1 Samuel 17:41-58 (David and Goliath, The Valley of Elah, Part IV)

1 Samuel 17:41-58
David and Goliath
The Valley of Elah, Part IV

While typing this series, a friend, Syra, emailed me out of the blue with a joke. I’m not one to include jokes in sermons, but the timing was so propitious, I thought I would share it with you.

***The Israelis and Arabs realized that if they continued fighting, they would someday end up destroying the whole world. So, they decided to settle their dispute with an ancient practice: a duel of two, like David and Goliath. This “duel” would be a dog fight.

The negotiators agreed each side would take five years to develop the best fighting dog they could. The dog that won the fight would earn its people the right to rule the disputed areas. The losing side would have to lay down its arms for good.

The Arabs found the biggest, meanest Dobermans and Rottweilers in the world. They bred them together and then crossed their offspring with the meanest Siberian wolves. They selected only the biggest, strongest puppy of each litter, fed it the best food and killed all the other puppies.

They used steroids and trainers in their quest for the perfect killing machine. After the five years were up, they had a dog that needed steel prison bars on its cage. Only expert trainers could handle this incredibly nasty and ferocious beast.

When the day of the big dogfight finally arrived, the Israelis showed up with a very strange-looking animal, a Dachshund that was 10 feet long!

Everyone at the dogfight arena felt sorry for the Israelis. No one there seriously thought this weird, odd-looking animal stood any chance against the growling beast over in the Arab camp. All the bookies took one look and predicted that the Arab dog would win in less than a minute.

As the cages were opened, the Dachshund slowly waddled toward the center of the ring.

The Arab dog leaped from its cage and charged the giant wiener-dog.  As he got to within an inch of the Israeli dog, the Dachshund opened its jaws and swallowed the Arab beast whole – in one bite. There was nothing left but a small puff of fur from the Arab killer dog’s tail floating to the ground.

The stunned crowd of international observers, bookies, and media personnel let out a collective gasp of disbelief and surprise.

The Arabs approached the Israelis, muttering and shaking their heads in disbelief. “We do not understand,” said their leader, “Our top scientists and breeders worked for five long years with the meanest, biggest Dobermans, Rottweilers and Siberian Wolves, and they developed an incredible killing machine of a dog!”

The Israelis replied. “Well, for five years, we have had a team of Jewish plastic surgeons from Sarasota, Florida working to make an alligator look like a Dachshund.”

Text Verse: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Unlike the Jews in the joke who fudged things in order to win, David is given a test without time to fudge anything. He is going forth solely in the strength of the Lord, and he says as much to his enormous adversary. Even if he is armed with the implements he is skilled in, the battle is so lopsided to the minds of the audience watching the events that it looks like there is no chance of winning.

But before either David or Goliath existed, God knew what the outcome would be. He placed each in their individual stations of life, and they were the products of those stations. Everything about them was set for the moment of time in which they existed.

The same is true with us. We are here for a set span. We have been equipped for this particular moment in time. The parents we were born to, the opportunities that are laid before us, and so on – all of these were ordained by God through His infinite and perfect wisdom. And so, let us have confidence that who we are, and what we have before us on the road we are on, is appropriate to the person God wove us together to be.

This is the attitude we should always express, because it is based on truths which are found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. I Come to You in the Name of the Lord of Hosts (verses 41-47)

41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David,

The Hebrew is pregnant with motion: va-yelek ha’pelishti holek v’qarev el David – “and came the Philistine, coming, and drawing near unto David.” The energy of the words shows determined purpose. Goliath has had weeks of waiting for a challenge. Each step now is one of delight and of anticipation. “Finally, a worthy foe has left the ranks of Israel to meet my challenge.” This is further supplemented by the words…

41 (con’t) and the man who bore the shield went before him.

v’ha’ish nose ha’sinah lephanav – “and the man lifter of the shield before him.” The words follow after verse 7 but they leave out the verb “went.”

“and lifter of the shield went before him.” (v.7)
“and the man lifter of the shield before him.” (v.41)

The movement, and thus the purpose and intent of the action, is ascribed to Goliath. And so, it is as if the shield-bearer is a single unit with Goliath, being propelled on by his movement.

