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Goliath’s sword!


Soon after the victory in the battle with the Philistines had established the slinging skills of David, David was hoping that Mehrab would be offered.

Mehrab was not one to give herself to a shepherd boy who, no doubt had skills but lacked in pedigree. Mehrab had her own exalted notions of her nobility – a Nobility built in one generation, after Saul had abandoned his search of the donkeys and serendipitously found his way to kingship!

David has his own plans. He had no pretensions, even if he had, that was about his achievements based on his skills. A man who honed his skills in the lean hours of his uncool profession – keeper of a few sheep, in Jesse’s words!

Yet, Time, which is common to all mankind, was put to use with a fervent hope that some day those skills, which were assiduously built in those lean hours, would redeem him from shepherding those few sheep.

David met those challenges – more than halfway. The dead lion and the bear bore testimony to his courage and skill. He had embellished his curriculum vitae with valorous deeds – indelible in his own mind. There were no witnesses, when David talks of his achievements before Abner and King Saul, his proof is not based on witnesses, but his own memory and his capability to repeat, if challenged.

David’s trophy was to be the daughter of the King. Mehrab was disinclined, Michal steps in. Michal was no less imperious than her sister, but she saw in David what Mehrab couldn’t see. Michal saw in David, how David filled in the void created by Saul. Saul, the anointed, didn’t want to engage with the Champion of the Philistines. Saul was looking for someone who could defeat Goliath and rescue the Israelites from slavery- that was the King’s job, but there must have been two reasons for avoiding a fight with Goliath.

Firstly, as a king he didn’t want to engage with a mere Champion. A loss would ensure that the whole kingdom, however fledgling it might have been, would have gone lock stock and barrel.

Secondly, Saul must have felt inadequate to fight Goliath.

Besides all this, the failure of Saul was that there was an inordinate delay in either challenging Goliath himself or setting up another person. Saul couldn’t find a man in his service to fight Goliath- not only that a person has to be willing, but in a fair assessment, the person should be an equal. None was found in Israel and Abner was in as much quandary as his King.

That’s where David steps in. David’s credential’s were his own claims of having killed a lion and a bear. I am sure Saul would not have believed all his claims without proof. As per History in the Book of Judges, the Benjamites were the tribe which had the best slingers – they could sling up to a hairbreadth of the target – so the Bible says, and here we have a king from the tribe of Benjamin assessing the capability of a Judahite, in slinging! Reasonably it could be assumed that David was aided by Saul to fight Goliath only after testing the slinging skills of David. The Benjamite Saul must have been overly impressed.

Skill without courage would be a non sequitur! To show courage and execute one’s skills in the face of a formidable challenge is God’s grace. The mind needs to be focused on what is to be done and not buffeted by the negative possibilities. Even if Goliath were to taunt David, David’s retort was courageous towards his opponent and simultaneously humble as a mortal ought to be. Like Ahab said, wisely in one of those rare instances, ‘Let not him who puts on the armour boast like one who is removing it’, David was humble.

After the victory is won, David uses Goliath’s own sword to sever the head of Goliath.

Michal is married off to David much later and that too reluctantly by Saul, after extracting his pound of foreskins. Yet David doesn’t slink away from those who never gave him the promised reward despite the task having been accomplished, yet he continues to labour.

Ŵe also know from the following chapters that the sword of Goliath was not given to David, but was in the safe custody of a priest at Nob. It is only much later David obtains Goliath’s sword from Ahimelech, there Priest at Nob & the father of Abiathar, by telling him a lie which results in the death of Ahimelech, in the hands of Doeg, the informer, at the command of Saul, and the escape of Abiathar. A cursory Reading shows that David Himself might not have been aware of the sword having been there, but we can’t say anything with David. As King Saul says: David was crafty!

Now David is restored his Sword. The sword which was in the service of Goliath, like the hounds of Actaeon, yet was used by David to sever Goliath’s own head. That very sword came back to the hands of David – the symbol of his unadulterated singular victory, which saved the Israelites from the ignominy of an un-responded challenge and the defeat by a Champion of the Philistines!

The Sword of Goliath, once it came into the hands of David, he became a force, no more an appendage in the camp of King Saul, assigned all the risky tasks to pull chestnuts for Saul and his imperious brood of daughters.

The irony of it all is that after David gets the Sword of Goliath, David goes to GATH. Look at God’s ways. I am amazed, Good sends David with the Sword of Goliath into GATH – the very place from where Goliath hailed from. God takes David to the very place where the Sword was forged. David enters Gath, in his own right with his few men. Then he moves to Moab and finally ends up with his own Tribe of Judah, where Adullam plays the host for a while.

I am amazed, except the Grace of God nothing could have taken David with the Sword of Goliath into GATH. David should be inoculated and familiarised with the terrain and people from whom his weapon had emerged.

