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Facing the giant

Can David slay the mighty giant, Goliath?
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hindi
Do you need to be born into a royal family to be a king? Not when Yah* is in charge! A long time ago, Yah chose a young shepherd named David from the tribe of Judah to become the king of Israel. Yah wanted to prove that He had picked the right man for the job. Before David became king, he faced many tests and had many exciting adventures. <br/>Around this time, Israel was ruled by a disobedient king named Saul. With the help of his son Jonathan, Saul won many battles. But he stopped listening to Yah. <br/>One day, Saul’s army defeated a fierce enemy: the bloodthirsty Amalekites. Instead of destroying all of the people and animals like Yah had told him, Saul kept the best sheep and cattle for himself. “Save the king of Amalek,” Saul said to his soldiers. “Let’s keep him as our prisoner.” <br/>* Did you know that Yahweh and Yah are two of the Hebrew names for God? – Slide 1
Yah was not pleased with Saul’s bad behaviour. He knew that if Saul saved the people and animals, the Amalekites would attack the Israelites again. He wanted obedience, so he spoke to His prophet Samuel. <br/>“I am sorry that I made Saul king,” Yah told Samuel. “He has turned away from Me and disobeyed My instructions. It is time for a new king of Israel.” Samuel knew that Yah would take away the kingdom of Israel from Saul. He clasped his head in his hands and wept. <br/>“Samuel, stop crying over Saul,” said Yah. “Take some olive oil and go to the village of Bethlehem. When you get there, find a man called Jesse. I have chosen one of his sons to be the new king.” <br/>Samuel was worried. “If Saul finds I’m looking for a new king, he’ll kill me!” he said. Samuel may have been an important prophet, but Saul was still a powerful king. “Do not worry,” said Yah. “Take a calf with you and say you have come to offer a sacrifice to Me. Invite Jesse to the meal.  I will show you what to do next.” – Slide 2
Samuel quickly obeyed Yah and hurried to Bethlehem. When he reached the gate of Bethlehem, the elders rushed out to greet him. “Why are you here?” they asked, their hands shaking. “Have you come in peace?” The elders had good reason to feel nervous. Samuel wasn’t just a prophet; he was a judge and an army commander, too. <br/>“Don’t be afraid,” Samuel told the men. “I’m here to offer a sacrifice to Yah. Come and join me.” Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice, too. “Yah will choose the next king of Israel from among your sons,” he told Jesse privately. <br/>When Jesse and his sons arrived at the sacrifice, Samuel looked at Eliab, the oldest son. Hmmm…this man is tall and handsome and looks like a king, he thought. He must be the man that Yah has chosen. – Slide 3
But Yah had other ideas. “Ignore how handsome Eliab is,” He said. “He is not the next king of Israel. I don’t look at the outside of a person; I look at their heart.” <br/>One by one, Jesse brought his sons before Samuel. But each time, Yah said no. “Yah hasn’t chosen any of these seven men,” Samuel said to Jesse. “Do you have any other sons?” Jesse frowned and scratched his beard. “I have another son named David,” he said. He pointed to a rocky hillside nearby where David was taking care of the sheep. “How could he be a king?” <br/>Samuel peered at David through the window and smiled. He knew this was the man Yah had chosen to be the next king of Israel. “Tell him to come and see me,” said Samuel, excitedly. “We will eat when he arrives.” – Slide 4
David scrambled down the rocky path to meet Samuel. He was strong and handsome, with short red hair and a twinkle in his eye. “Samuel, stand up and anoint him,” said Yah. “He’s the one!” <br/>Samuel took his horn of olive oil and poured it carefully over David’s head to anoint him the next king of Israel. Immediately, the Spirit of Yah came on David. <br/>Jesse’s sons looked at one another in surprise. Why had their youngest brother been anointed king and not one of them? But Samuel didn’t give them any answers. His job was done. The people of Israel had their next king. – Slide 5
During this time, King Saul still ruled the land of Israel. He lived in a large stone palace in the town of Gibeah. Because he had been disobedient, the Spirit of Yah left him. Instead, an evil spirit entered the king and troubled him day and night. Nothing seemed to calm Saul’s mind. His servants paced back and forth, wondering what to do. <br/>“Let us find someone who can play the harp,” they suggested. “Maybe the music will help you rest.” Saul shrugged his shoulders and sighed. He didn’t know why this evil spirit had come upon him. <br/>“One of Jesse’s sons in Bethlehem knows how to play the harp,” said a servant.  “He’s a brave man who loves Yah. His name is David.” <br/>Saul liked the idea. He sent a message to Jesse, saying, “Send me your son David, the one who plays the harp.” Jesse sent David to the palace right away. After all, you couldn’t disobey the king of Israel! From that day on, whenever the evil spirit entered Saul, David sat beside the king and played his harp. – Slide 6
One day, the Israelites gathered together in the Elah Valley to fight their enemy, the fearsome Philistines. Nobody liked the Philistines much. They were wicked and cruel, and they liked a good fight. <br/>Saul glared across the valley at the Philistine army. They had lots of chariots and more soldiers than he could count. He grabbed his sword and quickly prepared for battle. <br/>Saul didn’t know it yet, but the Philistines had a fearsome warrior on their side. His name was Goliath and he was as tall as a house! Everyone was afraid of him, and nobody came near him. Goliath was stronger than any man in the land of Israel. – Slide 7
That afternoon, Saul and the Israelites lined up for battle against the Philistines. All of a sudden, a giant man marched out of the Philistine camp. It was the mighty giant, Goliath! He wore a bronze helmet on his head and a shiny breastplate made of bronze. Even his legs were covered in bronze armour so that no one could hurt him. <br/>“Why are you here, you tiny Israelites?” roared Goliath. He flexed his bulging muscles. “If you dare, pick one of your men to fight me. If he wins, we will be your slaves, but if I win, you will be our slaves.” <br/>The Israelites shook with fear. They weren’t used to fighting anyone as big as Goliath. Even the ground trembled when he walked. They stared at the giant, wide-eye – Slide 8
