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DAVID AND GOLIATH
David burst through the door of his father’s house. “Father!” he cried. “Wait until you hear the
news! King Saul and his daughter Michal were so impressed with my harp playing that I was offered the princess’ hand in marriage.”
“What?” his father exclaimed. “David, you’ve fallen asleep with your flock again.”
“No, Father, really! He said he is going to make me his son-in-law. I am to return to him in the morning.”
His father reached out his hand to David’s forehead to check for a fever.
“It’s true!” said David. “He also said that my father’s house would be forever exempt from taxes.”
“I had a dream just like that”, his father said. “Come, boy. Have something to eat. This heat is having an effect on you.”
During dinner, David prattled on non-stop about how he charmed both the king and his daughter with his harp.
“Very nice, dear”, his mother said, unconvinced.
“You are insolent”, his father said.
“That’s just what Princess Michal said when I asked her name”, said David. “What does it mean?”
“It means you are bold and disrespectful”, said his father.
“I wonder why she would say something like that?” said David. “When I was called by the king to play my harp to sooth his troubled spirit, they both said I played beautifully.”
“And the king offered you his daughter?”
“Not right then”, said David. “This afternoon, the king called for an assembly of his soldiers; he had something important to tell them. I was standing in the back, so I didn’t hear what he was saying. But I could tell that he was troubled, so I decided to go fetch my harp and be ready to offer my services.”
“Did you see your brothers there?” said his mother.
“I saw Eliab”, said David, “but not the other two. He was too far away to see me.”
“Well, if you see them again, send them my love.”
“I try to avoid them because they tease me about being too young to join the army. They think I’ll never be anything more than a shepherd boy.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being a shepherd”, said his father.
“Anyway”, David said, changing the subject, “by the time I got my harp and returned to the king, all the soldiers were gone. He looked very upset, so I went up to him and said ‘Here I am!’ And guess who was there…Princess Michal! When she saw me, she smiled and clapped her hands with glee.”
“Oh, Father” she said, “Isn’t David wonderful?”
“That’s when the king said I was insolent”, said David. “Father, are you sure that’s what it means?”
“ What happened after that?” said his father.
“The king said that I was insolent, but that I was the only one to come forward. He turned to me and said he would give me riches as well as his daughter’s hand in marriage; that I shall become his son-in-law, and that my father’s house shall henceforth be exempt from taxes.”
“Are you sure he was talking to you?” said his father.
“He must have been”, said David. “There was nobody else there.”
“What else did he say, dear?” asked his mother.
“Just that I should go home to my parents and make my peace with them, and return to him in the morning. I wonder what he meant by that?”
“Son”, his father said, “What if he plans to enlist you in his army? You could be killed.”
“Oh, Father” David laughed. He won’t send his own son-in-law into battle. Besides, I’m sure Princess Michal wouldn’t hear of it. She loves me, you know.”
“So you’ve said”, said his father.
“Over and over again”, said his mother.
David was so persistent throughout the evening that his parents were beginning to believe the strange tale. The next morning, David was up early. He said his farewells to his parents, took his staff and sling, and went back to the camp.
Shortly after he departed, his brother Eliab burst breathlessly through the door. “Father!” he said. I came as quickly as I could. There is news about David.”
“Yes, we heard”, said his father. “He left this morning. Is it true then?”
“Indeed”, said his brother, sadly. “I’m trying to find him, to talk him out of it.”
“Why would you want to do a foolish thing like that?” his father said. He wagged a finger at him. “You’re just jealous that you’re not in his shoes.”
“I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes”, replied his brother.
That surprised his father. “Is she that ugly?” he said.
“Who?” said Eliab, perplexed.
“The princess, of course”, said his father.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Eliab said.
“Are we talking about the same thing?” asked his father.
“I’m talking about David and Goliath”, Eliab said.
“The Philistine giant. He challenged our army to select a champion for a one-on-one duel to the death.
The king assembled our army and asked for a volunteer. After everyone departed, David presented himself to the king as the volunteer.”
“David didn’t say a word about it”, groaned his father. “He thinks the king is giving his daughter’s hand in marriage because of his skill with the harp.”
Eliab had to laugh. “His daughter is to be given to whomever slays Goliath. The fool must have been daydreaming during the meeting.”
“Go!” his father urged. “Find David and tell him. Stop this thing before it is too late!”
Eliab nodded and dashed out the door.
Meanwhile, David enjoyed a hero’s welcome when he entered the camp. Everyone began to chant, “Kill the beast! Kill the beast!”
