|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.
Verses 38-40. - Saul armed David with his armour. Rather, "Saul clad David in his war dress." The word does not mean arms, either offensive or defensive; for in 1 Samuel 4:12, where it is rendered "clothes," we read of its being rent. It occurs again in 1 Samuel 18:4, and is there rendered "garments." Strictly it was the soldier's coat, worn under his armour, and girt close to the body by the sword belt. It does not follow that David was as tall as Saul because he thus put on his military coat; for it would be adjusted to the body by the belt, and its length was not a matter of much consequence. When, then, it is said that David girded his sword upon his armour, it means upon this coat, though the corselet of mail would also be worn over it. He assayed to go. I.e. he made an attempt at going, took a short walk thus arrayed, making trial all the while of his equipments; and he found them so cumbrous that he felt that he would have no chance against the Philistine except as a light-armed soldier. The agility of his movements would then make him a match for one so heavily overweighted as Goliath. Wearing, therefore, only his shepherd's dress, armed only with a sling, David descended into the ravine which separated the two armies, chose there five pebbles, and, clambering up the other side, advanced towards the Philistine. For brook the Hebrew has "torrent bed." Condor speaks of a torrent flowing through the ravine (see on ver. 2). COMBAT OF DAVID AND GOLIATH (vers. 41-54).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Saul armed David with his armour,.... Not with what he wore himself; for it cannot be thought he would strip himself of his armour in the field of battle, and when just going to it; and besides what suited the one would not be fit for the other, their bulk and stature being different i but this was some armour Saul had brought with him, besides what he himself wore, to furnish any with that might want it:
and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; such an one, though not so large as Goliath had, these being usually made of brass; See Gill on 1 Samuel 17:5,
also he armed him with a coat of mail; which probably was of brass also, and like that of Goliath's too, only lesser, 1 Samuel 17:5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38, 39. Saul armed David with his armour—The ancient Hebrews were particularly attentive to the personal safety of their warriors, and hence Saul equipped the youthful champion with his own defensive accoutrements, which would be of the best style. It is probable that Saul's coat of mail, or corslet, was a loose shirt, otherwise it could not have fitted both a stripling and a man of the colossal stature of the king.
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