- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Poems & Poetry
Poem: David and Goliath
The story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel chapter 17.
The champion from the camp of the Philistines was Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He was fully armed, with a bronze helmet on his head, a coat of mail on his body, bronze greaves on his legs, a bronze javelin on his shoulders and a huge spear in his hand. He defied the armies of Israel to give him a man to fight with. Saul and all Israel were greatly afraid when they saw him and heard his challenge over a period of 40 days.
David was the youngest of Jesse's eight sons. David used to look after his father's sheep in Bethlehem. Jesse told his youngest son to take some dried grain, ten loaves and ten cheeses to the camp of Israel and find out how his three oldest sons were doing in Saul's army.
David obeyed his father and left for the camp, which was located in the Valley of Elah. He heard the challenge of Goliath, as he defied the army of Israel. David's heart was stirred when he heard the challenge. He said, 'Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?'
Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse, saw David as he spoke to the men of Israel and he rebuked him sharply for leaving the sheep in the wilderness and coming down to witness the battle. How David was misunderstood by his brothers!
David meets Saul and tells him, 'Let no man's heart fail because of him (Goliath); your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.' Saul tells David that he is but an untrained youth, whereas Goliath has been a 'man of war' from a young age. David gives Saul his testimony of how he slew a lion and a bear which came to kill the sheep in his flock. He says, 'The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.'
Saul clothes David with his own armour, but David is uncomfortable, and says, 'I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them'.
Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
Goliath came near and saw David, and disdained him, for he was but a youth. He cursed David by his gods. He tells David, 'I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!' David replies, 'You come to me with a sword and a spear and a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our hands.'
And it was so, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran forward toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
From the NKJV
Introduction: Stones from the Brook
The focus in the poem below is upon the stones picked up from the brook. It was these smooth stones that David used in his sling.
The number 'five' speaks of God's grace. Remember the five porches in the John 5:2 - Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. This is where the Lord Jesus healed the paralytic man, who had been paralysed for 38 years.
Like the arrows hidden in God's quiver,/ (They were stones baptized in the river.) The reference to the arrows is found in Isaiah 49:3 'He has made me a select arrow, He has hidden me in His quiver.' The phrase 'stones baptized' carries two thoughts - i. We are living stones, 1 Peter 2:5. ii. We are baptized. It is the baptized stone that carries 'the power'. We have to go through the process of baptism - go into death and burial, just like the stones lay in the brook for a long, long time. But one day David picked them up and with one stone he slew Goliath. The power is the power of resurrection.
David picked up five stones from the brook. Why five? There is a reference to the brothers of Goliath in 2 Samuel 21:15-22. In verse 22 it says: 'These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.' Now, in those eight verses we are told how David's mighty men slew four giants, viz. Ishbi-benob, Saph, Goliath, and a nameless giant who had 24 digits. The Goliath in this account is different from the Goliath slain by David in 1 Samuel 17.
'Like Caleb of old who had delivered Hebron.' The reference is to Joshua 14, where Caleb requested the hill country of Hebron, even as an old man aged 85. In Joshua 15:13-14, we are told that Joshua gave Kiriath-Arba (Hebron) to Caleb as his inheritance; and Arba was the greatest among the Anakim (giants), Josh 14:15. What is heartening for us who are determined to follow the Lord fully is that 'Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak', i.e. the giants who had occupied Hebron. So Hebron is forever associated with Caleb, the mighty warrior of God.
David and Goliath
Just five smooth stones from the brook
Was what he chose and took.
‘Whirr’ and ‘whing’
Went the shepherd’s sling,
And the stone flew in a straight path
Into the forehead of Goliath of Gath.
Like a cedar struck by lightning
The giant fell with sounds, heavy and frightening.
Then with the champion’s own sword,
In the mighty Name of the Lord
Of Hosts, he severed his head;
And, seeing their hero smitten, the Philistines fled.
Oh, it was a great victory in Elah; what slaughter!
All because of a pebble picked up from the water!
(These are no promises picked up from the Book.)
Those five stones, buried in the brook,
Like the arrows hidden in God’s quiver,
(They were stones baptized in the river.)
That day, in a stripling’s skilful hand,
Fulfilled God’s unique command!
Five smooth stones from the stream
Speak of his faith (and God’s grace) . It seems
David was prepared for Goliath’s brethren
Like Caleb of old who had delivered Hebron.
© Tom Prato/Pratonix