David was no more a stranger to his own weapon about which he states thus in 1 Samuel 21:

the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

The battle with Goliath was not won by anyone except by God, through the strengthening the hands of David. But the very trophy, GOLIATH’s SWORD was deprived by Saul, who instead of playing the King had reduced himself to a mere Manager of Israel’s resources, keeping the Sword of Goliath hidden at a nondescript Temple in Nob. What a pity. Saul’s plight was because he had become too imperious and wouldn’t listen to the words of Samuel, nor did he give honour to the division of labour as prescribed in the Scriptures.

But the Sword of Goliath, probably had to be repaired and had to be polished, where else to get it done than in GATH? Probably that thought took him there, but factually the Sword went to its own place of birth and it was re-sanctified and re-christened in GATH as David’s Sword. The taint of it having been kept wrapped in an Ephod at Nob was over.

Saul is alienated without recourse to him using his Son in law David as a troubled shooter.

David comes on his own. God remembered where Goliath’s Sword lay for years and He RESTORES IT TO DAVID, Gets IT to GATH and not for nothing David in Psalm 144 says:

1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

God subdued David’s own people under him, by strengthening David’s hands and making them unite, to take over when Saul when died in the battle.

All started with Goliath’s Sword. Sever yourself from those masters who use you for their purposes and expose you to unwanted risky ventures. Claim your long lost trophy and get it restored and most of all WAIT ON HIM TO EXALT YOU IN DUE TIME.

Sauls would not want Davids to have Goliath’s Sword, lest people congregate with David and create dissipation of the power of Sauls.

Of Leaders & Leadership!


There have been a lot of discussion and opinions strewn about Leaders and Leadership with reference to the recently concluded LIST II elections in the various states of India, especially with reference to UTTAR PRADESH.

LEADER  is a post- facto determination OF A PERSON’S LEADERSHIP.  Anointment as a leader may legitimize his decisions and also empower him, but to exhibit LEADERSHIP, he should PERFORM & DELIVER. Otherwise, like Humayun in the string of the Great Mughals, would be treated as a mere HYPHEN which connected the other two Great Mughals, Babur and Akbar!

Let me expatiate on this point through the story of DAVID & GOLIATH.

Goliath was a Philistine champion. A person who prided on his skills in a one-to-one battle. He had a spear and sword to offend, a buckler, greaves and a helmet to defend and  heckled at the Jewish forces to engage him in a duel. On the other side was the King Saul and his chief of his army Abner. So both Saul and Abner were LEADERS! But they did not want to engage, as they were too big to get into duels with single individuals and expose themselves to the vagaries of a battle. They, though were LEADERS were relying on their POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE to find a person who could win the combat, yet were not willing to engage themselves in the combat.

So SAUL & ABNER went around scouting for a suitably skilled person  to defeat GOLIATH. This was extent of the leadership by Saul. He used his KINGLY position to side-step facing a combat. He was also a trained warrior- at least after he became a King, he was trained. But ABNER was in that position as a WARRIOR only, so he should have stepped in and taken GOLIATH head on. Yet he skirted the combat and wanted somebody else to fight GOLIATH and get the Jews the victory. Their LEADERSHIP WAS CONFINED TO STRATEGY NOT ACTION!

Eventually DAVID was chosen to combat GOLIATH, I am sure DAVID must have demonstrated his skills as a slinger and Saul and Abner would have seen the advantage in sending DAVID, as  – if David’s skill worked- he would be able to finish off GOLIATH before DAVID came into the range of the spear or sword of Goliath. A good ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION. Saul and Abner were great ADMINISTRATORS, but exhibited poor  LEADERSHIP qualities. 

DAVID grabs the opportunity. DAVID slings GOLIATH to his death and cuts off the head of GOLIATH with Goliath’s own sword!

DAVID DID NOT RETIRE LEAVING THE VICTORY IN THE HANDS OF THE ADMINISTRATORS! He exhibited LEADERSHIP.The women, show to Saul who the REAL LEADER was: they sang, “Saul got his thousands and David his ten thousands!”

He had earlier refused to wear the coat-mail of Saul . David relied on his own USP – SLING AND SWING THE VERDICT. He did it. That was LEADERSHIP. But still Saul and Abner were the leaders of the Jewish group. They reduced themselves to figure heads!

SIMPLE, TO BE A LEADER YOU NEED A CROWD WHICH RECOGNIZES YOU AS THE LEADER. BUT TO EXHIBIT LEADERSHIP YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO DIE FOR THE CAUSE.

DAVID WAS WILLING TO DIE, BUT WON THE BATTLE WITH HIS SKILLS. That makes for LEADERSHIP.

Like what Benjamin Netanyahu said, “IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK, LOOKS LIKE A DUCK AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK, WHAT DO YOU CALL IT? A DUCK. IF IT IS FITTED WITH A NUCLEAR HEAD THEN IT IS A NUCLEAR DUCK!”

So PERFORMANCE (which means FUNCTIONS) matter. Merely calling someone a LEADER is nothing but a feudal technique of management. One should exhibit LEADERSHIP TRAITS to be called a LEADER in a DEMOCRACY.

Let us get our fundamentals right!!

DAVID, A SHEPHERD?


Christians in their eagerness to believe in MIRACLES make even RESULTS of  EFFORTS, which have fructified thru HOPE, to be classified as MIRACLES.

