1 Samuel 17

David and Goliath

1 The Philistine army came together ready to fight the Israelites. They met together near Socoh, a town in Judah. They put up their tents at Ephes Dammim between the towns called Socoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites put up their tents in the valley of Elah. They prepared to fight against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines were standing on the side of one hill. The Israelites were on another hill. The valley was between the two groups.

17:3Sucoh is about 27 kilometres 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 all his fights. His name was Goliath and he came from the town called Gath. He was nearly 3 metres tall! 5 He wore a bronze hat to keep his head safe. He also wore a coat made of bronze to keep his body safe. The coat weighed about 57 kilos. 6 He had pieces of bronze round the front of each leg to keep them safe. He also had a large bronze sword that he tied on his back. 7 He also carried a big spear. It was thick and heavy, like a big tree. The iron point on his spear weighed about 7 kilos. A man who carried Goliath's shield walked in front of him.

8 Goliath stood up and he shouted to the Israelite soldiers. He said, ‘Why have you all got ready to fight against us? I am the great Philistine soldier and you serve Saul in his army. Is that not true? So, you must choose someone from among you. Then he can come and fight against me. 9 If he can kill me, we Philistines will become your slaves. But if I fight him and I kill him, then you Israelites will become our slaves.’

10 Then Goliath said, ‘I am not afraid to stand against the army of Israel. Send one of your men and we will fight against each other.’ 11 King Saul and all the Israelite soldiers heard what Goliath said. It upset them and it made them very afraid.

12 At this time, David's father Jesse was an old man. Jesse was from the family of Ephrathah. He came from a town in Judah that was called Bethlehem. Jesse had 8 sons. 13 Jesse's three oldest sons had gone with King Saul to fight the war. Eliab was Jesse's oldest son. Abinadab was his second son. Shammah was his third son. 14 David was Jesse's youngest son. While Jesse's three oldest sons were with Saul, 15 David was sometimes there with the soldiers. But sometimes he had to return home to Bethlehem. He had to take care of his father's sheep.

16 In those days, Goliath would stand up and shout at the Israelite army every morning and every evening. He did that for 40 days.

17 One day, Jesse said to his son David, ‘Here is a large bag of wheat grains that I have cooked. And here are 10 loaves of bread. Take these quickly to your older brothers in Saul's army. 18 Also take these 10 cheeses to the officer who leads their group of soldiers. Find out whether your brothers are well. Bring something back to me to show how they are. 19 They are in the Valley of Elah with Saul and the Israelite army. They are fighting against the Philistines.’

20 So David got up early the next morning. He left his father's sheep with another shepherd who took care of them. He did what his father, Jesse, had told him to do. He took the food to give to his brothers. When David arrived at the tents of the Israelite army, the soldiers were just going out to fight. They were singing their war songs while they went. 21 The Israelite army and the Philistine army went and they stood in their places ready for the fight. They looked towards each other across the valley. 22 David gave his things to the officer who took care of the army's food. Then he ran to the place where the Israelite soldiers were standing. He said ‘hello’ to his brothers. 23 While David was talking to his brothers, Goliath marched out from the Philistine army. He was the great Philistine soldier from the town called Gath. Goliath came towards them and he shouted things against the Israelites as usual. David heard what he said. 24 When the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath, they were very afraid. They ran away from him.

25 The Israelites said, ‘Look at this man! He is so big! He shouts bad things at us all the time. He insults our nation, Israel. King Saul will give many good things to a man who can kill Goliath. The king will also let that man marry his daughter. His family will never again have to pay taxes to the king.’

26 David asked the men who were standing near him, ‘If a man kills Goliath, what gift will he get? Goliath is insulting Israel and we must stop him. He is a Philistine who worships false gods. He must stop insulting the army of our God, who lives for ever.’

27 The men then told David what the king had promised to do. They said, ‘This is what the king will do to pay the man who kills Goliath.’

28 David's oldest brother, Eliab, heard David speaking with the other soldiers. He became angry with David. He asked David, ‘Why have you come here? You have a few sheep to take care of in the wilderness. Who is taking care of them now? I know you! You think that you are great, but you tell lies! You came here to watch the fight, not to help us.’

