1 Samuel 17-18 Common English Bible (CEB)
David defeats Goliath
17 The Philistines assembled their troops for war at Socoh of Judah. They camped between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the Israelite army assembled and camped in the Elah Valley, where they got organized to fight the Philistines. 3 The Philistines took positions on one hill while Israel took positions on the opposite hill. There was a valley between them.
4 A champion named Goliath from Gath came out from the Philistine camp. He was more than nine feet tall.[a] 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore bronze scale-armor weighing one hundred twenty-five pounds.[b] 6 He had bronze plates on his shins, and a bronze scimitar hung on his back. 7 His spear shaft[c] was as strong as the bar on a weaver’s loom, and its iron head weighed fifteen pounds.[d] His shield-bearer walked in front of him.
8 He stopped and shouted to the Israelite troops, “Why have you come and taken up battle formations? I am the Philistine champion,[e] and you are Saul’s servants. Isn’t that right? Select one of your men, and let him come down against me. 9 If he is able to fight me and kill me, then we will become your slaves, but if I overcome him and kill him, then you will become our slaves and you will serve us. 10 I insult Israel’s troops today!” The Philistine continued, “Give me an opponent, and we’ll fight!” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard what the Philistine said, they were distressed and terrified.[f]
12 Now David was Jesse’s son, an Ephraimite from Bethlehem in Judah who had eight sons. By Saul’s time, Jesse was already quite old and far along in age.[g] 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had gone with Saul to war. Their names were Eliab the oldest, Abinadab the second oldest, and Shammah the third oldest. 14 (David was the youngest.) These three older sons followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul’s side to shepherd his father’s flock in Bethlehem.
16 For forty days straight the Philistine came out and took his stand, both morning and evening. 17 Jesse said to his son David, “Please take your brothers an ephah[h] of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread. Deliver them quickly to your brothers in the camp. 18 And here, take these ten wedges of cheese to their unit commander. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring back some sign that they are okay. 19 They are with Saul and all the Israelite troops fighting the Philistines in the Elah Valley.”
20 So David got up early in the morning, left someone in charge of the flock, and loaded up and left, just as his father Jesse had instructed him. He reached the camp right when the army was taking up their battle formations and shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines took up their battle formations opposite each other. 22 David left his things with an attendant and ran to the front line. When he arrived, he asked how his brothers were doing. 23 Right when David was speaking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came forward from the Philistine ranks and said the same things he had said before. David listened. 24 When the Israelites saw Goliath, every one of them ran away terrified of him. (25 Now the Israelite soldiers had been saying to each other: “Do you see this man who keeps coming out? How he comes to insult Israel? The king will reward with great riches whoever kills that man. The king will give his own daughter to him and make his household exempt from taxes[i] in Israel.”)
26 David asked the soldiers standing by him, “What will be done for the person who kills that Philistine over there and removes this insult from Israel? Who is that uncircumcised Philistine, anyway, that he can get away with insulting the army of the living God?”
27 Then the troops repeated to him what they had been saying. “So that’s what will be done for the man who kills him,” they said.
28 When David’s oldest brother Eliab heard him talking to the soldiers, he got very mad at David. “Why did you come down here?” he said. “Who is watching those few sheep for you in the wilderness? I know how arrogant you are and your devious plan: you came down just to see the battle!”
29 “What did I do wrong this time?” David replied. “It was just a question!”
30 So David turned to someone else and asked the same thing, and the people said the same thing in reply. 31 The things David had said were overheard and reported to Saul, who sent for him.
32 “Don’t let anyone[j] lose courage because of this Philistine!” David told Saul. “I, your servant, will go out and fight him!”
33 “You can’t go out and fight this Philistine,” Saul answered David. “You are still a boy. But he’s been a warrior since he was a boy!”
34 “Your servant has kept his father’s sheep,” David replied to Saul, “and if ever a lion or a bear came and carried off one of the flock, 35 I would go after it, strike it, and rescue the animal from its mouth. If it turned on me, I would grab it at its jaw, strike it, and kill it. 36 Your servant has fought both lions and bears. This uncircumcised Philistine will be just like one of them because he has insulted the army of the living God.
37 “The Lord,” David added, “who rescued me from the power of both lions and bears, will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.”
“Go!” Saul replied to David. “And may the Lord be with you!”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own gear, putting a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David strapped his sword on over the armor, but he couldn’t walk around well because he’d never tried it before. “I can’t walk in this,” David told Saul, “because I’ve never tried it before.” So he took them off. 40 He then grabbed his staff and chose five smooth stones from the streambed. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag and with sling in hand went out to the Philistine.
41 The Philistine got closer and closer to David, and his shield-bearer was in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked David over, he sneered at David because he was just a boy; reddish brown and good-looking.
