Posted by: Esther | February 1, 2014

David’s Armor

We all know the story of David and Goliath. We read it as a source of encouragement. It inspires us to stand in the Lord’s strength against those gigantic obstacles, but there are some images in this story that are worthy of further dissection. My pastor’s sermon on this chapter peeked my interest, and so I dug further into it. He rather briefly explained David’s armor as a picture of the armor of God in stark contrast to Saul’s armor, a picture of the world. I took it home to interpret further.

Saul’s armor is made of the same metal as Goliath’s armor: brass, aka copper and tin or bronze (depending on the commentator). According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, brass or bronze is a symbol of insensibility, and obstinacy in sin.

[Isa 48:4 NLT] For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. Your heads are as hard as bronze.

[Jer 6:28 NLT] They are the worst kind of rebel, full of slander. They are as hard as bronze and iron, and they lead others into corruption.

Since Goliath wears this bronze armor and taunts the army of the living God, we can see him as a picture of Satan coming against that which he hates. He is clothed in rebellion, full of slander, hardheaded, as hard as his bronze helmet, and since the Holy Spirit has left the king of Israel, Goliath is able to terrify them.

Saul’s constant pride and rebellion to the God who anointed him, with power, to be king, has rendered him also a slave to sin. He is a picture of Romans 1:28-32:

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, and no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

To further prove that Saul’s armor represents the same rebellious nature as Goliath’s, Ezekiel 22:18 states “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over–a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead.” Copper and tin make bronze.

Like Satan and all of the Philistines, Saul defies God and believes that his way is better than the One who created him and made him king. Saul put on Satan’s clothes, and then tried to get David to wear it.

[1Sa 17:38-39 NKJV] So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.

David does not walk in sin. David has been anointed with the Spirit of God. He saves sheep from the mouths of lions and the paws of bears, and he gives glory to God for his strength and courage.

As a shepherd, David is used to fighting off beasts with just his staff, bag and sling. These are the items he had with him and the only ones he needs. It would be silly for a shepherd boy to tend the sheep with a bronze helmet, a heavy coat of mail, and a sword. Those are the things that soldiers of the world hide in, but this shepherd boy has a more powerful armor: the Armor of God.

[1Cr 1:27 NKJV] But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

The following is a breakdown of David’s arsenal:

1 Sam 17:40a Then he [David] took his staff in his hand…

Mic 6:9 The voice of the LORD cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!

1Cr 4:21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

This rod of discipline is the same word used for a shepherd’s staff.

b) and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook,

But it only takes one. [Rom 5:18-20 NLT] Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

He doesn’t need all 5, but this speaks to the abundance of God’s grace for us sinners.

[Mat 21:42 NLT] Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’

[Psa 18:2 NLT] The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

c) and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had,

Pro 16:11 Honest weights and scales are the LORD’s; All the weights in the bag are His work, 

d) and his sling was in his hand.

With this sling, the stone the builders rejected, which is Jesus Christ the Word of God, flies through the air and sinks into the head of the giant, Satan, who stumbles and dies falling prostrate to the One who flung it.

Matt 21:44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.

As foretold in the beginning: Gen 3:15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” 

The stone, that is Jesus, killed Goliath, that is Satan, but our fleshly sin must still be cut off. This is the reason David cuts off Goliath’s head. It is a symbol of how we are to cut off our flesh, because it causes us to sin. This is bloody and violent, but if we don’t, our sin will cause us to spend eternity in torment.

[Mat 5:30 NLT] And if your hand–even your stronger hand–causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

[Mar 9:45 NLT] If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet.

So David finishes the job by doing what we all need to do on a daily basis: cut off that which causes us to sin with a sword that is the Word of God and be obedient in faith!



  1. Interesting point about the differences in the armor. I hadn’t thought about that.

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