Perhaps this passage is where some people get the notion that David was small. He was the youngest, and his oldest and quite impressive brother was rejected. Since Samuel was told not to look at the outside, maybe David was small, but the text does not reveal this. In fact, there are several clues that David, although young, may have actually been a rather large man by the time he fought Goliath.
Second, David was so offended by the Philistine's words against the living God that he volunteered to fight the giant. Saul's reaction to David's offer is telling. Notice that he did not claim that David was too small, although even the tallest people today would be dwarfed by Goliath. Instead, Saul said, "" (, emphasis added). Saul tried to dissuade David by appealing to David's youth and Goliath's experience. The Hebrew word translated as "youth" (, ) can refer to any age from an infant (Moses in Exodus 2:6) to someone old enough to lead a military coup (Absalom in ).
Although Saul acted foolishly on several occasions, he was not unintelligent. If he was one of the tallest men in the land, why would he offer a small young man his armor, knowing it would never fit and would only reduce his odds of winning the battle? If David was much smaller, Saul could have easily commanded a soldier closer to David's size to lend David his armor.
David Addison Small has been painting, etching and sculpting at the Boston Center for The Arts for 23 years. His subject matter is fat, bearded, patriarchal Angels who, though winged, have forgotten their divine origins and now partake of earth's bounty.
|David Addison Small|