Reading: “Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.” 1 Samuel 17:28
David had withstood his brother’s evil accusation and now he would outperform him on the battlefield against Goliath. Eliab, David’s older brother, had suggested that David was careless about his shepherding duties in coming down to see the great Philistine Goliath, as though David considered the giant a tourist attraction. But this accusation was far from the truth; we read that David “rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper” (1 Samuel 17:20). Jealousy will often fuel the fire of malice, with lies and slander: “I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.”
Having been despised by his own brother, David soon faces the discouragement of the king. Saul questions in disbelief: “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). And then, from a more expected source David was disdained by Goliath himself: “And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance” (1 Samuel. 17:42).
But none of this hindered the young man of God; he knew that God was bigger than the giants of discouragement, disdain, and disbelief. He knew that he might be alone in the world, but he had good company with God (John 15:18).
These that undertake great and public services must not think it strange if they be discountenanced and opposed by those from whom they have reason to expect support and assistance. But they must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of their enemies’ threats but also of their friends’ sleights and suspicions. —Matthew Henry