1 Samuel 17:36
Your servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.
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(36) The lion and the bear.—The lion and the bear were, in the days of Saul, common in Palestine; the country then was densely wooded. In some of the wilder districts bears are still numerous.

Shall be as one of them.—“He, the idolator, must know that he has not to do with mere men, but with God: with a living God will he have to do, and not with a lifeless idol.”—Berleburger Bible.

1 Samuel 17:36-37. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear, &c. — There is a remarkable, and never to be sufficiently admired modesty in this relation of David, which he concludes by attributing all he had done to the goodness and power of God. And he takes encouragement from the experience which he had already had of these divine attributes being exerted on his behalf on a less important occasion, to believe that they would be exerted on this occasion also, which was much more important, as peculiarly involving the glory of God and the best interests of his people, which had not been the case in the former instances. This uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them — Goliath debased himself below a brute by his blasphemy, and therefore he now carried no more terror with him to David than a lion or a bear. Seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God — Here we see the foundation of David’s confidence of success. The Philistine had defied the living God in defying his armies, and had openly avowed himself his enemy. And David therefore comes forward, as his friend, to espouse his cause. It is as if he had said, The lion and the bear were only enemies to me and to my sheep, and it was only in defence of them that I attacked these brute beasts; but this Philistine is an enemy to God and his people, and it is for their honour that I attack him.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.His beard - Put here for his throat, or under jaw; neither lion nor bear has a beard properly speaking. 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. Slew both the lion and the bear: this he is probably thought to have done after he was anointed; when he was endowed with singular gifts of God’s Spirit; and, among others, with extraordinary courage of heart and strength of body. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear,.... At different times, and several of them at one time or another; whenever any of them came into the flock, he used to lay hold on them and kill them, with all the ease imaginable. The Jews suppose this phrase denotes many of them (h).

And this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them; as he was like them in nature, savage, cruel and unclean, so he would be in his end, killed as they; of this David was fully persuaded and assured in mind having an impulse from the Spirit of God, by which he was certified of it:

seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God; so that as he justly deserved to die, he made no doubt of it it would be his case.

(h) See Halicot Olam, p. 177.

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
36. seeing he hath defied, &c.] “The trusting heart of God’s servant could see no ground for fearing one who came forth to defy Jehovah.” Wilberforce’s Heroes, p. 242.

The Sept. reads: “Shall I not go and smite him, and take away the reproach from Israel this day? for who is this uncircumcised, who hath reproached the army of the living God?”David answered very modestly, and so as to put the scorn of his reprover to shame: "What have I done, then? It was only a word" - a very allowable inquiry certainly. He then turned from him (Eliab) to another who was standing by; and having repeated his previous words, he received the same answer from the people.
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