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David and Goliath, Book Review Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1718

Book Review

Introduction

This paper explores the historical religious story of “David and Goliath” , it is then contrasted or compared to modern day analogies. The research considers the various interpretations of the historical events and academic critiques of same.

Historical Context

The story of David and Goliath comes from the struggle of the Israelites and the power of faith and belief in God.  Goliath was a tall 9ft soldier from Gath, a fierce some warrior who boated about his ability to defeat any Israelite soldier who dared to fight him. The Israelite soldiers feared Goliath and would not challenge him.  At the time David was a young shepherd boy inspired by his faith in God.  The Israelite King (Saul) insisted that David wore his heavy armour, helmet and might sword in order to face Goliath.  David said he could not wear these knowing that his real protection and strength would come from his faith in God.  “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (Pingry).   David went to the brook where he obtained five stones for his sling and then he went off to fight Goliath.   Goliath laughed and scorned the Israelites by sending a boy up against him but  David responded by saying ” “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (Pingry).  David threw a stone from his sling that hit the giant Goliath on the head and he fell to the floor, David swiftly grabbed Goliaths sword and killed him with it.

David looked at Goliath the giant from a different perspective; as opposed to his fierce some size he looked upon him as an enemy of God and that David through his faith in God was an instrument of Gods retribution. Hence Goliath was merely a mortal man defying an all-powerful God. David always viewed the pending battle from gods perspective.  The comparison is that if we look at giant problems from the perspective of God, then they are not insurmountable and God will stand by our side.  The perspective of true faith in God, one without doubt and with a firm resolve to do Gods will.  Once the Philistines saw their Champion Goliath had been vanquished they ran away and the Israelites chased them down the hill killing many and returning with the spoils from battle.  David took the head and armour of Goliath and King Saul retained his services, being impressed with his courage,  not letting him return home.

Lou Hoffman, President and CEO of the Hoffman Corporation made a good point that in the centuries of historic warfare there are many “David’s” and it is not unusual for the weak to defeat the strong ” “David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. David’s win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases. That is a remarkable fact. Arreguín-Toft was analyzing conflicts in which one side was at least ten times as powerful—in terms of armed might and population—as its opponent, and even in those lopsided contests the underdog won almost a third of the time.” (Hoffman)

Relation To Current Culture

The concept of the David and Goliath story can be related to many modern day settings and not necessarily with the biblical or religious implications.  This can be examined from the perspective of the bully,  the concept of the power broker – taking advantage of size and authority, for example:

“Pacific trade officials head to Brussels this week to hammer out the details of a new Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union – amidst worldwide concern that the EU has failed to offer genuine development agreements to its ex-colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (the ACP).  The deals, which were supposed to see Goliath (the EU) develop mutually beneficially trade relationships with David (ACP countries), have faced criticisms from dozens of NGOs, churches, trade unions and leading academics throughout the three regions.  Representatives of civil society from more than 70 of the world’s developing countries are beginning to stand up to the EU denouncing the EU’s proposed Economic Partnership Agreements as a new form of ‘free trade colonialism’ to be resisted. ” (PENJUELI)

In this analogous  ” David and Goliath battle” , they key issue is the anger and  wrath of the developing countries. The developing countries see this as an aggressive move by  EC’s Global European  trade strategy, seeking to  open developing country markets to European goods and services providing an advantageous supply of  raw materials for European companies. In summary the  EC’s ‘Global Europe’ trade strategy is viewed as putting forward  the interests of European corporations and capital ahead of the development interest of developing countries.

Another example is that of Laurie David a leading environmentalist  (David) who is trying to convince the American Government (Goliath) of the perils of Climate Change ” She’s on a heroic mission. Her challenge is enormous—to make everyone else care about the environment and global warming as much as she does—it’s a classic noble quest framed in modern terms” . (David).

Another example in environmental terms is that of Erin Brokovitch who researched a health concern applicable to pollution and then commenced a legal battle with a large American corporation, on behalf of the residents of a small Californian town that were being made ill owing to contamination from the chemical plant.  ” My investigation eventually established that the health of countless people who lived in and around Hinkley, California, in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s had been severely compromised by exposure to toxic Chromium 6. The Chromium 6 had leaked into the groundwater from the nearby Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Compressor Station. In 1996, as a result of the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind, spearheaded by me and Ed Masry, the giant utility paid the largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents. ” (Brokovitch).  The story was later made into a film starring Julia Roberts and was nominated for 5 academy awards.

