Old Testament

1 Samuel 17
David and Goliath
171Now the Philistines gathered their troops for battle. They gathered at Sokoh, which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Sokoh[] and Azekah at Ephes Dammim. 2Saul and the men of Israel also gathered together and camped in the Valley of Elah. They lined up in battle formation opposite the Philistines. 3The Philistines took up a position in front of the mountain on one side of the valley, and the Israelites stationed themselves in front of the mountain on the other side of the valley.
4A challenger who represented the Philistines came out from the camp of the Philistines. He was named Goliath of Gath. He was nine feet, six inches tall.[] 5He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he wore scaled body armor, which was made of more than one hundred pounds[] of bronze. 6He had bronze greaves on his shins and a bronze spear slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft[] of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his spearhead was made of fifteen pounds[] of iron. His shield bearer went out ahead of him.
8He would stand up and shout to the armies of Israel, “Why have you come out to line up in battle formation? I am a Philistine, and you are servants of Saul, aren't you? Choose a man to represent you, and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, we will be your servants. But if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our servants, and you will serve us.” 10The Philistine would say, “I defy the ranks of Israel today! Give me a man, and we will fight each other!” 11When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified.
12Now[] David was the son of an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse. Jesse had eight sons. In the days of Saul, Jesse was a very old man. 13The three oldest sons of Jesse had accompanied Saul to the battleground. The names of his three sons who went to the battle were his firstborn Eliab, next Abinadab, and third Shammah. 14David was the youngest son. The three oldest accompanied Saul. 15During this time David went back and forth from Saul to take care of his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
16The Philistine came out each morning and evening for forty days and presented his challenge.
17Jesse said to his son David, “Take twenty-five pounds[] of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers. Deliver them quickly to the camp for your brothers. 18Also take these ten blocks of cheese to the commander of their unit.[] See how your brothers are doing and bring back some assurance they are okay.”
19Now Saul, David's brothers, and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah to fight with the Philistines.
20David got up early in the morning and left the sheep with someone who would watch them. He took the supplies and set out as Jesse had commanded him. He arrived at the outer defense line of the camp just as the army was marching out to line up in battle formation, shouting war cries as they went. 21Israel and the Philistines were lining up for battle, one formation against the other. 22After David had handed over his provisions to the supply officer, he ran to the battlefront, where he met and greeted his brothers.
23As he was talking with them there, he saw the Philistine challenger named Goliath of Gath coming up out of the ranks of the Philistines. He repeated his usual words, and David heard them. 24(Whenever they saw the man, all the men of Israel fled from him and were terrified.) 25An Israelite had said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? He keeps coming up to taunt Israel. The king will give great riches to the man who kills him. He will give his daughter to him in marriage and make his father's house exempt from taxes in Israel.”
26David spoke to the men who stood near him. He asked, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who dares to defy the troops of the living God?”
27The people again told him what would be done for the man who killed Goliath.
28When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard David speaking to the men, he burned with anger against David. He said, “Why have you come down? Who is taking care of those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the mischief in your heart. You have come down just to see the battle.”
29David said, “What have I done now? Can't I say anything?”[] 30So David turned away from him toward another person, and he asked the same thing again, and the soldiers again answered him the same way. 31When they heard what David said, they reported it to Saul, and he sent for David. 32David said to Saul, “Do not let anyone lose heart because of this Philistine! Your servant will go and fight him.”
33But Saul said to David, “You cannot go against this Philistine to fight with him, because you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior since he was a youth.”
34David said to Saul, “Your servant has been taking care of his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went after it and struck it and rescued the lamb out of its mouth. When the lion reared up against me, I grabbed it by its mane, struck it, and killed it. 36Your servant struck both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has defied the ranks of the living God.” 37David added, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go then! May the Lord be with you.” 38So Saul dressed David in his own gear.[] He placed a bronze helmet on his head and dressed him in scaled body armor. 39David strapped his sword over his gear. David tried to walk around in them, since he had never trained with this kind of equipment before.
David said to Saul, “I cannot go in these, because I have never trained with them.” So David took them off.
40Then David took his staff in his hand and picked five smooth stones out of the stream bed and put them into the pouch of his shepherd's bag. He took his sling in his hand and approached the Philistine.
41The Philistine kept walking and got closer and closer to David. The man who was carrying his shield was walking ahead of him. 42When the Philistine got a good look at David, he despised him, because David was just a boy, nothing but a good-looking, red-headed boy.[]
43The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come against me with sticks?” The Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will feed your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the countryside.”
45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied. 46Today the Lord will hand you over to me. I will strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth. Then all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel, 47and all those gathered here will know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear, for the battle belongs to the Lord, and he will deliver you into our hand.”
48Then, when the Philistine started advancing to attack David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49David put his hand into his bag, took a stone from it, shot it from his sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown to the ground.
50So David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone. He struck the Philistine and killed him, even though David did not have a sword in his hand. 51So David ran, stood over the Philistine, took hold of his sword, drew it out of its sheath, killed him, and cut off his head with it.
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52The men of Israel and Judah got up, cheering loudly, and pursued the Philistines toward the entrance of the valley, all the way to the gates of Ekron. Fatally-wounded Philistines lined the road from Sha'araim all the way to Gath and Ekron. 53When the Israelites returned from pursuing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put the Philistine's armor and weapons into his tent.
David and Saul's Family
55When Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?”
Abner said, “As your soul lives, my King, I do not know.”
56The king said, “Inquire whose son the young man is!”
57As David returned from striking down the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?”
David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”


  • 17:1 Also spelled Socoh. In many Hebrew names that contain the Hebrew letter kaph, the English spelling is in the process of changing from a c to a k in order to align more closely with the Hebrew spelling. At present there is no consistent spelling system for biblical names.
  • 17:4 Hebrew six cubits and a span. A Hebrew Dead Sea Scroll, some Greek manuscripts, and the historian Josephus have the variant four cubits and a span, that is, six feet, nine inches for Goliath's height. A typical Israelite teenager, like David, was probably in the 5-foot-2 range, which would make Saul (a head taller) around 6 feet tall.
  • 17:5 Hebrew five thousand shekels
  • 17:7 The translation follows the Hebrew reading recorded in the margin of the text (qere). The main Hebrew text (kethiv) reads arrow.
  • 17:7 Hebrew six hundred shekels
  • 17:12 Some Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament omit verses 12-31. They also omit other verses at the end of the chapter. These alterations seem to be abridgements accepted by some Greek versions rather than valid readings of the original text.
  • 17:17 Hebrew an ephah
  • 17:18 Literally their thousand
  • 17:29 Literally is it not [just] a word
  • 17:38 Or uniform
  • 17:42 This is the same physical description of David as given in 16:12, but here the point seems to be to highlight his boyish appearance.