1 Samuel 17 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of 1 Samuel 17)
17:4 And there a went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height [was] six cubits and a span.

(a) Between the two camps.

17:5 And [he had] an helmet of brass upon his head, and he [was] armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat [was] five thousand b shekels of brass.

(b) That is, 156 pounds 4 ounces, after half and ounce to the shekel: and 600 shekels weight amounts to 18 3/4 pounds.

17:15 But David c went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.

(c) To serve Saul, (
1 Samuel 16:19).

17:17 And Jesse said unto David his son, d Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched [corn], and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;

(d) Though Jesse meant one thing, yet God's providence directed David to another end.

17:18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of [their] thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their e pledge.

(e) If they have laid anything to gauge for their necessity, redeem it out.

17:23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the f same words: and David heard [them].

(f) As in (
1 Samuel 17:8,9).

17:25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, [that] the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house g free in Israel.

(g) From taxes and payments.

17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the h reproach from Israel? for who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

(h) This dishonour that he does to Israel.

17:29 And David said, What have I now done? [Is there] not a i cause?

(i) For his father's sending was a just occasion, and also he felt himself inwardly moved by God's Spirit.

17:33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not k able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

(k) Here Satan proves David's faith, by the infidelity of Saul.

17:34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a l lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

(l) David, because of previous experience with God's help, did not doubt to overcome this danger, seeing as he was zealous for God's honour.

17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, m Go, and the LORD be with thee.

(m) For by these examples he saw that the power of God was with him.

17:40 And he took his n staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

(n) So that by these weak means, It might be known that only God was the author of this victory.

17:43 And the Philistine said unto David, [Am] I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine o cursed David by his gods.

(o) He swore by his gods that he would destroy him.

17:46 This p day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

(p) David being assured both of his cause and of his calling prophecies of the destruction of the Philistines.

17:48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David q hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

(q) Being moved with a fervent zeal to be revenged of this blaspheme of God's name.

17:55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, e whose son [is] this youth? And Abner said, [As] thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.

(e) That is, of what family and tribe is he? He had forgotten David, even though he had received so great a benefit by him.