“What’s happening?” David wondered. “What beast?” The crowd of soldiers gathered around him and slapped him on the back. “There must be a bear or a lion in the camp”, David thought. “I’ve killed both bear and lion and delivered the lambs from their mouths; this is my chance to show everyone that I am no mere youth.” He smiled. “Princess Michal will be so proud.”
He separated himself from the crowd and went to a nearby brook. He selected five smooth stones and put them in his shepherd’s bag. Then he knelt down and prayed that God would be with him and deliver the beast into his hands. After his prayer, he felt God’s spirit fill him with confidence and peace.
Then a servant appeared and summoned him to the king. They met at the top of the mountain, where the army was assembled.
“Where is this beast?” David asked the king.
“There, in the valley”, the king pointed. “What weapons and armor do you want? I’ll give you the best of what I have.”
“I have everything I need”, David said, patting his bag.
The king sighed. “Go, and bring me his head, and you shall have the hand of my daughter.”
“I’ll be right back”, David said. As he headed down the valley, his brother caught up with him.
“David”, his brother said, “call this thing off. You are no match for Goliath. That beast will kill you.”
The words hit him with such impact that he jumped. “Goliath?” he said. He looked in the center of the valley at the dark speck that awaited him. Sudden clarity filled his mind as he realized who ‘The Beast’ was. It was not a bear or a lion; it was Goliath, the giant.
“He doesn’t look that big to me”, said David.
“You are insolent”, said Eliab. You can’t go through with this.”
“I must”, said David. “The Lord God of Israel will be with me.” Against his brother’s further protests, he continued down the valley. The tiny speck became bigger and bigger with every step. Soon, he stood in front of the giant, though not face-to-face. He barely came up to his waist in height.
Goliath stood in full armor with a sword in his hand and a javelin on his back. He regarded David coolly. “Boy”, Goliath said, “where is the Israelite champion?”
“You’re looking at him”, David said.
Goliath burst out in laughter.
“Go home in peace”, said David, “or I shall be forced to kill you.”
Goliath laughed so hard, he had to lean on his sword to catch his breath.
“You come to me with a sword and a shield’, said David, “but I come to you with the Lord God of Israel.”
“You are insolent”, said the giant. Then Goliath made his fatal mistake. He cursed David’s God.
David backed up a few paces, his sling in his hand. He took a stone and slung it. It struck Goliath right in the forehead. He fell to the ground in a heap.
“Bring his head!” someone shouted from behind him. David had no sword, so he used Goliath’s own sword. Soon, he was back at the camp. The Philistines saw that their champion was dead, and feared David greatly, and fled. The Israelites whooped and hollered and pursued them until they were scattered.
David arrived at the king’s tent with the head. The king was surprised to see him. “What’s that?” the king asked.
“The head of Goliath”, said David.
“Where did you get it?” asked the king.
That struck David as funny, but the king seemed serious. “Well, Goliath didn’t just give it to me.”
“You are insolent”, the king said. He sent his servants to verify David’s story. They returned quickly and confirmed it. The king was dismayed, but had to keep his word. “You shall have my daughter’s hand in marriage”, he said. “Fetch Merob”, he told his servants.
“Who is Merob?” David asked.
“Why, my daughter, of course”, said the king.
“I thought Michal was your daughter”, said David.
“She is”, said the king. But Merob is older, so she must be married first.”
David had to think fast. “Your highness, I am a mere boy. I am not old enough to get married. I wish to wait until I mature more.”
The king heaved a great sigh of relief. With a smile he arose and slapped David on the back. “What wisdom and restraint you have”, he said, suddenly friendly. With your self-discipline you shall make a fine son-in-law someday… to somebody else, eh?”
David dropped his head. “I guess so”, he said sadly.
A servant returned and bowed to the king. “Sire, the man called Adriel the Meholathite begs to see you”, he said.
“Send him in”, the king said.” David was all but forgotten.
“Your highness”, said Adriel, “I come from a good family and I have served you well. Your daughter Merob and I love each other, and I ask for her hand in marriage.”
“You and your family are an asset to my kingdom”, the king agreed. “I grant unto you Merob in marriage.”
Overjoyed, Adriel bowed and left the tent.
David was jubilant. He followed Adriel’s example. “Your highness”, he said, “I come from a good family and I have served you well. Your daughter Michal and I love each other, and I ask for her hand in marriage.”
“I thought you said you were not old enough to get married”, said the king.
“I’ve matured a lot since then”, said David.
“You wouldn’t want Michal”, said the king.
“Oh, yes I would”, said David.
“She is insolent”, said the king.
“So am I”, David reminded him.
And so, Michal became David’s wife.