CHAPTER 7: ARAB
INVASIONS DURING THE TIME OF THE KINGS
7-1 The Type Of David
David must be one of
the greatest types of Christ. At this time he was a shepherd, despised
by his brethren, trying to save Israel
at a time of dire physical suffering and spiritual apostasy. These connections
alone should make us scan this record for deeper Messianic allusions.
The giant strongman falling to the earth because of a stone suggests Nebuchadnezzar's
image of Dan.2, where the stone refers to Christ. Note how lion and bear
(17:34 cp. Dan. 7:4,5) and brass and iron (17:5-7 cp. Dan. 2:32,33) are
all mentioned in the record. Goliath's death by a fatal wound in the head
(1 Sam. 17:49) must look back to Gen. 3:15, again connecting David and
the stone with the seed of the woman (Christ) and equating Goliath with
the seed of the serpent. This is confirmed by the repetitious description
of Goliath four times as covered in " brass" from head to foot
(17:5,6); which is related to the word translated " serpent"
and is a symbol of sin. Six being the number of the flesh it is significant
that his " height was six cubits and a span...his spear's head weighed
six hundred shekels" (17:4,7). It is even possible that the "
man of sin" of 2 Thess.2 refers back to Goliath as his prototype,
in which case the image of Dan.2 and the man of sin are equated.
Seed of the serpent
the seed of the serpent, a personification of sin (i.e. the Biblical devil),
needed a man to fight him (17:8,9). The men of Israel
cowered in fear, wishing they could only have the strength and courage
necessary, but looking one on another helplessly as the invincible giant
made his boast. How to overcome him and the evil intent of this man against
God's people was what the men's conversation revolved around: " Have
ye seen this man that is come up? Surely to defy Israel
is he come up" . They also discussed the glorious reward being offered:
" It shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich
him with great riches, and make his father's house free in Israel"
- and throw in his daughter for good measure too (17:25). But " all
the men of Israel, when they
saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid" (17:24). Now what
more precise description could we wish for of our feelings in the struggle
against sin? There seems a similarity here with men and Angels weeping
because no man was found worthy to look upon or open the book of life
(Rev. 5:3-5)- until our Lord prevailed on the cross.
'Golgotha' meaning 'The
place of the skull' may well be the place near Jerusalem where David buried
Goliath's skull (17:54), greatly strengthening this connection. Whilst
speaking of words, " Ephes-Dammim" meaning 'border of blood'
suggests 'Aceldama', the " field of blood" . Goliath coming
out to make his challenges at morning and evening (1 Sam. 17:16)
coincided with the daily sacrifices which should have been offered at
those times, with their reminder of sin and the need for dedication to
God. The thoughtful Israelite must surely have seen in Goliath a personification
of sin which the daily sacrifices could do nothing to overcome.
The conflict between
the seed of the woman and that of the serpent will have its political
manifestation in the battle of Armageddon. The typology of David and Goliath
therefore also points forward to the final conflict between Christ and
the forces of evil in the last days. The significance of Christ's victory
will therefore be not only that it gives phsyical deliverance to the faithful
remnant; it will be the symbol of his victory over sin. Therefore the
sufferings of the faithful in the last days are often described in the
language of his cross (see Chapter 11). The fact that Armageddon will
have this kind of spiritual significance must be watched for throughout
our studies. Thus Edom in the last days will be possessed by their enemies,
i.e. Christ and his true Israel, referring back to the promise that Abraham's
seed would physically and spiritually possess the gates of his enemies
(Num. 24:18 cp. Gen. 22:17,18).
We have mentioned the
evident similarity between Daniel's image and the Goliath man of sin.
The place of the conflict was a little South of Jerusalem, halfway between
Jerusalem and the Mediterranean. This sounds like the king of the north
planting his tents (cp. the Philistines') " between the seas (Dead
and Mediterranean) in the glorious holy mountain" (Dan.11:45). The
Philistines making their constant painful incursions into an apostate
Israel may well have links with the P.L.O. activities today. Note that
the RV renders " Palestine" in the AV as " Philistia"
. Goliath was from Gath (1 Sam.17:4), meaning " winepress" ,
with its Armageddon and judgment hints. Similarly the conflict lasted
for 40 days (1 Sam.17:16)- another link with the coming Divine judgements.
Compare this, too, with the periods of 40 years Arab domination recorded
in the times of the Judges. Zeph. 2:4,5 says that in the last days, "
Gaza...the sea coast" will be singled out for especial judgment-
because from here the Palestinian incursions will begin? An independent
Palestinian state in the area where Goliath came from, headed up by an
anti-Israel, latter day Goliath, really looks a possibility. In this case
the situation in David's time will be exactly replicated before our eyes.
