Goliath Challenges Israel
1The Philistines gathered their armies together for war. They met at Socoh in Judah. Their camp was between Socoh and Azekah, at a town called Ephes Dammim.
2Saul and the Israelite soldiers also gathered together. Their camp was in the Valley of Elah. Saul’s soldiers were lined up and ready to fight the Philistines. 3The Philistines were on one hill. The Israelites were on the other hill. The valley was between them.
4The Philistines had a champion fighter named Goliath, who was from Gath. He was over 9 feet#17:4 over 9 feet Literally, “6 cubits and 1 span” (2.9 m). Josephus, most copies of the ancient Greek version, and a Hebrew scroll from Qumran all have “4 cubits and 1 span.” This is 6' 6" (2 m) for the short cubit or 7' 7" (2.33 m) for the long cubit. tall. Goliath came out of the Philistine camp. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head. He wore a coat of armor that was made like the scales on a fish. This armor was made of bronze and weighed about 125 pounds.#17:5 125 pounds Literally, “5000 shekels” (57.5 kg). 6Goliath wore bronze protectors on his legs. He had a bronze javelin tied on his back. 7The wooden part of his spear was as big as a weaver’s rod. The spear’s blade weighed 15 pounds.#17:7 15 pounds Literally, “600 shekels” (6.9 kg). Goliath’s helper walked in front of him, carrying Goliath’s shield.
8Each day Goliath would come out and shout a challenge to the Israelite soldiers. He would say, “Why are all of your soldiers lined up ready for battle? You are Saul’s servants. I am a Philistine. So choose one man and send him to fight me. 9If that man kills me, he wins and we Philistines will become your slaves. But if I kill your man, then I win, and you will become our slaves. You will have to serve us.”
10The Philistine also said, “Today I stand and make fun of the army of Israel. I dare you to send me one of your men and let us fight.”
11Saul and the Israelite soldiers heard what Goliath said, and they were very afraid.
David Goes to the Battle Front
12 # 17:12 The oldest copies of the ancient Greek version do not have 17:12-31, 41, 48b, 50, 55-58; 18:1-5, 10-11, 17-19, 29b-30. David was the son of Jesse. Jesse was from the Ephrathah family in Bethlehem, Judah. Jesse had eight sons. In Saul’s time Jesse was an old man. 13Jesse’s three oldest sons went with Saul to the war. The first son was Eliab, the second was Abinadab, and the third was Shammah. 14David was the youngest son. The three oldest sons were in Saul’s army, 15but David left Saul from time to time to take care of his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16The Philistine came out every morning and evening and stood before the Israelite army. Goliath insulted Israel like this for 40 days.
17One day Jesse said to his son David, “Take this basket#17:17 basket Literally, “ephah.” of cooked grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers in the camp. 18Also take these ten pieces of cheese for the officer who commands your brothers’ group of 1000 soldiers. See how your brothers are doing. Bring back something to show me your brothers are all right. 19Your brothers are with Saul and all the Israelite soldiers in the Valley of Elah. They are there to fight against the Philistines.”
20Early in the morning, David had another shepherd take care of the sheep while he took the food and left as Jesse had told him to. David drove their wagon to the camp. The soldiers were going out to their battle positions just as David arrived. The soldiers began shouting their war cry. 21The Israelites and Philistines were lined up and ready for battle.
22David left the food with the man who kept supplies. Then he ran to the place where the Israelite soldiers were and asked about his brothers. 23While David was talking with his brothers, the Philistine champion fighter came out from the Philistine army. This was Goliath, the Philistine from Gath. Goliath shouted things against Israel as usual. David heard what he said.
24The Israelite soldiers saw Goliath and ran away. They were all afraid of him. 25One of the Israelite men said, “Did you see that man? Look at him! He comes out each day and makes fun of Israel. Whoever kills him will get rich. King Saul will give him a lot of money. Saul will also let his daughter marry the man who kills Goliath. He will also make that man’s family free from taxes in Israel.”
26David asked the men standing near him, “What did he say? What is the reward for killing this Philistine and taking away this shame from Israel? Who is this Goliath anyway? He is only some foreigner,#17:26 foreigner Literally, “uncircumcised.” This means a person who did not share in the agreement God made with Israel. See “circumcise, circumcision” in the Word List. Also in verse 36. nothing but a Philistine. Why does he think he can speak against the army of the living God?”
