Saul meets David as Jesse's son in 1 Sam 16:19-23. But after David kills Goliath in 1 Sam 17:55, Saul asks "Who is this kid? Whose son is he?" How could he forget?

While David is playing lyre for Saul, Saul tries to kill him by throwing a spear at him in 1 Sam 18:11, 1 Sam 19:10, and 1 Sam 20:33. Three times! Is David stupid enough to keep coming back?

Saul is hunting David in 1 Sam 19-24. But Saul repents in 1 Sam 24:16-22. They go in peace. But in 1 Sam 26:1, David is suddenly hiding from Saul again.

The only explanation I can come up with for this is that 1 Samuel isn't chronological or is repetitive for reasons of emphasis.

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    The first sentence seems like you are pointing out Saul's forgetfulness, and then about David's. Maybe the two are connected somehow. Oct 3, 2017 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Your post contains a lot of good questions, but I won't discuss all of them, only the first one.

The story of David and Goliath has been subject to a lot of analysis, since there are two different versions of the same story in the LXX and the MT. The latter is actually twice as long as the former. This and many other contradictions in the text led many scholars to conclude that the MT is combination of two different versions (this I think is the strongest proof that the OT has been composed of many different texts and authors).

There are a lot of discrepancies between these texts and I cannot list them all, but one important element lacking in the MT from verses 12-31 is David's status as Saul's harpist. In this version (but not the only version in the MT) David is still unknown to Saul and does not serve in the Israelite army, his presence in the battlefield is explained as him being a delivery boy. Verses 55-58 belong to this version, that is why Saul asks Abner after David slays Goliath "who is this kid?" However, in the LXX there is only one version. There David is known to Saul and is actually his armor-bearer, David volunteers to fight Goliath and eventually slays the giant. The story runs more smoothly and verses 55-58 are missing.

Hope this answers your question.

For a fuller discussion of the differences between the versions of the Goliath narrative in the MT and LXX see this.

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