Along with this is the fact that the giant, adorned in all of his military gear, and with a shield-bearer as a part of that gear, is actually not alone. Someone guards him. But none go before David. The contrast is made all the more poignant by the use of the words. In his state, and in the confidence he surely felt, we next enter the very thoughts of Goliath.

One can almost see him finally close enough to see David and he is incredulous. So much so that he leans his head forward another few inches as if he needs better focus and then a sense of disbelieving amazement fills his face. His nose scrunches, his eyes squinch, his forehead crimps down and he says, “Huh?” As the narrative says…

42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David,

va-yabet ha’pelishti vayireh eth David– “and looked attentively, and saw David.” The word navat comes from a root meaning “to scan.” Thus, it signifies looking at something attentively. With the same stupid look on his face that appeared in the previous verse, Goliath carefully observes David, and…

42 (con’t) he disdained him;

va-yivzehu – “and despised him.” The word here was first seen in the account of Esau and the selling of his birthright. For a mere bowl of red soup, he sold off what was of the highest value, showing disdain for it. Here, Goliath looks at David and disesteems him. He sees nothing of value in regard to a battle.

42 (con’t) for he was only a youth,

ki hayah naar – “for he was a youth.” The Israelites had sent a boy forth to fight a man, and they had sent an inexperienced person to challenge a champion. It was the first reason to disesteem David.

42 (con’t) ruddy

v’admoni – “and red.” Here, the word admoni, or red, is used for the third and last time. It was first used of Esau when he was born –

“And the first came out redHe was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.” Genesis 25:25

It was next used in Chapter 16 when describing David –

“So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.” 1 Samuel 16:12, 13

The word comes from the same as the verb adom, or “to be red.” It can speak of the hair or the complexion. Either way, the connection to Esau should not be missed. To understand why, take a break and go watch the sermons on Esau and Jacob from Genesis 25 and 27.

It is all the more interesting when it is considered that both words, “despise” and “red” are used in both accounts. A connection between the two has been established. Being red – in hair or in complexion – was another reason to disesteem David. He had no gray hairs of an adult, or he had a weak complexion of a boy. Either way, Goliath saw him as unfit.

42 (con’t) and good-looking.

im yepheh mareh – “with handsome appearance.” This would be a complete surprise. Anyone who was trained in battle would have the look of warrior. They may paint their faces to make them look more aggressive; they may have scars, missing teeth, and so on; and they would certainly snarl and show contempt for their opponent.

David displayed none of these features. He looked like any regular person that you might meet on the street. Thus, it was a third reason to disesteem him.

43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?”

Verse 40 said that David “took his staff in his hand.” It was singular. Here Goliath says, “sticks.” This is certainly an expression of derision, like saying to someone, “Grow up and stop playing with tinker toys.” But more, he adds in ha’kelev anoki – “the dog I?”

In other words, “Fighting the dog with sticks may be effective. Is that what you think I am?” He stands there arrayed in battle armor and with weapons far fiercer than just angry flashing teeth. Sticks will be entirely ineffective against such a foe. Because of this…

43 (con’t) And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

Out of twenty-seven translations checked for this sermon, only two state this in the singular, “his God.” Goliath is cursing David b’elohav, or “in his God,” meaning the God of Israel. This is surely what is being referred to.

No Philistine god is named in the account, and Goliath has already been shown to purposefully come out morning and evening to challenge Israel – assuredly at the time of the daily sacrifices. This would be not a reliance on his false god or gods, but an attack against Israel’s God.

44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me,

Goliath was no longer in the mood for advancing forward. He must have thought the challenge was a joke, or some type of ruse put forward by Saul. Either way, it is obvious he takes David’s presence as no true challenge at all. Hence, instead of continuing to press forward, he called for David to come to him, certainly not expecting him to do so. But if he did, only then would he act…

44 (con’t) and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

Goliath was so confident of the situation that he was prepared to dispatch his opponent with little effort and leave his carcass out for whatever came to collect it. He had not moved away from his side of the ravine, and so no Israelite would dare come and carry him away. In his mind, David is already dead and of no threat at all.

