Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. — Cicero

Story of the Chosen People - Helene Guerber




David and Goliath

When Saul heard David firmly, yet modestly, assert his trust in the help of the Lord, he no longer dared oppose the youth; so he not only allowed David to go forth and fight, but even offered to lend him some costly armor, and helped him to put on the cuirass and helmet.

The young shepherd, however, was not used to the weight of arms, and he staggered and nearly fell when in full battle array. Seeing that such an outfit was not for him, David now said that he would rather meet the giant with nothing but his shepherdís staff and the sling which he handled with great skill.

After choosing a few smooth stones down by a brook, the boyish champion went boldly forth to meet the Philistine warrior, whose name was Goliath. This giant viewed Davidís approach with great scorn, and began to taunt him, but all his boasts were soon silenced by a swift stone from Davidís sling, which pierced his forehead and sank into his brain.

When Goliath fell, David sprang forward, and, seizing the giantís huge sword, used it to cut off his head. The Philistines, seeing that their champion warrior had fallen, turned and fled in sudden dismay; but they were soon pursued and slaughtered without mercy by the Israelite army.

Davidís courage and skill roused the admiration of all the nation, and even of Saulís daughter, whose hand was promised him in marriage in reward for his bravery. The marriage was not to take place at once, however, and in the mean while David was called upon to soothe the kingís outbursts of wrath by the sweet tones of his voice and harp.

At first Saul listened to his harper with delight, but little by little he grew jealous of the bright youth whom everybody praised. Soon he overheard the people exalting the young warrior, and saying: "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands," and then his wicked envy gained the upper hand.

In a fit of rage the mad king therefore once flung his spear at the youth, while he was playing his harp, but fortunately the weapon missed the mark. A second similar attempt was equally fruitless; and Saul, seeing that he could not kill David, now resolved to insult him.

Instead of giving David his daughterís hand in marriage, as he had promised, Saul bestowed her upon another suitor. Then, finding that Michal, his younger daughter, had fallen in love with David, he told the youth that he might have her if he would kill one hundred Philistines. This condition was made because Saul hoped that David would fall by the hand of the enemy; but the young man went forth, slew two hundred Philistines, and, securing their spoil, came and laid it at Saulís feet, claiming his promised bride.

As no further pretext could be found to delay the marriage, Saul gave his daughter Michal to David, as he had promised.

But although he had thus been forced to acknowledge Davidís services, Saul still hated his son-in-law, and he once bade his courtiers and his son Jonathan kill the young hero.

Jonathan was faithful to David, his chosen friend, and therefore interceded for him, and succeeded in partly disarming Saulís wrath. But when a new fit of madness came upon the king, his anger all returned, and he hired assassins to steal into Davidís room and murder him in his sleep.

Warned by Michal of the threatening danger, David fled secretly and by night, while his wife deceived the murderers by making the image of a man and placing it in her husbandís bed.