April 15, 2008

1 Sam 15-17: Enter David, exit Goliath

(Today's passage covers God's rejection of Saul and his appointment of David. Also, it relates the story of David and Goliath.)

It's probably one of the best-known stories outside of the Pentateuch: David and Goliath. The story has inspired countless paintings, larger-than-life statues, and even a few Simpsons gags. So instead of relating the events to you, as I've been doing for a lot of the lesser-known stories, today we're going to play, "commonly held (but wrong!) myths about the story of David and Goliath."

Myth #1: David was a warrior in Saul's army.

In fact, David wasn't in the army at all. He wasn't even supposed to be at the battle. Three of his older brothers (David was the youngest of eight sons) were warriors in Saul's army, and Jesse, his father, asked him to bring them food and find out how they were doing. David showed up just as the armies were getting ready to fight, and just so happened to hear Goliath's challenge, which he was issuing for the fortieth time! (1 Sam. 17:12-23)

Myth #2: David was a humble and meek.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. When David saw the Israelites quaking because of Goliath's challenge, he wondered what was going on. But he didn't decide to actually take up the challenge until he found out that whoever defeated Goliath would win some very sweet prizes from King Saul: wealth, exemption from taxes, and his daughter's hand in marriage. (1 Sam. 17:25-27)

Myth #3: Saul expected David to succeed.

Actually, no one expected David to succeed! Eliab, David's oldest brother, got angry at David's presumption. King Saul said he was too young. And Goliath was actually insulted that the Israelites would send a little boy as their champion; it was like a slap in the face. Imagine the massed hordes of both Philistines and Israelites looking on: little David with no armour and no sword, against the 9-foot-tall pride of the Philistine army, completely with 125-pound breastplate. Let's face it, who would you expect to win? (1 Sam. 17:31-44)

Myth #4: David kills Goliath with his slingshot.

While David does knock Goliath unconscious with a lucky slung stone to the forehead, he actually kills the giant by beheading him with Goliath's own sword. Which is why Donatello's David (warning: not safe for work) shows David with a sword, one foot on top of Goliath's severed head. (1 Sam. 17:48-51)

So there you have it: common myths about David and Goliath, dispelled right here on Daily Breadcrumbs. Come back tomorrow when I'll ask the eternal question, "how did Saul meet this David guy in the first place?"

1 comment:

Bro. Joel said...

Nice post... however, if you re-read 1 Samuel 17:50, Goliath was dead before David cut off his head. He cut off the head of Goliath to take back as a prize to Saul.