Story Five

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 4
THE SHEPHERD BOY'S FIGHT WITH THE GIANT
ALL through the reign of Saul there was constant war with the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝, who lived upon the lowlands west of Ĭś̝ ra-el. At one time, when Dā́ vid was still with his sheep, a few years after he had been anointed by Săḿ u-el, the camp of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ and the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes were set against each other on opposite sides of the valley of Ḗ lah ready to fight each other. In the army of Ĭś̝ ra-el were the three oldest brothers of Dā́ vid, who were soldiers under King Sa̤ul.
Every day a giant came out of the camp of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝, and dared someone to come from the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes' camp and fight with him. The giant's name was Gō̇-lī́ ath. 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 Phĭ-lĭś tĭne, and you are servants of Sa̤ul. 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 Sa̤ul, dared to go out and fight with the giant. The Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes were mostly farmers and shepherds, and were not fond of war, as were the Phĭ-lĭś tĭne. Then, too, very few of the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes 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 Phĭ-lĭś tĭne giant continued his call.
One day old Jĕś se, the father of Dā́ vid, sent Dā́ vid from Bĕth=lĕ-hĕm to visit his three brothers in the army. Dā́ vid came, spoke to his brothers, and gave them a present from his father.
While he was talking with them, Gō̇-lī́ ath, the giant, came out as before in front of the camp, calling for someone to fight with him.
The Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes said to one another, "If any man will go out and kill this Phĭ-lĭś tĭne, the king will give him a great reward and a high rank; and the king's daughter shall be his wife.”
And Dā́ vid said, "Who is this man that speaks in this proud manner against the armies of the living God? Why does not someone go out and kill him?”
Dā́ vid's brother Ē̇lī́ ab 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 Dā́ vid 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, Dā́ vid said:
"If no one else will go, I will go out and fight with this enemy of the Lord's people.”
They brought Dā́ vid before King Sa̤ul. Some years had passed since Sa̤ul had met Dā́ vid, and he had grown from a boy to a man, so that Sa̤ul did not know him as the shepherd who had played on the harp before him in other days.
Sa̤ul said to Dā́ vid, "You cannot fight with this giant. You are very young; and he is a man of war, trained from his youth.”
And Dā́ vid answered King Sa̤ul, "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 Phĭ-lĭś tĭne. 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 Sa̤ul put his own armor on Dā́ vid, a helmet on his head, and a coat of mail on his body, and a sword at his waist. But Sa̤ul was almost a giant, and his armor was far too large for Dā́ vid. Dā́ vid said:
"I am not used to fighting with such weapons as these. Let me fight in my own way.”
So Dā́ vid took off Sa̤ul's armor; for Dá̤ vid'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 Dā́ vid had, for God had given them to him. Dā́ vid's plan was very wise. It was to make Gō̇˗lī́ ath 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 Dā́ vid 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 Phĭ-lĭś tĭne. The giant looked down on the youth and despised him, and laughed at him.
"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 Phĭ-lĭś tĭne cursed Dā́ vid by the gods of his people And Dā́ vid 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 Ĭś̝ ra-el. This day will the Lord give you into my hand; I will strike you down, and take off your head; and the hosts of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ shall be dead bodies, to be eaten by the birds and the beasts; so that all may know that there is a God in Īś̝ ra-el, and that he can save in other ways besides with sword and spear.”
And Dā́ vid ran toward the Phĭ-lĭś tĭne, 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. Dā́ vid's aim was good, the stone struck the Phĭ-lĭś tĭne in his forehead. It stunned him, and he fell to the ground.
While the two armies stood wondering, and scarcely knowing what had caused the giant to fall so suddenly, Dā́ vid ran forward, drew out the giant's own sword, and cut off his head.
Then the Phĭ-lĭś tĭne knew that their great warrior in whom they trusted was dead. They turned to fly back to their own land; and the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes 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 Dā́ vid won a great victory; and stood before all the land as the one who had saved his people from their enemies.
Lesson 24. The Boy David.
(Tell Stories 4 and 5 in Part Third.)
1. To what place did God send Samuel to find a king in the place of Saul? To Bethlehem.
2. Whom did God show to Samuel at Bethlehem, as the one whom he had chosen? A boy named David.
3. Whose son was David? The son of an old man named Jesse.
4. What was David at this time? He was a shepherd.
5. What did Samuel do, to show that David was to be king? He poured oil on his head.
6. What did David do while caring for his sheep? He made music on his harp.
7. Who sent for David to play before him? King Saul.
8. With what people were the Israelites at war most of the time while Saul was king? The Philistines.
9. What Pristine dared the Israelites to choose a man to fight with him? A giant named Goliath.
10. Who fought the giant and killed him? The boy David.
11. With what did David fight the giant? With a sling and stone.