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David Slays Goliath with Sling and Stone

17 Now the Philistines assembled their armies to battle. They were gathered at Socoh of Judah, and camped in Ephes-dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the men of Israel gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, then lined up in battle array against the Philistines. The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side, and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. Then a champion stepped out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and a breastplate of scale armor; the weight of the bronze breastplate was 5,000 shekels[a]. He also had bronze shin-guards on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels[b] of iron; and his shield-bearer was marching ahead of him.

Then he stood and shouted out to the ranks of Israel saying to them, “Why come out to line up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and aren’t you Saul’s servants? Choose for yourselves a man and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then will we become your slaves; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then will you become our slaves and serve us.” 10 The Philistine added, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel—give me a man, so we may fight together!”

11 But when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and very terrified.

12 Now David was son of a certain Ephrathite man of Beth-lehem of Judah, whose name was Jesse. He had eight sons and during the days of Saul the man was old, advanced in years among men. 13 Now the three oldest sons of Jesse had already left and gone after Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. So the three oldest followed Saul. 15 Now David would go back and forth from Saul to tending his father’s sheep by Beth-lehem.

16 For forty days that Philistine would come out every morning and evening to present himself. 17 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now, for your brothers, an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten slices of cheese to the captain of their thousand—and check out the welfare of your brothers and bring back some token 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 rose up early in the morning, left the flock with a keeper, took the provisions and went as Jesse had commanded him. When he reached the camp, the army was going out to the battle line shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines drew up their battle lines, army against army. 22 Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered to check out his brothers’ welfare. 23 But as he was talking with them, behold the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the ranks of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.

24 Upon seeing him, all the men of Israel fled from him in great fear. 25 All the men of Israel were saying, “Have you seen this man who keeps coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel! The man who kills him, the king will enrich him with great riches, give him his daughter in marriage and make his father’s house tax-free in Israel!”

26 Then David asked the men who were standing by him saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the ranks of the living God?”

27 The people answered him with the same speech saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who strikes him down.” 28 Now when Eliab his oldest brother heard him speaking to the men, Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. “Why have you come down here?” he asked. “So with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart! For you’ve come down here to watch the battle.”

29 “What have I done now?” David said. “It was only a question!” 30 Then he turned away from him toward someone else and asked the same question. So the people gave him the same answer as before.

31 The words that David said were overheard and reported before Saul. So he was taken to him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

33 Then Saul said to David, “You can’t go fight this Philistine—for you’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb out of its mouth. If it rose up against me, I grabbed him by its fur, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear, so this uncircumcised Philistine will become like one of them—since he has defied the ranks of the living God.” 37 Then David said, “Adonai, who has delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

“Go!” said Saul to David, “and may Adonai be with you.”

38 Then Saul clothed David with his own garb, put a bronze helmet on his head, and clothed him in armor. 39 David strapped his sword on his garment and tried to walk, but he was not used to it. So David said to Saul, “I cannot walk in these, for I am not used to them.” So David took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the valley, put them in the pocket of the shepherd’s bag that he had, and with his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine.

41 Meanwhile, the Philistine drew nearer and approached David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 Now when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was just a ruddy boy with a handsome appearance. 43 Then the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, so I may give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You are coming to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I am coming to you in the Name of Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This very day Adonai will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and take your head off you, and I will give the carcasses of the Philistines’ camp today to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth. Then all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and so all this assembly will know that Adonai delivers not with sword and spear—for the battle belongs to Adonai—and He will give you into our hands.”

48 Then when the Philistine rose and began to advance, drawing near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David put his hand in his bag, took from it a stone and slung it, striking the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, struck the Philistine down and killed him. Since there was no sword in David’s hand, 51 David ran, stood over the Philistine, picked up his sword, drew it from its sheath, slew him and cut off his head with it.

When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah rose up, shouted and pursued the Philistines all the way to the valley up to the gates of Ekron. The slain Philistines fell down along the way to Shaaraim, even up to Gath and Ekron.

53 When Bnei-Yisrael returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his own tent. 55 Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he asked Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this boy?”

Abner said, “As your soul lives, your majesty, I don’t know.”

56 So the king said, “Then, find out whose son this young man is.” 57 So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.

58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul said to him.

David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.”


  1. 1 Samuel 17:5 Equals 125 pounds.
  2. 1 Samuel 17:7 Equals 15 pounds