Stories from the Bible
This story from the Old Testament is about a hero of the Jewish and Christian faiths: David. He was a shepherd who was chosen by God to be King of Israel.
Find out about his dramatic showdown with the giant Goliath here, then answer the following question:
What can we learn about God from this story?
A Time of War
The Philistines got ready to attack the Israelites. Each army set up camp on either side of the river. The Philistines had a secret weapon - a giant called Goliath from Gath. He was very tall. His spear was so big the iron spearhead alone weighed over 15 pounds.
Goliath challenges the Israelites
Every day, Goliath shouted to the Israelites: 'Come and fight! If one of you can kill me, we Philistines will surrender. But if I win, you will all be our slaves!' But the Israelites were too scared to accept.
David the shepherd boy
David was a shepherd. He was the youngest of 8 sons. His brothers were away fighting in the Israelite army. David's father often sent him to the Israelite camp with food for the men.
David hears the challenge
One day as David visited the camp, he heard Goliath shouting at the Israelites. He asked the men what was going on and they explained. David was angry. 'Who does that worthless Philistine think he is?' he asked. 'He's making fun of the army of the living God!'
David offers to fight Goliath
David went to the King of Israel, Saul. He told Saul he wanted to fight Goliath. 'You don't have a chance,' said Saul. 'You're just a boy!' But David wouldn't listen. 'I fight bears and lions. I can kill Goliath,' said David. 'God will keep me safe.'
David turns down weapons
Saul gave David his armour to wear. But it was too big and heavy. David couldn't move. He laid down the armour and weapons, grabbed his shepherd's stick and collected five small smooth stones from the stream.
David meets Goliath
David went straight over to where Goliath was waiting. Goliath could not believe his eyes. David was just a boy - no soldier! 'Am I a dog?' mocked Goliath. 'Is that why you've come up here with a stick?!'
'You come at me with a sword!' yelled David. 'But I come at you in the name of God Almighty, the God of this army. He will help me beat you!' And David took out a small stone, put it in his sling and swung it round his head.
David let go of the sling. The stone flew towards Goliath and struck him in the middle of the forehead. He was killed instantly.
When the Philistines saw what had happened to their hero, they ran away. The Israelites had won. From that day on, David became the peoples' hero.