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts,

David sets a complete and absolute contrast between himself and Goliath. Goliath is using what is created and then manipulated within the creation (meaning the fashioning of implements for battle out of elements) to conduct his warfare. However, David comes forward in the name of Yehovah – the self-existent God.

As He is self-existent, He is then separate from the creation; He is transcendent over it. As this is so, trusting in His name means trusting in the sum of who He is. He has presented Himself already to Israel in numerous ways.

He has revealed Himself as Yehovah Yireh – the Lord will Provide. He has revealed Himself as Yehovah Rapha – the Lord is my Healer. He has revealed Himself as Yehovah Nisi – the Lord is my Banner. He has revealed Himself as Yehovah Meqadishkem – the Lord who Sanctifies you. He has revealed Himself as Yehovah Shalom – the Lord is Peace.

These are but a few ways the Lord has revealed Himself to His covenant people. But David presents Him to Goliath as Yehovah Tsevaoth, the Lord of Hosts. It is a term introduced in 1 Samuel 3, and this its fifth use in Scripture. The name comes from tsava, signifying warfare or an army. Being a plural, it indicates He is the Lord of Armies. Later, David will use this term in the 24th Psalm –

“Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah” Psalm 24:10

But David expands on this name, saying that He is…

45 (con’t) the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

elohe maarkoth Yisrael – “God ranks of Israel.” The many-faceted Lord who is a Provider, a Healer, a source of Peace, and so forth, is also the Captain and Ruler of the ranks of His army – the army that Goliath has openly defied. David will trust in this One to take away the reproach of this uncircumcised Philistine. His confidence in the Lord was unwavering throughout his life –

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.” Psalm 20:1

David is trusting solely in the Lord as his Helper. Goliath thinks he sees an accomplished victory. David, however, looks beyond the moment to the ultimate defeat of the enemy…

46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand,

ha’yom hazeh yesagerkha Yehovah b’yadi – “The day, the this, will shut you up Yehovah in my hand.” The word is sagar. It signifies to close or to shut up. Hence, David is saying that Goliath will be ensnared in his hand, unable to escape. In such an incapacitated state, he then says…

46 (con’t) and I will strike you and take your head from you.

The confidence of David is so great that not only will Goliath be shut up in his hand, but David will yield complete control over him in that state, prophesying that he will remove his head from his body. Plus…

46 (con’t) And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth,

The word is “carcass.” It is singular – “And I will give the carcass of the Philistines’ camp.” David looks at the entire camp of the Philistines as one body that will be slain and presented as one offering to the birds and the beasts. In the defeat of Goliath, the deed will be accomplished.

46 (con’t) that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

v’yedeu kal ha’arets ki yesh Elohim l’Yisrael – “And may know all the earth for there is God to Israel.” The name “Israel” means “He strives with God.” It can be for God, or against God. The idea here is that God is not “for” Israel, but that God possesses Israel. They are His people and He displays that fact through them.

47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear;

The implements of battle used by Goliath are unnecessary for the Lord to gain the victory. Even if used, it is not they that win the battle, but the Lord Himself who does. In mentioning these two implements, it is right to understand their etymology.

The kherev, or sword comes from kharav meaning to be dry or dried up. It is identical to the name of the mountain, Horeb, where the Law of Moses was received, and which comes from the same root word, kharav. The khanit, or spear comes from the verb khanah, to bend down, encamp, or pitch a tent.

Understanding these things will help us to understand the typology that is being presented, and why the Lord included such things in this marvelous account of David facing the giant Philistine. David says that it is not in a sword or spear that the victory in battle is attained. Rather…

47 (con’t) for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

ki l’Yehovah ha’milkhama v’natan etkem b’yadenu – “for to Yehovah the battle, and He will give you (pl.) into our hands.” The battle belongs to Yehovah alone. Only in Yehovah can the enemy be defeated. In His victory, he then hands it to His people. This is reflected many years later in a psalm penned by the sons of Korah –

“For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor shall my sword save me.
But You have saved us from our enemies,
And have put to shame those who hated us.
In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever. Selah” Psalm 44:6-8

I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts
The God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied
You may have the power to pull up fence posts
But when this battle is over, it is you who will have died 

