I’m always fascinated when someone takes a new spin on a classic tale. Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker and author of four books, takes a look at the biblical tale of David and Goliath found in 1 Samuel 17 and re-imagines it based on some research into ancient warfare. Take a look at what he has to say.
Now, I don’t know much about Gladwell or his credentials, but he does pose an interesting premise. What if the story of David and Goliath isn’t the traditional “underdog” story, but rather a tale about a well-equipped young man taking on a warrior with a pituitary abnormality? Does that change the meaning of the story?
My response to Gladwell’s talk would be that the bottom line is that we simply don’t know. We don’t know how if David was specially trained as a slinger. We don’t know why Goliath needed an attendant. We don’t know how good Goliath’s eyesight was. Yet looking at these details, while I find them extremely imaginative and fun to consider, misses the point of the story. I like how Gladwell ended the talk by saying that giants sometimes aren’t really all that scary once you think about them. For me, this has always been the point of this story. Whether David is a lucky shot, or whether he went to battle with a true ace up his sleeve, what ends up happening is that he overcomes the perceived threat and builds his own credibility to become the king Yahweh wanted for Israel.
We all face perceived giants. Can we uncover enough information about that giant in order to see that we are well-equipped with gifts to overcome them? Can we trust that God has given us the tools and talents to defeat them? Are we more than just “lucky shots” and actually the slingers God created us to be?