1 Samuel 17:17
One day Jesse said to his son David, "Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp.
The Battle of ElahT. Kirk.1 Samuel 17:1-27
The PhilistinesW. J. Knox Little, M. A.1 Samuel 17:1-27
Parental SolicitudeB. Dale 1 Samuel 17:17, 18

1 Samuel 17:17, 18. (BETHLEHEM.)
Family life occupies a prominent place in the Books of Samuel, and the affectionate concern of parents for their children is often mentioned (see 1 Samuel 2:24; 1 Samuel 10:2). Jesse, who, in consequence of his advanced age (ver. 12), was himself unable to go against the Philistines, had his three elder sons in the army of Israel; and after they had been absent for some weeks, sent their youngest brother with provisions for their need, to make inquiries about their welfare, and "take their token," by which he might be assured thereof. Such solicitude as he displayed is -


1. Arising out of the instinctive affection which is felt by parents.

2. Continuing throughout the whole of life.

3. Commended by the heavenly Father, who puts it into the heart; and often illustrated, directed, and regulated by the teachings of his word (Genesis 18:19; Genesis 22:2; 2 Samuel 18:33; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:8).


1. Of the distance of children from home, and of their deprivation of parental oversight, counsel, and restraint.

2. Of their need: temporal, spiritual, and eternal.

3. Of their peril: from their own tendencies, their intimate associations, and their open enemies.

III. PRACTICAL. Expressed -

1. In sending them presents of that which is best adapted to their wants.

2. By the hand of a brother (Genesis 37:14; Genesis 43:11).

3. With the request of a token of affectionate regard for the gratification of a heart that desires and seeks their happiness.

IV. ILLUSTRATIVE of "the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man" (Titus 2:4). The relation of an earthly father to his children is a shadow of that of the heavenly Father to men; it was doubtless appointed from the first to be such, and the loving care which arises out of it is, in comparison with that of the "Father of spirits," only as a ray of light compared with the sun. This also is -

1. Natural and spontaneous, for "God is love."

2. Considerate (Psalm 103:13, 14). "In thee the fatherless findeth mercy (Hosea 14:3).

3. Practical. "I have loved you, saith the Lord," etc. (Malachi 1:2; Matthew 7:11; John 3:16). Exhortation: -

1. To parents. Let your kindness to your children be such as accords with that of your heavenly Father to you, and as affords a true image of it.

2. To children. Show kindness to your parents in return for their kindness to you (1 Samuel 22:3), as your heavenly Father requires.

3. To all. "If I be a father, where is mine honour?" (Malachi 1:6). - D.

When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
The insult was a symbol of the insulting attitude of worldliness towards religion. Brute force and power paraded themselves as contemptuous of the power of the Spirit. Religion cannot hold its own against the powers of the world except by spiritual forces and trust in God. When the guardians of religion, or those who should witness its inward power, fail in this trust, and in using the right weapons, then the world has its way. The symbol in this case is singularly vivid and complete.

(W. J. Knox Little, M. A.)

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