And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 1 Samuel 17:10.
For forty days the host of Israel had trembled before the haughty challenge of Goliath, the Philistine giant. Their hearts failed within them as they looked upon his massive form, measuring six cubits and a span, or ten and a half feet [nearly 3.2 meters] in height. Upon his head was a helmet of brass; he was clothed with a coat of mail that weighed five thousand shekels, or about a hundred and fifty-seven pounds [more than 70 kilograms]; and he had greaves of brass upon his legs. The coat was made of plates of brass that overlaid one another like the scales of a fish, and they were so closely joined that no dart or arrow could possibly penetrate the armor….
For forty days, morning and evening, Goliath had approached the camp of Israel, saying with a loud voice, “Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us…. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.” No one had dared to go against this boaster until David, stirred with indignation at the proud words of the idolater, offered himself to Saul as one who was willing to fight for the glory of God and the honor of Israel.
Saul decided to permit the shepherd to make the venture, but he had small hope that David would be successful in his courageous undertaking. Command was given to clothe the youth in the king’s own armor. The heavy helmet of brass was put upon his head, and the coat of mail was placed upon his body, while he was girded with the monarch’s sword. Thus equipped, he started upon his errand; but erelong he turned back and began to retrace his steps…. The first thought in the minds of the anxious spectators was that David had decided not to risk his life in meeting an antagonist in so unequal an encounter. But this was far from the thought of the brave young man.
When he returned to Saul, he begged permission to lay aside the heavy armor, and he said, “I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.” …
What an inspiration of courage and lofty faith was displayed by the simple shepherd before the armies of the Israelites and the Philistines.—Signs of the Times, August 10, 1888.