1 Samuel 17 = David and Goliath
Bible Background: 1 & 2 Samuel are really 1 book! Size made it necessary to be in 2 parts. 1 Samuel is about the rise of the monarchy in Israel, with the first King, Saul; and then David. David is shown to be a brave, faithful, young hero! He is sure that God will give him victory!
Digging Deeper: 1. Philistines are portrayed as the main, pesky enemies of the Israelites over several centuries. They were probably just “other people who lived in the Promised Land”, rather than a mighty nation unto themselves.
2. As a young man, David is sent by his father, Jesse, to check on his older brothers who are off to ‘war’ with King Saul. This conflict is more of a stand-off, than a war. But David brings food to his brothers, and learns that the army of Israel is standing in fear of the Philistines, who have a big, scary, Sherman-tank-of-a-warrior on their side. David is not intimidated, but is shown to be full of courage and faith. He offers to take on Goliath. (He always wants to know what his ‘reward’ will be!)
3. Where Goliath has all the weapons and protective armory, David has his slingshot and 5 smooth stones. As great stories go, the underdog easily triumphs over the big, bad, bully! A rock to the forehead takes Goliath down. David and the Israelites do what victors often do: they take the spoils of war.
4. King Saul (shown to be lacking courage, and a failure), does not seem to know who David is. The reader does know, because David was introduced back in 1 Samuel 16, and even anointed as the future king by Samuel. There are some misfit verses between chapters 16 and 17, a sign that we have storylines from at least two different sources.
5. Think of some David and Goliath stories from modern life: sometimes it’s a small business, taking on a big business; or a court case by underdogs seeking justice; or when we face some big, scary, foe of one form or another-what are we to remember? That God can be trusted? That God gives courage? That we’re not to allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear?
6. This story has a humble reminder too: that our enemies are not God’s enemies; that God is not just ‘on our side’; that military might is not the answer to very many problems; that God does not save by sword or shield; that even servants as honored as David were far from perfect! Nevertheless, this story can teach us to trust God and to pray for the courage to do what needs to be done!