David And Goliath in the Valley of Elah

The Valley Of Elah – Trip To The Holy Land

Today we travel to a new destination to see the place where David and Goliath first met on the battlefield in the Valley of Elah in Israel.  Do you know the story?

Tour the Holy Land – The Valley of Elah

 

                                                                                                                        Pin Image For Later

David and Goliath drawing Pinnable image by Tracy Hasty

                                                  

 

 “Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle and were gathered at Sochoh…  

1 Sam 17:1

 

“And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and the encamped in the Valley of Elah and drew up in battle array against the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 17:2 NKJV

 

Today’s tour included an excursion outside of the old city area in a different direction. Out of the populated city, roughly 30-45 minutes west towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Here are some questions people have been asking about David and Goliath.

 

Is the story of David and Goliath True?

Yes, the story of David and Goliath is found in the bible and chronicles the life of David King of Israel. 

What Does The Bible Say About David And Goliath?

The Bible tells in 1 Samuel 17 of a time when the Israelites came against the Philistines.  David was a shepherd boy and his elder brothers had been sent off to war.  David is sent by his father to bring provisions to where the brothers are encamped with the Israelite army.  This is where David and Goliath meet.

How Did David Kill Goliath?

David picked up stones and used his slingshot to kill Goliath.  He struck him in the forehead and killed him.

Why Is The Valley Of Elah Significant In The Bible?

Because it is the site of the battle between the boy that would be King David and the Philistine giant Goliath.  

How Old Was David When He Killed Goliath? 

About 15

Sheep In The Valley Of Elah

David and Goliath - Trip to Valley of Elah | Photo of a tour bus and buildings

 

Looking out the bus windows  on our way to the Valley of Elah I noticed there were towns scattered here and there, businesses, both industrial and shopping areas. Like many places in the world, when you leave the crowded city, the landscape becomes spacious, even containing open spaces.

 

David and Goliath - photo of sheep grazing with shepherds watching their sheep near the valley of Elah

 

I was admiring one such area when the bus pulled to the side of the road and stopped. The area was very lovely, but I saw no structures or anything that looked to be of significance.

There were green hills by where we parked and a huge meadow filled with long grass and wildflowers. Shepherds were there watching over their sheep near the Valley of Elah. Beautiful to behold, but again that’s about all there was to see.

David and Goliath - The Valley of Elah where the Israelite army camped out when facing the Philistine army

 

Beginning the Tour Of The Valley Of Elah

Exiting the bus, I donned my waterproof poncho again as it looked like it was about to rain. We put the whisperers’ (listening devices) back to our ears and tuned into the station as instructed so we could hear our guides. We followed them on a rather rocky dirt path along-side the highway, then turning away from the road we continued on the path into the valley of Elah, careful to avoid

 

David and Goliath - Sketch of the boy David facing the Giant Goliath (C) Tracy Hasty
Sketch of David and Goliath in the Valley of Elah by Tracy Hasty

pools of water from the earlier rain. When our guides stopped, we were about 50 to 75 feet away from the base of the hillside and right along-side this lovely meadow. We gathered to hear what Pastor Jack and Amir Tsarfati had to share with us about this scenic valley. It turns out we were standing in the Valley of Elah. The valley where the battle between David and Goliath took place! There is a long history in the bible of conflict between Israel and the Philistines. Even before the Israelites were Israelites. During the period of The Judges, the Jews alternately conquered them or were conquered by them. Depending on whether the Israeli people were following God or had abandoned God and followed their own way.

David and Goliath - photo of the hills where the Philistine army camped in the valley of Elah

 

David and Goliath quote from 1 Samuel 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the children of Israel “did evil in the site of the Lord”, He would take His hand of protection from them and deliver them to the Philistines. Eventually, they would cry out to the Lord and He would compassionately deliver them by way of raising a judge to save them. During David’s time, when Saul was king, there were fierce battles between Israel and the Philistines. As a matter of fact, whenever King Saul saw any strong or any valiant man, he took him for himself in order to go and battle the Philistines. This particular battle had been going on for 40 days – well kind of —. Israel stood on one mountain and the Philistines encamped on another – WITH A VALLEY (The Valley of Elah) in between. The mountain we were facing just happened to be the mountain where the Israeli people were encamped.

