47).

The reaction of Israelís men astonished David even more, however. David could hardly believe that they were afraid of Goliath. They were afraid of a man merely because he was stronger than them. They were not trusting God to help them. Instead, they ran away from Goliath back into their camp.

Next part: David gives hope to Israelís soldiers (1 Samuel 17:25-27)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.