1 Samuel 16
Samuel Goes to Bethlehem
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, when I have rejected him as king over Israel? [a]Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for Myself among his sons.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer from the herd with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do [after that]; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate.” So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” And he said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
So it happened, when they had come, he looked at Eliab [the eldest son] and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks [b]at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass before Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Next Jesse had Shammah pass by. And Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen him either.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen [any of] these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” Jesse replied, “There is still one left, the youngest; he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send word and bring him; because we will not sit down [to eat the sacrificial meal] until he comes here.”
So Jesse sent word and brought him in. Now he had a ruddy complexion, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. The Lord said [to Samuel], “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and terrified him. Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are here before you to find a man who plays skillfully on the harp; and when the evil spirit from God is on you, he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.” So Saul told his servants, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.” One of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a brave and competent man, a warrior, discerning (prudent, eloquent) in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.” So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the flock.” Jesse took a donkey [loaded with] bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul with David his son. Then David came to Saul and attended him. Saul loved him greatly and [later] David became his armor bearer. Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Please let David [c]be my attendant, for he has found favor in my sight.” So it came about that whenever the [evil] spirit from God was on Saul, David took a harp and played it with his hand; so Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would leave him.
- 1 Samuel 16:1 Samuel’s horn was a receptacle for olive oil, which he would use to anoint a new king.
- 1 Samuel 16:7 Lit with the eyes.
- 1 Samuel 16:22 Lit stand before me.
1 Samuel 17:1-37
Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah; and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they camped in the Valley of Elah, and assembled in battle formation to meet the Philistines. The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. Then a [a]champion came out from the camp of the Philistines named Goliath of Gath, whose height was [b]six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and wore a coat of scale-armor (overlapping metal plates) which weighed [c]5,000 shekels of bronze. He had bronze shin protectors on his legs and a bronze [d]javelin hung between his shoulders. The [wooden] shaft of his spear was like a [e]weaver’s beam; the blade-head of his spear weighed [f]six hundred shekels of iron. And a [g]shield-bearer walked in front of him. Goliath stood and shouted to the battle lines of Israel, saying to them, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not the Philistine and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” Again the Philistine said, “I defy the battle lines of Israel this day; give me a man so that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Now David was the son of the [h]Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men. His three older sons had followed Saul into battle. The names of his three sons who went to battle were Eliab, the firstborn; next, Abinadab; and third, Shammah. David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. The Philistine [Goliath] came out morning and evening, and took his stand for forty days.
Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread and run quickly to the camp to your brothers. Also take these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of the [i]unit. See how your brothers are doing and bring back news of them. Now they are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”
David Accepts the Challenge
So David got up early in the morning, left the flock with a keeper, picked up the provisions and went just as Jesse had directed him. And he came to the encampment as the army was going out in battle formation shouting the battle cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle formation, army against army. Then David left his provisions in the care of the supply keeper, and ran to the ranks and came and greeted his brothers. As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words again; and David heard him.
When the men of Israel all saw the man, they fled from him, and were very frightened. The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. The king will reward the man who kills him with great riches, and will give him his daughter [in marriage] and make his father’s house (family) free [from taxes and service] in Israel.”
Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes the disgrace [of his taunting] from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God?” The men [j]told him, “That is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
Now Eliab his oldest brother heard what he said to the men; and Eliab’s [k]anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down here? With whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption (overconfidence) and the evil of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a [harmless] question?” Then David turned away from Eliab to someone else and asked the same question; and the people gave him the same answer as the first time.
David Kills Goliath
When the words that David spoke were heard, the men reported them to Saul, and he sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no man’s [l]courage fail because of him (Goliath). Your servant will go out and fight with this Philistine.” Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight him. For you are [only] a young man and he has been a warrior since his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and attacked it and rescued the lamb from its mouth; and when it rose up against me, I seized it by its whiskers and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God.” David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”
- 1 Samuel 17:4 The Hebrew refers to one who fights alone, single-handedly representing his nation. If warring nations agree to the contest, a great deal of bloodshed can be avoided.
- 1 Samuel 17:4 I.e. about nine feet, ten inches.
- 1 Samuel 17:5 The weight is uncertain, but may have been 100 lbs. or more.
- 1 Samuel 17:6 Or perhaps a scimitar (short curved sword).
- 1 Samuel 17:7 I.e. the cross beam of a loom.
- 1 Samuel 17:7 Probably 12 lbs. or more.
- 1 Samuel 17:7 The shield was the type designed to protect the whole body, so it was probably about eight and one-half feet tall.
- 1 Samuel 17:12 Lit this. “Ephrathite” was an older name for a resident of Bethlehem.
- 1 Samuel 17:18 Lit thousand.
- 1 Samuel 17:27 Lit spoke according to this word.
- 1 Samuel 17:28 Lit his nose got hot.
- 1 Samuel 17:32 Lit heart.