A good example is the story of KING DAVID, who was the second King of Israel and finds mention in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles of THE BIBLE.

For those not familiar with the story of David, let me recount a brief life story of one of the greatest symbols of Jewish History. His father’s name was Jesse and he had 7 brothers, who were all elder to him. Being the last and and ignored by his father Jesse, DAVID was rather consigned to tending to the few sheep which Jesse had. He was from the tribe of Judah.

David’s sculpture by Michelangelo leaning on one leg with a curled up fingers in the nude oozes with manliness. But his left hand is bent at the elbow with a sling slapped on his left shoulder. For me that sling is the SYMBOL of his skill, which eventually led him to strike GOLIATH and save the Israelites from the Philistines. Has it ever occurred to anyone why DAVID should keep the sling on his LEFT HAND  and SHOULDER? I have a good reason why Michelangelo  made David hold his sling on his left hand – IT SHOWS THAT SKILL OF THE HIGHEST ORDER, SHOULD BE MADE TO SERVE LIFE AND BEAUTY.

Getting back to our theme- David was not a mere shepherd as thought of by some Christians. It was the job assigned by his father and his elder brothers while he was still young. But what did he do while he was ASSIGNED THE ROLE OF A SHEPHERD? He did not fritter away his time chasing shepherdesses and whiling away his time. He developed 2 skills. One was his ability to sling accurately with force and the other was to play the harp. He built up skills during his free time. That was what made God choose him. God can give talents but He sure is not going to multiply it for you. God gave David the talent to be a lyricist (psalmist), a warrior and a musician, but it was left to him to identify what he had received and hone those skills. David sure did that.

DAVID did not have the mentality of a shepherd, he was filled with imagination. His brothers Eliab, Shamma and others scold him saying that he had left the few sheep their father had in the wilderness and had come to watch the war games initiated by GOLIATH. THEY WERE WRONG- DAVID DID NOT COME  TO WATCH THE WAR GAMES, DAVID HAD COME TO GO STRAIGHT INTO THE PALACE AND SHARE THE MATRIMONIAL BLISS AND BED WITH MEHRAB, THE DAUGHTER OF KING SAUL. David’s brothers were curry favouring ABNER, the Chief of the army of King Saul, but our David went straight for the jugular- DAVID wanted MEHRAB and become the son-in-law of the King. David did not go to Abmer to display his skills, he found a way to Saul.

Do you think King Saul would have let David take on Goliath without testing his skills as a slinger? NO WAY. King Saul would have given him 20 stones and put a condition that David had to strike the target set by him all the 20 times without fail. Saul was no idiot to let an untested man up in a battle, where King Saul and his people’s liberty were at stake. I am sure, rather dead sure, that Saul would have tested him thoroughly before sending DAVID up as the challenger to the declarer GOLIATH.The stakes were too hig to have been otherwise.

The rest is history. DAVID was no shepherd, he was a super skilled slinger, an accomplished musician and a great charmer of women- more than anything else, he was an ACCOMPLISHER. A FINISHER OF THE TASK UNDERTAKEN.

After him killing GOLIATH, King Saul does not give Mehrab, he doesn’t sulk, but carries on his mission to get to the palace. Gets foreskins and becomes the husband to Michal and makes it to the palace. That is where the action is. His brothers were still polishing the shoes of Abner, but our David had risen to the level of being perceived as a threat to the kingship of Saul. David befriends Jonathan and gets info on the palace intrigues even when he is forced out. David escapes with the help of Michal. So DAVID was no shepherd, he was relentlessly on his path to KINGSHIP. Saul calls his son Jonathan, ” THOU SON OF A PERVERSE WOMAN, DON’T YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE HELPING DAVID AT THE COST OF YOUR THRONE?” Was David a shepherd? NAY.

Archibald Primrose Rosebery is reputed to have said that he had three aims in life: to win the Derby, to marry an heiress, and to become Prime Minister. He managed all three. There are certain things which cannot be “GOT”, one has to be “PLACED”  to enjoy the benefits there. Like Archibald Rosebery, DAVID knew that early. HE worked hard to become a KING and even harder to stay that way. That is no shepherd trait.

Read Psalm 144:1

Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

Se the word “TEACHETH”, God can but MAN has to LEARN, that is man’s duty. David learnt the skills and that is what helped him to get there.

Dear Christians, do not believe that God is going to work on the talents given to you, work on it. Prayer is a defence, prayer is a petition but the “will” is God’s- in the meanwhile work on your SKILLS. Miracles do happen in stages also. Get that straight.

There were instances when Jesus told the ones who wanted to be healed “I will, be healed”, but there is also an  instance when he made clay out of his spittle and told the man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. We do not know what is HIS will, in the meanwhile LET US HONE OUR SKILLS. May be we are lucky like Bartimaeus or otherwise, but we cannot keep waiting for MIRACLES to happen suddenly. MIRACLES could be EVOLUTIONARY too in some cases!

DAVID WAS AN EVOLUTIONARY MIRACLE!

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