Defending God’s honour – part 1 (1 Sam 17)

So far in 1 Samuel we’ve seen Israel ask for a king like the other nations had, so they could be like everyone else. So God granted their request, and gave them Saul. Indeed, he was the kind of king they asked for, being more concerned about what other people thought than what God commanded. So the kingdom would be taken from Saul and given to a different king – the kind of king God had in mind. In the intervening chapter (1 Sam 16), Samuel anoints David as king. Whereas Saul was the obvious candidate from a human perspective – tall, handsome, the eldest son – God’s choice was the least likely. David was from the smallest tribe, the smallest clan, the youngest in the family. And to top it all off, according to some readings he was a ranga! (For international readers: Aussie slang for a redhead. OK, so the word the KJV translates “ruddy” probably doesn’t mean “red-head”, but many ancients took it that way.)

This is the story of how David began his ascent to the throne, by acting in a very different way to Saul. Read 1 Sam 17:1-26, the first part of the well-known story of David and Goliath. Although it probably should be called the story of David and God’s honour.

Continue reading