1 Samuel 17

1 Samuel 17:1-3 . THE ISRAELITES AND PHILISTINES BEING READY TO BATTLE.

22. left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage--to make his way to the standard of Judah.

25. make his father's house free in Israel--His family should be exempted from the impositions and services to which the general body of the Israelites were subjected.

34-36. a lion, and a bear--There were two different rencontres, for those animals prowl alone. The bear must have been a Syrian bear, which is believed to be a distinct species, or perhaps a variety, of the brown bear. The beard applies to the lion alone. Those feats seem to have been performed with no weapons more effective than the rude staves and stones of the field, or his shepherd's crook.

37. The Lord that delivered me--It would have been natural for a youth, and especially an Oriental youth, to make a parade of his gallantry. But David's piety sank all consideration of his own prowess and ascribed the success of those achievements to the divine aid, which he felt assured would not be withheld from him in a cause which so intimately concerned the safety and honor of His people.
Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee--The pious language of the modest but valiant youth impressed the monarch's heart. He felt that it indicated the true military confidence for Israel, and, therefore, made up his mind, without any demur, to sanction a combat on which the fate of his kingdom depended, and with a champion supporting his interests apparently so unequal to the task.

38, 39. Saul armed David with his armour--The ancient Hebrews were particularly attentive to the personal safety of their warriors, and hence Saul equipped the youthful champion with his own defensive accoutrements, which would be of the best style. It is probable that Saul's coat of mail, or corslet, was a loose shirt, otherwise it could not have fitted both a stripling and a man of the colossal stature of the king.

40. brook--wady.
bag--or scrip for containing his daily food.
sling--The sling consisted of a double rope with a thong, probably of leather, to receive the stone. The slinger held a second stone in his left hand. David chose five stones, as a reserve, in case the first should fail. Shepherds in the East carry a sling and stones still, for the purpose of driving away, or killing, the enemies that prowl about the flock.

42-47. the Philistine said . . . said David to the Philistine--When the two champions met, they generally made each of them a speech, and sometimes recited some verses, filled with allusions and epithets of the most opprobrious kind, hurling contempt and defiance at one another. This kind of abusive dialogue is common among the Arab combatants still. David's speech, however, presents a striking contrast to the usual strain of these invectives. It was full of pious trust, and to God he ascribed all the glory of the triumph he anticipated.

49. smote the Philistine in his forehead--At the opening for the eyes--that was the only exposed part of his body.

51. cut off his head--not as an evidence of the giant's death, for his slaughter had been effected in presence of the whole army, but as a trophy to be borne to Saul. The heads of slain enemies are always regarded in the East as the most welcome tokens of victory.

52. Shaaraim--(See Joshua 15:36 ).

54. tent--the sacred tabernacle. David dedicated the sword of Goliath as a votive offering to the Lord.

55-58. Saul . . . said unto Abner . . . whose son is this youth?--A young man is more spoken of in many Eastern countries by his father's name than his own. The growth of the beard, and other changes on a now full-grown youth, prevented the king from recognizing his former favorite minstrel [ 1 Samuel 16:23 ].

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