Strong and Courageous in a Battle of Faith
1 The Philistines gathered their forces for war at Socoh in Judah and camped between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the men of Israel gathered and camped in the Valley of Elah; then they lined up in battle formation to face the Philistines.
3 The Philistines were standing on one hill, and the Israelites were standing on another hill with a ravine between them. 4 Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall 5 and wore a bronze helmet and bronze scale armor that weighed 125 pounds. 6 There was bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze sword was slung between his shoulders. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed 15 pounds. In addition, a shield-bearer was walking in front of him.
8 He stood and shouted to the Israelite battle formations: “Why do you come out to line up in battle formation?” He asked them, “Am I not a Philistine and are you not servants of Saul? Choose one of your men and have him come down against me. 9 If he wins in a fight against me and kills me, we will be your servants. But if I win against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel today. Send me a man so we can fight each other!” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified.
12 Now David was the son of the Ephrathite from Bethlehem of Judah named Jesse. Jesse had eight sons and during Saul’s reign was already an old man. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war, and their names were Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab, the next, and Shammah, the third, 14 and David was the youngest. The three oldest had followed Saul, 15 but David kept going back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock in Bethlehem.
16 Every morning and evening for 40 days the Philistine came forward and took his stand. 17 One day Jesse had told his son David: “Take this half-bushel of roasted grain along with these 10 loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Also take these 10 portions of cheese to the field commander. Check on the welfare of your brothers and bring a confirmation from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah fighting with the Philistines.”
20 So David got up early in the morning, left the flock with someone to keep it, loaded up, and set out as Jesse had instructed him.
He arrived at the perimeter of the camp as the army was marching out to its battle formation shouting their battle cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines lined up in battle formation facing each other. 22 David left his supplies in the care of the quartermaster and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he asked his brothers how they were. 23 While he was speaking with them, suddenly the champion named Goliath, the Philistine from Gath, came forward from the Philistine battle line and shouted his usual words, which David heard. 24 When all the Israelite men saw Goliath, they retreated from him terrified.
25 Previously, an Israelite man had declared: “Do you see this man who keeps coming out? He comes to defy Israel. The king will make the man who kills him very rich and will give him his daughter. The king will also make the household of that man’s father exempt from paying taxes in Israel.”
26 David spoke to the men who were standing with him: “What will be done for the man who kills that Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 The people told him about the offer, concluding, “That is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 David’s oldest brother Eliab listened as he spoke to the men, and became angry with him. “Why did you come down here?” he asked. “Who did you leave those few sheep with in the wilderness? I know your arrogance and your evil heart — you came down to see the battle!”
29 “What have I done now?” protested David. “It was just a question.” 30 Then he turned from those beside him to others in front of him and asked about the offer. The people gave him the same answer as before.
31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, so he had David brought to him. 32 David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!”
33 But Saul replied, “You can’t go fight this Philistine. You’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since he was young.”
34 David answered Saul: “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Then David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”