Friday, March 14, 2014

At last I arrive at the top, bringing the battle to them

And so, slowly climbing the path, nearly collapsing under the weight of my trophy, I let the troops follow me. At last I arrive at the top, bringing the battle to the Philistines. They gape upon the dismembered head of their champion, and when they notice that it is coming at them, they start gasping and shrieking in fear. A great number of them leave their shields and weapons behind, because the lighter they are—the faster they can bolt from this place.
What happens next seems like a daze to me. Having been a child entertainer up to this point, I have never been to a battlefield before, let alone in this new role, this odd public capacity as half David and half Goliath. Constantly advancing I feel the earth rumbling under my feet as the Philistines flee in fright before me. 
I sense heat, the heat of battle, sizzling in my veins. I hear a flourish of metal, the swoosh of arrows flying back and forth on all sides. Without looking down I step over the bodies of the fallen, the wounded, the weak… Guided mostly by a sense of touch I am unable to make any distinction between theirs and ours. 
And for a minute I think I spot someone out there, a tiny outline of him back there on the ledge, on our side of the valley. I know it must be Saul, because the sun hits a metallic thing on his head, and at once it comes aglitter. 
Then the sweat runs into my eyes, and I can no longer find him out there, nor can I locate his crown.

David by Barry Moser
Some of his most celebrated work has been his illustrations for Lewis Carroll's 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

David slays Goliath by Dore

My story is greatly inspired by the differences in depicting the story by artists throughout the ages. Here, for example, the way David is presented in Barry Moser's art. His is a young shepherd, a modern character, one that may be living right now, perhaps in a third-world country. Ambition is burning in his eyes. He wants to become larger than life. His look is directed at you. You become part of the scene. You are Goliath. 
Compare this to the the wood engraving by Louis August Gustave DorĂ©. His David is an iconic hero, with a great, dramatic flair suggested in the folds of his tunic. At his moment of victory, he indeed becomes 'half David, half Goliath' as I suggest in my story. Here, David is more than a character--he becomes a symbol of the possibility of the weak defeating the mighty, with a glorification of war, and with the help of God.  

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“I am still in awe just how much there is to the story of King David”

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