Online Bible College
Carelinks Home
FREE Literature
'The Last Days' Home
Bible Books Home
Buy this Book!
The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
email the author



7-1 The Type Of David And Goliath

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

Goliath, representing 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.

Place Names

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 final repentance.

The Mouth Of The Beast

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 air"

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?

Rev.19:17-21 describes " 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.

Psalm 79

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 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.