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1 Samuel 17


1 The Philistines got ready for war and brought their troops together to attack the town of Socoh in Judah. They set up camp at Ephes-Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah.

2 Saul and the men of Israel came together and took up their position in the valley of Elah. They drew up in battle array against the Philistines.

3 The Philistines were stationed on the mountain on one side. Israel was on the mountain on the other side. There was a valley between them.

4 A fighter came out from the tents of the Philistines. His name was Goliath of Gath. He was over nine feet tall.

5 He had a headdress of copper on his head. He was dressed in a coat of metal that weighed one hundred twenty five pounds.

6 He had copper shin guards on his legs and on his back a copper javelin.

7 The shaft of his spear was like the beam used by weavers. The head of his spear was made of fifteen pounds of iron. The man who carried his shield walked ahead of him.

8 Goliath stood and called to the Israelites: »Why do you form a battle line? Am I not a Philistine? Are you Saul’s servants? Choose a man, and let him come down to fight me.

9 »If he can fight me and kill me we will be your slaves. But if I overpower him and kill him you will be our slaves and serve us.«

10 The Philistine added: »I challenge the Israelite battle line today. Send out a man so we can fight each other.«

11 Saul and all the Israelites were overcome with fear when they heard what this Philistine said.

12 David was a son of a man named Jesse from the region of Ephrath and the city of Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons. In Saul’s day he was an old man.

13 Jesse’s three oldest sons joined Saul’s army for the battle. The firstborn was Eliab, the second was Abinadab, and the third was Shammah.

14 David was the youngest. The three oldest joined Saul’s army.

15 David went back and forth from Saul’s camp to Bethlehem, where he tended his father’s flock.

16 Each morning and evening for forty days the Philistine came forward and made his challenge.

17 Jesse told his son David: »Take this half-bushel of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers. Take them to your brothers in the camp right away.

18 »Also take these ten slices of cheese to the commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are getting along. Bring back something to show that you saw them and that they are well.

19 »King Saul, your brothers, and all the other Israelites are in Elah Valley fighting the Philistines.«

20 David obeyed his father. He got up early the next morning and left someone else in charge of the sheep. He loaded the supplies and started off. He reached the army camp just as the soldiers were taking their places and shouting the battle cry.

21 The army of Israel and the Philistine army stood there facing each other.

22 David left his things with the man in charge of supplies. He ran up to the battle line to ask his brothers if they were well.

23 David talked to his brothers. Goliath came out from the line of Philistines and boasted as usual. David heard him.

24 When the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath they were afraid and ran off.

25 They said to each other: »Look how he keeps coming out to insult us. The king offers a big reward to the man who kills Goliath. That man will even get to marry the king’s daughter. No one in his family will ever have to pay taxes again.«

26 David asked some soldiers standing nearby: »What will a man get for killing this Philistine and stopping him from insulting our people? Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He makes fun of the army of the living God!«

27 The soldiers repeated to David how the man who kills Goliath would be treated.

28 Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard David talking to the men. Then Eliab became angry with David. »Why did you come here,« he asked him,« and with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how overconfident and headstrong you are. You came here just to see the battle.«

29 »What have I done now?« David snapped at him. »Did I just ask a question?«

30 He turned to face another man and asked the same question. The other soldiers gave him the same answer.

31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul. Saul sent for him.

32 David told Saul: »No one should be discouraged because of this. I will go and fight this Philistine.«

33 Saul responded to David: »You cannot fight this Philistine. You are just a boy. He has been a warrior since he was your age.«

34 David replied to Saul: »I am a shepherd for my father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear comes and carries off a sheep from the flock,

35 »I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. If the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death.

36 »I have killed lions and bears. I will do the same to this heathen Philistine. He has defied the army of the living God.

37 »Jehovah saved me from lions and bears. He will save me from this Philistine.« Saul answered: »Go and Jehovah be with you.«

38 He gave his own armor to David for him to wear. It consisted of a copper helmet, which he put on David’s head, and a coat of armor.

39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor and tried to walk. But he could not walk. »I cannot fight with all this,« he said to Saul. »I am not used to it.« So he took it all off.

40 He took his shepherd’s stick and picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath.

41 The Philistine, preceded by the man carrying his shield came closer and closer to David.

42 The Philistine got a good look at David and he despised him. David was only a young man with a healthy complexion and good looks.

43 The Philistine asked David: »Am I a dog that you come to attack me with sticks?« So the Philistine called on his gods to curse David.

44 »Come here,« the Philistine told David, »and I will give your body to the birds.«

45 David answered: »You come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a dagger. But I come out to fight you in the name of Jehovah of Hosts. He is the Almighty God of Israel’s army. You have insulted him!

46 »Today Jehovah will help me defeat you. I will knock you down and cut off your head! I will feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a real God.

47 »Everybody here will see that Jehovah does not need swords or spears to save his people. Jehovah always wins his battles. He will help us defeat you!«

48 Goliath started forward and David ran toward him.

49 He put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull. He fell facedown on the ground.

50 So David overcame the Philistine with his leather band and a stone. The Philistine was wounded and laying on the ground. But David had no sword in his hand.

51 He ran to him and stood over him. David took Goliath’s sword out of its sheath and cut off his head to kill him. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead they ran away.

52 The men of Israel and Judah shouted and ran after them. They pursued them all the way to Gath and to the gates of Ekron. The Philistines fell wounded all along the road that leads to Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron.

53 The sons of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines. They plundered their tents.

54 David took the head of the Philistine to Jerusalem. But he put his armor in his tent.

55 When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he asked Abner the commander of the army: »Abner, whose son is this young man?« Abner said: »By your life, O king, I do not know.«

56 The king said: »Find out whose son the young man is.«

57 When David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand.

58 Saul said: »Whose son are you, young man?« David answered: »I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.«

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