1 Samuel 17:34
Parallel Verses
New International Version
But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,

New Living Translation
But David persisted. "I have been taking care of my father's sheep and goats," he said. "When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock,

English Standard Version
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock,

New American Standard Bible
But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,

King James Bible
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:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
David answered Saul: "Your servant has been tending his father's sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock,

International Standard Version
David told Saul, "Your servant has been a shepherd for his father. When a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock,

NET Bible
David replied to Saul, "Your servant has been a shepherd for his father's flock. Whenever a lion or bear would come and carry off a sheep from the flock,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
David replied to Saul, "I am a shepherd for my father's sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,

Jubilee Bible 2000
And David replied unto Saul, Thy slave was the pastor of his father's sheep, and if a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,

King James 2000 Bible
And David said unto Saul, Your servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

American King James Version
And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

American Standard Version
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant was keeping his father's sheep; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock,

Douay-Rheims Bible
And David said to Saul: Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, or a bear, and took a ram out of the midst of the flock:

Darby Bible Translation
And David said to Saul, Thy servant fed his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and also a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock.

English Revised Version
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock,

Webster's Bible Translation
And David said to Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

World English Bible
David said to Saul, "Your servant was keeping his father's sheep; and when a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb out of the flock,

Young's Literal Translation
And David saith unto Saul, 'A shepherd hath thy servant been to his father among the sheep, and the lion hath come -- and the bear -- and hath taken away a sheep out of the drove,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

17:31-39 A shepherd lad, come the same morning from keeping sheep, had more courage than all the mighty men of Israel. Thus God often sends good words to his Israel, and does great things for them, by the weak and foolish things of the world. As he had answered his brother's passion with meekness, so David answered Saul's fear with faith. When David kept sheep, he proved himself very careful and tender of his flock. This reminds us of Christ, the good Shepherd, who not only ventured, but laid down his life for the sheep. Our experience ought to encourage us to trust in God, and be bold in the way of duty. He that has delivered, does and will continue to do so. David gained leave to fight the Philistine. Not being used to such armour as Saul put upon him, he was not satisfied to go in that manner; this was from the Lord, that it might more plainly appear he fought and conquered in faith, and that the victory was from Him who works by the feeblest and most despised means and instruments. It is not to be inquired how excellent any thing is, but how proper. Let Saul's coat be ever so rich, and his armour ever so strong, what is David the better if they fit him not? But faith, prayer, truth, and righteousness; the whole armour of God, and the mind that was in Christ; are equally needful for all the servants of the Lord, whatever may be their work.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 34-36. - David does not appeal to any feat of arms. He may have served with credit in repelling some Philistine foray, but these combats with wild beasts, fought without the presence of spectators, and with no regent necessity (as most shepherds would have been too glad to compound with such enemies by letting them take a lamb without molestation), still more clearly proved David's fearless nature. Lions and bears were both common in ancient times in Palestine, when the country was more densely covered with wood; and bears are numerous in the mountainous districts now. Lions seem to have been less feared than bears (Amos 5:19); but Canon Tristram thinks there were two species of the lion in Palestine - one short-maned, which was not very formidable, the other long maned, which was more fierce and dangerous ('Nat. Hist. of Bible,' p. 117). The Hebrew literally is, "There came the lion and even the bear," the articles implying that they were the well known foes of the shepherd. The written text has zeh, "this," for seh, "a lamb," probably a mere variety of spelling. There can be little doubt that David refers to two different occasions, especially as bears and lions never hunt in company. By his beard. Neither the bear nor the lion has a beard, and the word really means "the chin," "the place where the beard grows." The Chaldee translates the lower jaw, and the Septuagint the throat. It is plain from this description that David slew the beast with his staff. He arose against me. This shows that the combat thus particularly described was with the bear, which does thus rise on its hind legs to grapple with its foe, while the lion crouches and then springs. Pliny also says that the weakest part of a bear is its head, and that it can be killed by a smart blow there. The manner in which David killed the lion is not described. Defied. See on ver. 10.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And David said unto Saul,.... In answer to his objection of inability to encounter with one so superior to him; and this answer is founded on experience and facts, and shows that he was not so weak and inexpert as Saul took him to be:

thy servant kept his father's sheep; which he was not ashamed to own, and especially as it furnished him with an stance of his courage, bravery, and success, and which would be convincing to Saul:

and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock; not that they came together; though Kimchi so interprets it, "a lion with a bear"; but these are creatures that do not use to go together; and besides, both could not be said with propriety to take one and the same lamb out of the flock: to which may be added, that David in 1 Samuel 17:35 speaks only of one, out of whose mouth he took the lamb; wherefore the words may be rendered, "a lion or a bear" (f); and if the copulative "and" is retained, the meaning can only be, that at different times they would come and take a lamb, a lion at one time, and a bear at another.

(f) "leo vel ursus", V. L. "leo aut ursus", Junius & Tremellius, Bochart. Noldius, p. 271.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

34-36. a lion, and a bear—There were two different rencontres, for those animals prowl alone. The bear must have been a Syrian bear, which is believed to be a distinct species, or perhaps a variety, of the brown bear. The beard applies to the lion alone. Those feats seem to have been performed with no weapons more effective than the rude staves and stones of the field, or his shepherd's crook.

1 Samuel 17:34 Additional Commentaries
Context
David Slays Goliath
33Then Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth." 34But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.…
Cross References
Hebrews 11:33
who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,

Judges 14:6
The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.

1 Samuel 17:33
Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth."

1 Samuel 17:35
I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.

Amos 3:12
This is what the LORD says: "As a shepherd rescues from the lion's mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued, with only the head of a bed and a piece of fabric from a couch."
Treasury of Scripture

And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

lamb. or, kid

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