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Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah, the three eldest sons of Jesse, had followed Saul to this war; and their father sent David to them with some parched corn and bread, together with a present of cheeses to their commanding officer. David arrived at the trench as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle; and, having saluted his brethren, whilst he talked with them, Goliath came forth from the Philistine army, and repeated his impious defiance, according to his daily practice.
Not only were Saul and all the men of Israel dismayed, and greatly afraid, and fled from the giant, when they saw him; but even Jonathan, who had so lately performed the magnanimous deed before related, and who, it afterwards appears, was certainly present, did not discover any inclination to accept the challenge.
Upon David, however, the giant's insult produced a different effect; for when he saw the men of Israel affrighted and flying before him, he inquired, 66 what shall be done to the man who killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him, it shall be that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.”
Eliab having heard the speech of David, and from which he collected he was about to offer to meet the giant, was filled with envy and self-reproach, and with great unkindness said, “ why camest thou down hither, and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness ? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thy heart; for thou art come down, that thou mightest see the battle.” Nothing could be more unjust than this reproof; for Eliab could not but know from the present and message he had received from his
father, Jesse, that it was by his express command his youngest brother had come to the camp. David, however, discovered no resentment; but merely replied, “ what have I done now? Is there not a cause ?” Should not every Israelite feel a holy indignation, to hear an uncircumcised Philistine defy the armies of the living God? And ought not some Israelite to step forward and venture his life, to wipe away his reproach?
In consequence of similar remarks to other persons in the army, Saul became at length acquainted with them, and sent for David, who immediately addressed the monarch,“ let no man's beart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, thou art not able to go against this Philistine, to fight with him; for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." To whom David made this beautiful reply, replete alike with manly courage and pious faith, “ thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. The Lord that 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. And Saul said unto David, go, and the Lord be with thee."'*
Here again we must remark how this action of patriotism and self-devotion for his country's good would have been extolled, if, like those of the Decii and the Horatii, it had been found in the annals of paganism; but because it was
* 1 Sam. xvii. 3437.
performed by one of the Bible worthies, it is treated with comparative neglect and contempt.
Another remark suggests itself: one can hardly imagine what must have been the feelings of the Israelitish officers and captains, that could allow such a youth thus to expose himself to the rage and fury of the giant, whilst they stood at a distance in security; and more especially of Saul himself, who, we are informed, was taller by the head than all his brethren, and probably than all his own army, and therefore the fittest person, both in stature and dignity, to accept the challenge: we say we cannot easily imagine what his feelings must be, whilst buckling his armour on to David.
Saul would have had David wear his own armour; but as the latter had not, at this period, been accustomed to wear any, he found it cumbersome, and probably it prevented him from using bis limbs with sufficient activity ; he therefore laid it aside, and proceeded to meet Goliath with his staff and a sling, and five small stones, * a mode of offence, in which he was most likely well skilled.
When the Philistine saw David, who was a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance, approaching, he disdained him, and exclaimed in a rage, am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves ? Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. But David replied to the Philistine, “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 mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air,
• The brook whence David fetched the stones is still seen. Wilson's
Travels in the Holy Land, i. 190.
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."*
David having slain the Philistine, by smiting him in the head with a stone out of his sling, ran and stood upon him, and cut off his head with his own sword; upon which the Philistines fled, and thereupon the men of Israel and of Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines until the valley and gates of Ekron, and the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem.t
Saul, it appears, either from the difference in his dress, or from the effects of the disease to cure which, by playing on the harp, David had formerly been sent for, had forgotten him ; for he inquired whose stripling he was, but Abner, the captain of the host, could not tell him. And upon being presented to Saul, with the head of Goliath in his hand, he said, whose son art thou, young man ? when David replied, I am the son of thy servant, Jesse, the Bethlehemite.
Upon this occasion it was, that the friendship was conceived between David and Jonathan, which, in the sequel of their story, affords so many touching and pathetic incidents. For when David had made an end of speaking unto Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul; and Saul took David that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved
• 1 Sam. xvii. 45–47.
+ Burder, O. L. 443. 1 Unless, as suggested in p. 20, there is some anticipation of
events. Gray's Key, 173
him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. *
An occurrence took place, however, as the army was returning from this victory over the Philistines, which laid the foundation for that enmity against David, on the part of Saul, which no fidelity, no forbearance, no integrity, on the part of the former, could ever eradicate. The women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one to another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten housands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, they have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.t
On the morrow, the evil spirit again attacked Saul, and David, as at other times, played on his harp to relieve him ; but under the influence of the envious feeling excited by the singing of the women, Saul attempted David's life, by throwing his javelin at him twice, which he was enabled to avoid.
Excited alike by fear and jealousy, Saul removed David from immediate attendance on his person, and appointed him captain over a thousand men, and in this situation he behaved himself wisely in all his ways, wherefore Saul was afraid of him ; but all Israel and Judah loved him.
The reward held out to the champion who should vanquislı
* | Sam. xviii. 2-5.
+ 1 Sain, xviii. 6-9.