Columns - 2004

    A stone's throw

    By Doug Brook
    Deep South Jewish Voice Columnist

    Continuing archaeological excavations in the former land of the kingdom of Judah recently uncovered a tremendous find.

    For the first time ever, in this column you can read this historic text. It was originally carved into a tall piece of wood displayed outside the Temple for the entire kingdom to read.

    David Routs Goliath

    A Jerusalem Post exclusive

    The mighty have fallen. With an echo resounding through the valley, the shadow of death has been cast by the scourge of the people of Israel.

    Tomorrow, for the first time in over a month, Israeli soldiers will start their day free of the taunts of the Philistine giant.

    David, a little known royal servant from Bethlehem, stepped into the ring and bested Goliath, the Philistine champion of war who for forty days has taunted our soldiers to present him with a challenger.

    In what is being called the upset of the century, this young lute-player has put the kingdom of Judah within a stone's throw of turning away the Philistines' recent dominance in Socoh and Azekah.

    No official statement has been made by King Saul, or by Goliath's backer, King Don. However, according to an anonymous source close to the King, after the bout, King Saul was overheard instructing Abner, the captain of the guard, to "inquire whose son this stripling is."

    Early in the morning, just like each of the past forty mornings, the giant appeared and taunted soldiers. Just like every other day, he proclaimed, "I taunt the armies of Israel this day."

    "Give me a man," he challenged, "that we may fight together." Because suicide is against Jewish law, no soldier accepted the challenge.

    However, soon thereafter this morning became different from all the other mornings. On this day, a young shepherd from Bethlehem named David was among the soldiers. Reports indicate that he brought some food from his father for his three oldest brothers and the captain of their battalion.

    Like every other morning, our soldiers were afraid of the six cubit tall colossus from Gath, clad in a coat of mail weighing five thousand shekels of brass. With his shield-bearer ahead, Goliath effortlessly carried his spear, its lethal head weighing six hundred shekels of iron.

    David heard the taunting, and asked his brothers, "who is this Philistine, that he should have taunted the armies?"

    (Note: The original article quoted David as calling Goliath "this uncircumcised Philistine," but this columnist decided to cut it.)

    While David's oldest brother Eliav changed the subject, instead asking David with whom he'd left the family's flock while he was with the battalion, David was taken to the royal presence.

    According to the royal court recorder, David told King Saul, "let no man's heart fail within him, your servant will go and fight this Philistine."

    Saul told David he was just a youth. But David recounted how he'd once fought off a lion and bear that threatened his father's flock. Considering the lack of success of the King's starting lineup, King Saul sent David unto the breach with wishes of luck, the King's own armor and sword, and no insurance.

    David discovered how difficult it was to walk in another man's armor, let alone his shoes, so he left it all behind. He took his staff, picked up five smooth stones, and put them in his shepherd's bag.

    Unprotected, and in the nervous view of all the King's soldiers and men, David then took out a sling in his hand and approached the Philistine.

    Goliath's shield-bearer closed in on David. This caught the attention of Goliath, who hadn't yet noticed the approaching boy.

    For the first time since his initial appearance, the Philistine expanded his taunt repertoire. "Am I a dog," Goliath asked David, "that you come to me with staves?" He then cursed David, which was no risk for the giant. After all, nobody would intercede to penalize his unsportsmanlike conduct.

    David then shouted back at Goliath, over the sword-bearer's head, "you come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin; and I will smite you, take your head from you, and give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines today to the fowls of the air and the wild beasts of the earth."

    David's apparent knack for poetry brought cheers from all the soldiers behind him, but had little impact on the giant. Goliath drew closer to David, and David returned the favor.

    With the Philistine closing in, David reached into his bag, pulled out one of his five smooth stones, and with his slingshot slung it. It hit the giant in the forehead, actually sinking into his forehead. Goliath fell to the ground face first.

    The Israeli soldiers rejoiced at the one-shot knockout, proclaiming that this is why you should never attack an unarmored man.

    David then finished what he said he'd do and cut off the giant's head with the giant's own sword. Once the Philistines saw this, they decided to take their Baal and go home.

    The soldiers of Israel and Judah took off after the Philistines, making sure to protect their home field.

    Little is known about David. He is from Bethlehem, son of Jesse. He recently was hired on as King Saul's body man, specifically as the King's armor-bearer. David also plays the lute for the royal audience at the end of long days the King spends at the Almighty Ear.

    Rumors are circulating that the prophet Samuel, chief religious advisor to King Saul, anointed David as Saul's eventual successor on the throne. The Saul administration did not answer repeated pages, who were sent to the royal presence seeking comment.

    At the end of the day, King Saul was secluded from the public, along with his son Jonathan as well as David. Again, no explanation has been offered.

    Meanwhile, in cities throughout Israel, women are taking to the streets dancing, and singing, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."

    Doug Brook is a technical publications program manager in Silicon Valley. For more information, past columns, and other writings, theatre, and current events, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.