• IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?
by Kenny Paul Clarkson
“I can’t,” David was serious. He couldn’t move. He was lean and spry, but nowhere near as strong as the king. The armor was simply too heavy; too awkward.
Weary eyes scolded the teenager as Eliab pealed the breastplate from his young brother’s torso. Nothing more needed to be said. But, of course, it was.
“A battlefield is a dangerous place for even the most seasoned soldier,” Eliab tugged at a belt on David’s waist. “You could get killed out here.”
“How was the cheese?” David’s grin and evasive answer evoked little more than a scowl from Eliab. He yanked a little harder. The belt pulled loose.
“I’m not kidding, David,” you have no idea what you’re getting into. The final plate fell from his legs, clanging on the floor of the king’s tent.
“You’ve no idea what I’ve been into,” he replied. The smile had vanished.
“See this?” he pulled a leather strap from beneath his sash. “I’ve used it to kill rabbits from a thousand paces.”
“That’s no rabbit.” King Saul pushed through the opening of his tent to glare at David. His brow was furled; he pointed toward the valley Elah.
“And bears,” David continued respectfully. “And a few lions.”
Saul looked at Eliab. “He kills rabbits at one thousand paces? Very accurate with that sling, I’d say. And he kills bears?”
Saul pealed back the tent’s flap to gaze across the valley at the giant of a figure pacing to and fro.
“Ever seen a bear that big, David?” he asked. “Ever kill one?”
“Not one,” David corrected. “Three.”
There was a moment of silence.
“He’s your brother,” the king offered.
“He’s your subject,” Eliab countered, clearly uncomfortable with the thought of his young brother being ravaged by the Philistine’s mightiest warrior.
Another moment of silence.
The wail of the giant could be heard, albeit faintly, echoing across the valley. His words were Hebrew at times, Gathic at times, but always uncomfortably familiar to ears of Israel’s finest warriors. Goliath’s mocking laugh was unbearable. Each curse offended. He warned of their fate.
David broke the silence. “Is there not a cause?”
He stepped between Eliab and the king and through the tent opening. Eliab followed, as did King Saul. They paused to watch the teen confidently press past a league of soldiers, his leather strap dangling by his side. Eliab offered a quiet prayer, then took a deep breath.
All eyes were on the young Israeli, waist high in weeds, stomping toward the brook at the foot of the knoll. Goliath ceased his pacing, placed his hands on his hips and stared curiously at David.
Kneeling at the brook, he selected five smooth stones, then looked into Goliath’s eyes. The giant bowed with laughter.
“What am I? A dog that you would send a boy to challenge me?”
David stepped toward the Philistine army. “No, he whispered. Not a dog. Just another bear.” He whirled his sling. Goliath's smirk was brief.
The thud of the stone could only be heard by the giant’s armor bearer. But the crimson red that flowed from his brow — and Goliath’s astonished expression — were unmistakable.
Like a towering timber cut at its roots, he fell forward, crashing to the ground. The Israeli soldiers stood breathless, but only for a moment. Running to the fallen giant’s side, young David retrieved his sword. Struggling to lift it high, the teen let it fall, lobbing the Philistine’s head and evoking a deafening cry of victory from King Saul’s army.
No one gave the command. It wasn’t needed. The Philistine’s fled. The Israeli’s pursued. And Eliab exhaled.