David, the son of Jesse, was a beautiful boy, who could charm by his wonderful music. But he was to be more than a |sweet singer,| for Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, declared that he should be King of Israel, and poured the sacred oil upon his head.
Saul, who was then the King of Israel, had spells of insanity, and David was sent for to try and calm him by his music. In this he was so successful that after a time the king seemed to be entirely cured; so David returned to his home, and staid there quietly until his father sent him to the camp of the Israelites, with food for his brothers.
He found Saul's army in great commotion, because Goliath, a mighty warrior of the Philistines, had come out before both armies and had offered to fight any man who should be sent against him.
Goliath had a cap of brass on his head, and his body was well protected with a covering of iron and brass, while he carried a monstrous spear and sword, and a heavy shield. As he came before the two camps, he cried out: |I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together!|
When David came up and heard the story, he said: |Who is this Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?| And David offered to go forth against Goliath.
So he went out in his shepherd's dress, with only his staff and sling; and Goliath, who was very angry at this, cried out: |Am I a dog, that thou comest against me with a staff?| Then he began to make fun of David. But David answered: |Thou comest against me with a sword and a shield; but I come against thee trusting in the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, whom thou hast defied.|
[Illustration: SAUL ANGRY WITH DAVID.]
Then, as Goliath came nearer, David took a stone from the bag at his side, and putting it into his sling, he took good aim, and it struck Goliath in the middle of the forehead and stunned him. As the giant fell, David ran up to him, and taking the mighty sword, cut off his head with it.
This act of David's brought a great victory to Saul's army, and the king was delighted with his courage; while Jonathan, Saul's eldest son, loved the boy from that time, and they became like brothers. David also married the daughter of Saul, and was placed over his men of war.
[Illustration: THE DEATH OF SAUL.]
[Illustration: THE DEATH OF AHAB.]
But when all the people praised David, and Saul knew how much they loved him, he grew jealous, and David was obliged to fly for his life and hide himself from the king. During these wanderings, he wrote some of his most beautiful psalms.
Saul, however, was finally killed, and at last David became king. He ruled Israel for nearly forty years, making it a great and powerful nation; and when he died he was buried at Jerusalem, which was called |The City of David,| because he had caused it to be taken from the enemy.