“Whose son is this youth? … I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite” 1 Sam 17:55-58 KJV

“Whose son is this young man? …. I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” 1Samuel 17:55-58 NASB

The conclusion of 1 Samuel 17 has been the source of confusion to some and of debate among scholars. On the surface, it appears that Saul does not recognize David and inquires from Abner about his identity. Since David was in the palace in chapter 16 and “loved” by Saul, this seems paradoxical. Some have suggested that chapters 16 and 17 are not necessarily chronological. Others have ascribed his lapse of memory to his mental problems, highlighted in the previous chapter.

But the question raised by Saul is not so much concerning David’s identity, as that of David’s father. One of the rewards to the man who was able to defeat the giant was that Saul would “make his father’s house free in Israel” (1 Sam 17:25). Thus it would be important to ascertain the name of the victor’s father. That does not totally do away with the difficulty, but it mitigates it in large measure. It is far more likely that Saul would forget Jesse’s name than David’s.

What is significant, however, is that David’s victory publicized Jesse’s name and fame. It is a small step to compare this with the Lord Jesus and the fruit of His victory at Calvary. In John’s Gospel in particular, the great purpose of the Lord Jesus in coming into the world was to reveal the Father. He did so throughout His life; but it took a cross-death to fully express the character of God.

In John 17, the Lord Jesus spoke to His Father and said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth” (v 3). He had fully displayed the character of God before the nation. His death on the cross revealed the heart of His Father as nothing else could possibly do. He could speak and say, “I have manifested Thy Name” (v 6). All that God is in His person, was manifested in the Lord Jesus. Every moral attribute of deity was resident in Him and reflected by Him.

In Thee most perfectly expressed,
The Father’s glories shine
Josiah Conder

Many different principles motivated Christ in His movements to Calvary: His love for us, His hatred of sin, and His devotion to the will of His Father. But perhaps above all – if we can rank His holy motives, was His desire to glorify His Father and reveal the Father’s heart to a rebel world. The revelation of that heart gave final silence to the lies of Satan millennia before in the Garden when he questioned God’s love and care, holiness and truth.

Just as David’s victory in the valley magnified his father’s name, so Christ’s work at Calvary magnified His Father’s Name. Saul made Jesse’s house free in Israel; Christ has made His Father’s Name “famous” in the entire universe and for all eternity!


Look at ways in which the father-son relationship of Jesse and David is a picture of the relationship between the Father and Son.