David pleased King Saul with the soothing sounds of his harp. (See Preparation Put to Use) David made frequent trips to the palace to ease Saul’s tormented mind.
Later, Saul and his soldiers have moved about fifteen miles west near the Philistine border. Israel has had constant contentions with the Philistines and they certainly have big time trouble brewing now. The Philistines are on one hill and the Israelites on another hill with a wide valley between them.
Each morning, both sides come out ready to do battle, when a nine foot man named Goliath struts out with his bronze helmet and coat of bronze scale armor weighing 5,000 shekels (about 125 pounds.) Picture this massive man with bronze greaves on his legs, a bronze javelin slung on his back, and a spear. The iron point of his spear alone weighs 15 pounds.
He shouts to the ranks of Israel,
“Why do you come out and line up for battle? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” I Samuel 17:8-9
Saul and his men are “dismayed and terrified.” Everyday they listen to the pompous rhetoric from this giant of a man, but no one is brave enough to challenge him.
Now among the soldiers are David’s three oldest brothers. Remember them? Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah. Meanwhile, David still attends his father’s sheep. From time to time, Jesse sends David to the battle lines to take food for his brothers and bring back word on how things are going.
During one of these visits, David leaves the food with the keeper of supplies and runs over to where the men have lined up for battle. Just then, Goliath steps forward as he has done for forty days and shouts his usual defiance. The soldiers suddenly retreat because they are all afraid of Goliath.
David is appalled. He asks,
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” I Samuel 17:26
Do you remember that I told you to watch later for oldest brother, Eliab, to appear again? Well, here he is. He’s been watching David talking to the soldiers and nosing around. Eliab “burns with anger” at David.
“Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” I Samuel 17:28
Can’t you hear the jealousy, bitterness, even hatred in Eliab’s words? Likewise, can’t you see the roll of David’s eyes and an accented huff as he responds?
“Now what have I done? Can’t I even speak?” I Samuel 17:29
Next week, we’ll see that David is not to be deterred by a jealous brother’s comments nor the haughty words of a Philistine giant.
~ Joyce ~