David's mocking "
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?" matches " Who art thou,
O great mountain?" which was to be destroyed " not by might..but
by My spirit" (Zech.4:6,7), as Goliath was killed by David without
a sword in his hand, i.e. not by human might. Note that the Philistines
were pitched on a mountain, comparing with the description of Babylon
as " O great mountain" . Thus the king of the North, the man
of sin, Babylon, Daniel's image of the last days are all subtly alluded
to, implying that Christ will destroy all of them during one conflict.
It is worth questioning whether all these various systems in opposition
to Christ will be separate at the time of His return; present developments
suggest there may be one huge opposing system (the beast) which incorporates
all these others. Now the possibilities are opened up to work through
1 Sam.17 again from this political/ latter day prophecy perspective.
It is twice emphasized
that " the Philistines gathered together their armies...and were
gathered together" , in response to which " Saul and the men
of Israel were gathered together" (1 Sam.17:1,2). We commented in
the previous chapter on how such 'gathering together' points forward to
the final Arab uniting against Israel, to be matched by a feeble attempt
on Israel's part to 'gather together' against them (cp. Jud.10:17). The
conflict was at Shochoh, meaning 'shut in'. This connects with a theme
of being 'shut in' which features in a number of incidents typical of
the last days: Hezekiah was 'shut up' in Jerusalem, Noah was 'shut in'
the ark, Israel were effectively shut up in their houses on Passover night,
as was Lot in his house in Sodom.
Another place name mentioned
in the record is Azekah (1 Sam.17:1), which was a target of the Babylonian
invasion (Jer.34:7). The Philistines coming against Israel with "
sword and spear" (1 Sam.17:47) is the language of Jer.6:23 concerning
the Babylonian armies. This invites association of the Philistines with
the latter day Arab Babylon. Azekah was also where Joshua/Jesus destroyed
a five king Arab confederacy (Josh.10:5,10,11). These associations enable
us to make the equation: Goliath= Daniel's image= the man of sin= Babylon=
latter day Arabs. This is confirmed by Zech.9:13-15 describing Israel
as the slingstone by which the latter day Philistines will be destroyed
(v.1-5 concern judgments to come upon the 'Philistines'). The mention
of the " Lord of Hosts" (v.15) perhaps looks back to 1 Sam.17:45.
Likewise Israel's defeat of Moab (cp. latter day Arabs) with stones may
recall the victory over Goliath (2 Kings 3:19,25).
The actual battle was
in " the valley of Elah" (1 Sam.17:3). 'Elah' meaning
'the oak' connects with the many references to 'the oak' in Israel's early
history, nearly all of them associated with Israel's repentance during
times of Arab threat (Gen.12:6; 35:4; Dt.11:30; Josh.24:1; Jud.9:6,37).
This is another indication that Jacob's final confrontation with Esau,
as typified in the David/ Goliath conflict, will bring about his
The Mouth Of The
Goliath was the Arab
" champion" (1 Sam.17:51), using the Hebrew word 'Gibbor'.
This connects with the description of Messiah as 'El-Gibbor' in Is.9:6,
and shows that the latter day Arab powers may well be headed up by one
charismatic individual, who sets himself up as a pseudo-Messiah. The Hebrew
word used for " champion" in 1 Sam.17:4 literally means
'the man who goes between the two camps', again pointing forward to the
mediatorial office of the true Messiah. The root meaning of 'Goliath'
is 'to lead and to go into captivity', which fits in with his wager that
the Philistines would go into Jewish captivity if they killed him, and
vice versa. This may be the basis of Rev.13:10 concerning the little horn
and mouth of the beast: " He that leadeth into captivity shall go
into captivity" . This power having " a mouth speaking great
things and blasphemies" (Rev. 13:5) certainly corresponds with Goliath's
loud-mouthed blasphemy. " He opened his mouth in blasphemy against
God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in
heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to
overcome them" (Rev. 13:6,7) is Goliath exactly (cp. his blasphemy
of the Angels in 1 Sam. 17:26). " All that dwell upon the earth
shall worship him" (Rev. 13:8) recalls Goliath's charisma, indicated
by the Philistines fleeing once they saw that he was dead. " He that
killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword" (Rev. 13:10)
nicely concludes this set of allusions- Goliath was killed with his own
sword. These parallels indicate that Goliath is a prototype of the latter
day 'mouth' or personal figurehead of the 'beast'. Note in passing how
Gen. 12:3 may have hinted at this figure right at the start of God’s
purpose with Israel: “him that curseth thee will I curse”(RV).
The details of this
confrontation provide insights into the use of weaponry in the final conflict.
