Bible Society of South Africa

Day 33 – David and Goliath

Read about David and Goliath.

Bible text(s)

David is Anointed King

1The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you go on grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. But now get some olive oil and go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, because I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

2“How can I do that?” Samuel asked. “If Saul hears about it, he will kill me!”

The LORD answered, “Take a calf with you and say that you are there to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will tell you what to do. You will anoint as king the man I tell you to.”

4Samuel did what the LORD told him to do and went to Bethlehem, where the city leaders came trembling to meet him and asked, “Is this a peaceful visit, seer?”

5“Yes,” he answered. “I have come to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. Purify yourselves and come with me.” He also told Jesse and his sons to purify themselves, and he invited them to the sacrifice.

6When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse's son Eliab and said to himself, “This man standing here in the LORD's presence is surely the one he has chosen.” 7But the LORD said to him, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”

8Then Jesse called his son Abinadab and brought him to Samuel. But Samuel said, “No, the LORD hasn't chosen him either.” 9Jesse then brought Shammah. “No, the LORD hasn't chosen him either,” Samuel said. 10In this way Jesse brought seven of his sons to Samuel. And Samuel said to him, “No, the LORD hasn't chosen any of these.” 11Then he asked him, “Have you any more sons?”

Jesse answered, “There is still the youngest, but he is out taking care of the sheep.”

“Tell him to come here,” Samuel said. “We won't offer the sacrifice until he comes.” 12So Jesse sent for him. He was a handsome, healthy young man, and his eyes sparkled. The LORD said to Samuel, “This is the one — anoint him!” 13Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers. Immediately the Spirit of the LORD took control of David and was with him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

David in Saul's Court

14The LORD's spirit left Saul, and an evil spirit sent by the LORD tormented him. 15His servants said to him, “We know that an evil spirit sent by God is tormenting you. 16So give us the order, sir, and we will look for a man who knows how to play the harp. Then when the evil spirit comes on you, the man can play his harp, and you will be all right again.”

17Saul ordered them, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.”

18One of his attendants said, “Jesse, of the town of Bethlehem, has a son who is a good musician. He is also a brave and handsome man, a good soldier, and an able speaker. The LORD is with him.”

19So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the one who takes care of the sheep.” 20Jesse sent David to Saul with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a leather bag full of wine. 21David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much and chose him as the man to carry his weapons. 22Then Saul sent a message to Jesse: “I like David. Let him stay here in my service.” 23From then on, whenever the evil spirit sent by God came on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. The evil spirit would leave, and Saul would feel better and be all right again.

Goliath Challenges the Israelites

1The Philistines gathered for battle in Socoh, a town in Judah; they camped at a place called Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. 2Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah, where they got ready to fight the Philistines. 3The Philistines lined up on one hill and the Israelites on another, with a valley between them.

4A man named Goliath, from the city of Gath, came out from the Philistine camp to challenge the Israelites. He was nearly three metres tall 5and wore bronze armour that weighed about 57 kilogrammes and a bronze helmet. 6His legs were also protected by bronze armour, and he carried a bronze javelin slung over his shoulder. 7His spear was as thick as the bar on a weaver's loom, and its iron head weighed about seven kilogrammes. A soldier walked in front of him carrying his shield. 8Goliath stood and shouted at the Israelites, “What are you doing there, lined up for battle? I am a Philistine, you slaves of Saul! Choose one of your men to fight me. 9If he wins and kills me, we will be your slaves; but if I win and kill him, you will be our slaves. 10Here and now I challenge the Israelite army. I dare you to pick someone to fight me!” 11When Saul and his men heard this, they were terrified.

David in Saul's Camp

12David was the son of Jesse, who was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and at the time Saul was king, he was already a very old man. 13His three eldest sons had gone with Saul to war. The eldest was Eliab, the next was Abinadab, and the third was Shammah. 14David was the youngest son, and while the three eldest brothers stayed with Saul, 15David would go back to Bethlehem from time to time, to take care of his father's sheep.

16Goliath challenged the Israelites every morning and evening for forty days.

17One day Jesse said to David, “Take ten kilogrammes of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and hurry with them to your brothers in the camp. 18And take these ten cheeses to the commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are getting on and bring back something to show that you saw them and that they are well. 19King Saul, your brothers, and all the other Israelites are in the Valley of Elah fighting the Philistines.”

20David got up early the next morning, left someone else in charge of the sheep, took the food, and went as Jesse had told him to. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelites were going out to their battle line, shouting the war cry. 21The Philistine and the Israelite armies took up positions for battle, facing each other. 22David left the food with the officer in charge of the supplies, ran to the battle line, went to his brothers, and asked how they were getting on. 23As he was talking to them, Goliath came forward and challenged the Israelites as he had done before. And David heard him. 24When the Israelites saw Goliath, they ran away in terror. 25“Look at him!” they said to each other. “Listen to his challenge! King Saul has promised to give a big reward to the man who kills him; the king will also give him his daughter to marry and will not require his father's family to pay taxes.”