The Lord of Hosts! The God of Israel
In Him is our trust and our hope this day
What happens here, to our children we will tell
When you are dead, and your corpse is cast away 

Blessed be the Lord! And blessed be His name
My trust is in Him to do away with you today
Great will be the victory, and the honor of His fame
When you are gone; when your corpse is cast away

II. With a Sling and a Stone (verses 48-58)

48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

The parley is ended. Goliath could no longer remain still. The challenge had been made, it was apparent that his opponent was serious, and so he arose to full height and entered into motion. The double verbs enhance the excitement of the narrative – Goliath arose “and came, and drew near.” Likewise, it says “And hurried David, and ran…” No Hollywood movie could improve on the tension of the moment…

49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead,

The account gives a simple description of how the marvelous blow came about. He put his hand to the bag, pulled out a single stone, and slung it with the precision of a sniper, hitting goliath directly in his forehead. Such precision has already been recorded during the time of the judges –

“Among all this people were seven hundred select men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss.” Judges 20:16

For David tending to the sheep, there would be little else to do in the wilderness than practice with his sling. His skill would be so refined that the account is not only likely, but it would be hard to imagine how he could miss even while at a full run. He was proficient with the sling, the Lord’s honor was at stake, and the Lord’s presence was with him. The victory was a given.

49 (con’t) so that the stone sank into his forehead,

va-titba ha’even b’mitskho – “and sank the stone in his forehead.” The forehead in the Bible signifies the place of conscience and identification. David identified with Yehovah, but Goliath had identified against Him. He had made his stand, and he was judged for it. So great was the blow that the stone not only crushed his forehead, it sank into it, becoming one with it…

49 (con’t) and he fell on his face to the earth.

The words show that not only was he injured, but he was completely incapable of any further action. Being facedown, he was left completely exposed to whatever fate awaited him.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone,

In twenty-seven translations used for the sermon, only the NET Bible includes the definite articles before “sling” and “stone.” The Hebrew reads: va-yekhezaq David min ha’pelishti ba-qela u-ba’even – “and stronger David from the Philistine in the sling and in the stone.” The strength of David is placed in the sling and in the stone. It is through this means that Lord won the victory.

50 (con’t) and struck the Philistine and killed him.

Here, it says that David struck the Philistine and killed him. The means with which the kill is credited is to the sling and the stone. David hit his mark, and the victory was won. It then says of this…

50 (con’t) But there was no sword in the hand of David.

v’kherev ain b’yad David – “And sword none in hand David.” It is specific and unambiguous. What it is saying is that David did not have his own sword. This is stated specifically for a purpose. David prevailed not with his own sword…

51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.

David had no sword, and yet he prevailed over the Philistine. However, to ensure the victory was complete, and that the wound didn’t only appear to be terminal, David then drew out the sword of the Philistine and killed him with it. It then says, “and cut off his head.”

Whether they are two actions or one, the giant’s life was ended with his own sword, and his head was removed with it as well. The events are minutely recorded to provide specific details of other events coming in redemptive history which these now anticipate.

This is the last time the sword is mentioned in this passage, but this same sword will be brought back into the narrative later in 1 Samuel –

So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.”

And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” 1 Samuel 21:9

It is a marvelous passage which plays on the name of Goliath – the Exposer – and on his sword, which was covered in a cloth. Goliath thought to expose with his sword, but his sword lay covered behind the ephod.

51 (con’t) And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

Here, the word translated as “champion” is completely different than the previous two uses. The word is gibor. It signifies strong or mighty. Thus, it could be translated, “their strongman.” Though Goliath had made an agreement that the Philistines would become the slaves of Israel if he was defeated, the people were so shocked to see him dead that they simply turned heel and fled.

In seeing this, the entire mood of the battle lines changed, and Israel went on the offensive…

52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley

The Hebrew says, “a valley,” not “the valley.” Because of this, many questions and much speculation arise among scholars. One possibility is that the word gai, or valley, is a misspelling of Gath. The Greek translation says “Gath,” and so this is possible, but not my preferred choice. Or, it could be an indiscriminate valley which is being referred to.

