Pastoral Commentary for 1 Samuel 17:17-58
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
David's father, Jesse, asked him to take provisions to his sons in the army and then return to assure him of their wellbeing. David delivered his supplies and greeted his brothers when Goliath came out to challenge the army of Israel again. David's great courage was displayed when he first opened his mouth: "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" Saul had offered great incentive to the soldier who would defeat Goliath and when he heard that someone was asking about this he sent for him. David volunteered to go out against Goliath. Saul doubted his strength and courage but David reassured him that he had fought off a lion and a bear to rescue his sheep. Saul had David put on his own armor, but when it proved too cumbersome David went out with just his staff, a sling and five smooth stones. When Goliath saw his challenger he mocked David, but when David replied he confessed the source of his courage: "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head." And David did exactly that after striking Goliath between the eyes with a stone from his sling. Goliath's defeat caused the Philistines to flee in fear. It seems contradictory that David had served in Saul's court and now had to be introduced to Saul when he was brought before him carrying Goliath's head, but David's service while playing the harp was in stark contrast to his courage as a warrior and Saul, being mentally disturbed when David played for him may not have recognized him as the same youth in this warrior's role.