Erin is now one of the most celebrated and requested lecture clients of the William Morris Agency. She travels globally carrying out personal appearances spreading motivational messages, telling her story and current environment cases.

As President of the consulting firm Brockovich Research & Consulting, Erin participates in many  environmental cases. The film and fame have inspired Erin Brokovitch  from  file clerk to  that of a keen environmental activist  and  motivational speaker to television host and producer.

The Biblical Interpretation of the David & Goliath Story

Although this biblical story is widely preached, scientifically it is also scoffed.  The concept of a 9 feet giant at that time is highly improbable and throws the story into one of myth, fantasy and legend.  It must equally be remembered that the Bible is full of parables and many of the stories told should not be taken too literally.  Many of them are for literary or teaching lessons.  In this case the Ascendancy of the House of David from shepherd boy to one of a King. Equally David is not the centre of the story but a vehicle chosen by God in order to bring salvation to the Israelites.  ” For example, many sermons have been preached on 1 Samuel 17 (the David and Goliath story) that center around on ‘defeating the giants in your life.’ They lightly skim over the details of the narrative and go straight to application, and that application usually involves allegorizing Goliath into tough, difficult and intimidating situations in one’s life that must be overcome by faith. There is also an attempt to allegorize the five smooth stones David picked up to defeat his giant. These sermons usually conclude by exhorting us to be faithful like David.”  (Got Questions Ministeries).

Archaeologists continue to surface evidence in support of biblical references.  The story of David and Goliath from the Old Testament is no different.

“Astounding new evidence has been unearthed in Israel that could confirm the biblical story of King David.  Until now, almost nothing has been found  that would prove the biblical account of a shepherd boy from the 10th century BC who slew the giant Goliath and went on to become the King of Israel who founded Jerusalem.  But today Hebrew University archaeology professor Yosef Garfinkel announced the discovery of a tiny, but potentially invaluable, piece of pottery at the site of the ruins of an ancient fortified city south-west of Jerusalem dated to the time of King David. Garfinkel said that it carried the earliest-known Hebrew inscription, some 850 years earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls. ”  (Daily Mail UK)

Ben Satterfield developed an interesting piece of research on Crime in America today. He compared this to the David and Goliath story and in particular how the people live in fear of the actions taken by the Government, large Corporations and covert bodies like the CIA.. ” We live in a time of sordid cover ups, conspiracies and plots devised not only by our mammoth government and its formidable agencies, the FBI and CIA but also by monolithic Corporations whose very size makes them impervious to morality.  For the modern Goliath  nothing is ultra vires and we feel helpless in the face of such enormous power. Our heroes necessarily have to be criminals because in our age of conformity and accommodation, these are the only people who aren’t working for Goliath”  (Satterfield)

Works Cited

Brokovitch, Erin. Erin Brokovith. 12 2008. 16 12 2009 <http://www.brockovich.com/bio.htm>.

Daily Mail UK. Church of God News. 30 10 2008. 17 12 2009 <http://www.cogwriter.com/news/old-testament-history/proof-david-slew-goliath/>.

David, Laurie. Your Spirit. 12 2009. 16 12 2009 <http://chatham-kent.fitdv.com/new/articles/article.php?artid=849>.

Got Questions Ministeries. How can we know what parts of the Bible apply to us today? 2009. 17 12 2009 <http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-apply-today.html>.

Hoffman, Lou. Ishmails Corner. 18 5 2009. 16 12 2009 <http://www.ishmaelscorner.com/2009/05/18/the-david-against-goliath-story-never-goes-out-of-a-style/>.

Penjueli, Maureen. David & Goliath Battle . 11 9 2008. 17 12 2009 <http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=100285>.

Pingry, Patricia A. David & Goliath. 2009. 16 12 2009 <http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl14s.htm>.

Satterfield, Ben. The Anarchist Library. 1992. 17 12 2009 <http://theanarchistlibrary.org/david-goliath-and-crime-america>.

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