1 Samuel 17:32-50

Note: the victory of David over Goliath is the victory of YHWH over the pride of man. To accomplish this a humble shepherd’s sling and stone was used as verse 50 emphasises. The centre of the chiasm would seem to be the refusal of Saul’s armour and the taking of the sling and stone – a tremendous act of faith. In E and E’ there is a contrast between YHWH going with David and the armour bearer going with Goliath. 

A.32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.


i. (34) And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

ii. (35) And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

i’. (36) Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear:

C. and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.

D. (37) David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.

E. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

F. 38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour,

G. and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

F’. 40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand:

E’. and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.

D’. (42) And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. (43) And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (44) And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

C’.(45) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.


i. (46) This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand;

ii. and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee;  and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

i’. (47) And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear:for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.

A’. 48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him.

One thought on “1 Samuel 17:32-50”

  1. I have a suggestion for a chiasm that spans verses 12-58. See below:

    A – David introduced by the narrator. 12-15
    B – Jesse sends David with supplies. 17-21
    C – Goliath advances to challenge Israel and Israel flees. 23-25
    D – David questions the credentials of this Philistine to defy Israel. 26
    E – Eliab angered at David’s presence and questions and speaks his mind but David parries with his own words. 28-30
    F – David tells Saul he will fight but us rebuffed. 31-33
    X – David argues using his credentials and brings up the covenant name of the LORD for the first time in the account. 34-37a
    F – Saul concedes and blesses David in the LORD’s name. 37b-39
    E – Goliath angered at David’s presence. 42
    D – Goliath questions the credentials of David to defy him and David parries with an expansion of pivot point X. 43-47
    C – Goliath advances and David meets the challenge killing him and the Philistines flee with Israel in pursuit. 48-54
    B – Saul sends for David who brings Goliath’s head. 55-58a
    A – David introduces himself. 58b

    This structural breakdown accounts for most of the elements in the section and provides a defensible pivot point as it highlights both David’s faith in the LORD contrasting Saul’s failure and the theme of the LORD being sovereign over the battle..

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