David and Goliath   1 Samuel 17 (ESV Version)


Goliath’s words   Jesse’s words   Israelite’s words   David’s words   David’s brother’s words   King Saul’s words

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of E’lah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels  of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him A-bin-a-dab, and the third Sham-mah. 14 David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. 16 For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.

17 And Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring some token from them.”

19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper and took the provisions and went, as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the encampment as the host was going out to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21 And Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22 And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. 23 As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.

24 All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father's house free in Israel.” 26 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”

28 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.

31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

55 As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” 57 And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Questions and Some Possible Answers

1. There are many lessons in this but, what is the main lesson God is showing us in this particular event?  God is with us in our battle always, provided we are seeking Him through Jesus Christ.

2. What does Goliath (and the Philistines) represent?  Temptation, sin, false teachers who teach of a god unknown to the living God’s people. See Judges Chapters 1-2

3. It is interesting how Goliath says “if we win, you will be our servants” what kind of sin can we be enslaved by?

4. Name two people that David could represent in this event? 3. a. Jesus, our Savior     b. Us

5. If David represents Christ, Who does David’s Father represent in verse 25? God the Father.


6. What does Israel represent? 12. God’s chosen people, the “Church” that is us, provided we are following Christ and “fight the good fight” Eph 6.

7. Was David alone in this fight?  No, God was with him and David knew this from the beginning. See Matt 28: 18-20

8. What does David mean by saying ” …that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel… “ in verse 46? 

That God would be glorified by in the victory through David and others would be strengthened by it to fight too encouraged by the success!

9. How many times did satan attempt to undermine David’s faith and by whom did he do this? 3 times, through his oldest brother Eliab, Saul and Goliath. Note that two of them are his own people and one was their “leader”!!!

10. Who gave words of encouragement to David? The common everyday people of Israel encouraged David by being the “messengers” of the “promise”.

11. What does David imply in verse 47?  The real battle is the LORD’s… in the spiritual realm. The weapons of God are NOT the weapons of man.

12. What do we have to “throw” at evil? What could the “stone” then represent? When David threw the stone, it did not kill Goliath, it sank into his head. What is the meaning of this? The Stone is the Word of God. Jesus is called the “Rock” and the Word in which we can battle temptations and evil. God’s Word, when used, disables satan and temptations.

13. How did Jesus respond to satan when He was tempted in the wilderness in Matt 4?  He answered everything with scripture in the form of laws or commands from God. He also answered the Pharisees with scripture.

14. Do false teachers use God’s Word (aka Sword) against us?  You can be sure of that! The Pharisees used the Word against the Jews by twisting it to serve themselves and Jesus set them all straight. Remember how the “stone” did not kill Goliath? Why is it that David kills him with his own sword? We might instantly think of the sword as the Word of God. But this does not seem to fit, or does it? So, is it possible that Goliath has this “Word of God“? See 1 Sam 21:8-9. This is where David needs a weapon…. Read it and see the significance.  Clue: Satan quoted scripture on Jesus in Matt 4 also!

15. Who Does Saul represent? Remember how and why Saul became the first king of Israel? Saul was appointed king because the people demanded this. They wanted to be like the other “nations”. This was very displeasing in God’s eyes. God told Israel that HE was their King! God gave them their demand and warned them to follow Him! The king did NOT seek God’s will. He was doing many things that angered or displeased God. So, when Goliath says to the Israelites “are you not servants of Saul?” He does NOT say they are servants of God! This is very significant.

     Saul also represents Christian leaders today who are weak in faith or understanding of God’s True Gospel through Jesus Christ. This commonly undermines the faith of God’s people. People think they must “go it alone” or “o well, it’s the best I can do” They become complacent with sin in their lives. They tell us we cannot rule over sin or we are not equipped to fight.

16. How do we make sure we’re of the “House of David” and “set free”? 11. By following Jesus Christ and all He taught, demonstrating it in our walk as a witness to others, loving as He loved us and keeping in repentance as we forgive others as He forgave us! See Matt 28: 18-20 Read the Gospels!

17. What was the promise in verse 25? 17. That who ever can kill this great giant would receive the King’s daughter and receive riches and make his Father’s house free.

18. All talk and No action!  Another point is how in verse 20 how they are on the battle line shouting the battle cry. It’s interesting how we as Christians just talk of the battle and do not rush into battle with faith that God is with us. We should not be like them and just talk, there should be action to go with it!

19. Individual “one on one” battle?  Also, note how Goliath calls out for an individual to fight with him, there is no group effort on the part of God’s people to be joined in battle. Satan tries to divide us to conquer us. We must be united in Christ with the brothers to be as one!

20. Why are the Philistines in the middle of Judah mustering an army?  In verse 1, The Philistines are in Socoh, which belongs to Judah. Socoh is smack dab in the middle of the nation of Israel. Why are they there mustering an army? The Philistines (who represent sin) had no business being in God’s land (or among His People). In Judges 2:1-6 we see that the Israelites disobeyed God by not purging the land of the Philistines. God tells them that they will be a thorn to them for times to come. Sin should not be a controlling force in God’s chosen people but controlled. Have you fully purged yourself of the things that cause you to sin? Or are you hanging on to them?

21. What is the spiritual significance of David attempting to “try on” Saul’s armor and weapon? 21. They are not the type of weapons he is familiar with.

22. Why does Saul not know David? 24. in verse 55-58 when David is noted as being in king Saul’s service in chapter 16?  There is an interesting significance to this. Saul does not know David nor can David understand where Saul is coming from because they are not of the same faith or mindset. So Saul can never know David in his current state. Jesus tells the Pharisees that they “know not Him or the Father.”

23. Do we know David? Know Christ and God’s will. Neat passage in Ezekiel 34:23-24 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.


God wants us to Kill the Goliath’s just as David and Jesus did! When David was victorious, the people were encouraged and they rushed in to battle keeping the Philistines powerless!

When we do, we are following in Christ’s footsteps just like He commanded and demonstrated to us in the gospels.

We see a clear view of the “spiritual” nature of this “battle” and the battle we are in today! Jesus has beaten sin and He has been granted authority by God the Father over all. We just need to call on the Father for help in Jesus name in our battles against sin, deception and temptation. God is glorified by us asking for help.



A fascinating part in verses 28-30: David’s older brother Eliab (which in Hebrew means god of his father, see H446 and H410 in the concordance) Eliab accuses David of leaving the few sheep in the wilderness. When we know that the sheep where safely entrusted into a keeper’s hands. Eliab says, “why have you come down” twice to David. This is huge. We know in Hebrew tradition that when something is repeated it is for strong emphasis. (example: when Jesus says, “…verily, verily I say unto you…”) it is for emphasis.  If David represents Christ, he did come down and won the battle against sin so he might atone for us because He lived it as a man. Eliab accuses David of being evil just as the Pharisees accused Jesus of having a demon.

We could go on and on in this study of David and Goliath, We could even write a book on it!

O, wait! There is a book already written with the answers and explanations. You likely have this book within arms reach! You only need to study it while asking God to help you and reveal to you the richness and strength therein. If you ask the Father for bread will He give you a stone?

Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. When it is opened to you, glorify God by your walk in Christ Jesus!   God bless you! Stay in the Word!