The Philistines were a large people and Goliath, their champion warrior was one of the largest. Approximately 9’9”! For 40 days Goliath had been taunting the Israeli soldiers. He would shout…

David and Goliath quote from 1 Samuel 1

 

“I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. 1 Samuel 17:10-11

I learned that it was common during those days that 1 representative from each army would fight each other instead of the entire army. However, the Bible records many other battles where there was a tremendous loss of life like there are in most wars. In the meantime, or back at the ranch so to speak, David was from the tribe of Judah and lived in Bethlehem with his father, Jesse, and eight brothers. David was the youngest. David tended sheep on his father’s land, but he loved to play the harp and write music. Many of the Psalms were written by David. In fact, he played the harp so well, he had been called to the Palace on a number of occasions to play the harp for King Saul who suffered a distressing spirit (another story – Read 1 Samuel – it proves the Bible is not boring as some claim! This book is a really good read with battles, intrigue and everything in between). Anyway! So, David went back on forth from the palace to his home in Bethlehem to take care of his father’s sheep. David had eight brothers, three of whom were in King Saul’s army and were camped in the Valley of Elah in the midst of the battle with the Philistines. Jesse, a concerned father, told his son, “ 

 

“Take now for your brothers an epah of dried grain and ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. And carry ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” 1 Samuel 17:17-18

So David went to the camp, dropped off the supplies and ran to the army, and found his brothers. As he was talking to them, Goliath once again said the same thing again …

”give me a man that we may fight together!”

As I said earlier, Goliath was huge, a champion, and VERY strong. The helmet, shield, and coat of armor were made of bronze and weighed approximately 156 pounds – if my math is correct- hmmm-. He carried a bronze javelin, which is a heavy spear and the tip of the javelin alone was 18 + pounds! While standing there, David also heard something else that struck his interest. The men talking to each other and related 

 

“; and it shall be that the man who kills him (Goliath) the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter and give his father’s house exemptions from taxes in Israel!” 1 Samuel 17:25

David said “what?”  Actually, not really, but he go to the king’s men and did confirm the reward. When David’s older brother heard David talking to the other men, he was angry! 

“ Why did you come down here and with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?” 1 Samuel 17:28.

A shot, for sure like any good older brother. As David continued to inquire, King Saul finally heard about it and sent for David. David told Saul, 

“Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

But Saul, seeing that David was just a kid, told him you can’t do it! David didn’t take no for an answer. He pleads his case convincingly, telling the king, 

“ Your servant has killed both lions and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 1 Sam 17:36

The story ends – a victory for David, of course, but also for the Israelite army. I think the best part and the lesson is the confrontation itself. Goliath looked down on David with disdain. He saw a good-looking youth with a sling-shot. He must have been laughing to himself, saying “this is going to be a piece of cake!” In fact, he said, 

“what am I a dog that you come after me with sticks?”

and here is where he really made a mistake. He cursed David by his gods and taunted him with details of his impending death. But David knew the real God. He knew that God had given him the power to kill lions and bears and had total faith that God was here in the midst of this battle. David told him, 

 

“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

David then revealed how Goliath would be killed and continued saying, 

 

“Then all this assembly (and the entire earth from the previous verse) will know that the Lord does not save with a sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”

When people – and nations – humble themselves before the Lord, fear the Lord, put their trust in the Lord, the Lord will answer. The history of Israel proves this and so does American history. We have been blessed abundantly in my country, America. Our forefathers knew where the blessing came from. George Washington, our first president said,

“It is the duty of all NATIONS to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

One Of The Stones David Didn’t Use To Kill Goliath From The Valley Of Elah

 

Stone from the David and Goliath field in the Valley of Elah
Stone from the Valley of Elah David and Goliath

David knew where the power came from and so did George Washington. Do you? God Bless

Visiting The Holy Land – To see the rest of this journey here

 

Photo of author Debbie lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband Doug and her children and grandchildren.





Scripture taken from the New King James Version Copyright @ 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

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