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DAVID staid with Saul until they again made war with the Philistines, when the king went to lead his troops, and David was sent back to keep his father's sheep; for his three eldest brothers had joined the battle.
The armies met front to front: the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel on a mountain on the other side, and there was a valley between them: then a giant, named Goliath of Gath, came towards Israel, from the army of the Philistines, and told them to send out a man to fight with him, saying, If he be able to fight with me, and kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I kill him, then ye shall serve us: I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
When Israel heard these words, they were greatly afraid, for they had not a man whom they dared to send out as a match for this proud Philistine, who was
more than nine feet high, with an helmet of brass on his head, armed with a coat of mail; the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam, and one bearing a shield went before him : thus he drew near to them, and presented himself, morning and evening, for forty days.
One morning Jesse sent his son David with some corn and loaves to the camp, which he reached just as they were going forth to the fight, for Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in order, army against army; and, as he talked with his brothers, behold the great Goliath came out from the Philistines, and spoke as he had done before, and David heard him; and all the men of Israel were sore afraid, and fled. Then David asked what should be done to him who should kill this man, and take the shame from Israel; for who is he that he should defy the armies of the living God? and it was told him, that to the man who should kill him the king would give great riches, and would also give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel. When David's elder brother heard what he said to the men, he was angry, and asked him how he came there, and with whom he had left his sheep in the wilderness? But it was told Saul that he was in the camp, and what he had said, and he sent for him. When he came before the king, David offered himself to fight with the Philistine; but Saul said, “ Thou art not able to fight with this man, for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” Then David told the king, that once, whilst keeping his father's sheep, a lion and a bear ran into his flock and took away a lamb, saying, “Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear; and this Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing that he hath defied the armies of the living God; and 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 said, “Go, and the Lord be with thee." The king would have armed him with a helmet and a coat of mail, and also a sword; but David said, “I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them;" and he put them off, took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones out of the brook, put them in his shepherd's bag, took his sling in his hand, and went towards the Philistine.
Now cannot you picture to yourselves the scene about to take place? fancy the
two armies standing each on a high mountain face to face, all eagerly looking down towards the lovely valley which lay between them, and which was soon to become the scene of defeat to one side or the other: think how closely they would watch every action of these two men, who were to fight for them; with what pride and joy would the Philistines trust their victory with the mighty Goliath, who went out armed from head to foot, with a man bearing a shield before him, and looking as if one blow from his arm alone would stretch his foe at his feet: yet against this proud and terrible man came the young shepherd boy of Israel, armed with no earthly weapon but a sling and stone; but the God of Israel was with him, in whose name David trusted, and feared not.
When the Philistine saw David, he thought but little of him, for he was but a youth, and said unto him, "am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves: come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” Then said David, “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 de
fied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine 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."
Then Goliath came forward to meet David, and David ran toward the Philistine, took a stone from his bag, put it into his sling, and aimed with so true an aim that the stone sunk into the giant's forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth. Then David ran and stood upon the Philistine, and as he had no sword of his own, he took Goliath's, and cut off his head. When the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled; the men of Israel arose, shouted, and pursued them; and David carried the head of the giant to Saul, who took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.