Meanwhile, in Bethlehem, Jesse told David to visit his three brothers who were soldiers in Saul’s army. “Take these loaves of bread and go to the Elah Valley,” he said. “Find out if your brothers are well, and then come back and tell me.”  <br/>David wasted no time. The next morning, he jumped out of bed, took the sack of food, and set out to do as his father had ordered. He arrived at the camp, just as the soldiers were marching out to battle. <br/>David dropped the sack of food on the ground and raced to the battle line to greet his brothers. He had never been so close to the enemy, and he was excited. He folded his arms and glared at the Philistines. How dare they try to destroy the Israelites! – Slide 9
“Why are you lined up for battle?” Goliath shouted to the Israelites. He had been threatening the Israelites for forty days, and he was growing impatient. “Come and fight me, you cowards!” <br/>You would think the Israelites were used to hearing Goliath’s threats, but they were even more frightened than before. They ran back to the camp as fast as their wobbly legs could carry them. <br/>“That giant is a monster!” cried the soldiers. “If we could only kill him, we could get the reward the king promised!” David turned to the soldiers. “What’s the reward for killing Goliath?” he asked. “Besides, who is this Philistine that dares to challenge the army of the living Elohim?” – Slide 10
The soldiers told David all about Goliath’s challenge. Then, they told him what Saul had promised to the man who killed Goliath. “The king will give you his daughter to marry and will treat your family well,” they said. David smiled. He liked the sound of the king’s reward. <br/>At that moment, David’s brother Eliab stepped forward. “Why are you here, you wimp?” he said. He poked David in the chest with his spear. “You should be taking care of the sheep. You’re not a warrior. You’ve only come to watch the fighting!” <br/>“What have I done now?” asked David. He turned back to the soldiers. “I only asked a question.” He ignored his older brother and continued talking with the men. In his heart, he wanted to help save the people of Israel from the Philistines. – Slide 11
When King Saul heard about David’s bravery, he summoned David before him. “No one should be afraid of this Philistine!” David said to Saul. “I will go and fight him!” <br/>“How can you fight this giant?” replied Saul. He looked David up and down, then shrugged. “Goliath is a great warrior and you’re only a young boy.” <br/>“I have killed lions and bears to protect my father’s sheep,” said David. “Yah will help me kill this giant, too—just wait and see!” King Saul stroked his chin. He wasn’t sure how to deal with Goliath. Could David be the answer? – Slide 12
“Okay,” Saul finally said to David. “Go fight the giant, and may Yah be with you.” He put a bronze helmet on David’s head and gave him a coat of armour to wear. <br/>David’s heart pumped a little faster. He grabbed a sword and headed toward the battlefield. But he didn’t get very far. “I can’t wear all this armour! It’s too big and heavy,” he said. He ripped off the bronze helmet and gave the armour back to Saul. “Don’t worry; I have another plan.” <br/>David knew that Goliath had four nasty sons. Holding his shepherd’s stick, he picked five smooth stones from a nearby stream and put them in his pouch. Now he was ready for battle! – Slide 13
With his sling in his hand, David strolled toward Goliath. Goliath had waited for forty days, and he was ready to fight. “Am I a mad dog? Is that why you’re carrying a stick?” said Goliath. “Why don’t you Israelites give me a real soldier to fight?” David slowly twirled his empty sling and waited. <br/>“Come closer,” Goliath said to David. “I will give your body to the birds and animals to eat.” David looked Goliath straight in the eye. “You come against me with a sword and a spear,” he said. “But you don’t scare me. I come against you in the name of Yah, the Elohim of this army.” <br/>Goliath nearly choked. How dare this Israelite boy threaten him? But David hadn’t finished speaking. “Yah will hand you over to me! I’m going to kill you and give the bodies of the Philistines to the birds and animals,” he said. “Then the whole world will know there is a God of Israel.” – Slide 14
Goliath had heard enough. Lifting his spear a little higher, he stomped toward David. Clouds of dust rose with each step the giant made, but David wasn’t afraid. He took a stone from his bag, put it in his sling, and swung it three times above his head. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! <br/>David aimed the stone at the giant. It whizzed through the air like a rocket and smacked Goliath in the middle of his huge, hairy forehead. Goliath stumbled forward and crashed to the ground with a thud. <br/>The Philistine soldiers stared at David in amazement. They couldn’t believe the young shepherd had overpowered their great giant. David had beaten the mighty Philistine with just a sling and a stone! – Slide 15
David ran over to Goliath. “Now do you believe me?” he said. He pulled out the giant’s sword and chopped off his head. The Israelite army let out a cheer. “Yah has given Goliath into our hands!” they shouted. <br/>When the Philistines saw their hero was dead, they turned and ran away as fast as they could. But the Israelites didn’t let them escape so easily. They picked up their weapons and chased the Philistine soldiers all the way back to their homes. – Slide 16
David hadn’t forgotten about Goliath’s huge hairy head. He tucked it under his arm and carried it back to Jerusalem to show the king. <br/>King Saul was pleased with David. “From now on, you work for me,” he said. He placed a hand on David’s shoulder. “You’re a soldier, not a shepherd.”  <br/>To celebrate this great victory, the people of Israel had a party. They sang and danced, and played their tambourines. This victory proved Yah was with them. With David’s help, they had defeated the mighty Philistines! – Slide 17
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