43 The Philistine asked David, “Am I some sort of dog that you come at me with sticks?” And he cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said to David, “and I’ll feed your flesh to the wild birds and the wild animals!”
45 But David told the Philistine, “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel’s army, the one you’ve insulted. 46 Today the Lord will hand you over to me. I will strike you down and cut off your head! Today I will feed your dead body and the dead bodies of the entire Philistine camp[k] to the wild birds and the wild animals. Then the whole world will know that there is a God on Israel’s side. 47 And all those gathered here will know that the Lord doesn’t save by means of sword and spear. The Lord owns this war, and he will hand all of you over to us.”
48 The Philistine got up and moved closer to attack David, and David ran quickly to the front line to face him. 49 David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone. He slung it, and it hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone penetrated his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 And that’s how David triumphed over the Philistine with just a sling and a stone, striking the Philistine down and killing him—and David didn’t even have a sword! 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine. He grabbed the Philistine’s sword, drew it from its sheath, and finished him off. Then David cut off the Philistine’s head with the sword.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled. 52 The soldiers from Israel and Judah jumped up with a shout and chased the Philistines all the way to Gath[l] and the gates of Ekron. The dead Philistines were littered along the Shaarim road all the way to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites came back from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.
55 Now when Saul saw David go out to meet the Philistine, he asked Abner the army general, “Abner, whose son is that boy?”
“As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know,” Abner answered.
56 “Then find out whose son that young man is,” the king replied.
57 So when David came back from killing the Philistine, Abner sent for him and presented him to Saul. The Philistine’s head was still in David’s hand. 58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, my boy?”
“I’m the son of your servant Jesse from Bethlehem,” David answered.
Jonathan and David
18 As soon as David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan’s life[m] became bound up with David’s life, and Jonathan loved David as much as himself.[n] 2 From that point forward, Saul kept David in his service[o] and wouldn’t allow him to return to his father’s household. 3 And Jonathan and David made a covenant together because Jonathan loved David as much as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his armor, as well as his sword, his bow, and his belt. 5 David went out and was successful in every mission Saul sent him to do. So Saul placed him in charge of the soldiers, and this pleased all the troops as well as Saul’s servants.
Saul jealous of David
6 After David came back from killing the Philistine, and as the troops returned home, women from all of Israel’s towns came out to meet King Saul[p] with singing and dancing, with tambourines, rejoicing, and musical instruments. 7 The women sang in celebration:
“Saul has killed his thousands,
8 Saul burned with anger. This song annoyed him. “They’ve credited David with tens of thousands,” he said, “but only credit me with thousands. What’s next for him—the kingdom itself?” 9 So Saul kept a close eye on David from that point on.
10 The next day an evil spirit from God came over Saul,[q] and he acted like he was in a prophetic frenzy in his house. So David played the lyre as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand, 11 and he threw it, thinking, I’ll pin David to the wall. But David escaped from him two different times.
12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with David but no longer with Saul. 13 So Saul removed David from his service, placing him in command of a unit of one thousand men. David led the men out to war and back. 14 David was successful in everything he did because the Lord was with him. 15 Saul saw that he was very successful, and he was afraid of him. 16 Everyone in Israel and Judah loved David because he led them out in war and back again.
17 Saul said to David, “Look, here is my oldest daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage on this condition: you must be my warrior and fight the Lord’s battles.” I won’t raise my hand against him, Saul thought; let the Philistines do that!
18 “I’m not worthy,” David replied to Saul, “and neither is my family or my father’s clan in Israel, to become the king’s son-in-law.” 19 And so when the time came for Saul’s daughter Merab to be married to David, she was given to Adriel from Meholah instead.
20 Now Saul’s younger daughter Michal loved David. When this was reported to Saul, he was happy about it. 21 I’ll give her to him, Saul thought; she’ll cause him problems, and the Philistines will be against him.
So Saul said to David a second time, “Become my son-in-law now.”
22 Saul instructed his servants, “Tell David in private: ‘Look, the king likes you, and all his servants love you. You should become the king’s son-in-law.’”
23 Saul’s servants whispered these things in David’s ear. But David said, “Do you think it’s a simple matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I don’t! I’m poor and insignificant.”
24 Saul’s servants reported what David said, 25 and Saul replied, “Tell David this: ‘The king doesn’t want any bridal gift, just a hundred Philistine foreskins as vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” (Saul was hoping that David would die at the hands of the Philistines.) 26 When the servants reported this to David, he was happy to become the king’s son-in-law. Even before the allotted time had expired,[r] 27 David got up and went with his soldiers and killed one hundred Philistines.[s] David brought their foreskins and counted them out for the king so he could become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave his daughter Michal to him in marriage.
28 When Saul knew for certain that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved him, 29 then Saul was even more afraid of David. Saul was David’s enemy for the rest of his life.[t] 30 And whenever the Philistine commanders came out for battle, David would have more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, so his fame spread widely.