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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
I Samuel 15-17 Listen
Saul disobeys...again! (I Samuel 15:1-9)
1 Samuel also said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD.
2 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
4 ¶ So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.
6 ¶ Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt.
8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
God told Saul through Samuel to completely destroy the Amalekites...completely. These Amalekites had a lengthy history with the Hebrews...and not a good one. They attempted to stop the Israelites when they marched through their territory (Deuteronomy 25:18, see notes), attacking them at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-13, see notes; compare to Deuteronomy 25:17, see notes; I Samuel 15:2). They afterwards attacked the Israelites at Hormah (Numbers 14:39-45, see notes). We read of them subsequently as in league against Israel with the Moabites (Judges 3:13, see notes) and the Midianites (Judges 6:3, see notes). You can see that these Amalekites had been very, very hostile toward Israel for hundreds of years. Furthermore, we see that Saul has already had at least one bout with them in I Samuel 14:48 (see notes). God's very clear on this issue of the total Amalekite destruction in verse 3. Moreover, Deuteronomy 25:17-19 (see notes) had already decreed their destruction. However, Saul decides to improvise God's plan - captures their king, Agag, as a P.O.W. in direct violation to God's command. Also, he takes some booty - forbidden by God in this battle decree (verse 3). Bad move, Saul! For the record, we're still not done with these pesky Amalekites. A remnant of Amalekites show up again nagging David in I Samuel 30 (see notes).
Incidentally, you will notice in verse 6 Saul's warning to the Kenites regarding their association with the Amalekites, "Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites." Kenites were Midianites; according to Judges 1:16 (see notes), Moses' father-in-law (Jethro) was a Kenite. Because of their kind treatment of the Israelites in the past, they get an opportunity to vacate the territory.
One more point should be made here regarding Saul's actions. He killed the people, but saved the spoils. He wasn't compassionate - just greedy!
Sorry, Saul...it's over! (I Samuel 15:10-23)
10 ¶ Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying,
11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.
12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.”
13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.”
14 ¶ But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
15 ¶ And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
16 ¶ Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the LORD said to me last night.” ¶ And he said to him, “Speak on.”
17 ¶ So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel?
18 Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, “Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’
19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?”
20 ¶ And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.”
22 ¶ So Samuel said:
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”
Samuel breaks the news to Saul: God is very disappointed in Saul. Hey! Samuel's sorry also over Saul - cried all night prior to his confrontation with him (verse 11). Upon Samuel's arrival at Saul's post-battle location, Saul greets Samuel with, "Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD." What a clever reply Samuel makes when he says, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" You will notice twice in this discourse that Saul blames "the people" for the infraction (verses 15, 21, 24). It is also interesting that in verse 15 Saul refers to God as "the LORD your God." It's as though Saul lacks his own personal relationship with God. Though Saul puts up a great defense and tries to blame "the people," he had intentionally stopped short of doing what God had commanded.
Here in verses 22-23 we have three phrases that I have heard people use over the years on their children:
Now for the really bad news, Saul - God has rejected you as King of Israel. So let's recap. In I Samuel 13:8-14 (see notes) God told Saul that his descendants would not carry the royal line for Israel. Now he's being told that his own kingship is to be prematurely discontinued. Here we have a picture of man's feeble attempt to improve on God's plan with his own works. God insists on plain ol' obedience instead.
No room for politics here! (I Samuel 15:24-35)
24 ¶ Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.”
26 ¶ But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
27 ¶ And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.
28 So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”
30 ¶ Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.”
31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD.
32 ¶ Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously. ¶ And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”
33 ¶ But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
34 ¶ Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul.
35 And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
A compassionate person would feel sorry for Saul here. He's disobeyed God based on the poll numbers. Look at I Samuel 15:24, "Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." In other words, "never mind what God had said; here's what the people wanted." Saul makes an impassioned appeal to Samuel. Noooooo...come on Saul...don't beg! But he does - begs Samuel to make things right between "the LORD your God" and him. He even tears Samuel's skirt trying to keep Samuel from leaving; Samuel turns even that action into an object lesson in verse 28; he leaves no doubt about God's intentions regarding the kingship of Saul over Israel, "So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you."
