When Shepherd David Met King Saul
A re-imagined Story….
And so, David was sent by his father Jesse to bring food to his older brothers who were serving on the battle lines against the Philistines. While serving bread to his brothers, as it is ordained the youngest must do, he saw an enormous Warrior come forward from the Philistine lines. The giant Warrior, dressed in bright armour and bearing a wickedly serrated sword, stalked up and down the empty land between the two armies. He shouted and spat insults at the Israelites. He insulted their God, The Most High, and the Israelite leaders. He threatened their land, their homes, their gold – oh and their women too I suppose. He paced back and forth, banging his spear against his shield, bearing his great chest and even once displaying his not inconsiderable manhood. And the Israelite soldiers were terrified and no-one would face him.
But David looked and was horrified at their cowardice and disgusted at the dishonour to God. He went to King Saul and said, “Do not worry, oh king. I have killed lions and bears when protecting my father’s sheep. This giant will be nothing.” He flipped a stone from the ground with his foot into his hand and carefully popped it into his catapult and grinned at the king.
Saul frowned. “Not with a weapon like that you won’t. And not smelling like that you won’t. And not looking like that you won’t. I have promised my daughter to any one who kills this fiend – so first you must be presentable and worthy of her. Off to bathing with you.” David was disheartened. “Does it matter how I smell before I kill this giant? Will being clean skinned make my shot with this stone a cleaner one?”
“I am the King and this is how it is done. How dare you question God’s anointed?!” bellowed Saul. The priest beside Saul nodded sagely. “Submit thyself to your leader without question and surely you will be victorious.” And so David submitted to being bathed and dressed in useless frippery.
Thinking himself now ready he once more took his catapult and the stone and started to walk to the field of combat. “Oh no, no, no,” grumbled Saul. “That will not do. You must wear my armour. It has always served me well and so will be sufficient and useful for you also.” David backed away in fear. “Oh no, my King, I do not need this armour. I am not familiar with it and I fight much differently to you.”
“I am the King and this is how it is done. How dare you say my way is useless..”
“That is not what I said, oh King. It may very well work well for you. I said my way was different, not better.”
“How dare you interrupt me?! How dare you question God’s anointed?!”
Once again, the Priest nodded. “Submit thyself to the King without question boy.” And so David put on the King’s armour. He had never before worn such attire and was clumsy inside it. He could barely walk for the weight of it nor see through the helm to shoot his catapult. “Lord King,” He begged. “Please release me from this burdensome metal cage. I cannot walk, I cannot fight, I cannot see to shoot my foe.”
Saul’s face grew redder than ever. ” You upstart rebellious oik! How dare you question God’s anointed. You will not need this catapult, a child’s toy ; it is useless against the giant. If there was someone else willing to endure this fight I would clap you in chains for your insolence. As it is, my previous promise to give you my daughter is taken back.” At this David smelled his rosey smelling armpit and thought, well what was the point of that then?? Saul grabbed him and shook him. “Pay attention to me, boy.”
Saul then wiped his hands after having to touch a mere Shepherd. And He went on. “You will fight this giant and when you defeat him you will go back to your sheep where you belong. Israel can do without questions; we have the answers of God. Questioning me means questioning Him. Take this sword, wear this armour. I am God’s anointed and it has always worked for me this way. God does not change, neither must we.” And he banged David’s head through the helm so hard that poor David saw stars and became dizzy. He turned to the Priest with a plea in his eyes, but the Priest just shook his head. “Submit thyself to the king without question, for there is no room for questions or more than one voice in Israel. Go and be victorious.”
So David, battered, bruised and disconsolate, submitted to his leader and King. He wore the cumbersome armour, he bore the great sword. And He marched to the Great Giant Goliath and in less than a breath he was knocked over, stabbed through the head with the Giant’s spear and then quickly had his limbs (and some other parts) lopped off.
And so, this is how our glorious ancestors, the Philistines came to take the land from that almost forgotten race of Israel. Israel who did not question or disagree or countenance opinions other than the King’s (though they dare not call it his opinion to his face, they must say it was the Lord’s Word) ; this same King who they submitted to watched every one of them die, before having his own bullying head removed by Goliath the Great, First of his name.
Here ends the First Book of Goliath.
They who have ears, let them hear.