Regardless of this, the men of Israel and Judah took the initiative and raised the war cry and went hot on the heels of the Philistines…

52 (con’t) and to the gates of Ekron.

v’ad shaare eqron – “and to gates Ekron.” The name Ekron comes from aqar – to uproot or pluck up. Thus, it signifies Uprooting or Extermination. Zephaniah makes a play on the name in his book –

“For Gaza shall be forsaken,
And Ashkelon desolate;
They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday,
And Ekron shall be uprooted.” Zephaniah 2:4

Ekron is noted in 2 Kings 1:2 as the location of the god Baal-Zebub, a false deity that Jesus will equate with the ruler of demons in Matthew 12:24.

52 (con’t) And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.

The name Shaaraim is the plural of the word shaar, or gate. Thus, it signifies “Two Gates.” It is the scene of a bloody battle where the bodies lay strewn for, literally, miles. Israel took the initiative and overcame the enemies because David had first slain their middleman.

53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines,

v’yashuvu bene Yisrael mideloq akhare pelishtim – “And retuned sons Israel from burning after Philistines.” The word dalaq, or pursue, comes from a root signifying a flame. Thus, there is the sense of a heated, burning pursuit as they cut down the enemy as if stubble which is then burned. When that was accomplished, they returned…

53 (con’t) and they plundered their tents.

It doesn’t say “tents.” Rather, it says, va-yashosu eth makhanehem – “and they plundered their camps.” What this means is that the army of the Philistines was divided into various camps based on the villages they came from. They just destroyed the inhabitants of those cities, and then they returned and plundered their various camps.

54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem,

The meaning of the name “Jerusalem” is debated, the second half of it is not questioned. It comes from the verb shalem, meaning “to be complete,” or “to be sound.” The word gives the sense of the word shalom, or peace.

It isn’t merely a quiet peace, but a state of wholeness or completion. The first part could come from one of several sources. Its meaning is Foundation of Peace, Rain of Peace, Possession of Peace, or something closely akin to this.

David is said to have taken Goliath’s head there, but no explanation as to why is given. Nor is the head mentioned again in Scripture. At the time, the fortress of Zion was not yet captured, but Jerusalem was possessed by Israel. It is possible that he brought the head there to terrify the Jebusites, letting them know that they too would be defeated in due time.

Others think that this is written in anticipation of the later history when David conquered Zion and brought the head to this fortress at that time. Meaning, that he kept it as a trophy all along and Jerusalem was where it finally ended up when David ruled over Israel. That seems to stretch the intent, and it would then make the next clause seem out of place.

54 (con’t) but he put his armor in his tent.

v’eth kelav sham b’aholo – “and his goods he put in his tent.” David was obviously given the right to all of Goliath’s goods. This would have included his armor, weapons, and personal effects. But is that what this is referring to? It brings in an obvious set of possibilities, of which the Hebrew remains open to either.

Is this speaking of David putting Goliath’s goods in his tent, or David putting his goods in Goliath’s tent? As I said, the Hebrew simply says, “and his goods he put in his tent.” Translational and scholarly comment is unanimous that it is the former. The second option isn’t even considered.

However, the pattern of the previous clause makes David the subject and Goliath the object. If that pattern continues in this clause it would read –

* And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem
* And his (David’s) goods he put in his (Goliath’s) tent

If the Israelite’s plundered the camp of the Philistines, it means they also procured the tents along with everything else. David came to the camp to deliver supplies and then he would have returned to his father’s beth, or house.

Because of this, and it can only be speculation, I would suggest that the intent of the verse is that David took over the tent of Goliath, placing his goods there. If this is so, it would mean that everything belonging to Goliath became the possession of David.

Another question which arises is, “Why would it speak of Goliath’s head being taken to Jerusalem a long time in the future and then revert to this note at the time after the battle?”

What seems more likely is that the head of Goliath was taken to Jerusalem as a note of the victory. The city of Jerusalem was granted to Benjamin, but it bordered Judah, and was also occupied by people from the tribe of Judah. As Judah means “Praise,” and Jerusalem means, “Foundation of Peace,” it seems to have been a symbolic gesture playing on the two names.

