David versus Philistine Goliath
Valley of Elah and Tel Azekah)
of the Elah Valley area
of places are mentioned or implied in the account of David and Goliath.
The opening verse of 1 Samuel 17 tells us that the Philistines had
gathered their forces for war having first assembled at Socoh in
Judean territory and subsequently camping at Ephes Dammim - a point
between Socoh and Azekah (alt. Azeka). The focal point of the
subsequent battle was the Valley of Elah, with the Philistines on one
hill and Israel on another hill, each overlooking the battlefield.
17:1-3 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and
assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim,
between Socoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and
camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet
the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the
Israelites another, with the valley between them.
section showing area with brook in the Elah Valley.
to earlier key, or look for curved brook in upper right area
it passes directly under the road.
understand where the Philistines had come from, it is necessary to
examine a passage found a few chapters earlier in 1 Samuel, where
five prominent cities of the Philistines are mentioned.
6:17-18 These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt
offering to the LORD-one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and
Ekron. 18 And the number of the gold rats was according to the number
of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers - the fortified
towns with their country villages. The large rock, on which they set
the ark of the LORD, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua
of Beth Shemesh. (NIV)
cities controlled the southern coastal region of Israel and were
obviously part of the territory that the Israelites failed to conquer
during the time of the Judges. Israel's
failure to eradicate these people from the land, as God had
commanded, bore consequences for generations following as the
Philistines were an almost continual source of problems for God's
people. Notice that Goliath was a resident of Gath (1 Samuel 17:4).
here for a panarama of the Valley of Elah from Tel Azeka
of Elah was a natural battleground on the route between the
Philistine coastal area and Jerusalem which was much further inland
in the Judean hills. It is not improbable that the Israelites were
actually encamped at Azekah, as it was on one of the hills
overlooking the valley. If they were not, the residents of Azekah
certainly would have had a ring-side view of the events - also having
a vested interest in the outcome as their town would have been next
to be raided by the Philistines should the Israeli forces be defeated.
show you more of Tel Azeka but there's not much to see.
mostly a great view of the Valley of Elah
that followed have become legendary...
17:4-24 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the
Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet
on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five
thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze
javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver's
rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield
bearer went ahead of him.
stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out
and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the
servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he
is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I
overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve
us." 10 Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the
ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." 11
On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were
dismayed and terrified.
David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from
Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul's time he was
old and well advanced in years. 13 Jesse's three oldest sons had
followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second,
Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The
three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from
Saul to tend his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and
took his stand.
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. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit.
See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. 19
They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah,
fighting against the Philistines."
in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and
set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was
going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel
and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22
David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle
lines and greeted his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them,
Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his
lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 When the
Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear. (NIV)
brook. It is dry much of the year now.
is the view on the upper side of the road
brook as viewed on the lower side of the road.
of smooth, round, stones for use in a sling.