27So the Israelite told David about the reward for killing Goliath. 28David’s oldest brother Eliab heard David talking with the soldiers and became angry. Eliab asked David, “Why did you come here? Who did you leave those few sheep with in the desert? I know why you came down here. You didn’t want to do what you were told to do. You just wanted to come down here to watch the battle.”
29David said, “What did I do now? I didn’t do anything wrong! I was only talking.” 30He turned to some other people and asked them the same questions. They gave him the same answers as before.
31Some men heard David talking. They took David to Saul and told him what David had said. 32David said to Saul, “People shouldn’t let Goliath discourage them. I am your servant. I will go fight this Philistine.”
33Saul answered, “You can’t go out and fight against this Philistine. You’re not even a soldier!#17:33 You’re not even a soldier Or “You are only a boy!” The Hebrew word for “boy” often means “servant” or “the helper who carries a soldier’s weapons.” Goliath has been fighting in wars since he was a boy.”
34But David said to Saul, “There were times when I was taking care of my father’s sheep that wild animals came to take some sheep from the flock. Once there was a lion and another time, a bear. 35I chased that wild animal, attacked it, and took the sheep from its mouth. The wild animal jumped on me, but I caught it by the fur under its mouth. And I hit it and killed it. 36I killed both a lion and a bear like that! And I will kill that foreigner, Goliath, just like them. Goliath will die because he made fun of the army of the living God. 37The Lord saved me from the lion and the bear. He will also save me from this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go and may the Lord be with you.” 38Saul put his own clothes on David. He put a bronze helmet on David’s head and armor on his body. 39David put on the sword and tried to walk around. He tried to wear Saul’s uniform, but David was not used to all those heavy things.
David said to Saul, “I can’t fight in these things. I’m not used to them.” So David took them all off. 40He took his walking stick in his hand and went to find five smooth stones from the stream. He put the five stones in his shepherd’s bag and held his sling in his hand. Then he went out to meet the Philistine.
David Kills Goliath
41The Philistine slowly walked closer and closer to David. Goliath’s helper walked in front of him, carrying a large shield. 42Goliath looked at David with disgust. He saw that David was only a handsome, healthy#17:42 healthy The Hebrew word means “red,” “ruddy,” or “red-haired.” boy.#17:42 boy Or “teenager” or “soldier’s helper.” 43Goliath said to David, “What is that stick for? Did you come to chase me away like a dog?” Then Goliath used the names of his gods to say curses against David. 44He said to David, “Come here, and I’ll feed your body to the birds and wild animals.”
45David said to the Philistine, “You come to me using sword, spear, and javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord All-Powerful, the God of the armies of Israel. You have said bad things about him. 46Today the Lord will let me defeat you. I will kill you. I will cut off your head and feed your body to the birds and wild animals. And we will do the same thing to all the other Philistines too. Then all the world will know there is a God in Israel. 47All the people gathered here will know that the Lord doesn’t need swords or spears to save people. The battle belongs to the Lord, and he will help us defeat all of you.”
48Goliath the Philistine started to attack David. He slowly walked closer and closer toward David, but David ran out to meet Goliath.
49David took out a stone from his bag. He put it in his sling and swung the sling. The stone flew from the sling and hit Goliath right between the eyes. The stone sank deep into his head, and Goliath fell to the ground—face down.
50So David defeated the Philistine with only a sling and one stone! He hit the Philistine and killed him. David didn’t have a sword, 51so he ran and stood beside the Philistine. Then David took Goliath’s own sword out of its sheath and used it to cut off his head. That is how David killed the Philistine.
When the other Philistines saw their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52The soldiers of Israel and Judah shouted and started chasing the Philistines. The Israelites chased them all the way to the city limits of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. They killed many of the Philistines. Their bodies were scattered along the Shaaraim road all the way to Gath and Ekron. 53After chasing the Philistines, the Israelites came back to the Philistine camp and took many things from that camp.
54David took the Philistine’s head to Jerusalem, but he kept the Philistine’s weapons at home.
Saul Begins to Fear David
55Saul watched David go out to fight Goliath. Saul spoke to Abner, the commander of the army. “Abner, who is that young man’s father?”
Abner answered, “I swear I don’t know, sir.”
56King Saul said, “Find out who his father is.”
57When David came back after killing Goliath, Abner brought him to Saul. David was still holding the Philistine’s head.
58Saul asked him, “Young man, who is your father?”
David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse, from Bethlehem.”