David and Goliath
Israel is at war with the Philistines, their bitter enemy. It is the end of Saul’s reign over the kingdom of Israel. God has decided that Saul must be replaced and told Samuel the prophet to anoint a new king for the Israelites.
God said to Samuel: “how long will you be upset that Saul is going to be replaced? Fill your horn with oil and go to Jesse from Beit-Lehem. I’ve chosen a new future king from one of his sons”
“How can I go? If I go, Saul will hear about it and kill me.” Samuel replied.
“Take a heifer with you and say that you’re going to sacrifice it to me. Call Jesse to the sacrifice ritual and I will show you who to anoint” God answered.
So Samuel did what the lord ordered him to do and came to Beit Lehem. When he arrived the elders of the town were afraid and asked him if he came in peace. He replied that he did and that he was there to make a sacrifice to God and he invited them, Jesse and his sons to the ritual.
When Jesse and his sons came, Samuel was sure that Eliav was God’s choice. But God said: “do not pay attention to the person’s face or his height; Eliav isn’t my choice. God does not see as man sees; while man looks at a person’s appearance, God looks at a person’s heart.
Then Avinadav and Shammah came before Samuel but they were not God’s choice either. Again, Jesse presented 7 of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel rejected them saying they were not God’s choice.
“Are these all your children?” Samuel asked Jesse. Jesse replied that he has still another son, his youngest, who is a shepherd who looks after the sheep. “Bring him before me as we will not sit down until he’s here” replied Samuel.
Jesse’s youngest son was sent for and brought in. He had a good expression on his face and a healthy glow and was pleasant to look at. And God said: “rise and make him king, he is the one I have chosen.”
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him right there between all his brothers and the spirit of God was with David from that day forward. Once he was done, Samuel went back to Rama.
The spirit of the lord, however, left Saul. And an evil spirit summoned by God started troubling him. His servants, noticing this, tried to help Saul and suggested they would find a harp player to play him some music and drive away the evil spirit every time it came upon him and Saul agreed, and ordered them to find such a person.
Then, one of his servants said: “There is one person like this that I know. He is very skilled on the harp, has a strong character, he’s a man of war, very careful in his actions and God is with him.”
So Saul sent messengers to bring David to his palace. Jesse took a donkey and put many provisions on it and sent them together with his Son David to Saul’s palace.
When Saul met David he became very fond of him straight away and decided to make him his armour-bearer and sent messengers to ask his father to let him stay by his side at all times. And ever since, every time Saul felt the evil spirit visiting him he called David to play him some music and the spirit left and he felt good again.
The Philistines have gathered a great army at Shochoh, part of the kingdom of Judah, and set up camp between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. So Saul and the men of Israel gathered together and set up camp by the valley of Elah, to battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
And from within the Philistine camp came out their champion, Goliath of Gat, who was almost 10 feet tall. And he had a helmet made of brass on his head and had a mail armour; a very heavy one. And he had plates of brass that covered the entire length of his legs, and a brass plate between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was incredibly long; and the head of the spear was made of iron and incredibly heavy and a shield bearer went before him.
And Goliath stood and cried out to the armies of Israel: “why have you come here to battle against us? Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man to fight against me and if he defeats me and kills me then we will be your servants: but if I defeat him, then you shall be ours. The armies of Israel are no match to me; give me a man who dares face me.
When Saul and all of Israel heard these words, they were shaken and filled with terror.
Three of Jesse’s children: Eliav his eldest, his second son Avinadav and his third son Shamah followed Saul to battle. But David, his youngest, returned from the palace to look after his father’s sheep in Beit-Lehem.
And Goliath, came out of the camp and challenged Israel every morning and every evening for 40 days.
After some time, Jesse became worried about his sons and asked David to take some provisions for them and to see if they’re well and get word from them. So David woke up early in the morning the next day and did as his father ordered him to do; and when he came to the trench the army was just going into battle. David ran up to them and saluted his brothers. And as they were speaking, behold, came up the Philistine champion again and laid out his threats and challenges as he’d done many times before and David was there to bear witness. And all the men of Israel, when they saw him, ran away and were terribly afraid.
And all the men spoke about how whoever should defeat this man, he would be given great riches from the king and the privilege to marry his daughter and that his father’s house would be set free of any bondage. David asked around about what will be given to the man who kills this brash Philistine who has the nerve to defy the armies of the living God and expressed his intention to kill him. And the people told him what the reward was. Eliav, upon hearing David’s words became very angry at him and said “why have you come here? Who did you leave the sheep with in the wilderness? I know how proud you are and the mischief of your heart; you just came here to see the battle.” David didn’t know why Eliav was angry and asked him if there wasn’t a real cause and purpose here and turned and asked the same questions and expressed the same intentions to kill Goliath to the ears of others in the camp and was given the same answer about the great reward in store. And the men who were inspired by David’s words repeated them to Saul. And Saul sent for David to be brought before him.
David said to Saul that no Israelite should fear Goliath and that he will go and fight him. “You can’t go to fight this Philistine, you are just a youth and he has been a man of war since his youth” replied Saul. “Often while I was looking after my father’s sheep, a lion or a bear would come and take a lamb out of the flock and I would go after them and fight them and save the little lamb from their jaws and if they attacked me I killed them. I, your servant, have killed both lions and bears and this Philistine shall share their fate, as he has come against the army of the living God. In the same way that God saved me from the paws of the bear and the lion, he would save me from the hand of this Philistine." Answered David. To this Saul answered “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
To prepare for the battle, Saul gave his armour to David, and put a brass helmet on his head and a coat of mail to protect him. David tested his movement with the armour and the helmet but was not comfortable in them as they were not his and he was not used to them, so he took them off. Instead he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in his shepherd’s bag and held a sling in his other hand. Armed with only these he approached Goliath.
The Philistine also came closer to David and his shield bearer walked together with him in the front. When they were close enough to each other and he saw how young David was, he mocked him: “am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? Curse you and curse your stupid God. Come closer and your flesh will soon be food for the birds of prey in the sky and the beasts in the field”.
“You come to fight me with a sword, and a spear and a shield; But I come to fight you in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, that you have defied. On this day, God will deliver you into my hands and I will kill you and take off your head and give the bodies of the Philistines to the fowls in the sky and the wild beasts of the earth so all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” Replied David. “And all these people who came together here will see that the Lord saves not with a sword or a spear: he decides who wins in battle and he alone and he will deliver you into our hands.” he continued.
And as Goliath rose up and started coming towards David, David started running towards him in the direction of the Philistine army; he took a stone from his bag and slinged it at the Philistine hitting him right between the eyes. Goliath collapsed and fell forward on his face. David ran to him, stood over him and cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword, as he did not have one himself. Seeing all this, the Philistine army ran away and the men of Israel pursued them all the way to the gates of Ekron.
Upon returning from battle, Saul sent for David. Avner, his chief general, brought him before Saul: “Whose son are you, young man?” asked Saul. Standing there with Goliath’s head in his hand he answered: “I am the son of your servant Jesse from Beit-Lehem.”