By Kerwin Holmes, Jr.
Sometimes, you just gotta go beast mode. And sometimes, hey, haters gonna hate.
So David is up to fight Goliath, and boy is Goliath excited. I mean, David is excited too, which is why he even forgot to take a sword out to battle. But man, I would say that second on that list is Goliath, who just now sees this young warrior, perhaps one of the younger warriors that he is used to flaying in half on the battlefield, walking up out of the technologically inferior army of Israel (remember that during Saul’s first few battles, the Israelites didn’t even have real weapons to go to war with).
From there, we go down “the list of the most enthused” through the various other warriors and nobles present starting with perhaps the king of the Philistines if he was there down to “the list of the utterly dismayed”. Now, topping that list no doubt was Eliab, David’s eldest brother, as he no doubt was sure that he was seeing the last moments of his fiery baby brother before him– and at the sanction of his king no less! Depending on their personal trust and love for their baby brother, Abinadab and Shammah follow after Eliab. After them in hard fourth may have been King Saul because, aside from the fact that David’s recent actions of going to a brook for stones and rushing out to meet the huge Philistine hero assured King Saul that his goose was as good as cooked, Saul now had to think of a way to convince another one of his warriors to fight against Goliath should his challenge be repeated. And he hadn’t had much success doing that the first time.
I’m a stickler for sticky situations and awkward moments of human frailty and tension– even sometimes for my own. And man, this moment right here just has me sitting all tickled inside as I lean forward chewing on my popcorn.
Ahem, to continue…
Now, Goliath sees what he has long been waiting for– the Israelite hero who he would face off against in a brutal battle symbolizing the might of both nations– and Goliath fully expects that he himself will be the victorious one. After all, after waiting around for 40 days waiting for Israel to send up anyone, and now he sees his victim…
a rather young pretty-boy warrior who happens to be in good physical shape.
Worse than this, where is David’s armor?
Of course, you may know this part but now hopefully with this imagery it makes more sense:
Goliath: Bro, what’s the deal? Do you think that I am a dog man? Seriously? What is the stick for? (Insert various swears and curses at David in the name of the Philistine gods.) Fine then, come on and let me feed your corpse to the birds and beasts. Let’s wrap this up.
David: Hold there fair sir!
Nah…I’m just playing with you.
David: Hold up. Look, you have a spear, a sword, and a javelin
…(at this point David probably begins to realize that he could have done a little bit better planning, let’s be honest)…
David: …but I am coming in the name of Yahweh, the God of all and armies of Israel. The One who you are disrespecting. And I’m going to tell you what I am going to do. In a little bit you will be dead, and I will chop of your head. And it will be your corpse and those of this entire Philistine army that I will feed to the birds and the beasts so that the entire world will know that there is a real God in Israel! And you know what else?
…(it is here that perhaps God begins to reassure David in the midst of his epic blunder because God is very good at situations)…
David: You know what? It will happen also to show everyone here in Israel’s forces as well that God does not use swords or spears to deliver His people…but He does what He wants when He wants to do it. He will give you into our hands!
Now, I totally just did embellish the narrative’s account of the dialogue as told in 1 Samuel 17, so I encourage you to go read it for yourself.
So then…the two start racing toward one another in maybe an almost Brad Pitt/Achilles vs Eric Bana/Hector manner. But…while Goliath did have a huge spear, he decided not to throw it but kept pace to reach David with the spear in hand…
but on the other hand…
David reaches into his pouch while running, arms his sling with a stone, and hurls that rock with all of his might and momentum at Goliath. I mean, honestly, with just a staff besides that, this was the most tactful thing to do.
God of course uses this effort of David’s skill, a skill that God has been cultivating in David during his entire life, along with his unwavering trust in Yahweh, and the stone hits Goliath spot on in order to kill Goliath upon impact– right inside his forehead. Goliath’s momentum as he was running forward causes him to fall face flat on the ground on the field.
And here we get the comical relief of sorts that points to the fact that God works even in our mishaps to cause His own will to become accomplished:
50 David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone. Even though David had no sword, he struck down the Philistine and killed him. -1 Samuel 17:50
David was a true warrior, a brash young man, and a man of godly trust.
But he wasn’t a fool to make a mistake twice.
As soon as Goliath was down, David ran up to the Philistine warrior, drew out Goliath’s own sword, (probably removed Goliath’s helmet), and chopped off Goliath’s head in order to seal the deal.
And there it was for all the world to see. The averagely strong young man had taken down the extraordinarily capable and experienced hero of Philistia…and now stood over his armored corpse.
With a flipping staff in his hand, and the warrior’s head in the other.
Speechless. Utter and sudden speechlessness.