DAVID AND GOLIATH
Psalm 118:6, ESV
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
1 SAMUEL 17:1-11 AND 16, NIrV
1 The Philistines gathered their army together for war. They came to Sokoh in Judah. They set up camp at Ephes Dammim. It was between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the army of Israel gathered together. They camped in the Valley of Elah. They lined up their men to fight against the Philistines. 3 The Philistine army was camped on one hill. Israel’s army was on another. The valley was between them.
4 A mighty hero named Goliath came out of the Philistine camp. He was from Gath. He was more than nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head. He wore bronze armor that weighed 125 pounds. 6 On his legs he wore bronze guards. He carried a bronze javelin on his back. 7 His spear was as big as a weaver’s rod. Its iron point weighed 15 pounds. The man who carried his shield walked along in front of him.
8 Goliath stood there and shouted to the soldiers of Israel. He said, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? I’m a Philistine. You are servants of Saul. Choose one of your men. Have him come down and face me. 9 If he’s able to fight and kill me, we’ll become your slaves. But if I win and kill him, you will become our slaves and serve us.” 10 Goliath continued, “This day I dare the soldiers of Israel to send a man down to fight against me.” 11 Saul and the whole army of Israel heard what the Philistine said. They were terrified.
16 Every morning and evening Goliath came forward and stood there. He did it for 40 days.
After many battles with Israel, the Philistines came up with a new battle plan. Each side would choose their best soldier to fight for them. The losing side of this one-on-one battle agreed to become servants to the winner. This seemed like a fair idea until the Israelites got a good look at the champion the Philistines picked to fight for them. His name was Goliath and he was way bigger, way taller, way stronger, and had better weapons than any man in their army! For 40 days in a row, Goliath dared any of the Israelites to face him in battle. And every single time, all the Israelites said, “No way!”
+ How big was Goliath? (vs. 4)
+ What kind of weapons and armor did Goliath carry? (vs. 5-7)
1 SAMUEL 17:12-20, NIrV
12 David was the son of Jesse, who belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. Jesse was from Bethlehem in Judah. He had eight sons. When Saul was king, Jesse was already very old. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul into battle. The oldest son was Eliab. The second was Abinadab. The third was Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three oldest sons followed Saul. 15 But David went back and forth from Saul’s camp to Bethlehem. He went to Bethlehem to take care of his father’s sheep.
16 Every morning and evening Goliath came forward and stood there. He did it for 40 days.
17 Jesse said to his son David, “Get at least half a bushel of grain that has been cooked. Also get ten loaves of bread. Take all of it to your brothers. Hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten chunks of cheese to the commander of their military group. Find out how your brothers are doing. Bring me back some word about them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel. They are in the Valley of Elah. They are fighting against the Philistines.”
20 Early in the morning David left his father’s flock in the care of a shepherd. David loaded up the food and started out, just as Jesse had directed. David reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions. The soldiers were shouting the war cry.
Up to this point in the Bible, here’s what we’ve learned about David. First, he was a young man who spent much of his time watching the sheep of his father, Jesse. Second, Samuel had secretly anointed him to be the next king of Israel after God decided to take the kingdom away from Saul. Third, he’d been playing music on his lyre to help King Saul feel better whenever he was bothered by an evil spirit. And now, as this bit of the Bible begins, David’s dad sent him to visit his brothers at the battlefront. He didn’t come to fight, but to bring them food to eat and find out how they were doing.
+ What were the names of Jesse’s three older sons who were at the battle? (vs. 13)
+ What supplies did David bring with him as he visited his brothers? (vs. 17-18)
1 SAMUEL 17:22-28, NIrV
22 David left what he had brought with the man who took care of the supplies. He ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23 As David was talking with them, Goliath stepped forward from his line. Goliath was a mighty Philistine hero from Gath. He again dared someone to fight him, and David heard it. 24 Whenever Israel’s army saw Goliath, all of them ran away from him. That’s because they were so afraid.
