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Contents > Author > Sara Cone Bryant > David and Goliath 1873- Unknown
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Sara Cone Bryant
David and Goliath
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[From the text of the King James version of the Old
Testament, with introduction and slight interpolations, changes
of order, and omissions.]

A long time ago, there was a boy named
David, who lived in a country far east of
this. He was good to look upon, for he
had fair hair and a ruddy skin; and he
was very strong and brave and modest.
He was shepherd-boy for his father, and
all day--often all night--he was out in
the fields, far from home, watching over
the sheep. He had to guard them from
wild animals, and lead them to the right
pastures, and care for them.

By and by, war broke out between the
people of David's country and a people
that lived near at hand; these men were
called Philistines, and the people of David's
country were named Israel. All the strong
men of Israel went up to the battle, to
fight for their king. David's three older
brothers went, but he was only a boy, so
he was left behind to care for the sheep.

After the brothers had been gone some
time, David's father longed very much to
hear from them, and to know if they were
safe; so he sent for David, from the fields,
and said to him, "Take now for thy brothers
an ephah of this parched corn, and
these ten loaves, and run to the camp,
where thy brothers are; and carry these
ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand,
and see how thy brothers fare, and bring
me word again." (An ephah is about three

David rose early in the morning, and
left the sheep with a keeper, and took the
corn and the loaves and the cheeses, as his
father had commanded him, and went to
the camp of Israel.

The camp was on a mountain; Israel
stood on a mountain on the one side, and
the Philistines stood on a mountain on the
other side; and there was a valley between
them. David came to the place where the
Israelites were, just as the host was going
forth to the fight, shouting for the battle.
So he left his gifts in the hands of the keeper
of the baggage, and ran into the army,
amongst the soldiers, to find his brothers.
When he found them, he saluted them and
began to talk with them.

But while he was asking them the
questions his father had commanded, there
arose a great shouting and tumult among
the Israelites, and men came running back
from the front line of battle; everything
became confusion. David looked to see
what the trouble was, and he saw a strange
sight: on the hillside of the Philistines, a
warrior was striding forward, calling out
something in a taunting voice; he was a
gigantic man, the largest David had ever
seen, and he was all dressed in armor,
that shone in the sun: he had a helmet of
brass upon his head, and he was armed
with a coat of mail, and he had greaves of
brass upon his legs, and a target of brass
between his shoulders; his spear was so
tremendous that the staff of it was like a
weaver's beam, and his shield so great that
a man went before him, to carry it.

"Who is that?" asked David.

"It is Goliath, of Gath, champion of
the Philistines," said the soldiers about.
"Every day, for forty days, he has come
forth, so, and challenged us to send a man
against him, in single combat; and since
no one dares to go out against him alone,
the armies cannot fight." (That was one
of the laws of warfare in those times.)

"What!" said David, "does none dare
go out against him?"

As he spoke, the giant stood still, on
the hillside opposite the Israelitish host,
and shouted his challenge, scornfully. He
said, "Why are ye come out to set your
battle in array? Am I not a Philistine,
and ye servants of Saul? Choose you a
man for you, and let him come down
to me. If he be able to fight with me,
and to kill me, then will we be your
servants; but if I prevail against him, and
kill him, then shall ye be our servants,
and serve us. I defy the armies of Israel
this day; give me a man, that we may
fight together!"

When King Saul heard these words, he
was dismayed, and all the men of Israel,
when they saw the man, fled from him
and were sore afraid. David heard them
talking among themselves, whispering and
murmuring. They were saying, "Have ye
seen this man that is come up? Surely
if any one killeth him that man will the
king make rich; perhaps he will give him
his daughter in marriage, and make his
family free in Israel!"

David heard this, and he asked the men
if it were so. It was surely so, they said.

"But," said David, "who is this Philistine,
that he should defy the armies of
the living God?" And he was stirred with

Very soon, some of the officers told the
king about the youth who was asking so
many questions, and who said that a mere
Philistine should not be let defy the armies
of the living God. Immediately Saul sent
for him. When David came before Saul,
he said to the king, "Let no man's heart
fail because of him; thy servant will go and
fight with this Philistine."

But Saul looked at David, and said,
"Thou art not able to go against this
Philistine, to fight with him, for thou art but a
youth, and he has been a man of war from
his youth."

Then David said to Saul, "Once I was
keeping my father's sheep, and there came
a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of
the flock; and I went out after the lion,
and struck him, and delivered the lamb
out of his mouth, and when he arose against
me, I caught him by the beard, and struck
him, and slew him! Thy servant slew both
the lion and the bear; and this Philistine
shall be as one of them, for he hath defied
the armies of the living God. 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 Philistine."

"Go," said Saul, "and the Lord be with

And he armed David with his own armor,
--he put a helmet of brass upon his head,
and armed him with a coat of mail. But
when David girded his sword upon his
armor, and tried to walk, he said to Saul,
"I cannot go with these, for I am not
used to them." And he put them off.

Then he took his staff in his hand and
went and chose five smooth stones out of
the brook, and put them in a shepherd's
bag which he had; and his sling was in his
hand; and he went out and drew near to
the Philistine.

And the Philistine came on and drew
near to David; and the man that bore his
shield went before him. And when the
Philistine looked about and saw David, he
disdained him, for David was but a boy,
and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And
he said to David, "Am I a dog, that thou
comest to me with a cudgel?" And with
curses he cried out again, "Come to me,
and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of
the air, and to the beasts of the field."

But David looked at him, and answered,
"Thou comest to me with a sword, and
with a spear, and with a shield; but I come
to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel, whom
thou hast defied. This day will the Lord
deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite
thee, and take thy head from thee, and I
will give the carcasses of the host of the
Philistines this day unto the fowls of the
air, and to the wild beasts of the earth,
that all the earth may know that there is a
God in Israel! And all this assembly shall
know that the Lord saveth not with sword
and spear; for the battle is the Lord's,
and he will give you into our hands."

And then, when the Philistine arose,
and came, and drew nigh to meet David,
David hasted, and ran toward the army
to meet the Philistine. And when he was
a little way from him, he put his hand in
his bag, and took thence a stone, and put
it in his sling, and slung it, and smote the
Philistine in the forehead, so that the stone
sank into his forehead; and he fell on his
face to the earth.

And David ran, and stood upon the
Philistine, and took his sword, and drew
it out of its sheath, and slew him with it.

Then, when the Philistines saw that their
champion was dead, they fled. But the
army of Israel pursued them, and victory
was with the men of Israel.

And after the battle, David was taken
to the king's tent, and made a captain over
many men; and he went no more to his
father's house, to herd the sheep, but became
a man, in the king's service.


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