THE SHEPHERD BOY'S FIGHT WITH THE GIANT
I Samuel xvii: 1 to 54.
LL through the reign of Saul there was constant war with
the Philistines, who lived upon the lowlands west of
Israel. At one time, when David was still with his
sheep, a few years after he had been anointed by
Samuel, the camp of the Philistines and the Israelites
were set against each other on opposite sides of the
valley of Elah ready to fight each other. In the army
of Israel were the three oldest brothers of David, who
were soldiers under King Saul.
Every day a giant came out of the camp of the
Philistines, and dared some one to come from the
Israelites' camp and fight with him. The giant's name
was Goliath. He was nine feet high; and he wore armor
from head to foot, and carried a spear twice as long
and as heavy as any other man could hold; and his
shield-bearer walked before him. He came every day and
called out across the little valley:
"I am a Philistine, and you are servants of Saul. Now
choose one of your men, and let him come out and fight
with me. If I kill him, then you shall submit to us;
and if he kills me, then we will give up to you. Come,
now, send out your man!"
But no man in the army, not even King Saul, dared to go
out and fight with the giant. The Israelites were
mostly farmers and shepherds, and were not fond of war,
as were the Philistines. Then, too, very few of the
Israelites had swords and spears, except such rude
weapons as they could make out of their farming tools.
Forty days the camps stood against each other, and the
Philistine giant continued his call.
One day old Jesse, the father of David, sent David from
Bethlehem to visit his three brothers in the army.
David came, spoke to his brothers, and gave them a
present from his father. While
 he was talking with them, Goliath, the giant, came out
as before in front of the camp, calling for some one to
fight with him.
The Israelites said to one another, "If any man will go
out and kill this Philistine, the king will give him a
great reward and a high rank; and the kings' daughter
shall be his wife."
And David said, "Who is this man that speaks in this
proud manner against the armies of the living God? Why
does not some one go out and kill him?"
David's brother Eliab said to him, "What are you doing
here, leaving your sheep in the field? I know that you
have come down just to see the battle."
But David did not care for his brother's angry words.
He was thinking out some way to kill this boasting
giant. While all the men were in terror, this boy
thought of a plan. He believed that he knew how to
bring down the big warrior, with all his armor.
Finally, David said:
"If no one else will go, I will go out and fight with
this enemy of the Lord's people."
They brought David before King Saul. Some years had
passed since Saul had met David, and he had grown from
a boy to a man, so that Saul did not know him as the
shepherd who had played on the harp before him in other
Saul said to David, "You cannot fight with this giant.
You are very young; and he is a man of war, trained
from his youth."
And David answered King Saul, "I am only a shepherd,
but I have fought with lions and bears, when they have
tried to steal my sheep. And I am not afraid to fight
with this Philistine. The Lord saved me from the lion's
jaw and the bear's paw, and he will save me from this
enemy, for I shall fight for the Lord and his people."
Then Saul put his own armor on David, a helmet on his
head, and a coat of mail on his body, and a sword at
his waist. But Saul was almost a giant, and his armor
was far too large for David. David said:
"I am not used to fighting with such weapons as these.
Let me fight in my own way."
So David took off Saul's armor; for David's plan to
fight the giant did not need an armor, but did need a
quick eye, a clear head, a sure aim, and a bold heart;
and all these David had, for God had given them to him.
David's plan was very wise. It was to make
 Goliath think that his enemy was too weak for him to be
on his guard against him; and while so far away that
the giant could not reach him with sword or spear, to
strike him down with a weapon which the giant would not
expect, and would not be prepared for.
David took his shepherd's staff in his hand, as though
that were to be his weapon. But out of sight, in a bag
under his mantle, he had five smooth stones carefully
chosen, and a sling,—the weapon he knew how to use.
Then he came out to meet the Philistine. The giant
looked down on the youth and despised him, and laughed
 "Am I a dog," he said, "that this boy comes to me with
a staff! I will give his body to the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field."
And the Philistine cursed David by the gods of his
people. And David answered him:
"You come against me with a sword and a spear and a
dart; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of
hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. This day will
the Lord give you into my hand; I will strike you down,
and take off your head; and the host of the Philistines
shall be dead bodies, to be eaten by the birds and the
beasts; so that all may know that there is a God in
Israel, and that he can save in other ways besides with
sword and spear."
And David ran toward the Philistine, as if to fight him
with his shepherd's staff. But when he was just near enough
for a good aim he took out his sling, and hurled a
stone aimed at the giant's forehead. David's aim was
good, the stone struck the Philistine in his forehead.
It stunned him, and he fell to the ground.
DAVID RUNNING TO MEET GOLIATH
While the two armies stood wondering, and scarcely
knowing what had caused the giant to fall so suddenly,
David ran forward, drew out the giant's own sword, and
cut off his head.
Then the Philistines knew that their great warrior in
whom they trusted was dead. They turned to fly back to
their own land; and the Israelites followed after them,
and killed them by the hundred and thousand, even to
the gates of their own city of Gath.
So in that day David won a great victory; and stood
before all the land as the one who had saved his people
from their enemies.