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1 Samuel 17

David and Goliath

1 The Philistine army came together ready for a fight. They met at Socoh in the land of Judah. They stayed at Ephes-dammim between the towns called Socoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites came near together in the Valley of Elah. They put their tents there and they got ready to fight the Philistines. 3 The Philistines were on one side of the hill. The Israelites were on the other side of the hill. The valley was between them.

17:3Sucoh is about 27 kilometres (17 miles) south west of Jerusalem. The land belonged to the Israelites but the Philistines were attacking it.

4 The Philistines had a soldier who had won more fights than anyone else. He came from the town called Gath. His name was Goliath. He was about 3 metres (more than 9 feet) tall. 5 He wore a bronze helmet on his head. His armour included a coat of the same metal. It weighed about 57 kilos (about 125 pounds). 6 He had pieces of metal round the front of each leg. He had a bronze javelin that hung on his back. 7 The handle of his spear was very thick. He had an iron point on his spear. It weighed about 7 kilos (about 15 pounds). A man carried Goliath's shield and this man walked in front of him.

8 Goliath stood and he shouted to the Israelite soldiers. He said, ‘I do not know why you have got ready for a fight. I am a Philistine. You are Saul's servants. You must choose one of your soldiers. Send him down to fight me. 9 If he can kill me, the Philistines will become your slaves. I will fight this man. If I kill him, the Israelites will become our slaves.’

10 Then Goliath said again, ‘I am not afraid to stand against the army of Israel. Send one of your men and we will fight together.’ 11 Saul and the Israelites heard what Goliath said. This frightened them very much.

12 David was the son of Jesse. Jesse was from the family of Ephratah. He came from the town called Bethlehem which was in the land of Judah. Jesse had 8 sons. When Saul was king, Jesse was an old man. 13 Jesse's three oldest sons had gone to the war with Saul. Eliab was Jesse's oldest son. Abinadab was Jesse's second son. Shammah was Jesse's third son. 14 David was Jesse's youngest son. Jesse's three oldest sons were with Saul. 15 Sometimes David was with Saul. But sometimes he had to return to Bethlehem. He returned to care for his father's sheep.

16 Goliath shouted to the Israelites every morning and every evening for 40 days.

17 One day, Jesse said to his son David, ‘Here are 10 kilos (22 pounds) of wheat that I have cooked, and 10 loaves of bread. Take these quickly to your brothers in the army. 18 Take these 10 cheeses to the officer who is the leader of their group. Find out whether your brothers are well. Bring me back news about them. 19 Your brothers are with Saul and the Israelite army. They are in the Valley of Elah. They are fighting against the Philistines.’

20 So David got up early the next morning. He left the sheep with another shepherd. He took the food. He did what Jesse had asked him to do. David reached the Israelite tents. The army was just going out to the place from which to fight. They shouted while they went. They were shouting because they wanted to fight. 21 The Israelite army and the Philistine army stood in their places ready for the fight. They stood and looked towards each other across the valley. 22 David left all his things with the officer who kept the army's food. David ran to the Israelite army. He went to see his brothers. 23 While David was talking to his brothers, Goliath, the great Philistine soldier, came towards them. Goliath shouted things against the Israelites as usual. David heard what he said. 24 When the Israelites saw Goliath, they were very afraid. They ran away.

25 The Israelites said, ‘Look at this man. He shouts bad things at us all the time. King Saul will give a lot of money to the man who kills Goliath. The king will also let this man marry his daughter. The family of that man's father will not have to pay taxes to the king of Israel.’

26 David said to the men who were standing near him, ‘If a man kills Goliath, Israel will not be ashamed any longer. What gift will he get? Goliath is only a Philistine. Nobody has circumcised him. He does not give honour to our God. He should not say these things against the army of the living God.’

27 The men told David what they had said. They said, ‘This will be done to pay the man who kills Goliath.’

28 Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard David speaking with the men. Eliab was angry with David and Eliab asked him, ‘Why have you come here? You have a few sheep in the desert. Who is caring for them? You think that you are great. I know that. But you are evil. I think that you only came here to watch the fight.’

