Goliath challenges Israel. Jesse sends David to the camp. David challenges Goliath. David kills Goliath. The Philistine army flees for their lives.
VERSE 1. Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle; and they were gathered together at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.
VERSE 2. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and encamped in the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
VERSE 3. The Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
VERSE 4. A champion out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span went out.
whose height was six cubits. A cubit is the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow on a man’s arm, or about 18 inches.
In Goliath’s case, 6 cubits x 18 inches = 108 inches, or 9 feet tall.
and a span. A span is the length from the tip of a man’s thumb to the tip of his little finger when his hand is stretched out (about half a cubit, or 9 inches).
So how tall was Goliath? According to this passage, 117 inches, or 9′-9″ tall.
Calculation: (6 cubits x 18 inches per cubit) + (1 span x 9 inches per span).
The Dead Sea scrolls say he was 6′-6″ tall.
VERSE 5. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he wore a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.
shekels. A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces. Goliath’s armor weighed 5,000 shekels, or 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds.
VERSE 6. He had bronze shin armor on his legs, and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.
VERSE 7. The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. His shield bearer went before him.
shekels. A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces. Goliath’s spear head weighed 600 shekels, or about 13 pounds.
VERSE 8. He stood and cried to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to set your battle in array? Am I not a Philistine, and you servants to Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.
VERSE 9. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.”
VERSE 10. The Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel today! Give me a man, that we may fight together!”
VERSE 11. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
VERSE 12. Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons. The man was an elderly old man in the days of Saul.
VERSE 13. The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
VERSE 14. David was the youngest; and the three oldest followed Saul.
VERSE 15. Now David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
VERSE 16. The Philistine came near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
VERSE 17. Jesse said to David his son, “Now take for your brothers an efah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers;
an efah. One efah is about 22 liters or about 2/3 of a bushel
VERSE 18. and bring these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers are doing, and bring back news.”
VERSE 19. Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
VERSE 20. David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took and went, as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the place of the wagons, as the army which was going out to the fight shouted for the battle.
VERSE 21. Israel and the Philistines put the battle in array, army against army.
VERSE 22. David left his baggage in the hand of the keeper of the baggage, and ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers.
VERSE 23. As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and said the same words; and David heard them.
fled from him, and were terrified. An evil person can be frightening.
VERSE 25. The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? He has surely come up to defy Israel. The king will give great riches to the man who kills him, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.”
VERSE 26. David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done to the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
VERSE 27. The people answered him in this way, saying, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”
VERSE 28. Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride, and the naughtiness of your heart; for you have come down that you might see the battle.”
VERSE 29. David said, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”
VERSE 30. He turned away from him toward another, and spoke like that again; and the people answered him again the same way.
VERSE 31. When the words were heard which David spoke, they rehearsed them before Saul; and he sent for him.
VERSE 32. David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
VERSE 33. Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
VERSE 34. David said to Saul, “Your servant was keeping his father’s sheep; and when a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb out of the flock,
VERSE 35. I went out after him, and struck him, and rescued it out of his mouth. When he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and struck him, and killed him.
VERSE 36. Your servant struck both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.”
This uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them. David speaks of his victory in advance. He speaks it into being.
Some Christians believe that miracles happen because we speak them into being. Here is a Bible verse they often refer to:
Romans 4:17b. God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were.
VERSE 37. David said, “The LORD who delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go! The LORD will be with you.”
VERSE 38. Saul dressed David with his clothing. He put a helmet of bronze on his head, and he clad him with a coat of mail.
VERSE 39. David strapped his sword on his clothing, and he tried to move; for he had not tested it. David said to Saul, “I can’t go with these; for I have not tested them.” Then David took them off.
VERSE 40. He took his staff in his hand, and chose for himself five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag which he had. His sling was in his hand; and he came near to the Philistine.
VERSE 41. The Philistine walked and came near to David; and the man who bore the shield went before him.
VERSE 42. When the Philistine looked around, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and had a good looking face.
VERSE 43. The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” The Philistine cursed David by his gods.
The Philistine said to David. This epic showdown between David and Goliath has inspired artists of all generations.
VERSE 44. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky, and to the animals of the field.”
VERSE 45. Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
VERSE 46. Today, the LORD will deliver you into my hand. I will strike you, and take your head from off you. I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines today to the birds of the sky, and to the wild animals of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,
VERSE 47. and that all this assembly may know that the LORD doesn’t save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
VERSE 48. When the Philistine arose, and walked and came near to meet David, David hurried, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
VERSE 49. David put his hand in his bag, took a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine in his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
The stone sank into his forehead. David flung the stone, but the LORD God caused it to sink in and become lethal.
David stepped out in faith, then the LORD God made it effective.
VERSE 50. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
VERSE 51a. Then David ran, stood over the Philistine, took his sword, drew it out of its sheath, killed him, and cut off his head with it.
VERSE 51b. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
VERSE 52. The men of Israel and of Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as Gai and to the gates of Ekron. The wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and to Ekron.
VERSE 53. The children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines and they plundered their camp.
VERSE 54. David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.
VERSE 55. When Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the captain of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I can’t tell.”
VERSE 56. The king said, “Inquire whose son the young man is!”
VERSE 57. As David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
VERSE 58. Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, you young man?” David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.