Did you know that the Philistines who lived close to the Israelites were their enemies? Yes, they were and here they go again gathering their armies for war.
They met at Socoh, which was an area in the state of Judah. Their camp was located at Ephes Dammim between Socoh and Azekah. They sure had interesting names for those areas don’t you think?
King Saul and the Israelites gathered in the Valley of Elah. And they camped there. They got ready and took their positions to fight the Philistines.
The Philistines controlled one hill and the Israelites controlled another. The valley was between them.
Now, the Philistines had a champion fighter named Goliath. He was from a city called Gath and he was about nine feet four inches tall.
At this time, he came out of the Philistine camp with a bronze helmet on his head. He also wore a coat of scale armor. It was made of bronze and weighed about 125 pounds. Can you imagine carrying an armor that weighed 125 pounds?
That was not all, he wore bronze protectors on his legs, and he had a small spear of bronze tied on his back. The wooden part of his larger spear was like a weaver’s rod, and its blade weighed about 15 pounds.
He also had an officer who carried his shield and he walked in front of him.
This day, Goliath stood and shouted to the Israelite soldiers, “Why have you taken positions for battle? I am a Philistine, and you are Saul’s servants! Choose a man and send him to fight me. If he can fight and kill me, we will become your servants. But if I defeat and kill him, you will become our servants.”
Then he proceeded to say: “Today I stand and dare the army of Israel! Send one of your men to fight me!”
Now when Saul and the Israelites heard the Goliath’s words, they were very afraid.
Now while this was all going on, David who was the son of Jesse and lived in Bethlehem in Judah had 7 brothers and three of the oldest sons followed Saul to the war.
The oldest son was Eliab then came Abinadab and then Shammah were soldiers in Saul’s army. David was the youngest and he was a shepherd and he also knew how to play the harp really well.
David had also been serving Saul because he had a very bad problem because he disobeyed God and he always was very nervous so David played the harp and that helped him to relax.
But David went back and forth from helping King Saul to tending his father’s sheep.
Goliath came out every morning and evening and he stood before the Israelite army and dared them to send someone to fight with him. Can you imagine, this continued for 40 days?
Now one day towards the end of the 40 days, Jesse said to his son David, “Take this half bushel of cooked grain. And take ten loaves of bread. Take them to your brothers in the camp and also take ten pieces of cheese. Give them to the commander of your brothers’ group of 1,000 soldiers. Check on your brothers and see how they are doing and bring back something to show me they are all right. You know that your brothers are with King Saul and his army in the Valley of Elah and that they are fighting against the Philistines.”
Early the morning David left the sheep that he was caring for with another shepherd. He took the food and left as his father had told him.
When David arrived at the camp, the army was leaving. They were going out to their usual battle positions. The soldiers were shouting their war cry, you know just like the Indians would do.
The Israelites and Philistines were lining up their men to face each other in battle.
When David got there he left the food with the man who kept the supplies and then he ran to the battle line to talk to his brothers. While he was talking with them, Goliath came out and that was the first time David got to see him. This time when he shouted things against Israel as he always did David heard it.
He also noticed that when the Israelites saw Goliath, they were very much afraid and ran away.
They said, “Look at this man Goliath. He keeps coming out and speaking against Israel. The king will give a lot of money to the man who kills Goliath. He will also give his daughter in marriage to whoever kills him. And his father’s family will not have to pay taxes in Israel.”
David asked the men who stood near him to repeat what they had just said and asked: “What will be done to reward the man who kills this Philistine? What will be done for whoever takes away the shame from Israel? Goliath is a Philistine and he does not believe in our God who created us and the entire world. Why does he think he can speak against the armies of the living God?”
The Israelites repeated to David what they had been saying. They said, “This is what will be done for the man who kills Goliath.”
As David was taking to the soldiers his oldest brother Eliab heard him and became angry with David. He asked David, “Why did you come here? Who’s taking care of those few sheep of yours in the desert? I know you are proud. Your attitude is very bad. You came down here just to watch the battle!”
David was very surprised at this brother’s attitude and asked, “Now what have I done wrong? Can’t I even talk?” Then he turned to other people and asked the same questions. And they gave him the same answer as before. Some men heard what David said about Goliath – that he was being disrespectful against the living God – and told King Saul. Then Saul ordered David to come to him.
When David arrived he said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged. I, your servant, will go and fight this Philistine!”
Saul was very surprised and answered, “You can’t go out against this Philistine and fight him. You’re only a boy; well David was about 16 years old and in those days he was still considered to be a boy. Goliath has been a warrior since he was a young man.”
But David said to Saul, “I, your servant, have been keeping my father’s sheep. When a lion or bear came and took a sheep from the flock, I would chase it. I would attack it with my staff and save the sheep from its mouth. When it attacked me, I caught it by its fur. I would hit it and kill it. I, your servant, have killed both a lion and a bear! Goliath, the Philistine who is a very bad man, will be like the lion or bear I killed. He will die because he has stood against the armies of the living God. The Lord saved me from a lion and a bear. He will also save me from this Philistine.”
Wow, I am sure King Saul was impressed, so he told David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”
Then King Saul put his own battle uniform on David, he put a bronze helmet on David’s head and armor on his body. He gave him his sword and David tried to walk around in all of this armor, but he was not used to the armor Saul had put on him.
He said to Saul, “I can’t go with all this on me; I’m not used to it.” Then David took it all off. He took his shepherd’s stick in his hand and chose five smooth stones from a stream. He put them in his pouch and held his sling in his hand.
Then he went to meet Goliath.
As David was doing this, Goliath was coming closer to him and the man who held his shield walked in front of him.
Well, Goliath took a good look at David and saw that he was only a handsome boy that was tanned from being out in the sun tending his father’s sheep.
He looked down at David with disgust and said, “Do you think I am a dog that you come at me with a sling?” He used many bad names to curse David and told him that he was going to feed his body to the birds of the air and the wild animals!”
But David was not scared and said to him, “You come to me using a sword, a large spear and a small spear. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of heaven’s armies. He’s the God of the armies of Israel! You have spoken out against him and today the Lord will give you to me. I will kill you, and I am the one who will feed the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds of the air and the wild animals. Then the entire world will know there is a God in Israel! Everyone that is gathered here today will know that the Lord does not need swords or spears to save people. The battle belongs to Him! And He will help us defeat all of you.”
As Goliath came near to attack him, David ran quickly to meet him. He took a stone from his pouch. He put it into his sling and slung it. The stone hit the Goliath on his forehead and sank into it and Goliath fell facedown on the ground.
So David defeated the Philistine with only a sling and a stone! He hit him and killed him. He did not even have a sword in his hand. David ran and stood beside the Philistine. He took Goliath’s sword out of its holder and made sure he was dead.
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran. The men of Israel and Judah shouted and started chasing the Philistines. They chased them all the way to the entrance to the city of Gath and continued until the gates of Ekron.
Many of the Philistines died. And when the Israelites returned after chasing the Philistines they took many things from the Philistine camp. David took Goliath’s weapons and placed them in his own tent.
Now all the Israelites were happy because they had won the war and Goliath was not a threat to them any more.
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Good bye, until next time when we will learn what happened next.
Until then, remember to say your prayers obey your mom and dad and do not forget to go to church and Sunday school next week.
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