“And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and 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.”
I Samuel 17:28
The three eldest brothers of David were a part of the army of Israel that was fighting with the Philistines and their leader, Goliath. David’s father, Jesse, sent David to take food to his brothers and check on their welfare. When David arrived at the Valley of Elah, he greeted his brothers. As he talked with them, the Philistine champion, Goliath, began to mock and challenge the men of Israel. Seeing how the men of Israel were afraid of Goliath, David began to inquire of them what might be done for the man who could kill this Philistine and restore dignity to Israel. Our text tells us that “Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David.” David’s oldest brother began to rebuke him for expressing an interest in this military stand-off. Then Eliab began to make accusations against David, saying, “I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.”
The hurling of false accusations can do much harm. David’s motivation was noble. He was concerned about the nation of Israel and the honor of God. His response to his brother was, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” (I Samuel 17:29) We cannot know all the reasons Eliab was so quick to misjudge David. Perhaps it was partly because Eliab was ashamed that none of the other Israelite men were brave enough to face Goliath. The important thing is that David did not allow these harsh accusations to dampen his spirit or his willingness to face the Philistine giant.
We too will have to face false accusations and criticism. This is part of the spiritual warfare we experience. We must recognize these lies as spiritual attacks and press forward in God’s will. Also, we do not want the enemy to use us to direct accusations against others. Before expressing an opinion or critical remark, we should make certain our words are true. The person we discourage could be someone God plans to greatly use.