1 Samuel 17

David kills Goliath

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

17:1Socoh 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 strong, brave soldier. His name was Goliath and he came from a town called Gath. He was nearly three metres tall! 5 He wore a helmet and armour that were made of bronze. The armour for his body weighed about 57 kilograms. 6 He had pieces of bronze to protect his legs. He had a bronze sword that he tied on his back. 7 He also carried a heavy spear. It was as thick as a tree. The iron point on the spear weighed about seven kilograms. A man who carried Goliath's shield walked in front of him.

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

10 Then Goliath said, ‘I am not afraid of any of your soldiers! Choose one of your men and we will fight against each other.’

11 King Saul and all the Israelite soldiers heard what Goliath said. It made them very upset and afraid.

12 At this time, David's father Jesse was a very old man. Jesse belonged to the clan of Ephrathah. He came from Bethlehem town in Judah. He had e ight sons. 13 Jesse's three oldest sons had joined Saul's army to fight the war. They were Eliab, Jesse's oldest son, his second son, Abinadab, and his third son, Shammah. 14 David was Jesse's youngest son. While Jesse's three oldest sons were in Saul's army, 15 David would sometimes leave Saul and go back home to Bethlehem. He did that to take care of his father's sheep.

16 For 40 days, Goliath would stand up and insult the Israelite army every morning and every evening.

17 One day, Jesse said to his son David, ‘Take some food to your brothers in the army. Here is a large bag of grain that we have cooked, and ten loaves of bread. Take them quickly to the army camp. 18 Also take these ten pieces of cheese 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 Elah Valley with Saul and the Israelite army, where they are fighting against the Philistines.’

20 So David got up early the next morning. He left his father's sheep with another shepherd to take care of them. He did what his father had told him to do. He took the food to give to his brothers. When David arrived at the camp of the Israelite army, the soldiers were going out to fight. They were shouting their war songs while they went. 21 The Israelite army and the Philistine army stood in their places ready for the fight. They looked towards each other across the valley. 22 David gave his gifts 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 to see if they were well. 23 While David was talking to his brothers, Goliath marched out from the Philistine army. He was the great Philistine soldier from Gath. As he came, Goliath was insulting the Israelites as he did every day. David heard what he said. 24 When all the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath, they were very afraid. They ran away from him.

25 The Israelites said to each other, ‘Look at this man! He is so strong! He comes every day to insult us. King Saul will give great riches to any man who can kill Goliath. The king will give his daughter to that man, for him to marry her. His family will never again have to pay taxes to the king.’

26 David asked the men who were standing near him, ‘If someone kills this Philistine soldier and takes away the shame from Israel, what gift will he get? He is an unclean Philistine! 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 help the man who kills that Philistine soldier.’

28 When David was speaking with the soldiers, his oldest brother, Eliab, heard him. He became angry with David. He asked David, ‘Why have you come here? You should be taking care of a few sheep in the wilderness. Who is taking care of them now? I know how proud you are! I know about your wicked ideas! You came here only to watch the battle.’

29 David said, ‘Have I done anything wrong? 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 am ready to go and fight against him.’

33 Saul replied, ‘You could not fight against this strong Philistine. You are only a boy! He has been a brave soldier since he was a young man.’

34 But David said to Saul, ‘Sir, I have been a shepherd who takes care of his father's sheep. Sometimes a lion or a bear would come to take a lamb from among the sheep. 35 Then I would chase after the lion or the bear. I would knock it down 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 lions and bears like that. I will do the same to this unclean Philistine. He has insulted the army of our God, who lives for ever. 37 The Lord has kept me safe from lions and bears. He will also save me from the power of this Philistine soldier.’

So Saul said to David, ‘Then do it! I pray that the Lord will help you.’

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

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

40 Instead, David picked up his shepherd's stick. He picked up five round stones from the stream. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag. He held his sling in his hand. Then he walked towards the Philistine soldier.

41 The Philistine slowly walked towards David. The man who was carrying his shield walked in front of him. 42 As he came nearer, the Philistine looked carefully at David. He saw that David was no more than a healthy, handsome boy. That made him laugh at David. 43 He said to David, ‘Do you think that I am just a dog? Can you knock me down with a little stick?’ Then he prayed to his gods that they would curse David.

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

45 David said to him, ‘You have come to fight against me with a sword, a knife and a spear. 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 knock you down and 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 our battles. He will put you under our power.’

48 The Philistine soldier started to move nearer to David to attack him. David ran forward quickly 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 the Philistine man'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 the Philistine soldier. He knocked down the Philistine and he killed him. And David did not even hold a sword in his hand! 51 David then ran and stood over Goliath. He pulled Goliath's sword out and he killed him. Then he used it to cut off Goliath's head.

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 chased after the Philistines. They shouted their war song as they ran. They chased the Philistines all the way to Gath, and then to the gates of Ekron town. The dead bodies of the Philistine soldiers were lying everywhere on the road to Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron.

53 When the Israelite soldiers had finished chasing and killing the Philistines, they returned. They went into the Philistines' camp and they took their things for themselves. 54 David picked up Goliath's head to take it to Jerusalem. But he put Goliath's weapons in his own tent.

55 Saul had watched David when he went out to fight the strong Philistine soldier. Saul said to Abner, the leader of his army, ‘Tell me 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 the name of that man's father.’

57 When David returned after he had killed Goliath, Abner took him 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.’