Shmuel Alef 17

1 7 Now the Pelishtim gathered together their machanot (camps, military forces), for milchamah and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Yehudah, and encamped between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim.
2 And Sha’ul and the Ish Yisroel were gathered together, and encamped by the Emek (valley) of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Pelishtim (Philistines).
3 And the Pelishtim stood on the har on the one side, and Yisroel stood on the har on the other side; and there was a gey between them.
4 And there went out an Ish HaBenayim [i.e., a middleman champion whose single combat saves the day and decides the victor] out of the machanot of the Pelishtim, shmo Golyat (Goliath), of Gat, whose height was shesh cubits and a span.
5 And he had a kova (helmet) of nechoshet upon his rosh, and he was wearing a coat of mail armor; and the weight of the coat of armor was five thousand shekels of nechoshet.
6 And he had mitzchah (greaves, i.e., leg plate armor) of nechoshet upon his legs, and a kidron (javelin) of nechoshet [slung] between his shoulders.
7 And the khetz (shaft) of his khanit (spear) was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s blade weighed six hundred barzel (iron) shekels; and the no’se tzinnah (great shield bearer) walked ahead of him.
8 And he stood and cried out unto the ma’arkhot Yisroel (ranks of Israel), and said unto them, Why are ye come out to line up for milchamah? Am not I a Philistine, and ye avadim of Sha’ul? Choose you an ish for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your avadim; but if I prevail over him, and kill him, then shall ye be to us for avadim, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the maarkhot Yisroel this day; give me ish, that we may fight together.
11 When Sha’ul and kol Yisroel heard those divrei haPelishti, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
12 Now Dovid was the ben ish of that Ephrati from Beit-Lechem Yehudah, shmo Yishai; and he had shmoneh banim; and the ish [Yishai] was zaken in the days of Sha’ul, advanced in age among anashim.
13 And the shloshet Bnei Yishai hagedolim went and followed Sha’ul to the milchamah; and the shem of his three banim that went to the milchamah were Eliav the bechor, and mishneh unto him Avinadav, and hashelishi (the third) Shammah.
14 And Dovid was the katan; and the shloshah hagedolim followed Sha’ul.
15 But Dovid went and returned from Sha’ul to tend tzon aviv at Beit-Lechem.
16 And the Pelishti drew near morning and evening, and presented himself arba’im yom.
17 And Yishai said unto Dovid bno, Take now for thy achim an ephah of this roasted grain, and these ten lechem, and run to the machaneh of thy achim;
18 And carry these ten charitzei hecholov (cuts of milk, hence cheeses) unto the sar of their elef (unit, thousand), and look how thy achim fare for shalom, and take their arvut (pledge).
19 Now Sha’ul, and they, and all the Ish Yisroel, were in the Emek (Valley) of Elah (Oak), fighting with the Pelishtim (Philistines).
20 And Dovid rose up early in the boker, and left the tzon with a shomer (watchman), and loaded up, and embarked, as Yishai had commanded him; and he came to the camp, as the army was going forth to the fight and shouted for the milchamah (battle).
21 For Yisroel and the Pelishtim took their positions, ma’arakhah (battle array) facing ma’arakhah.
22 And Dovid left his supplies in the yad of the shomer hakelim (supply master), and ran into the ma’arakhah (battle line), and came and gave shalom greeting to his achim.
23 And as he talked with them, hinei, there came up the Ish HaBenayim Golyat HaPelishti shmo, from Gat, out of the lines of the Pelishtim, and spoke according to these words; and Dovid heard them.
24 And all the Ish Yisroel, when they saw the ish, fled from before him, and were greatly afraid.
25 And the Ish Yisroel said, Have ye seen this ish that is come up? Surely to defy Yisroel is he come up; and it shall be, that the ish who killeth him, the melech will give ashires gadol and will give him bitto (his daughter) [in marriage], and bais aviv make khofshi b’Yisroel (free, tax-exempt in Israel).
26 And Dovid spoke to the anashim that stood by him, saying, What shall be done for the ish that killeth this Pelishti, and taketh away the cherpah (reproach) from Yisroel? For who is this Pelishti hearel (uncircumcised Philistine) that he should defy the ma’arkhot Elohim Chayyim (arrayed battle forces of the living G-d)?
27 And HaAm answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the ish that killeth him.
28 And Eliav achiv hagadol heard when he spoke unto the anashim; and af Eliav was kindled against Dovid, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few tzon in the midbar? I know thy zadon (presumptuousness), and the evil of thine levav; for thou art come down l’ma’an (in order that) thou mightest watch the milchamah.
29 And Dovid said, What have I done now? It was only a davar (word) [I said], wasn’t it?
30 And he turned from him toward another, and spoke after the same manner; and HaAm answered him again according to the davar harishon (the previous word).