25 The Israelites had been saying, “Just look at how this man keeps daring Israel to fight him! The king will make the man who kills Goliath very wealthy. The king will also give his own daughter to be that man’s wife. The king won’t require anyone in the man’s family to pay any taxes in Israel.”
26 David spoke to the men standing near him. He asked them, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine? Goliath is bringing shame on Israel. What will be done for the one who removes it? This Philistine isn’t even circumcised. He dares the armies of the living God to fight him. Who does he think he is?”
27 The men told David what Israel’s soldiers had been saying. The men told him what would be done for the man who killed Goliath.
28 David’s oldest brother Eliab heard him speaking with the men. So Eliab became very angry with him. Eliab asked David, “Why have you come down here? Who is taking care of those few sheep in the desert for you? I know how proud you are. I know how evil your heart is. The only reason you came down here was to watch the battle.”
While at the battlefront with his big bros, David heard Goliath do what he’d done for 40 days in a row: challenge an Israelite to fight him. And the Israelites did what they’d done for 40 days in a row: run and hide! This made young David angry. Who did this big bully think he was, boasting about beating the army of the living God? When David asked what reward King Saul would give to the man who defeated Goliath, his oldest brother Eliab was annoyed. He knew David spent most days babysitting his dad’s sheep. What did a pipsqueak like him know about fighting a monster like Goliath?
+ What did King Saul promise to do for the man who defeated Goliath? (vs. 25)
+ Why was Eliab upset with his younger brother, David? (vs. 28)
1 SAMUEL 17:31-40, NIRV
31 Someone heard what David said and reported it to Saul. So Saul sent for David.
32 David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone lose hope because of that Philistine. I’ll go out and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You aren’t able to go out there and fight that Philistine. You are too young. He’s been a warrior ever since he was a boy.”
34 But David said to Saul, “I’ve been taking care of my father’s sheep. Sometimes a lion or a bear would come and carry off a sheep from the flock. 35 Then I would go after it and hit it. I would save the sheep it was carrying in its mouth. If it turned around to attack me, I would grab its hair. I would strike it down and kill it. 36 In fact, I’ve killed both a lion and a bear. I’ll do the same thing to this Philistine. He isn’t even circumcised. He has dared the armies of the living God to fight him. 37 The Lord saved me from the paw of the lion. He saved me from the paw of the bear. And he’ll save me from the powerful hand of this Philistine too.”
Saul said to David, “Go. And may the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own military clothes. He put a coat of armor on him. He put a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David put on Saul’s sword over his clothes. He walked around for a while in all that armor because he wasn’t used to it.
“I can’t go out there in all this armor,” he said to Saul. “I’m not used to it.” So he took it off. 40 Then David picked up his wooden staff. He went down to a stream and chose five smooth stones. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. Then he took his sling in his hand and approached Goliath.
After 40 days of gigantic Goliath daring the Israelites to fight him, David was the first to accept the big brute’s challenge. But King Saul had big doubts about little Dave’s chances. This kid spent most of his days in the sheep pasture; Goliath had spent his on the battlefield! But this fact didn't worry David one bit. When he fought Goliath, he knew he wouldn't be alone – God would be with him! In the past, God had helped defeat lions and bears that tried to snack on his sheep. David believed that Goliath was just one more big and hairy monster he would be able to defeat with the help of God!
+ Why was David so sure he could defeat Goliath? (vs. 37)
+ Why didn't David want to use Saul's armor and sword? (vs. 39)
1 SAMUEL 17:41-47, NIRV
41 At that same time, the Philistine kept coming closer to David. The man carrying Goliath’s shield walked along in front of him. 42 Goliath looked David over. He saw how young he was. He also saw how healthy and handsome he was. And he hated him. 43 He said to David, “Why are you coming at me with sticks? Do you think I’m only a dog?” The Philistine cursed David in the name of his gods. 44 “Come over here,” he said. “I’ll feed your body to the birds and wild animals!”
