1 Samuel 17:5
And he had an helmet of brass on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
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(5) A coat of mail.—More accurately, breastplate of scales. This armour has been sometimes understood as “chain armour,” but it is more probable that the Philistine armour was made of metal scales, like those of a fish, whose defensive coat was, no doubt, imitated at a very early date by this warlike race, who dwelt on the sea-shore, and whose life and worship were so closely connected with the great sea. This coat of mail, or corselet, was flexible, and covered the back and sides of the wearer. The weight of the different pieces of the giant’s panoply largely exceeds the weight of mediæval suits of armour.

1 Samuel 17:5-7. He was armed with a coat of mail — Made of plates of brass laid over one another like the scales of a fish. Five thousand shekels of brass — 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 was not unsuitable to a man of such vast strength as his height speaks him to have been. Greaves — Boots. The staff of his spear like a weaver’s 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. 17:1-11 Men so entirely depend upon God in all things, that when he withdraws his help, the most valiant and resolute cannot find their hearts or hands, as daily experience shows.Coat of mail - Or "breastplate of scales." A kind of metal shirt, protecting the back as well as the breast, and made of scales like those of a fish; as was the corselet of Rameses III, now in the British Museum. The terms, helmet, coat, and clothed (armed the King James Version) are the same as those used in Isaiah 59:17.

Five thousand shekels - Probably about 157 pounds avoirdupois (see Exodus 38:12). It is very probable that Goliath's brass coat may have been long preserved as a trophy, as we know his sword was, and so the weight of it ascertained.

5. helmet of brass—The Philistine helmet had the appearance of a row of feathers set in a tiara, or metal band, to which were attached scales of the same material, for the defense of the neck and the sides of the face [Osborn].

a coat of mail—a kind of corslet, quilted with leather or plates of metal, reaching only to the chest, and supported by shoulder straps, leaving the shoulders and arms at full liberty.

The common shekel contained only a fourth part of an ounce; and so 5000 shekels made 1250 ounces, which make exactly 78 pounds; which weight is not unsuitable to a man of such vast greatness and strength, as his height speaks him to be. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head,.... This was a piece of armour, which covered the head in the day of battle; these were usually made of the skins of beasts, of leather, and which were covered with plates of iron, or brass; and sometimes made of all iron, or of brass (g); as this seems to have been:

and he was armed with a coat of mail; which reached from the neck to the middle, and consisted of various plates of brass laid on one another, like the scales of fishes (h), so close together that no dart or arrow could pierce between:

and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass: which made one hundred and fifty six pounds and a quarter of zygostatic or avoirdupois weight; and therefore he must be a very strong man indeed to carry such a weight. So the armour of the ancient Romans were all of brass, as this man's; their helmets, shields, greaves, coats of mail, all of brass, as Livy says (i); and so in the age of the Grecian heroes (j).

(g) Vid. Lydium "de re militari": l. 3. c. 5. p. 63. (h) "----Rutilum thoraca indutus anis Horrebat squamis----" Virgil. Aeneid. l. 11. (i) Hist. l. 1. c. 22. (j) Pausan. Messenica, l. 3. p. 163. So Homer frequently describes the Grecians with a coat of mail of brass.

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 4-Marpounds.

5. a coat of mail] “A corselet of scales,” made of overlapping plates of metal, and protecting the body almost down to the knees. Armour of this kind is represented in the Assyrian sculptures. See Layard’s Nineveh II. 335. Cp. Virg. Aen. XI. 487, “Turnus … thoraca indutus aenis Horrebat squamis.”

five thousand shekels] Estimated at about 157 pounds avoirdupois.When David came to Saul and stood before him, i.e., served him by playing upon his harp, Saul took a great liking to him, and nominated him his armour-bearer, i.e., his adjutant, as a proof of his satisfaction with him, and sent to Jesse to say, "Let David stand before me," i.e., remain in my service, "for he has found favour in my sight." The historian then adds (1 Samuel 16:23): "When the (evil) spirit of God came to Saul (אל, as in 1 Samuel 19:9, is really equivalent to על), and David took the harp and played, there came refreshing to Saul, and he became well, and the evil spirit departed from him." Thus David came to Saul's court, and that as his benefactor, without Saul having any suspicion of David's divine election to be king of Israel. This guidance on the part of God was a school of preparation to David for his future calling. In the first place, he was thereby lifted out of his quiet and homely calling in the country into the higher sphere of court-life; and thus an opportunity was afforded him not only for intercourse with men of high rank, and to become acquainted with the affairs of the kingdom, but also to display those superior gifts of his intellect and heart with which God had endowed him, and thereby to gain the love and confidence of the people. But at the same time he was also brought into a severe school of affliction, in which his inner man was to be trained by conflicts from without and within, so that he might become a man after God's heart, who should be well fitted to found the true monarchy in Israel.
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