TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 17-18
Have you considered that God has judged judgment? That God has put judgment to an open shame?
The open shaming of judgment is the story of David and Goliath.
GOLIATH OF GATH, A CHAMPION OF THE PHILISTINES
Israel and the Philistines had lined up for battle against one another. “And there came our from the camp of the Philistines a champion name Goliath of Gath.” (1 Samuel 17:4)
Who was Goliath? What is he a picture of?
The name Goliath derives from the Hebrew verb gala, which means to uncover, to remove, or to exile. The literal meaning of the name is probably exiler or exposer.
Gath was one of the main cities of the Philistines. The name Gath is identical to the word for wine-press. Throughout the Bible, the wine-press is a place of judgment.
A Philistine is one who wanders, roams, or moves to and fro. Philistines deviate from the true course. The Philistines were ruled by five lords. While the number five often represents grace, it can also represent the five natural senses. The Philistines were a people ruled by their natural senses.
The word champion is derive from two Hebrew words. The first means a man, and the second means between. The word between actually comes from a root word meaning to see or understand. So, the underlying meaning of a champion is one who stands between to act as an intermediary to teach.
Therefore, Goliath is a picture of Satan who attempts to expose us and exile us from God by attempting to be our intermediary to the spiritual world through our five senses. His goal is to get us to deviate from the true path of knowing God and his life by condemning us to a judgment of death.
Jesus, John, and Paul all call Satan the ruler or god of this world. Jesus says he will be cast out (John 12:31). John says the whole world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). And Paul says that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4).
But, Paul shows us that Satan is just like Goliath. Satan rules us by the ways of this world, our natural senses, causing us to be sons of disobedience and children of wrath, condemning us to death and separation from God.
Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at works in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
GOLIATH WAS SIX CUBITS AND A SPAN
Goliath’s “height was six cubits and a span.” (1 Samuel 17:4). This was Goliath’s stature.
A person’s stature represents the quality of their character or the status they achieved. It is symbolic of who they are. Samuel was said to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord (1 Samuel 2:26). Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favor with the Lord (Luke 2:52).
What does it mean that Goliath’s stature was six cubits and a span?
The number six symbolizes work in the Bible. God created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rested on the seventh day. God worked for six days. And, Israel worked to gather the manna for six days and rested on the seventh day.
The span is half a cubit. To halve something is to divide it. Covenants were made by splitting animals in half and the passing between the halves. We see an example of this in God’s covenant with Abram in Genesis 15.
In addition to being a half cubit, the span is the distance between the thumb and the pinky finger when the hand is stretched out. Therefore, the span can be seen as the fullness of the man’s five senses or the fullness of our walking in the flesh.
Therefore, Goliath’s stature of six cubits and a span could be thought of bondage to sin as we sold ourselves to Satan or put ourselves in covenant to him. This is the full work of the flesh.
In John 8:34, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” In verse 41, Jesus goes on to say that this slavery to sin is doing the works that our father did. The father that Jesus is referring to here is Satan. And, the works of Satan are lies and murder.
So, the six cubit and a span stature of Goliath represents the quality of the character we have “inherited” from Satan when we walk in the fullness of the flesh.
GOLIATH WORE A HELMET OF BRONZE
Goliath “had a helmet of bronze on his head.” (1 Samuel 17:5).
In the Bible, the refers to the source of something, like the head of a river. On his head, at his source, Goliath had a helmet of bronze. Bronze symbolizes judgment. Therefore, Goliath’s source that fed everything else he was and did was judgment.
The helmet of bronze is also a picture of Satan’s judgment coming back upon his own head. Speaking of the unrepentant and the wicked, Psalm 7:16 says, “His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.” The violence of the wicked one returning upon his own head is a theme repeated throughout scripture.
GOLIATH WAS ARMED WITH A COAT OF MAIL
Goliath “was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coast was five thousand shekels of bronze.” (1 Samuel 17:5)
Every other time except this one, the Hebrew word for armed is translated clothed. Goliath’s clothing was a coat of mail or, more literally, a coat of scales. The word for mail is translated scales, as in scales on a fish, every other time this one. So, Goliath was clothed in a scales like a fish. Of course, fish live in the sea. But, Revelation 21:1 says that “the sea was no more.” Here, we see Goliath’s coat symbolizing the final judgment of Satan as death resides in the sea because man lives on land.
The coat was made of bronze, which also symbolizes the judgment of Satan. The fact that the coat weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze symbolizes the fullness or the totality (1,000) of the flesh (five) being judged.
GOLIATH HAD BRONZE ARMOR ON HIS LEGS
Goliath “had bronze armor on his legs.” (1 Samuel 17:6)
Legs are symbol of strength and work. The Hebrew word for armor here is used only this one time in the Bible. The root word literally means to shine. Goliath’s legs shined with bronze, or judgment. Judgment is the work of Satan.
GOLIATH’S WEAPONS WERE BRONZE AND IRON
The first mention of bronze and iron in the Bible is that Tubal-Cain, one of Cain’s descendants “was a forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.” (Genesis 4:22). Instruments of bronze and iron were developed by the line of man that was fully in rebellion to God and most pictured the flesh.
Goliath’s bronze javelin was between his shoulders. Shoulders are the place of strength and government. This symbolizes Satan’s strength and government is one of judgment.
Goliath’s spear head weight 600 hundred shekels of iron. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. Of course, the flood was a picture of judgment.
Therefore, both of Goliath’s weapons picture Satan’s weapons as judgment and condemnation to death.
DAVID SLAYS GOLIATH
When David went to battle Goliath, Saul clothed David with his armor. But, the word armor literally means robe. David initially put on a helmet of bronze, wore a coat of armor on top of the robe, and took Saul’s sword with him. But, none of these were suitable for David. So, he discarded the helmet of bronze, symbolizing a mind of judgment, and Saul’s sword.
David only took five smooth stones. Stones are smoothed by water flowing over them. Water is a picture of God’s word. Jesus is a rock. And, five is grace. So, here we have a picture of the word of grace through Jesus that David used to strike Goliath in the forehead.
But, David ultimately killed Goliath with Goliath’s own sword. It was Goliath’s own weapon that ultimately killed him. This is a picture of Jesus destroying the one with the power of death, Satan, through death.
JESUS PUTS SATAN AND JUDGMENT TO AN OPEN SHAME
Satan is the accuser. According to Revelation 12:10, he accuses us “day and night before our God.” As our accuser, Satan seeks to condemn us to a judgment of death. Hebrews 2:14 says that “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,” has subjected us to lifelong slavery through the fear of death, his desired judgment upon us.
But, Hebrews 2:14 also says that Jesus came to destroy Satan, who has the power of death and desires to pronounce that judgment upon us, through his own death.
Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
Instead of a judgment of death, God made us alive together with Christ. He canceled the record of debt we had accrued to the law. God nailed the debt to the cross in the body of his own son. He disarmed the ruler and authorities of their power of death. God put Satan’s desired judgment of death to an open shame.
The Greek word for open literally means boldness, confidence, plainly, frankness. The connotation is public speech, outspokenness, and freedom of speech.
Note that David ran toward Goliath – a display of boldness. And, the five smooth stones symbolized a word of grace.
As he was being judged on the cross to condemn sin in his flesh, Jesus made a bold and outspoken judgment against the rulers and authorities. He put them and their judgment to open shame by declaring that the Father should forgive us all because we did not know what we were doing by crucifying him.
In this way, Jesus put to open shame the very idea of judgment. Instead of the judgment that accuser desired, death, Jesus proclaimed his judgment of forgiveness, which brought life.