A Boy & His Shepherd (1 Samuel 17/Psalm 23)
The Philistine’s challenge rang across the valley like the drums of war often played before the siege of a city:
“Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us. I defy the ranks of Israel this day.”
The entire valley grew silent at the challenge, which had been offered now for forty days in a row, each day with a similar response from the Israelite camp: nervous mutters from trembling lips, but no champion who would dare fight the giant. They were stationed just opposite the Philistine army, the Valley of Elah lying bare between them as a natural amphitheater that amplified the giant’s voice. He stood nearly ten feet tall – nearly twice the height of most grown men amongst the Israelite rank – and his armor was forged from iron, a durable metal that the Israelites had not yet perfected their use of. He was an intimidating foe, and even Saul, the Israelite king who stood a head taller than any other man in the camp, would not dare fight him. To do so would be certain death. And with the death of the Israelite warrior, the enslavement of the people. And with the enslavement of the people, the end of the nation. They had spent years enslaved in Egypt…they would not be enslaved again.