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More of Nigh

Once again we see the beauty, the accuracy, the detailed brush strokes, of the KJV canvas. The topic is an old favorite, the word nigh.

In our text, the Philistine champion is squared off with the fighting men of Israel. In the description of the battle scene, specifically the Philistine’s camp, there is another man mentioned : “…and one bearing a shield went before him” (1 Sam 17:7). As Goliath challenges Israel’s champion in a duel to the death, this shield-bearing man went before Goliath, so that he was technically between the Philistine and the Israelites:

“And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bear the shield went before him” (1 Sam 17:41).

Note the word near is used. They drew closer in proximity, but something else or some person, was yet between (the shield man).

David and Goliath share some unpleasant words and then we read “…the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David…” (v. 48). Ah, near has been replaced with nigh. A slightly different brush stroke on the canvas of our understanding! Nigh, meaning closer in proximity and nothing between, paints a clearer image in our mind. When Goliath arose and went forward to battle David, his shield man was no longer in the crossfire, or somehow blocking or interfering. Nigh: nothing between – it was a clear shot for David.

“Draw nigh unto God (closer and nothing between), and he will draw nigh unto you”

(James 4:8).

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