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Editorial Reviews. Review. Press Clippings Page Review in the Body of Christ News, October Face Your Own Goliath! by [Moore, Greg, Moore, Dianna].
Table of contents
And finally and most problematically " there was again a war with the Philistines at Gob and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, slew Goliath of Gath, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. Was this a coincidence that a man with a different name from the same birthplace as David slew a giant named Goliath? Did a tradition of a man killing a giant exist prior to our story's being recorded?
It doesn't matter, because the story was written to be told.
David, Goliath, and You?
Goliath was six cubits and a span, almost 9 feet tall. Josephus and the Dead Sea scrolls recorded a different tradition which claimed he was only four cubits and a bit, which would make him about 6 feet 9 inches, but hey, that's still a pretty big guy when the average height of man who lived three thousand years ago, couldn't have been more than five feet. Goliath wore a bronze helmet and a breastplate of scale armor, weighing five thousand shekels, approximately pounds. He had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin strung across his shoulders.
The shaft of his spear was like a weaver's bar, and the iron head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels; around 18 pounds. Hmm, this was not 10th-century Philistine armor; on the contrary it was armor which reflected the Greek culture of the sixth century. Why would the author or authors of this story tell the story utilizing the language and culture of a people who lived four hundred years after the incident allegedly took place?
Goliath stepped forward so all the Israelites could see him and he called out to the ranks of Israel, "Why should you come out to engage in battle? I am the Philistine champion and you are Saul's servants. Choose one of your men and let him come against me. If he beats me in combat and kills me, we will become your slaves, but if I best him and kill him, you shall be our slaves and serve us.
I defy you Israel, get me a man and let's fight it out. When Saul and all Israel heard these words they were terror stricken and every morning and evening for forty days Goliath challenged the army of Israel.
One could surmise the Philistines didn't want to attack because they didn't want to relinquish their strategic location on the mountain or they were unsure themselves because Saul's son, Jonathan had defeated them when they last met. One could also surmise the Israelites didn't want to relinquish their strategic advantage and they were afraid of this giant of a man!
Saul must have been plotzing! Jesse had eight sons, the three oldest had gone to fight in the war with Saul. David was the youngest, and as the youngest his job was to go back and forth between Saul and his father and to serve as a shepherd for his father's flock.
One day, Jesse told David to "Take an ephah of parched corn and carry it quickly to your brothers in camp. And take these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring me back something of that belongs to them so I know that they have not come to harm. Early the next morning, David put someone in charge of the flock, took the grain and cheese as his father had instructed him.
He reached the barricade as the army was going out to the battle lines shouting the war cry. David watched Israel and the Philistines draw up their battle lines one opposite the other and then he saw one of his brothers.
The Larger Narrative of Scripture
He left his baggage with the man in charge of baggage and ran toward the battle line to greet his brothers. While he was talking to them, the champion Goliath, the Philistine of Gath, stepped forward and repeated the same challenge that he had been doing morning and night. When the men of Israel saw him they fled in terror. David turned to one of the men standing near him and asked, "Who is that uncircumcised Philistine that dares defy the ranks of the living God, and what reward will the man who slays him receive? The man told him that Saul will reward whoever kills Goliath with great riches, his daughter in marriage and tax exemption for his father's house.
At this point, Eliab, David's oldest brother overheard this conversation and became angry with David and said, "Why did you come down here, and with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your impudence and your impertinence; you came here to watch the fighting!
And David replied, "What have I done now? I was only asking! Each time he asked he received the same answer as before. After a while word of this questioning boy was reported to Saul and Saul sent for him. The text doesn't tell us if any small talk occurred; all it says is that David said to Saul, "Let no man's courage fail him. I will fight that Philistine. David replied with strong words to the King.
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He said, "I have been tending my father's sheep, and if a lion or a bear carried off an animal from the flock, I would go after it and fight and rescue it from its mouth. And if it attacked me, I would seize it by the beard and strike it down and kill it. I have killed lions and bears and that uncircumcised Philistine shall end up like one of them, for he has defied the ranks of the living God. The Lord, who saved me from lion and bear, will also save me from that Philistine.
Could it be that the skills David learned as a shepherd fighting lions and bears had prepared him to fight Goliath? It's true he has learned how to kill and most likely used some sort of weapon, which might have been more than some of the men in Saul's volunteer army, but could he kill a giant? Saul must have been having a bad day, or he evinced but another sign of his inability to lead, because he permits David to represent his army, his nation.
Shouldn't he have considered the consequences? What would have happened if David had lost? Imagine how humiliated or terror stricken Saul must have been.
David, Goliath, and You?
For forty days and forty nights he failed to act and instead lived in fear, and now a young confident man approaches him and offers to perform an unimaginable act and he acquiesces. He clothed David with his own garments. He placed his bronze helmet on his head and fastened a breastplate on him.
He gave David his sword. And it was too much! David tried to walk but could barely move. Not being used to wearing any armor - let alone a full suit of armor - he could barely stand. Finally, he said to Saul, I am not used to wearing armor and can barely walk. So he took them off and took his stick and picked a few smooth stones from the wadi, placed them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag and, sling in hand, he went to meet Goliath. Meanwhile, Goliath and his shield-bearer began to approach David.
When he finally saw him, he looked at this handsome and ruddy boy and scornfully called out to David, "Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks? He cursed David by his Gods, and said, "All right boy, come here and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field. And David replied, "You come against me with a sword, spear and a javelin; but I approach you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied.
This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hands. I will kill you and cut off your head; and I will give "the carcasses" of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. All the earth shall know that there is a God in Israel. And the whole assembly shall know that the Lord can give victory without sword or spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and He will deliver you into our hands. Goliath drew closer to him and David turned to face him. He put his hand into the bag; took out a stone and slung it.
It struck and sank into Goliath's forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.