Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.
1 Samuel 17
I. David was on God's side. This was a religious war. Goliath fought for Dagon and cursed David by his gods. David fought for Jehovah. Let every child know for certain that he is, like David, a warrior and champion.
II. David fought in God's strength. God's Spirit gave him his holy courage, suggested his weapons, and guided the stone from the sling to Goliath's temples. Was not David the man after God's own heart because he so frankly owned God in everything? David and Goliath represent two systems and two kingdoms. The war between the Israelites and Philistines is still raging. On which side are you?
III. David the conqueror. If on God's side, you shall win in the end, because God shall win, and all His shall win with Him. The world's creed often is that might is right; ours is that right is might, for God is with the right, and makes it at length almighty as Himself.
J. Wells, Bible Children, p. 145.
David's fight with Goliath was: (1) a good fight, and (2) a fight of faith. It was a good fight because David was fighting for a good cause: for the cause and people of God. Goliath was a bad man, and he was the soldier of a bad cause. He had mocked God's people and God. And David went down to fight with him, because he both heard and saw that he was an enemy of God. And it was a fight of faith, because in going down to the fight David did not trust in sword, or spear, or shield, nor in his youth, or his strength, or any seen thing, but in God, whom he could not see. In the strength of God's presence he went to meet Goliath. Our fight now is with badness itself. That is the great giant Christ sends us to fight with; that is the one chief enemy He Himself fights against.
A. Macleod, Talking to the Children, p. 191.
References: 1 Samuel 17:16.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 329. 1 Samuel 17:29.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 72; Bishop Claughton, Church Sermons by Eminent Clergymen, vol. i., p. 249. 1 Samuel 17:36, 1 Samuel 17:37.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1253, and vol. xxx., No. 1810. 1Sam 17—R. Lorimer, Bible Studies in Life and Truth, p. 211; W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 26; Sunday Magazine, 1886, p. 258.
1 Samuel 17:37Saul by his sins forfeited the kingdom to a neighbour of his, who was better than he in the very particulars wherein Saul had so sadly failed. We find in David: (1) A single-hearted trust in the God of Israel; a generous forgetfulness of himself. (2) A combination of courage and modesty in God's service; a zeal to do, if possible, some great thing for Him, without any disposition to value himself on it when it was done.
I. It is well to remember that David had been chosen out by special message from God and anointed to be king, and knew himself to be so. He knew himself to be marked out from the beginning for the highest place, yet never on any occasion did he show the least disposition to press into it.
II. In David's argument, as given in the text, we find a plain, straightforward, manly way of taking things. He had recourse, not to the promise of the kingdom, but to God's past preservation of him, and to his certainty that he was undertaking God's own cause.
III. David, by his simplicity and singleness of heart, became a type of our Lord and Redeemer. And being so, he was a type and pattern of His Church and of every individual member of the same. From his conduct on this occasion we may learn these lessons: (1) No man's heart need fail him because of any spiritual danger which the world calls irresistible. (2) We should leave nothing undone that might glorify God. (3) We should not be anxious to invent ways of our own, but rather use the ways that God has appointed, and when these fail leave Him to do the rest. (4) As God's mercies continue increasing, so should our remembrance of them increase.
Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times" vol. iv., p. 133 (see also J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Sundays after Trinity, Part I., p. 150).
I. How David reasoned from past mercies, and grounded upon them the expectation of future aid from above. He had been delivered from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, and this deliverance he recalled to mind in a moment of new danger, as feeling it to be prophetic of his victory over the giant, and thus had he commenced, even in his young days, that habit of appealing to his own experience of which we find frequent traces in his writings, and which cannot be too earnestly commended to all who wish to enjoy godly peace.
II. David's readiness to make use of means, notwithstanding his full confidence in the succour and protection of God. He tried the armour which Saul proposed, though he felt assured that the Lord would deliver him. If ever man might have ventured to neglect means, since the result was ordained, David might have been warranted in refusing the armour without trying it on. But this is just what David did not do; he proceeded on the principle that no expectation of a miracle should make us slack in the employment of means, but that so long as means are within reach we are bound to employ them, though it may not be through their use that God will finally work.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2426.
1 Samuel 17:45I. In the battle of life good men have to fight a powerful foe. (1) In the battle of life we have to contend with numerous adversaries. (2) In the battle of life we are often hindered by those who ought to help us. (3) In the battle of life we are animated by various feelings. (4) In the battle of life past victories strengthen us for future conflicts.
II. In the battle of life good men need Divine assistance. David's dependence on God was right for four reasons. (1) It ensured the right help for the combat. (2) It awakened a right spirit for the combat. (3) It led to a right selection of weapons for the combat. (4) It secured a right issue in the combat.