29 David said, ‘I do not know what I have done wrong. I only asked a question.’ 30 So David went and he asked other people the same question. All the men gave the same answer. 31 Some of the men had heard what David said. They went and they told Saul. Saul asked David to come to see him.

32 David said to Saul, ‘I am your servant. Do not think that Goliath will bring trouble to Israel. I will go and I will fight him.’

33 Saul replied, ‘You cannot go and fight Goliath. You are only a young man. Goliath has been a strong soldier all of his life.’

34 But David said, ‘I have cared for my father's sheep. Sometimes a lion or a bear came and took a young sheep. 35 I ran after the lion or the bear and I attacked it. I saved the young sheep from its mouth. When the lion or the bear started to attack me, I held its hair. Then I hit it and I killed it. 36 I, your servant, have killed lions and bears. And I will do the same to this Philistine that nobody has circumcised. He has said bad things about the army of the living God. 37 The LORD has saved me from lions and bears. He will save me from this Philistine.’

Saul said to David, ‘Go. And I ask the LORD that he will be with you.’ 38 Saul put his own clothes on David. He put his bronze helmet on David's head. Then he dressed David with his armour. 39 David put on the sword and the armour. He tried to walk but he had not worn armour before.

David said to Saul, ‘I cannot wear all this armour. I have never used it.’ So David took it all off.

40 David picked up his shepherd's stick. He went to the stream. He took 5 round stones from the stream and he put them in his bag. He had his sling in his hand. Then he went to meet the Philistine.

41 Goliath walked towards David. A man walked in front of Goliath and the man was carrying Goliath's shield. Goliath looked at David. 42 He saw that David was a handsome young man with brown skin. That made Goliath very angry.

43 He said to David, ‘I do not know why you have come with a stick. Perhaps you think that I am a dog.’ Then he asked his gods to cause bad things to happen to David.

44 Then Goliath said, ‘Come here. I will feed the birds and the wild animals with your dead body.’

45 David said, ‘You have come to fight me with a sword, a spear and a javelin. But I come to fight you in the name of the LORD Almighty. You have said bad things about the God of Israel's army. 46 Today the LORD will make me powerful against you. I will hit you and I will cut off your head. Today I will feed the birds and the wild animals with the dead bodies of the Philistine army. Then all the people in the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 The LORD does not need swords and spears to save his people. Everyone here will soon know that the LORD will win the fight. He will make us powerful against you.’

48 Goliath started to move nearer to David to attack him. David ran quickly to meet him. 49 David took a stone from his bag. He put the stone into the sling and he threw it. The stone hit Goliath on his face above his eyes. It went into his head. Goliath fell with his face on the ground.

50 So David used a sling and a stone to win the fight with the Philistines. David did not have a sword but he killed Goliath. 51 David ran and stood next to him. He took Goliath's sword out of its bag. Then he killed Goliath and he cut off his head with the sword. The Philistines saw that their best fighter was dead. So they ran away. 52 The men from Israel and Judah shouted. They ran after the Philistines all the way to the gate of the town called Gath. And they ran after them to the gates of the town called Ekron. They killed the Philistines. They left their dead bodies on the road to Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 The Israelites returned when they had finished running after the Philistines. Then the Israelites went and they robbed the Philistines' tents. 54 David took Goliath's head into Jerusalem. But he put Goliath's armour into his own tent.

55 Saul had watched David when he went out to fight Goliath. Abner was the most important officer in Saul's army. Saul said to Abner, ‘Abner, whose son is that young man?’

Abner replied, ‘My great king, I do not know.’

56 The king said, ‘Find out whose son he is.’

57 David returned after he had killed Goliath. Abner brought David to Saul. David was still holding Goliath's head.

58 Saul asked him, ‘Young man, who is your father?’

David answered, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse who comes from Bethlehem.’