Goliath's mocking of David as coming to him " with staves"
(1 Sam.17:43) may reflect the Arabs laughing off the approach of Christ
and the saints due to their total lack of military hardware. In
passing, David's taking a staff with him when he evidently intended to
use the sling to kill Goliath may have been a conscious association of
himself with Moses, using his staff to gain victory over Pharaoh. The
Red Sea is a clear type of Christ's latter day victory. 1 Sam.17:5-7 gives
quite some detail concerning Goliath's armour; he evidently possessed
all the mod cons in contemporary military technology. By contrast, there
were no swords or spears with Israel (1 Sam.13:22; Jud.5:8), indicating
the gross military inferiority of Israel in the last days. Yet Goliath
being slain with his own weapons (1 Sam.17:51) may point forward
to how the Arabs will be destroyed at the hands of their own weapons.
Their eyes melting in their sockets (Zech.14:12) may well be as a result
of their own nuclear/ chemical armaments backfiring on them.
" Fowls of the
The judgment of the
Philistines is prophesied in terms which connect with many other latter
day prophecies. Their destruction was so that " all the earth may
know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Sam.17:46), which is a similar
reason for the final humiliation of Gog: " Thus will I magnify myself
and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations,
and they shall know that I am the Lord" (Ez.38:23). To do this, David
confidently prophesied: " I will give the carcases of the host of
the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts
of the earth" (1 Sam.17:46). The mention of wild beasts and fowls
connects with the description of the nations controlled by Nebuchadnezzar's
Babylon in just these terms (Dan.2:38). We will see in our later study
of Babylon how latter day Babylon will meet its end at the hands of the
nations who are confederate under it. If typical 'Goliath' and his Philistines
were to be destroyed by these nations who were confederated under Babylon,
there is a connection between typical Goliath and Babylon; confirming
our suggestion that in terms of latter day prophecy, we are dealing with
an Arab Babylon. Dan.4:12,14,21,22 depicts Nebuchadnezzar as a tree with
fowls and beasts living under its shadow. This makes Nebuchadnezzar a
personal epitome of Babylon, as Goliath was the figurehead of the
Philistines. This all lends support to the impression that the latter
day Arab Babylon/beast will be headed up by one charismatic individual.
The carcases of the
Philistines being given to the fowls and beasts to devour rings bells
with a number of passages which speak about apostate Israel having a like
figure: 1 Kings 14:11 (Jeroboam); 1 Kings 16:4 (Baasha); 1 Kings 21:24
(Ahab). Jer.7:32,33 and 19:6,7 present the picture of the carcases of
Israel lying in the valley of Hinnom (Gehenna), being fed on by the fowls
and beasts. Similar descriptions are found in Jer.15:3; 16:4; 34:20. The
conclusion from this is that the punishment of apostate Israel in the
latter days will be in the same manner and perhaps at the same time as
that of the Arabs/Philistines. It may be significant that Ez.29:5 speaks
of Egypt being given to the beasts and fowls- suggesting that they will
be confederate with the latter day Philistines?
" fowls" being called to eat the flesh of the carcases of "
all men" who had " gathered together" to fight God's people
in the last days. This connection would associate the Philistines, who
also " gathered together" (1 Sam.17:1) against Israel, with
these latter day aggressors. The " all men" whose flesh is to
be eaten are the remaining followers of the beast and false prophet, whose
association with the Philistines encourages us to interpret them as having
an Arab reference in the last days. This eating by fowls is equated with
burning in the lake of fire, or Gehenna (Rev.19:20,21). We have mentioned
above how several passages in Jeremiah associate the mauling of carcases
by fowls with destruction in Gehenna. This creates the image of the Arab
beast being ravaged by the 'fowls' of either natural Israel (as they represented
in David's speech to Goliath) or the Arab nations once confederate with
'Babylon', as they seem to represent in Daniel.
There are a number of
interesting allusions to the Goliath scenario in Psalm 79, a passage which
has undoubted reference to the latter day desolation of Jerusalem. The
psalmist laments that the Arab invaders had given " the dead bodies
of thy servants...to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of
thy saints unto the beasts of the earth" (Ps.79:2). This was exactly
what Goliath said he would do to Israel, further identifying him with
Israel's latter day enemies. However, it was this very thing which actually
happened to the Philistines, showing how what the Arabs both do and plan
to inflict upon Israel will be measured back to them. The invaders mocked
" Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen" (Ps.79:10),
just as Goliath did. The victory of David/ Jesus proved and will prove
again to the nations that " there is a God in Israel" (1 Sam.17:46).
Thus God will " render unto our neighbours (the Arabs/ Philistines)
sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached
thee, O Lord" (Ps.79:12), as He did to Goliath.
Israel's spoiling of
the Philistines after the victory (1 Sam.17:53) is similar to what they
did to Sennacherib's decimated Assyrian host, also typical of the latter
day invasion. This would be in line with the consistent prophetic hints
that the wealth of the surrounding Arab nations will go to the remnant
who survive of natural Israel, providing the basis for their prosperity
during the Millennium.