1 Samuel: David the giant killer

1 Samuel 17:31–58

When we last left our hero, David, the shepherd too-young-to-join-the-army, is quizzing the warriors of Israel, trying to figure out why everybody is sitting on the sidelines.

It’s been forty days, and the champion Goliath taunts the armies of Israel, waiting for a challenger. This is big Goliath with the big instruments of death and the big mouth.

Now David’s inquisitiveness has reached all the way to Saul. (By the way, why hasn’t king Saul tried to take on Goliath, yet?) So Saul summons David. Given the circumstances, David’s exchange with the king is a bit over the top.

I’m a shepherd. I protect sheep. From bears. From lions. I’ve killed those. No big deal. This uncircumcised Philistine (insert distasteful spit-on-the-ground here) is no different. He’s just another lion or bear threatening my flock. I can take him.

Oh, the idealism of youth, amiright?

So how does Saul respond? Does he protect this kid from the heat of battle? Lead by example?

Not at all. He gives him his armor.

Maybe he’s thinking the best for the naive young guy who doesn’t have his own weaponry. Or maybe there’s a more nefarious scheme. In the heat of battle, you recognize the king because his armor is unique. If David walks out onto the battle field in Saul’s armor, the army thinks this is Saul.

So if David kills Goliath (like that’s going to happen) while wearing Saul’s armor, Saul gets the credit. If Goliath kills David in Saul’s armor, Saul loses a suit of armor and the poor over-confident kid gets what’s coming to him. If this is what’s going on, it’s pretty classless on Saul’s part.

But David doesn’t fall for it. He goes out armorless. Nothing but a slingshot. To fight the big fella who’s armed to the teeth.

And you know the rest.

One comes to the battle with a sword and spear and javelin. The other comes to the battle with the name God. It makes every difference in the world.

As with everything else in 1 & 2 Samuel, appearances are not everything they’re cracked up to be.


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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