Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part I

Lesson 2: David Defeats Goliath

(Scripture to Read: 1 Samuel 17:1–58)

The story of David and Goliath certainly ranks as one of the most well-known and popular of all Bible stories. The account is remarkable on its own, but becomes even more so when set in its historical background. David’s defeat of Goliath came at a time when Israel sorely needed a victory and a true hero. Saul had been rejected by God as king, and his reign was in decline. The Philistines were a sea people who became Israel’s archenemies. They were menacing the nation again when David went to visit his older brothers in the Israelite army in the Elah Valley west of Bethlehem. It was there David heard Goliath’s challenge.

Upon hearing the Philistine giant, David identified the true nature of this insult. Goliath was not simply taunting Israel’s army, but slandering Israel’s God (v. 26). David’s deepest desire was for God’s glory, so “the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel” (v. 46). Armed with his confidence in God and his shepherd’s sling, this teenager went out to fight Goliath — and the rest is Bible history! This may have occurred several years after David had served in Saul’s court, which could explain the king’s inquiry about David’s identity. Saul may have forgotten who David was, but he would be obsessed with David for the rest of his life.

Study Questions

  1. In addition to Goliath’s enormous size, what other factor made his challenge so intimidating to Israel’s army (v. 9)?
  2. Among Israel’s warriors, who would have been the best choice to fight Goliath?
  3. What is the basis of David’s confidence that God would deliver Goliath into his hands?
  4. Why did David invoke “the name” of God as he came out to meet Goliath?
  5. Why did Saul want to know about David’s identity and family after the battle?

Something to Think About

For generations of God’s people, David’s victory over Goliath has stood as a stirring example of the fact that with God’s help, we can overcome even seemingly impossible obstacles. We do not need to go looking for “giants” to slay — but we know we can turn to the Lord for help when we encounter opposition in our desire to serve and please Him.