31 And when the devarim (words) were heard which Dovid spoke, they rehearsed them before Sha’ul: and he sent for him.
32 And Dovid said to Sha’ul, Let no lev adam fail because of him; thy eved will go and fight with this Pelishti.
33 And Sha’ul said to Dovid, Thou art not able to go against this Pelishti to fight with him: for thou art but a na’ar (boy), and he an ish milchamah (man of war) from his youth.
34 And Dovid said unto Sha’ul, Thy eved is ro’eh (shepherd) of tzon of aviv, and there came the ari, and the dov, and carried off seh out of the eder (flock):
35 And I went out after him, and struck him, and saved out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught hold by his zakan (beard), and struck him, and killed him.
36 Thy eved slaughtered both the ari and the dov: and this Pelishti hearel (uncircumcised Philistine) shall be as one of them, seeing he hath charaf (taunted, defied, disgraced) the maarkhot Elohim Chayyim.
37 Dovid said moreover, Hashem that saved me out of the paw of the ari, and out of the paw of the dov, He will save me out of the yad of this Pelishti. And Sha’ul said unto Dovid, Go, and Hashem be with thee.
38 And Sha’ul dressed Dovid with his armor-clothes, put a kova of nechoshet upon his rosh; also he dressed him with a coat of mail armor.
39 And Dovid girded his cherev over his armor-clothes, and he tried to walk; for lo nissah (he had not tested, proved) it. And Dovid said unto Sha’ul, I cannot go with these; for lo nissti (I have not proved them). And Dovid took them off him.
40 And he took his makel (stick, staff) in his yad, and chose him chamishah chalukei avanim (five smooth stones) out of the nachal (brook), and put them in a keli haro’im (shepherd’s bag) which he had, even in a wayfarer’s bag; and his kela (slingshot) was in his yad; and he drew near to the Pelishti.
41 And the Pelishti came on and drew near unto Dovid; and the ish, the no’se hatzinnah, went ahead of him.
42 And when the Pelishti squinted and saw Dovid, he despised him: for he was but a na’ar (boy), and admoni (ruddy), and yafeh mareh (good-looking).
43 And the Pelishti said unto Dovid, Am I a kelev (dog), that thou comest to me with maklot (sticks)? And the Pelishti cursed Dovid by his g-ds.
44 And the Pelishti said to Dovid, Come to me, and I will give thy basar unto the oph hashomayim, and to the behemat hasadeh.
45 Then said Dovid to the Pelishti, Thou comest against me with a cherev (sword), and with a khanit (spear), and with a kidon (javelin); but I come against thee b’Shem Hashem Tzva’os Elohei Ma’arkhot Yisroel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will Hashem hand thee over into mine yad; and I will strike thee down, and take thine rosh from thee; and I will give the peger machaneh Pelishtim this day unto the oph hashomayim, and to the chayyat ha’aretz; that kol ha’aretz may know that there is Elohim in Yisroel.
47 And kol hakahal hazeh shall know that Hashem yehoshi’a (saveth) not with cherev or khanit; for the milchamah is Hashem’s, and He will give you (plural) into yadenu (our hands).
48 And it came to pass, when the Pelishti arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet Dovid, that Dovid hastened, and ran toward the ma’arakhah (battle line) to meet the Pelishti.
49 And Dovid put his yad in his keli (bag), and took from there an even (stone), and slung it, and struck the Pelishti in his metzach (forehead), that the even (stone) sunk into his metzach; and he fell upon his face to the ground.
50 So Dovid prevailed chazak over the Pelishti with a sling and with an even (stone), and struck down the Pelishti, and killed him; but there was no cherev in the yad Dovid.
51 Therefore Dovid ran, and stood over the Pelishti, and took hold of his cherev, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slaughtered him, v’yikhrat (and cut off [See Daniel 9:26, Moshiach yikaret (will be cut off) but in Daniel the phrase means “Moshiach will be violently killed”) his rosh therewith. And when the Pelishtim saw their gibbor was dead, they fled.
52 And the Anshei Yisroel and of Yehudah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Pelishtim, until thou come to the gey (valley), and to the Sha’arei Ekron. And the challei Pelishtim fell by the derech to Shaarayim, even unto Gat, and unto Ekron.
53 And the Bnei Yisroel returned from chasing after the Pelishtim, and they plundered their machanot.
54 And Dovid took the rosh of the Pelishti, and brought it to Yerushalayim; but he put his kelim (weapons) in his ohel.
55 And when Sha’ul saw Dovid go forth to meet the Pelishti, he said unto Avner, the sar hatzavah, Avner, whose ben is this na’ar? And Avner said, As thy nefesh liveth, O Melech, I cannot tell.
56 And the Melech said, Inquire thou whose ben this elem (young man) is.
57 And as Dovid returned from the slaughter of the Pelishti, Avner took him, and brought him before Sha’ul with the rosh of the Pelishti in his yad.
58 And Sha’ul said to him, Whose ben art thou, na’ar? And Dovid answered, I am the ben avdecha Yishai of Beit-Lechem.

