In 1 Sam 17.1-58 we have one of the most well known portions of Scripture by anyone who has had any Bible training. It is a chapter that is taught to children and it deals with the story of David (“beloved”) and Goliath (“exposer”). Goliath is challenges the God of Israel and the people. The Philistines (“wallowers”) have gathered for battle against Israel at Socoh (“bushy”-Josh 15.35) in Judah (“praise”), between Socoh and Azekah (“dug over”) in Ephes-dammim (“edge of blood”). Saul and his men were gathered and camped in the Valley of Elah (“valley of a terebinth/oak”). The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel stood on the other, with the valley separating them. As we have said, Elah means “terebinth or oak” and it alludes to the cross of Yeshua. This whole battle is alluding to the Kingdom of God against the Kingdom of Satan at the cross, and God’s Messiah will be pictured by David leading to the victory.
Goliath was a “champion” and he came out and taunted the armies of Israel. Goliath stood nearly nine feet tall and he was from the Philistine city of Gath (“wine-press”). Josh 11.22 says the Anakim (“long-necked”) still lived there. Now, Goliath was tall but this kind of height was not unheard of. The historians Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus and Pliny make mention of people seven cubits high. Robert Wadlow was eight foot 11 at the time of his death on July 15, 1940. Needless to say, Saul and his army were afraid of Goliath.
Goliath wanted to have a duel, like Hector and Achilles in Greek history. The Philistines were sea-peoples and from the Aegean area and were familiar with this type of warfare. There are three types of battles. You have army against army, elite troops against elite troops, and duels. In a duel, two champions fight and it is winner take all. Goliath is trying to demoralize the Hebrew army and he is doing a good job. Satan will taunt us, too. Jewish tradition says that Goliath tainted Saul by saying “What has Saul ever done to be made king? Let him come down and fight, unless he is weak and a coward.
At one time, Saul was fierce and a warrior (1 Sam 14.52), but that was before the Ruach Ha Kodesh departed. His courage also left him, too. It was at this time that David comes to the camp (v 12-15). He spends time in the pasture as well as the palace, as needed, like Yeshua did. Notice David is the youngest of eight and yet Psa 89.27 calls David the first born. He is the first born from the House of David and this is a title and a concept of prominence as seen in Col 1.15. When Paul says that Yeshua is first born over all creation he isn’t saying that Yeshua is a created being and had a beginning. He is saying he has prominence.
1 Sam 17.16-21 says that David was sent by his father and brought food and gifts from home because the Goliath came forward for 40 days (testing) to taunt Israel. David left his sheep with a “keeper” (v 20) and brought the gifts and food to his brothers who were in the army. As the armies were arrayed as usual, David comes and sees Goliath make his taunts, and he sees the fear in the army (v 24). The David hears of the reward Saul will give to the man defeats Goliath (v 26).
But 1 Sam 17.28-30 tells us that Eliab is the oldest brother and he falsely accuses his brother. This what Israel (the eldest brother) did to Yeshua before he took on Satan at the cross. He fest that David was too insignificant to speak up, he should be back with the sheep. He thought David was insolent and wicked in his heart. He thought that David just came to watch the battle. But he did not know David’s heart, but God did. (1 Sam 16.7). Eliab also thought that David was trying to get someone else into a fight with Goliath, like him. Eliab was tall (1 Sam 16.7). Here is another point here. If Eliab knew that his little brother had been anointed king, he would have never treated him like this. This is the same with how Israel treats Yeshua. So, David says, “What have I done now.” They had been through this before, and David was hurt, but he is concerned with the insults directed towards the Lord here.
So in 1 Sam 17.31-32 David volunteers to fight Goliath, but Saul says that he is too young. Then David tells him that he has had training and has killed a lion and a bear while tending sheep, and this Philistine will end up like them. He said the Lord delivered him out of the paw of both the lion and the bear, and he will deliver him out of the hands of Goliath. David is not boasting here, he really trusts in the Lord.