Saul then makes another face-saving request in verse 30, "...honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel." He wants Samuel to put on a good show in front of the leaders so as to not undermine his authority right there on the spot. Samuel seems to comply with this request in verse 31.
But there is one more piece of unfinished business here, "Saul, bring Agag here before I go." Ol' cheerful Agag strolls in having escaped death...NOT! Samuel cuts him up into pieces for his atrocities after he says, "As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women." Despite the decree here, it is commonly believed among Jewish sources that the Haman of the Book of Esther, who is described as an "Agagite," was the descendant of this King Agag here. To the Jewish people, that gives the story of Esther a more sinister tone as King Agag's descendant, Haman, seeks to avenge his ancestor's death. His first mention in the Book of Esther is Esther 3:1 (see notes). However, there is no way to scripturally validate this theory.
It's not over 'til it's over, but look at verse 35, "And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel." It appears to be just about over for Saul.
David gets the call (I Samuel 16:1-13)
1 Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”
2 ¶ And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” ¶ But the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”
4 ¶ So Samuel did what the LORD said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”
5 ¶ And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 ¶ So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is before Him!”
7 ¶ But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
8 ¶ So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.”
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” ¶ And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.”
12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
In verse 1, God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem for the express purpose of the selection of a new King of Israel from among the sons of a man named Jesse. You may wonder if the reality of what has happened to his position before God as king has fully been realized by Saul. Based upon Samuel's fear of Saul in verse 2, I would say absolutely; Saul knows that his days are numbered as king. One might even conjecture from verse 2 that Saul had people (like the Secret Service) keeping an eye on Samuel. God tells Samuel to go make a sacrifice there as a cover for the greater intention of appointing a new king.
The elders at Bethlehem are scared of Samuel; they seek assurances from Samuel that he has come "peaceably," and they receive those assurances. He then arranges a personal ceremony with Jesse and his boys - gonna find a king there. When Samuel sees the oldest son, Eliab, he is impressed - tall, king-looking guy. God says "no" to him and all the other brothers that go before him - seven altogether. Why? Verse 7, "man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." So, bring David in from the field; let's get a look at him. Jesse hadn't even considered David up to this point. Here comes David - shepherd, slinger, harpist, poet, psalmist - but king? God says, "He's the one!" Samuel anoints David. Hang on David, these things sometimes take awhile to unfold; we have a small technicality: Saul still thinks HE'S King of Israel right now!
For a list of all of Jesse's sons, see I Chronicles 2:13-15.
Sometimes only good music will do! (I Samuel 16:14-23)
14 ¶ But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.
15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you.
16 Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.”
17 ¶ So Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.”
18 ¶ Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him.”
19 ¶ Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”
20 And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.
21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.
22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”
23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.
I Samuel 16:14, "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him." Wouldn't you know it, Saul gets a distressing spirit from the Lord. Most scholars agree that it is likely Saul's symptoms included signs of mental illness during these times. One of his advisors suggests to Saul that some nice music would help. Notice the credentials this advisor lists for David in verse 18, "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him." Hey! Doesn't David write his own songs and perform them too? Let's contact his agent (his Dad) and bring him in. With his other qualities, he can double as a body guard.
Just as prescribed, when David played, "Saul was refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him." How ironic; the man God has chosen to ascend to the throne of Israel has been chosen by Saul and his advisors to become Saul's new therapist (so to speak). And David had a soothing effect on Saul; we see in verse 23, "And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him." Whenever Saul displayed these symptoms, David was the answer. How convenient that the next king of Israel should, unknowingly to Saul, serve in such a capacity.
So, how big was ol' Goliath? (I Samuel 17)
1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines.
3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.
4 ¶ And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.
6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.
7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.
8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.
9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”
10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
12 ¶ Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse, and who had eight sons. And the man was old, advanced in years, in the days of Saul.
13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone to follow Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 David was the youngest. And the three oldest followed Saul.
15 But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 ¶ And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.
17 ¶ Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp.
18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.”
19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
20 ¶ So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, army against army.
22 And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers.
23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.
25 So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.”
26 ¶ Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall 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 armies of the living God?”
