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by Wayne Blank
"the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh"
The two armies faced each other across a valley. The Philistines "pitched between Shochoh and Azekah," while the army of Israel "pitched by the valley of Elah."
"Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them" (1 Samuel 17:1-3 KJV)
The Philistines presented a giant warrior to challenge Israel.
"And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath [see Gath of the Philistines], whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
It was hardly a shining moment for the army of Israel or their king i.e. "When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid." Goliath's challenge went on day after day, with no response from the "men" of Israel.
David (the then future King David) came along while all of this was happening. He was not in the army because he was too young ("thou art but a youth," 1 Samuel 17:33 KJV). Nevertheless, David was apparently more of a man than any of the troopers of Israel's army were at that time. When David heard Goliath blaspheme The Lord, he decided that he would put an end to it himself. The young shepherd walked out into the valley and announced to Goliath that he was about to become food for the vultures: "This day will The Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air" (1 Samuel 17:46 KJV).
"And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
Fact Finder: What is the origin of "trophy"?