So, 1 Sam 17.38-40 says that David tries on the armor of Saul, but he can’t wear it. God always rejects the covering of man, even if it was the best. That armor did not fit David physically or spiritually. Armor, military technology and human wisdom will not win this battle. This is a spiritual battle and David had the armor of God (Eph 6.11-17). Everyone in this army had this armor available to them, but only David walked in them.
However, David did have physical weapons. He had a staff (a type of Yeshua, a dead branch), five smooth stones from the brook in the valley, a shepherds pouch to put the stones, and his sling. The stones in the brook came from a place called Migdal Oz, meaning “strong tower.” Prov 18.10 says, “The name of Yehovah is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.” On Sept 11, 2001, as terrorists were destroying the twin towers of men, they proclaimed the name of their god. At that same moment in Israel, the true pronunciation of the name of God (Yehovah) was being revealed fully written out with vowel markings (which is never done as a whole) in an ancient manuscript. This will enable a person to say the name of the Lord (Yehovah). There was a local church at ground zero, and in the church, the name of God was written on the building and many went there for safety as the buildings fell, and it was not destroyed, even though the surrounding buildings were, fulfilling Prov 18.10.
David picks up five smooth stones and there has been a lot of conjecture as to why. Some say it is because of the five books of Torah, or the five books of the Psalms. Others say that Goliath had four other relatives. But we think it is more simple than that. He picked up five stones in case he missed. David is not being presumptuous here. With these five stones he approached the Philistine.
Goliath makes a major mistake in 1 Sam 17.41-44 by cursing David and Yehovah by his gods. Goliath despised David just by looking at him. Yeshua was also despised and his appearance was not something that attracted people to him (Isa 53.2). Goliath asks if he is “dog.” This word “Kalev” in Hebrew is used for male homosexual prostitutes (Deut 23.18).
In 1 Sam 17.45-47 David responds to Goliath with words that seemed quite a contrast. Goliath probably had a deep voice and David had the voice of a young man, but that means nothing. David was coming to Goliath in the name of Yehovah, and Goliath was coming in the name of his false gods. It will be the Lord who would deliver Goliath into Davids hands so that the earth, including the assembly of Israel, may know there is a God in Israel. So, there it is. The battle was over before it even began.
1 Sam 17.48-49 tells is that David kills Goliath, as we all know. David took a stone and shot it and it struck Goliath the forehead and it “sank.” Goliath was killed instantly. We know that this is very prophetic. In Dan 2.1-49 we have the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, a huge image like Goliath. It was struck by a stone (Dan 2.34-35) and the statue fell. We know that the stone is a type of Messiah and the Kingdom of God, and it filled the whole earth. The forehead is the seat of the intellect and profession and the only part of Goliath that was undefended by armor. This was the work of God.
1 Sam 17.50-54 tells us that David beheads Goliath, and he brought his had to Jerusalem, thus ending the treaty in Gen 21.22-34, although this treaty had been broken in Samson’s time. Goliath’s head was concrete evidence that Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech was over and not in force anymore since the Philistines started the war.
Goliath’s sword went to the Mishkan (1 Sam 21.9). In 1 Sam 17.55-58 Saul meets David and inquires about whose son he was, even though David had played for Saul and knew he was the son of Jesse (1 Sam 16.18). Knowing his daughter Michal (“who is like God”) was promised to him now for his victory, he wanted to know about him. Saul may have forgotten some of David’s details.
Now, this battle is a picture of Yeshua’s victory over Satan (Gen 3.15). David and Yeshua represent their people; they fight on ground that belonged to God’s people; both fought an enemy that dominated the people of God through fear; both were sent by their father; both were rejected by their brothers; both fought spiritually; both know the enemy will not give up on their own and both fought a battle where the victory was assured before the battle was even fought. David’s ancestry was doubted later because of Ruth the Moabitess. He is called a “Moabite” when he was insulted (“Ruth”, Mesorah Pub, p 56-57) and Yeshua was called a Samaritan (John 8.48).
We will pick up here in Part 14.