Daily Tanach Thursday: Shmuel 1 Chapter 17: Dovid and Goliath

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

Chapter 17:  Dovid and Goliath

1.     The Philistines gather for war:

  • The Philistines gathered their camp to wage war, and they gathered by the area of Socho which was in the territory of Judea. They encamped between Socho and Azeika, in [a place called[1]] Efes Damim.
  • The Jews gather for battle: Shaul and the Jewish people gathered and encamped by Emek Haeila, and they waged war against the Philistines.
  • The positions: The Philistines were standing by one mountain while the Jewish people were standing by an opposite mountain with a valley in between them.

2.     Goliath:

  • His name and locality: A courageous man came from the camp of the Philistines [and stood between the armies[2]], his name was Goliath from the city of Gat.
  • His height: He had a height of 6 Amos and one Zeres [i.e. 3.08 meters, 20.3 feet].
  • His armor: He wore a copper helmet on his head, and wore a bulletproof metal vest. The vest was equivalent of the weight of 5000 copper coins. He had a shield of copper armor on his feet, and a copper shield over his shoulders [to protect his neck[3]]. The wooden handle of his sword was as thick as the sewing plank of a weaver, and the blade of his sword was equivalent to the weight of 600 iron Shekalim. The carrier of the shield would walk before him [to protect him from getting hit by a sword[4]].

3.     Goliath instigates a fight with the Jewish people:

  • Goliath stood up and called to the armies of Israel saying: Why should [all of[5]] you go out in battle, I am [a regular] Philistine [and not an aristocrat or leader of soldiers, although I did kill Chafni and Pinchas and captured the Aron[6]], and you are slaves of Shaul [who has done nothing to save you[7]]. Pick from amongst yourselves a man and he should come down [and fight me]. If he is able to battle with me, then we will become your slaves, and if I am able to overcome him, and smite him, then you will become to us a slave and serve us.
  • The Philistine said that he has today shamed the armies of Israel [by challenging them[8]]. “Give me a man and we will battle together.”
  • Shaul and all the Jewish people heard the words of this Philistine and they were stricken with great fear and trepidation.

4.     The sons of Yishaiy:

  • Dovid: Dovid was the son of an Epharite man, who lived in Beis Lechem Yehuda, whose name was Yishaiy, who had eight sons.
  • Yishaiy does not go to battle: Yishaiy, in the times of Shaul, was an old man [and hence could not join the battle[9]].
  • Three older sons go to battle: The three older sons of Yishaiy went after Shaul into battle. The name of the three sons who went to battle were Aliav the first born, Avinadav the second born, and Shamah the third born. Dovid was the youngest, and the three eldest went after Shaul.
  • Dovid the shepherd: Dovid would travel back and forth from Shaul to Beis Lechem to shepherd his father’s flock.

[1] Rashi 17:1

[2] Rashi 17:4

[3] Rashi 17:6

[4] Metzudos Dovid 17:7

[5] Rashi 17:8

[6] Rashi 17:8

[7] Rashi ibid

[8] Metzudos Dovid 17:9

[9] Metzudos Dovid 17:12; Radak ibid

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