View 1st Samuel 17 in the note window.
Goliath challenges the armies of Israel, ver. 1 - 11.
David coming into the camp, hears his challenge, ver. 12 - 27.
Eliab chides David, whose words are related to Saul, ver. 28 - 31.
David undertakes to fight Goliath, ver. 32 - 37.
He rejects Saul's armour, and goes with his sling, ver. 38 - 40.
He attacks and slays Goliath, ver. 41 - 51.
The Israelites pursue the Philistines, ver. 52 - 53.
David returns: the notice taken of him by Saul, ver. 54 - 58.
1: Gathered, &c. - Probably they had heard, that Samuel had
forsaken Saul, and that Saul himself was unfit for business.
The enemies of the church are watchful to take all advantages, and they
never have greater advantage, than when her protectors have provoked God's
Spirit and prophets to leave them.
4: Six cubits - At least, nine feet, nine inches high. And this is
not strange; for besides the giants mentioned in Scripture, Herodotus,
Diodorus Siculus, and Pliny, make mention of persons seven cubits
5: Coat of mail - Made of brass plates laid over one another, like
the scales of a fish. The weight, &c. - The common shekel contained a
fourth part of an ounce; and so five thousand shekels made one thousand
two hundred and fifty ounces, or seventy - eight pounds: which weight is not
unsuitable to a man of such vast strength as his height speaks him to be.
6: Greaves - Boots.
7: Beam - On which the weavers fasten their web. It was like this
for thickness. And though the whole weight of Goliath's armour may seem
prodigious; yet it is not so much by far as one Athanatus did manage:
of whom Pliny relates, That he saw him come into the theatre with arms
weighing twelve thousand ounces. A shield - Probably for state: for he
that was clad in brass, little needed a shield.
8: Come down - That the battle may be decided by us two alone.
11: Afraid - This may seem strange, considering the glorious
promises, and their late experience of divine assistance. And where was
Jonathan, who in the last war had so bravely engaged an whole army of
the Philistines? Doubtless he did not feel himself so stirred up of
God as he did at that time. As the best, so the bravest of men, are no
more than what God makes them. Jonathan must sit still now, because this
honour is reserved for David.
12: Old man - Therefore he went not himself to the camp.
15: Went - From Saul's court: where having relieved Saul, he was
permitted to go to his father's house, to be sent for again upon occasion.
18: Pledge - That is, bring me some token of their welfare.
19: Fighting - That is, in a posture and readiness to fight with
them; as it is explained, (1Sa 20,21).
20: Went, &c. - Jesse little thought of sending his son to the
camp, just at that critical juncture. But the wise God orders the time
and all the circumstances of affairs, so as to serve the designs of his
24: Fled - One Philistine could never have thus put ten thousand
Israelites to flight, unless their rock, being forsaken by them, had
justly sold them and shut them up.
25: Free - Free from all those tributes and charges which either the
court or the camp required.
28: Naughtiness - Thy false - confidence, and vain gloried curiosity.
See the folly and wickedness of envy! How groundless its jealousies are,
how unjust its censures, how unfair it representations? God preserve us
from such a spirit!
29: A cause - Of my thus speaking? Is this giant invincible? Is our
God unable to oppose him, and subdue him? However David is not deterred
from his undertaking, by the hard words of Eliab. They that undertake
public services must not think it strange, if they be opposed by those from
whom they had reason to expect assistance, but must humbly go on with their
work, in the face, not only of their enemies threats, but of their friends
slights, suspicions, and censures.
30: He tarried - For being secretly moved by God's spirit to
undertake the combat. He speaks with divers persons about it, that it
might come to the king's ear.
32: Let no man's heart, &c. - It would have reflected upon his prince
to say, Let not thy heart fail: therefore he speaks in general terms,
Let no man's heart fail. A little shepherd, come but this morning from
keeping sheep, has more courage than all the mighty men of Israel!
Thus doth God often do great things for his people by the weak things of the
33: A youth - Not above 20 years old; and a novice, a raw and
37: The Lord, &c. - The lion and the bear were only enemies to me
and my sheep, and it was in defence of them I attacked them. But this
Philistine is an enemy to my God and his people, and it is for their
honour that I attack him.
38: Armour - With armour taken out of his armoury. He seems to speak
of some military vestments which were then used in war, and were contrived
for defence; such as buff - coats are now.
39: Proved them - I have no skill or experience in the managements of
this kind of arms.
40: Staff - His shepherd's staff. These arms in themselves were
contemptible, yet chosen by David; because he had no skill to use other
arms; because he had inward assurance of the victory, even by these
weapons; and because such a conquest would be more honourable to God, and
most shameful, and discouraging to the Philistines.
41: Drew near - Probably a signal was made, that his challenge was
42: Fair - Not having so much as the countenance of a martial person.
43: Dog - Dost thou think to beat me as easily as thou wouldst
46: A God - Heb. that God, the only true God, is for Israel;
or on Israel's side, and against you. Or, that Israel hath a God,
a God indeed, one who is able to help them; and not such an impotent
idol as you serve.
47: Saveth - That is, that he can save without these arms, and with
the most contemptible weapons. The battle - That is, the events of war
are wholly in his power. He will - David speaks thus confidently,
because he was assured of it by a particular inspiration.
48: Drew nigh - Like a stalking mountain.
Ran - So far was he from fear!
49: Forehead - Probably the proud giant had lift up that part of
his helmet which covered his fore - head; in contempt of David and his
weapons, and by the singular direction of providence.
51: David took - Hence it appears, that David was not a little
man, as many fancy; but a man of considerable bulk and strength, because he
was able to manage a giant's sword. The stone threw him down to the earth,
and bereaved him of sense and motion; but there remained some life in him,
which the sword took away, and so compleated the work. God is greatly
glorified, when his proud enemies are cut off with their own sword.
55: Whose son - David had been some considerable time dismissed
from Saul's court, and was returned home. And therefore it is not
strange, if Saul for the present had forgot David. Besides the
distemper of Saul's mind might make him forgetful; and that David
might be now much changed, both in his countenance and in his habit.
I cannot tell - Abner's employment was generally in the camp, when
David was at the court; and when Abner was there, he took little
notice of a person so much inferior to him as David was.