29 David said, ‘Have I done a wrong thing? I only asked a question.’ 30 So David went away and he asked other people the same question. All the men gave him the same answer. 31 Some of the soldiers went to King Saul and they told him what David had said. Saul told David to come to him.

32 David said to King Saul, ‘We should not be afraid of this Philistine! I am your servant. I will go and I will fight against Goliath.’

33 Saul replied, ‘You could not fight against Goliath. You are only a young man. Goliath has been a strong soldier all of his life.’

34 But David said to Saul, ‘Sir, I have taken care of my father's sheep. Sometimes a lion or a bear would come and take a lamb from among the sheep. 35 Then I would run after the lion or the bear. I would attack it and I would save the lamb from its mouth. If the wild animal turned to attack me, I would take hold of its neck. Then I would hit it and kill it. 36 I have killed both lions and bears. I will do the same to this Philistine who worships false gods. He has insulted the army of our God, who lives for ever. 37 The LORD has saved me from lions and bears. He will also save me from the power of this Philistine.’

So Saul said to David, ‘Then go! I pray that the LORD will help you.’

38 Saul took his own clothes and he dressed David. He put his bronze hat on David's head. Then he dressed David with his armour. 39 David tied Saul's sword on top of the armour. Then he tried to walk with all of it. But he had not worn armour like that before.

So David said to Saul, ‘I cannot wear all this armour to fight. I have not used it before.’ So David took it all off.

40 Instead, David picked up his shepherd's stick. He went and he took 5 round stones from the stream. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag. He had his sling in his hand. Then he went to fight against Goliath, the Philistine.

41 Goliath walked towards David. The man who was carrying Goliath's shield walked in front of him. 42 As he walked, Goliath looked carefully at David. He saw that David was a healthy young man with a handsome face. That made Goliath laugh at David. 43 He said to David, ‘Do you think that I am just a dog? Is that why you have only brought a stick to fight against me?’ Then he prayed to his gods that they would curse David.

44 Goliath said to David, ‘Come nearer to me. I will feed the birds and the wild animals with your dead body.’

45 David said to Goliath, ‘You have come to fight against me with a sword, a spear and a knife. But I come to fight against you with the authority of the LORD Almighty. He is the God who leads Israel's army, and you have insulted him! 46 Today the LORD will make me strong to win against you. I will hit you so that you fall to the ground. Then I will cut off your head. Today I will feed the birds and the wild animals with the dead bodies of the Philistine soldiers. Then everyone on the earth will know that there is a God who takes care of Israel. 47 The LORD does not need swords or spears to save his people. Everyone here will soon know that! The LORD is the one who fights for us. He will make us strong to win against you.’

48 Goliath started to move nearer to David to attack him. David ran quickly towards Goliath to fight against him. 49 David reached into his bag and he took out a stone. He put the stone into his sling and he threw it. The stone hit Goliath's head, above his eyes. It went in very deep. Goliath fell down with his face on the ground.

50 In that way, David used a sling and a stone to win against Goliath, the Philistine. David did not even have a sword but he killed Goliath. 51 David then ran and stood beside Goliath. He took hold of Goliath's sword and he killed Goliath. Then he cut off his head with the sword. The Philistines saw that their best soldier was now dead. So they ran away.

52 When the soldiers from Israel and Judah saw what had happened, they ran after the Philistines. They shouted their war song and they ran after them all the way to Gath town. And they continued to run after them as far as the gates of Ekron town. They killed the Philistines as they went. They left their dead bodies on the road, all the way from Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron.

53 When the Israelite soldiers had finished running after the Philistines, they returned to their tents. They went into the Philistines' tents and they took all their things. 54 David picked up Goliath's head to take it to Jerusalem. But he put Goliath's weapons into his own tent.

55 Saul had watched David when he went out to fight Goliath, the Philistine soldier. Saul asked the leader of his army, whose name was Abner, ‘Abner, who is that young man? Who is his father?’ Abner replied, ‘My king, I cannot tell you a lie. I do not know who he is.’ 56 The king said, ‘You must find out whose son he is.’

57 David returned after he had killed Goliath. Abner took David to Saul. David was still holding Goliath's head in his hand.

58 Saul asked him, ‘Young man, who is your father?’ David answered, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse who lives in Bethlehem.’