David’s Victory Over Goliath
Once, during the reign of Saul, a battle took place between the Israelites and the Philistines. When the forces attacked each other a giant by the name of Goliath appeared from the Philistine camp. He shouted to the Israelites, “Why are ye come forth to set yourselves in battle array against us? Choose for yourselves a man, and let him come down to me. And if he will be able to fight against me and shall smite me, then we will be your servants, but if I should prevail and smite him, ye shall be our servants, and serve us” (I Sam. 17:8-9). For forty days, in the morning and the evening, this giant appeared and laughed at the Israelites, reviling the army of the living God. King Saul promised a huge reward to anyone who could defeat Goliath, but no one of the Israelites was of a mind to set himself against the giant.
At this time David came to the Israelites’ camp to visit his older brothers and brought them food from their father. Having heard what Goliath said, David volunteered to fight with this giant and asked the King to give him permission.
But Saul said to him, “Thou art a mere youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
David replied, “Thy servant was tending the flock for his father, and when a lion came and a she-bear and took a sheep out of the flock, then I went forth after him and smote him and drew the spoil out of his mouth. And as he rose up against me, then I caught hold of his throat, and smote him and slew him. The Lord Who 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 uncircumcised Philistine.”
Saul agreed and said, “Go, and the Lord be with thee.”
David placed five smooth stones in his shepherd’s bag, took a sling, and went out against Goliath. Goliath looked at David, who was very young, with contempt, and mockingly said, “Am I as a dog, that thou comest against me with a stick and stones?”
David replied, “Thou comest to me with sword and with spear and with shield, but I come to thee in the name of the Lord God of hosts, of the army of Israel which thou hast defied this day. And the Lord shall deliver thee this day into my hand… and all the earth shall know that there is a God in Israel” (I Sam. 17:45).
When Goliath began to approach, David ran to meet him, laid a stone in the sling and hurled it at the giant. The stone hit him right on the forehead, and Goliath fell senseless to the ground. David ran up to Goliath, took Goliath’s own sword and with his own weapon cut off his head. When they saw this, the Philistines, terror-stricken, took to their heels and the Israelites chased them to the very gates of their cities and killed many. Saul made David the military leader. Then he gave his daughter to him in marriage.
When Saul and David returned victorious, the Israelite women came out to meet them singing and dancing, and they cried, “Saul has smitten his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” This was unpleasant for King Saul. He began to envy David’s glory and pondered on killing him. David withdrew to the desert and hid from Saul until his death.
Note: See I Samuel, chaps. 16-31.
(from: The Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)