Two important points to consider are that it says, “his head,” not his “skull,” and the name Goliath is not a derivative of the same root as the word “skull.” Thus, this cannot have any typological connection to “Golgotha,” although that would have been an interesting twist. Something else, rather, is being pictured.

55 When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?”

The final verses of the chapter have long perplexed reader and scholar alike. Indeed, many fall back on the supposition that they are not a part of the original text, being lacking from the Greek translation of it, thus supposedly demonstrating that they are not original.

Others simply dismiss them with little or no commentary, hoping to avoid the dilemma altogether. The reason for this is that in Chapter 16, David had already been introduced to Saul and has tended to him during his time of mental affliction.

There are several possibilities concerning this. The first is that Saul here focuses on who David’s father is. Unless one is sharp and has a great memory, he may have simply forgotten where David came from and who his father was.

The verses here never ask who David is, just who his father is. If David prevailed in the battle, he would need to know whose family was to be given his daughter and exempted from taxes in Israel.

A second option is that the accounts are not necessarily chronological. This is actually likely. The events are being tied together categorially in order to present David logically in relation to how events fall into a greater picture of his life and also of redemptive history.

David is anointed king by Samuel. At some point his brothers are in the camp awaiting battle with the Philistines, David comes to the camp and eventually becomes the hero of the battle. During that time, Saul asks whose son he is. Afterwards, this portion of the narrative ends.

Eventually, Saul had gone or goes into fits of mental depression. It is found that the same person who was the hero against Goliath also has other skills and is called into permanent service under Saul.

This supposition seems refuted by the opening words of Chapter 18, but that too may not be chronological. Jonathan is never mentioned in relation to David before that chapter, and thus taking it chronologically still omits any hint of how the two met. It is true the order is difficult, but it is no more difficult than understanding that the time frames of events, such as in Chapter 16, could have been over a period of years.

Such categorical rather than chronological accounts permeate Scripture, and they may cause confusion, but they are actually seen to be logical progressions of thought when viewed from the greater plan of the redemptive narrative. For now, Abner responds…

55 (con’t) And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.”

Abner comes from two words, av, or “father,” and ner, meaning a lamp.  Thus, it means something like “Father is a Lamp,” or it could even extend to “Father is Light.” As Abner’s father is named Ner, meaning “Lamp.” It is may simply be, “My Father is Light.”

As Abner doesn’t have any idea about whose father Davd’s is, the narrative continues…

56 So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.

Here, the word elem, or young man, is used. It is only seen here and then again in 1 Samuel 20:22. The fact that Saul uses this word, indicating a young man, seems to indicate that the age of David here is not the same as the account in 1 Samuel 16.

After only a few years between events, David could have grown a beard and looked completely different than he did when before Saul at other times. Thus, he would have no idea who his father was because he either didn’t even recognize David, or he had not yet met David. Once the battle was over, David is presented to Saul…

57 Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.

David is presented to Saul while he is still carrying Goliath’s head. It should be noted that when David was first brought before Saul in this chapter, Saul never asked his father’s name. It may be an indication that he actually didn’t expect David to prevail.

Now that he has, Saul needs to know whose family he belonged to in order to honor the father of the hero of the battle. With this probably the intent, the inquiry is made…

58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?”

Again, the inquiry is made of who David’s father is. This, along with the unusual use of the word elem, or young man, tends to favor the notion that the accounts are categorically placed. Saul wants to know what family he belongs to, and…

*58 (fin) So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Va-yomer David ben avdekha yishai beth ha’lakhmi – “And said David, son your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” It seems like an odd place for the narrative to end, but it’s not. Saul needed an answer to whose son David was, but we needed an answer as to who David is.

It is this David who is the son of Jesse, and it is this Jesse who, according to Ruth 4, is the son of Obed, and it is this Obed who is the son of Boaz, the husband of Ruth, of whom the book of Ruth is written. The names are important, because they keep taking us back to earlier stories.

The father of Boaz is Salmon who was married to Rahab the harlot. Each time the Bible focuses on someone, we have to remember that we are reading something that was documented and already known to the people. The book of Joshua detailed who Rahab was, and the story eventually goes back to Perez and Zerah who came from Judah.