45 David said to Goliath, “You are coming to fight against me with a sword, a spear and a javelin. But I’m coming against you in the name of the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of the armies of Israel. He’s the one you have dared to fight against. 46 This day the Lord will give me the victory over you. I’ll strike you down. I’ll cut your head off. This day I’ll feed the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know there is a God in Israel. 47 The Lord doesn’t rescue people by using a sword or a spear. And everyone here will know it. The battle belongs to the Lord. He will hand all of you over to us.”
David vs. Goliath wasn't just a battle between two men or even two armies. It was also a battle between two gods! Goliath called on the gods of the Philistines to curse David. And he made fun of David for only carrying his shepherd’s staff into the battle: "Are you going to smack me like a dog with that little stick?" But David stood firm. He knew God was going to use Goliath to teach a lesson to everyone watching. It didn’t matter how big and bad Goliath was. It didn’t matter if he had a sword, a spear, or even a fighter jet! This battle was God’s battle and gigantic Goliath didn’t stand a chance!
+ What did Goliath say he was going to do to David? (vs. 44)
+ What did David say everyone would know after the battle with Goliath? (vs. 46-47)
1 SAMUEL 17:48-50, 52-53, NIRV
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet him. 49 He reached into his bag. He took out a stone. He put it in his sling. He slung it at Goliath. The stone hit him on the forehead and sank into it. He fell to the ground on his face.
50 So David won the fight against Goliath with a sling and a stone. He struck down the Philistine and killed him. He did it without even using a sword.
52 Then the men of Israel and Judah shouted and rushed forward. They chased the Philistines to the entrance of Gath. They chased them to the gates of Ekron. Bodies of dead Philistines were scattered all along the road to Gath and Ekron. That’s the road that leads to Shaaraim. 53 Israel’s army returned from chasing the Philistines. They had taken everything from the Philistine camp.
Goliath may have been waiting 40 days for an Israelite to fight him, but he’d been training his whole life for this battle. He had everything you’d want in a soldier. He was big. He was bad. He had the very best weapons and armor. And he’d probably been a soldier for even longer than David had been alive!
David, on the other hand, was the youngest of eight brothers. He spent his days not on a battlefield, but in a sheep pasture. In fact, he was only at the battle because his dad sent him to deliver cheese and sandwiches for his big brothers! And now, here he was, standing before a giant of a man with only a slingshot in his hand.
A sling was a piece of rope with a little pocket in the middle of it. A slinger could place a small stone in that pocket and twirl the rope around as fast as he could. If they let go at just the right moment, they’d send it flying like a bullet right at their enemy. Getting struck by a well-aimed slingshot was about as deadly as being shot by a gun!
It would take an incredibly lucky shot for David to damage Goliath, who was covered in armor and holding a shield. But who needs luck when the Lord God is on your side? David slung a single stone and God guided it to the perfect spot, right smack dab in the middle of Goliath’s forehead! A few seconds after the battle began, it was over. Gigantic Goliath was a goner! With their champion deader than a door nail, the Philistines ran home, leaving all their supplies behind for the Israelites to keep!
By using a small shepherd like David to slay a super soldier like Goliath, God taught a lesson to anyone paying attention: the God of the Israelites was impossibly strong and the nearby nations better think twice before messing with his people!
David wasn’t the only savior-shepherd in the Bible. His great-great-great-grandson was one, too. You might have heard of him: a fellow by the name of Jesus! In the book of John, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep.” Now, by “sheep”, Jesus was talking about his people. When he said he “laid down his life for his sheep,” he was telling his disciples that he planned to die to save us.
Like David the shepherd defeated Israel’s enemy Goliath, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, defeated sin, the greatest enemy of God’s people. But while David the shepherd killed Goliath to rescue Israel, Jesus the Good Shepherd let himself be killed to save us all. He was nailed to a cross to pay the punishment for all of our sins. And unlike Goliath, who laid dead on his face, Jesus rose from the dead after he was laid in a tomb!
+ Why was David able to defeat a well-armored soldier like Goliath with one shot?
+ How did Jesus, the Good Shepherd, lay down his life for his sheep?