Parker, City Temple, vol. i., p. 78.
References: 1 Samuel 17:45.—J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, Nos. 04 and 65. 1 Samuel 17:40-54.—J. Vaughan, Sermons to Children, 5th series, p. 13. 1 Samuel 17:45.—J. W. Atkinson, Penny Pulpit, No. 935; C. Kingsley, National Sermons, p. 242. 1 Samuel 17:45, 1 Samuel 17:46.—F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 35. 1 Samuel 17:47.—A. G. Brown, Penny Pulpit, No. 1054; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 57; T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 189. 1 Samuel 17:48.—J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College, vol. i., p. 192.
1 Samuel 17:50The history of David's combat with Goliath sets before us our own calling and our conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
I. David was the son of a Bethlehemite, one among the families of Israel with nothing apparently to recommend him to God, the youngest of his brethren, and despised by them. He seemed born to live and die among his sheep. Yet God took him from the sheepfolds to make him His servant and friend. This is fulfilled in the case of all Christians. They are by nature poor and mean and nothing worth, but God chooses them and brings them unto himself.
II. David was a shepherd when God chose him, for He chooses not the great men of the world. The most solitary, the most unlearned, God visits, God blesses, God brings to glory, if he be but rich in faith. All Christians are kings in God's sight, they are kings in His unseen kingdom, in His spiritual world, in the communion of saints.
III. Next, observe, God chose David by the prophet Samuel. He did not think it enough to call him silently, but He called him by a voice. And so in like manner God sends His ministers to those whom He hath from eternity chosen. Samuel chose only one; but now God gives His ministers leave to apply Christ's saving death to all whom they can find.
IV. When Samuel had anointed David, the Spirit of God came upon him from that day forward. God's Spirit vouchsafes to dwell within the Christian, and to make his heart and body His temple.
V. Though David received the gift of God's Holy Spirit, yet nothing came of it all at once. So it is with Baptism. Nothing shows, for some time, that the Spirit of God has come into the child baptised; but the Lord who seeth the heart, sees in the child the presence of the Spirit.
VI. Lastly, let us enquire who is our Goliath. The answer is plain: the devil is our Goliath; we have to fight Satan, and the warfare against him lasts all through life. We come against him in Christ's all powerful, all conquering name.
Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. v., p. 198 (sec also J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. viii., p. 48.
References: 1 Samuel 17:50.—J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 430; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons, 1st series, p. 306.
1 Samuel 17:58This question, short and simple as it is, is suggestive of some practical thoughts on the subjection of personal responsibility and faithfulness to the traditions of one's pedigree, or it may be, in the way of warning against lineal weaknesses and sins.
I. My first word is to those of you who have sprung from a lowly parentage. If there is anything more utterly contemptible than for one who has risen in the world to be ashamed of his humble origin, it is the conduct of him who ridicules his low-born brother. The hands of Jesse, the Bethlehemite farmer, were somewhat horny, and his wife a plain, unpretending body, but their son was proud to take them on a visit to Mizpeh of Moab, and introduce them to the king.
II. My next word is to those who have been born in the line of a Christian parentage. The purest blood this world has ever known is that of a Christian ancestry. It is not enough for those who come of a saintly stock to shun the sins of the prodigal, they ought to be conspicuous for their Christian character.
III. I am not afraid to put the question even to those who have had no such advantage. Many a clean bird has come out of a foul nest. Divine grace is stronger even than blood. History can supply many an instance to the praise of Him who oft-times finds the brightest diamonds in the darkest mines, and the richest pearls in the deepest seas.
IV. A purely spiritual meaning may be given to the text. There are but two paternities, and one or other of these we all must own. Would that we could all reply to the question "Whose son art thou? "—"Behold, now are we the sons of God."
J. Thain Davidson, The City Youth, p. 127.
References: 1 Samuel 17:58.—R. D. B. Rawnsley, Sermons in Country Churches, p. 96. 1 Samuel 18:1.—T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 200. 1 Samuel 18:1, 1 Samuel 18:2.—F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 51. 1 Samuel 18:1-30.—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 39. 1 Samuel 18:3.—J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 436; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 60. 1Sam 18—W. Hanna, Sunday Magazine, 1865, p. 530.
And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
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 shekels of brass.
And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
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 same words: and David heard them.
And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
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 free in Israel.
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 reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.
And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
And Saul said to David, Thou art not 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.
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
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, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
And he took his 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.
And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This 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.
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.
And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is.
And 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.
And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.