This second timeline in our three part series delineates the multiple Biblical confrontations (mostly) involving King David (or his army) against the Philistines. It begins with his famous conflict, at the age of around fifteen, with the powerful giant of Gath known as Goliath. It also includes the war that ended David's long personal career of bloodshed. Our list ends with two heroic battles fought by his greatest warriors referred to as his mighty men!
Defeating a giant!
A young king David, roughly around the age of fifteen, challenges and defeats the huge and powerful Goliath, a 9+ foot (2.7 meters) giant from Gath. In spite of the enemy promising to serve God's people if they lose the contest (1Samuel 17:9), they continue to fight the children of Israel for the next 300+ years!
A unique bride price!
1Samuel 18:13 - 27
King Saul offers David, who is now commanding 1,000 men in his army, his daughter in marriage if he kills 100 Philistines and brings back their foreskins as proof. The king makes such an outrageous offer in the hope that David, whom he now wants dead, will be killed attempting to fulfill his request.
David and his men take up the challenge and bring back double the number of foreskins (200) requested! He then, as promised, wins the hand of Saul's daughter Michal.
1020 - 1010
1Samuel 19:8, 23:1 - 5, 19 - 28
David fights the Philistines at an unknown location and slaughters them (1Samuel 19:8).
The enemy, at an unknown later time, attacks the city of Keilah and steals food from the local people. After receiving God's blessing, David and his men launch a counterattack against the enemy forces. They kill many of those who occupy the city and win another victory for Israel.
Saul, who for quite some time has hated his successor, attempts to find him in the wilderness of Maon in order to kill him. The Philistines, while he foolishly searches for him, launches yet another invasion of Israelite land. Saul quickly calls off his pursuit and hurries back to engage the enemy.
Saul killed in battle
Saul, rejected by God because of his disobedience, ultimately meets his demise at the hands of Israel's greatest enemy. They attack his forces in the valley of Jezreel and decimate his army. As the king and his three sons flee the battlefield they are killed on Mount Gilboa (1Samuel 31).
Valley of the Giants
2Samuel 5:17 - 21, 23:13 - 16
The Philistines seek to go to war with David right after he becomes king over all Israel. The enemy, in preparation of a strike, camps at the valley of Rephaim (valley of the giants). In response, the new ruler leaves Jerusalem, his capital, and begins making war plans at a cave near Adullam.
While the king decides his next move, three of his mighty men hear him longing to drink from Bethlehem's well. The men successfully fight their way through the Philistine encampment in the valley of Rephaim and retrieve the desired water. A short time later David, after receiving God's approval to fight their tough foe, defeats them in the valley as well.
1003 - 970
2Samuel 5:22 - 25, 21:15 - 20, 23:9 - 12
The Philistines gather again in the valley of Rephaim (giants) to do battle with Israel. When David seeks God's will he is offered military advice from the Lord!
"Do not make a frontal assault. Circle around behind them and attack them opposite the balsam trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, act decisively, for then the Lord will have marched out ahead of you to attack the camp of the Philistines" (2Samuel 5:23 - 24, HCSB).
The king, following the advice of the Lord, is again victorious over the enemy.
The enemy attacks God's people in a location not revealed in Scripture. During the battle a giant named Ishbibenob does everything he can to kill a now middle-aged David. The king, totally exhausted, is about to be overcome when Abishai, one of his men, kills the giant.
This life-threatened experience convinces his fighting men that the king should no longer personally fight in any war. Their concern motivates them to have him swear not to battle "so that you do not put out the light of Israel" (2Samuel 21:17).
War breaks out, yet again, at Gezer (possibly mistranslated as Gob in 2Samuel 21:18, see 1Chronicles 20:4). Sibbecai the Hushathite, one of David's men, kills a giant named Saph.
Another battle takes place, this time at Gob, involving a giant named Lahmi who was the brother of Goliath. He, like his brother (1Samuel 17:7), carries a huge and heavy spear into battle. Lahmi is killed by a man named Elhanan.
A unique struggle takes place, this time in Gath (where Goliath was born), when a giant defies Israel. The huge man, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, is slain in war by Jonathan, one of the sons of David's brother Shimei.
1003 - 970
Battles of the Mighty Men!
2Samuel 23:9 - 12, 1Chronicles 11:12 - 14
Eleazar, one of David's mighty men, gains his reputation as a warrior by fighting at Pas Dammim. He stood his ground during a fierce Philistine attack when others fled. He repels the enemy for so long that his hand becomes cramped around his sword! The Lord helps him turn the tide of the conflict and win an unexpected victory.
Shammah also earns recognition as one of King David's mightiest warriors when he fights the Philistines in spite of many others fleeing the battlefield. During his stand in a lentil field, he slaughters the enemy and gains Israel another victory.