Little Shepherd Boy – Saul and Goliath Part 2. 1 Samuel 17

What else stuck out to me? We always think of David as a small shepherd boy in this scene. But look at what next unfolds, verses 38-39:

Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 

David has put off the armor because he is not accustomed to it. We always, well maybe it is just me, please comment and let me know, imagine this scene as David being swallowed up by Saul’s armor – but this is not accurate. It says that he has not had time to test out the armor: surely the weight changes how one can move, limiting and off-balancing one. We know Saul is tall, quite tall. 1 Samuel 9:2 says of Saul, ‘…From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.’ Yet, we do not find that Saul’s armor was too large and could not be strapped on David. On the contrary, David had no trouble strapping on the armor – he was clearly already much older than so many children’s stories imply, and very well likely fully grown.

David was apparently in his early twenties at this point. This fact reminds me that so often we read the Bible and picture only flat informational scenes. We don’t (or is it me?) always consider the feelings and thoughts behind the character and their own experiences which brought them to this scene. It requires more of us to stop and ask about age, developmental experiences and feelings of those that we read about. But what a perspective we have if we do!

David may have been the youngest of his brothers, but he had the life experiences that lead him to a strong faith in God, the living God. So, we need to let David grow up from the little shepherd boy to a strong opponent of Goliath. I wonder how the brothers responded after the death of Goliath. How did that relationship change when they were forced to see that David was a capable man?

How old have you always imagined David to be when he killed Goliath?

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