Summary: David’s friendship with Jonathan was a remarkable and once in a lifetime kind of friendship.
“Closer than a Brother”
1 Samuel 17:50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. 53 The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. 54 Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.
55 Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is this young man?" And Abner said, "By your life, O king, I do not know." 56 The king said, "You inquire whose son the youth is." 57 So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. 58 Saul said to him, "Whose son are you, young man?" And David answered, "I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite."
Last week, we looked at David’s heart and how God supernaturally set up the circumstances for him to be able to confront the giant. We looked at our own lives and examined what giants we live with as well. Today, we will take a last glance back and see how the Goliath incident concluded, look at a few details we didn’t discuss. Then we will move forward to the next chapter and learn something about God’s plan for our relationships.
David kills the giant with a sling. Notice here, I have a stone, about the size that David would have used. A tiny pebble is what we think of, because we are familiar with slingshots that are really forked sticks with elastic. David didn’t use such a weapon. He used a sling which was whipped around his head and one end released, with the release timing determining the accuracy of the object. He would have picked some decent sized rounded, smooth rocks for his task. And Goliath would have been nearing him, David is said to have run toward him. That would be consistent for a slinger. I don’t doubt that David has some trepidation about meeting this Giant…but his faith ruled his conduct.
I can imagine what he must have felt like as the first stone left his sling and hit the giant. It must have seemed like an eternity, silence on both sides as they watched the stone strike the head of the giant and as the giant stopped, teetered and fell. He may not even have teetered. He may simply have fallen. And David, still running, must have wanted to shout ‘YES!” He is still facing an armor bearer who is likely heading for the rear, so he picks up Goliath’s sword and cuts off his head. We know that he keeps the sword (which the passage says he put into his tent) but he kept the head and strolled around with it. Some trophy!
Not only does he walk around with it, but he carries this head that weighs more than a bowling ball into Saul’s presence. That is crude. Look at what happens next:
Jonathan and David
1 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
Before we examine this passage, we need to realize that verse 5 is a summary statement, and is not about a single moment, but rather a description of a process of time. David prospered over time. Saul set him over the men of war (not the entire army) over time. And it was pleasing in the sight of the people…over time. Whether it be months, or years.