The importance of these final verses of this chapter mean one thing to Saul, but they mean something completely different to those who want to know what God is doing in redemptive history. With the events of David’s life now being recorded, the next generation would have another clue concerning the promised Messiah.

Let us not forget this. When we come to a passage that seems out of place or irrelevant to the immediate narrative, it does not mean that it is out of place altogether. We have discovered why it is important to know who David’s father is from these final verses of the chapter. Next week, we will try to find out how the chapter itself is important to the overall redemptive narrative of the Bible.

It is great that an unprotected youth slew a giant all by himself in the Valley of Elah, but unless that story has some greater significance, it is just a curious story. Many people have done great things, and their stories aren’t included in the Bible. But God has chosen select events to give us clues into what He is doing or will do, and how those things will come about.

All of it has meaning, and as I closed this sermon typing out on 3 August 2020, there was a challenge ahead for me to see if what has been presented will reveal other things to your waiting ears. I will find out next week, on 10 August. You will find out sometime after that.

For now, let us just remember that Christ is the main focus of this marvelous gift we call the Holy Bible. Even if nothing else comes out of the story from today, we can know that David’s heroics are recorded, and he will eventually become the king of the nation. From there, covenant promises will be made to him concerning his house and his successors, including the greatest of them – our Lord.

David was a person of faith, even from his youth. He trusted with all of his being that he would prevail because he trusted in his God that it would be so. For us, we are on the other side of the cross. If David could have such marvelous faith and confidence in his God from such an obscure perspective of God’s overall plan, shouldn’t we have so much more?

Let us trust in the Lord, have confidence in His promises, and stand fast in our faith. David pleased God. We too can please Him. And the way it is so is to believe His word. And so, let us do so – to His glory.

Closing Verse: “I will sing a new song to You, O God;
On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
10 The One who gives salvation to kings,
Who delivers David His servant
From the deadly sword.” Psalm 144:9, 10

Next Week: An Analysis of 1 Samuel 17 – When we are done, you will say ooh and ahh, and that ain’t no jive… David and Goliath, The Valley of Elah, Part V

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. And, He has promised to fight the battles you face for you. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

David and Goliath
The Valley of Elah, Part IV

So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David
———-he would not yield
And the man went before him who bore the shield

And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him
For he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking; fit and trim

So the Philistine said to David
“Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?”
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods
Sneering all the while, just for kicks

And the Philistine said to David
To him directly he appealed
“Come to me, and I will give your flesh
To the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

Then David said to the Philistine

“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin
———-so I have spied
But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts
The God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied

This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand; my word is true
And I will strike you and take your head from you

And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines
To the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, so to you I tell
That all the earth may know
That there is a God in Israel

Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD
Does not save with sword and spear
For the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands
Surely Goliath, you had better fear

So it was, when the Philistine arose
And came and drew near to meet David; oh, what a scene!
That David hurried and ran
Toward the army to meet the Philistine

Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone
And he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead
So that the stone into his forehead sank
And he fell on his face to the earth; yes, he was as good as dead

So David prevailed over the Philistine
With a sling and a stone
And struck the Philistine and killed him
But there was no sword in the hand of David; just the sling alone

Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine
Took his sword and drew it out
Of its sheath and killed him
And cut off his head with it; a total rout

And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead
They turned and ran; yes, they fled

Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted
And pursued the Philistines, having changed their tone
As far as the entrance of the valley
And to the gates of Ekron

And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim
Even as far as Gath and Ekron; with dead bodies the road did teem

Then the children of Israel concluding the bloody events
Returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents

And David took the head of the Philistine and to Jerusalem it he brought
But he put his armor in his tent, after the battle he had fought

When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine
He said to Abner, the commander of the army, so his words did go…
“Abner, whose son is this youth?”
And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know

So the king said (wanting to know the biz)
“Inquire whose son this young man is.”

Then, as David returned
From the slaughter of the Philistine; victory so grand
Abner took him and brought him before Saul
With the head of the Philistine in his hand

And Saul said to him
“Whose son are you, young man? (surely with delight)
So David answered
“I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So 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 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, 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 and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.

And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

55 When Saul saw David going 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 So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.

57 Then, as David returned from the slaughter 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?”

So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

 

 

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