27 ¶ And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
28 ¶ Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
29 ¶ And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?”
30 Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did.
31 ¶ Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him.
32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
33 ¶ And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
34 ¶ But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,
35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.
36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”
37 Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” ¶ And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
38 ¶ So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.
39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.
40 ¶ 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.
41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking.
43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
45 ¶ Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with 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.
46 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.
47 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.”
48 ¶ So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 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.
50 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.
51 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.
52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.
53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents.
54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.
55 ¶ When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” ¶ And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.”
56 ¶ So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.”
57 ¶ Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” ¶ So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
Goliath was big...really big! With a cubit (the length of the forearm - elbow to finger tip) being estimated at 16 to 20 inches, Goliath was somewhere between 8 1/2 feet to 11 feet tall. His armor weighed 125 pounds - a really, really big man. Oh, one more thing...he hated Israelis - came out and mocked them every day (cold-war tactics) for 40 days. While Saul and the army were on the front lines, David returned to watch his father's sheep.
One day David goes to see his three brothers on the battlefield for the purpose of taking them some food and returning to their father with a report of their safety. While there on the battlefield, David catches a performance of Goliath's stand-up Jew-mocking act; everybody in the Israeli army is terrified; David is fumed! David cries out in verse 26, "Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall 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 armies of the living God?" This causes David's oldest brother, Eliab, to take a couple of insulting verbal swings at him.
Notice the big reward in verse 25, "...the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel." INSTANT SUCCESS! But apparently...no takers. You gotta love David's reaction to this whole scenario when David says in verse 25, "...For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" Now that's what I'm talkin' about! And...when rebuked by his brother, he replies in verse 29, "Is there not a cause?"
It should be noted here that we were told that Saul himself was quite tall - a good foot or so taller than other Hebrews (I Samuel 9:2, see notes). Wouldn't Saul be the logical choice to go out and fight Goliath? We know Saul was a tall man, though a little advanced in years at this point. I Samuel 15 (see above) may have been the place where God turned his back on Saul's kingship, but here's where David begins to receive honor from the people of Israel over Saul. This is definitely a turning point...if David can pull this near-impossible feat off.
But when Saul heard that little David said he could do the job, he's impressed...and perhaps a little amused. Though David had been playing soothing music to Saul, it would seem that Saul didn't really know who David was. Musicians can't get any respect. When he meets David, he's not very impressed as is seen in verse 33, "And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."
"So...son...have you done any fighting before?" David gives Saul his battle resume in verses 34-35 before he just oozes with confidence in verse 36 as he proclaims that he can take Goliath just as easily. Well...why not give him a shot at it - add "giant slayer" to David's resume. David tries to wear the heavy armor with the big ol' sword - not for him...at least not today. Remember his resume? He was a slinger...and apparently a good one - chooses five stones and heads out to meet Goliath.
In verse 43 and following, we see the technique that has been copied by schoolyard bullies and even NFL players down through the centuries - intimidation with words and a special "cursing" by his lame gods. Today it's called "trash talk." David trumps it though - does the same thing back, but invokes the name of Jehovah with his reply. They rush toward one another - sling, sling, sling, BOOM! Goliath catches one right between the eyes - DEAD! The Philistines scatter. David removes Goliath's own sword with which he severs his head and carries that giant's big ol' surprised face around with him, using his nappy locks as handles, showing it off for quite some time after that - a trophy, you see. Saul's army is rejuvenated in verse 52, "Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron." Saul's army, with a new confidence now, defeats the remaining Philistines that day. When Saul has David brought before him for due congratulations, David's still carrying that big, bloody Goliath head. Hey! When you're proud, you're proud!
Verse 54 has caused some confusion among Bible scholars. Jerusalem was a Jebusite city at this point in time. David did not conquer Jerusalem until II Samuel 5 (see notes). Yet, we are told here, "And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent." Jerusalem was a well-fortified city, but it could be that David deposited the head of Goliath in Jerusalem outside the wall in plain site of the Jebusites as a statement that the Jebusites were not to escape Israel's future advances. I prefer that understanding of the verse over others that have been suggested.