Shmuel Alef 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

Goliath's challenge. (1-11) David comes to the camp. (12-30) David undertakes to fight Goliath. (31-39) and goes to meet him. (40-47) He kills Goliath. (48-58)

Verses 1-11 Men so entirely depend upon God in all things, that when he withdraws his help, the most valiant and resolute cannot find their hearts or hands, as daily experience shows.

Verses 12-30 Jesse little thought of sending his son to the army at that critical juncture; but the wise God orders actions and affairs, so as to serve his designs. In times of general formality and lukewarmness, every degree of zeal which implies readiness to go further, or to venture more in the cause of God than others, will be blamed as pride and ambition, and by none more than by near relations, like Eliab, or negligent superiors. It was a trial of David's meekness, patience, and constancy. He had right and reason on his side, and did not render railing for railing; with a soft answer he turned away his brother's wrath. This conquest of his own passion was more honourable than that of Goliath. Those who undertake great and public services, must not think it strange if they are spoken ill of, and opposed by those from whom they expect support and assistance. They must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of enemies' threats, but of friends' slights and suspicions.

Verses 31-39 A shepherd lad, come the same morning from keeping sheep, had more courage than all the mighty men of Israel. Thus God often sends good words to his Israel, and does great things for them, by the weak and foolish things of the world. As he had answered his brother's passion with meekness, so David answered Saul's fear with faith. When David kept sheep, he proved himself very careful and tender of his flock. This reminds us of Christ, the good Shepherd, who not only ventured, but laid down his life for the sheep. Our experience ought to encourage us to trust in God, and be bold in the way of duty. He that has delivered, does and will continue to do so. David gained leave to fight the Philistine. Not being used to such armour as Saul put upon him, he was not satisfied to go in that manner; this was from the Lord, that it might more plainly appear he fought and conquered in faith, and that the victory was from Him who works by the feeblest and most despised means and instruments. It is not to be inquired how excellent any thing is, but how proper. Let Saul's coat be ever so rich, and his armour ever so strong, what is David the better if they fit him not? But faith, prayer, truth, and righteousness; the whole armour of God, and the mind that was in Christ; are equally needful for all the servants of the Lord, whatever may be their work.

Verses 40-47 The security and presumption of fools destroy them. Nothing can excel the humility, faith, and piety which appear in David's words. He expressed his assured expectation of success; he gloried in his mean appearance and arms, that the victory might be ascribed to the Lord alone.

Verses 48-58 See how frail and uncertain life is, even when a man thinks himself best fortified; how quickly, how easily, and by how small a matter, the passage may be opened for life to go out, and death to enter! Let not the strong man glory in his strength, nor the armed man in his armour. God resists the proud, and pours contempt on those who defy him and his people. No one ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. The history is recorded, that all may exert themselves for the honour of God, and the support of his cause, with bold and unshaken reliance on him. There is one conflict in which all the followers of the Lamb are, and must be engaged; one enemy, more formidable than Goliath, still challenges the armies of Israel. But "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Go forth to battle with the faith of David, and the powers of darkness shall not stand against you. But how often is the Christian foiled through an evil heart of unbelief!

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates how the armies of Israel, and of the Philistines, prepared for battle, and where, 1Sa 17:1-3, describes a champion of the Philistines, who defied the armies of Israel, 1Sa 17:4-11, and while he was so doing, it informs us that David came into the camp, and he heard his words, and signified to one and another his inclination to fight with him, 1Sa 17:12-30, which being reported to Saul, David was sent for by him, and much discourse passed between them about it, 1Sa 17:31-37 when we are told the manner in which he engaged with the Philistine, and the victory he obtained over him, 1Sa 17:38-51 upon which the Philistines fled, and Israel pursued them; and on account of this action David was taken notice of by Saul, and brought to court again, as the following chapter shows, 1Sa 17:52-58.

Shmuel Alef 17 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.