David defeats Goliah: 17:1-58. The Philistines again assemble an invasion army. But now they wend a giant warrior, over nine feet tall, with a challenge to single combat. Such a contest is not common, but is known in the ancient world.
David, apparently still too young to serve, now visits the army with food from home for his brothers. He is shocked that no one will face this pagan who defies “the army of the living God” (26).
26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “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?”
When someone reports to David’s reaction, he is called before Saul. There David volunteers to fight Goliath himself. Saul, a head taller than any Israelite, and war leader, should have taken up Goliath’s challenge. Instead he holds back and lets a youth who cannot fit in his armor fight Israel’s battles (38, 39).
David’s faith in God is well founded. He kills the giant with his shepherd’s sling, and the demoralized Philistines flee.
David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (37)
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. … 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
Saul’s request for information about David (55-58) need not imply that 16:14-23 is out of sequence. When David was merely a favorite harpist his lineage was unimportant. Now that he is a hero, the king is concerned about his genealogy.