Page images


and pitched their camp on a mountain at Shochoh, and the men of Israel camped on the opposite mountain. The Philistines had in their army a giant, called Goliath, whose height was six cubits and a span, about nine feet by our measure. He was a very terrible warrior, wearing a helmet of brass, and a coat of mail which weighed five thousand shekels. He had greaves of brass on his legs, and a target of brass on his shoulders; the staff of his

spear was like a weaver's beam, and its head weighed six hundred shekels of iron.

This formidable man went out into the valley that lay between the two camps, and gave himself out as the Philistines' champion. He defied the armies of Israel, and asked them to send a man to fight with him, and let which ever side won the day, remain conquerors, and the other people serve them.

Saul and all the people were very much afraid, knowing that there was none among them at all equal to Goliath in height or strength. For forty days the Philistine soldier came forth every morning and evening, and defied the armies of Israel, but no one dared to accept the challenge.

It seems that David had gone back to Beth

lehem to his old charge, and was once more tending his father's sheep, far away from courts and armies. But his three elder brothers were all soldiers in Saul's army, and one day Jesse bid his youngest son go to the camp with some provisions for his brothers, and a present of cheeses to their captain, and bring back word how they fared. So David left the sheep with å keeper, and very early the next morning he went to the camp, and arrived there just as the armies were all in array for fighting, and shouting for battle. David left his carriage, and went in among the troops to find his brothers, and while he talked with them, the champion Goliath came forth from the Philistines' ranks, and defied all Israel. The people were very sore afraid, and they talked to David and said, “Have ye seen this man that is come up ? surely to defy Israel is he come up; and it shall be that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and will make his father's house free in Israel."

David asked if indeed all this reward was to be for the man that took away the reproach of Israel ? and in his zeal for his countrymen, he asked, “ Who is this uncircumcised Philistine,

that he should defy the armies of the Living GOD ?" Now David's elder brother, Eliab,

” heard him talking thus, and he was angry, and reproached David with forsaking his duties at home, and coming to the camp only out of idle curiosity. David answered gently, but he still went on asking about Goliath, and speaking boldly about this dreaded foe. Some of those about told Saul what David said, and the king sent for him. Then David, guided by the Spirit of God, which had come upon him at his anointing, said out plainly, “Let no man's heart fail because of Goliath, thy servant will go and fight this Philistine."

Saul replied, that a slight untrained youth like David was unfit to go and fight against this champion, who had been a soldier from his youth. But David felt that he was not going forth in his own strength, and he still said that he would go forth and fight. He told Saul what he had already done as a proof of strength. Thy servant kept his father's, sheep,” he said, “and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock. And I went out after him and smote him, and de. livered it out of his mouth ; and when he arose against me, I caught him by the beard, and



smote him and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing

, be hath defied the armies of the Living God.”

Perhaps Saul told him that this Philistine was a more dangerous enemy even than those wild beasts, for David answered him, “The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine."

Then Saul withstood David no more, but saying, “Go, and the Lord be with thee,” he armed him with a coat of mail, and brazen helmet, and full armour. But when· David prepared to go, he turned and said, “I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them.' So he put off the armour, and only took his staff and his shepherd's bag or scrip, into which he put five smooth stones out of the brook. In all this David was guided by God's HOLY SPIRIT, who would once again prove to the children of Israel that He could save by few as well as by many, and that no man could withstand those in whom His strength went forth.

Then the champion Goliath came forth as usual, his shield-bearer going before him. He

was very much surprised to see a mere boy, with a fair, bright young face, come out against him, not even clad in armour; and in his pride of strength, the Philistine despised David, and said scornfully, “ Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves ?” In his anger Goliath

? cursed David by his heathen gods, and said, mocking, “Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the field.”

David was not terrified at the threat, and he answered the Philistine giant, in the strength of God's Holy Spirit, which was upon him, boldly. “Thou comest to me with a sword, , and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the Name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, Whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee, and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel; and all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear, for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."



« PreviousContinue »