26David asked the men who were near him, “What will the man get who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from this disgrace? After all, who is this heathen Philistine to defy the army of the living God?” 27They told him what would be done for the man who killed Goliath.

28Eliab, David's eldest brother, heard David talking to the men. He was angry with David and said, “What are you doing here? Who is taking care of those sheep of yours out there in the wilderness? You cheeky brat, you! You just came to watch the fighting!”

29“Now what have I done?” David asked. “Can't I even ask a question?” 30He turned to another man and asked him the same question, and every time he asked, he got the same answer.

31Some men heard what David had said, and they told Saul, who sent for him. 32David said to Saul, “Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him.”

33“No,” answered Saul. “How could you fight him? You're just a boy, and he has been a soldier all his life!”

34“Your Majesty,” David said, “I take care of my father's sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, 35I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. 36I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God. 37The LORD has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from this Philistine.”

“All right,” Saul answered. “Go, and the LORD be with you.” 38He gave his own armour to David for him to wear: a bronze helmet, which he put on David's head, and a coat of armour. 39David strapped Saul's sword over the armour and tried to walk, but he couldn't, because he wasn't used to wearing them. “I can't fight with all this,” he said to Saul. “I'm not used to it.” So he took it all off. 40He took his shepherd's stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath.

David Defeats Goliath

41The Philistine started walking towards David, with his shield-bearer walking in front of him. He kept coming closer, 42and when he got a good look at David, he was filled with scorn for him because he was just a nice, good-looking boy. 43He said to David, “What's that stick for? Do you think I'm a dog?” And he called down curses from his god on David. 44“Come on,” he challenged David, “and I will give your body to the birds and animals to eat.”

45David answered, “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defied. 46This very day the LORD will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head. And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a God, 47and everyone here will see that the LORD does not need swords or spears to save his people. He is victorious in battle, and he will put all of you in our power.”

48Goliath started walking towards David again, and David ran quickly towards the Philistine battle line to fight him. 49He put his hand into his bag and took out a stone, which he slung at Goliath. It hit him on the forehead and broke his skull, and Goliath fell face downwards on the ground. 50And so, without a sword, David defeated and killed Goliath with a sling and a stone! 51He ran to him, stood over him, took Goliath's sword out of its sheath, and cut off his head and killed him.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they ran away. 52The men of Israel and Judah shouted and ran after them, pursuing them all the way to Gath and to the gates of Ekron. The Philistines fell wounded all along the road that leads to Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron. 53When the Israelites came back from pursuing the Philistines, they looted their camp. 54David picked up Goliath's head and took it to Jerusalem, but he kept Goliath's weapons in his own tent.

David is Presented to Saul

55When Saul saw David going out to fight Goliath, he asked Abner, the commander of his army, “Abner, whose son is he?”

“I have no idea, Your Majesty,” Abner answered.

56“Then go and find out,” Saul ordered.

57So when David returned to camp after killing Goliath, Abner took him to Saul. David was still carrying Goliath's head. 58Saul asked him, “Young man, whose son are you?”

“I am the son of your servant Jesse from Bethlehem,” David answered.

1Saul and David finished their conversation. After that, Saul's son Jonathan was deeply attracted to David and came to love him as much as he loved himself. 2Saul kept David with him from that day on and did not let him go back home. 3Jonathan swore eternal friendship with David because of his deep affection for him. 4He took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, together with his armour and also his sword, bow, and belt. 5David was successful in all the missions on which Saul sent him, and so Saul made him an officer in his army. This pleased all of Saul's officers and men.

Saul Becomes Jealous of David

6As David was returning after killing Goliath and as the soldiers were coming back home, women from every town in Israel came out to meet King Saul. They were singing joyful songs, dancing, and playing tambourines and lyres. 7In their celebration the women sang, “Saul has killed thousands, but David tens of thousands.” 8Saul did not like this, and he became very angry. He said, “For David they claim tens of thousands, but only thousands for me. They will be making him king next!” 9And so he was jealous and suspicious of David from that day on.

10The next day an evil spirit from God suddenly took control of Saul, and he raved in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did every day, and Saul was holding a spear. 11“I'll pin him to the wall,” Saul said to himself, and he threw the spear at him twice; but David dodged each time.

12Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with David but had abandoned him. 13So Saul sent him away and put him in command of a thousand men. David led his men in battle 14and was successful in all he did, because the LORD was with him. 15Saul noticed David's success and became even more afraid of him. 16But everyone in Israel and Judah loved David because he was such a successful leader.

1 Samuel 16:1-18:16GNBOpen in Bible reader

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