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1001 Stories Collection

David and Goliath

1001 David And Goliath Patrick Campanale
Added on 03rd September 2020

Religious story Likely first recorded in 7th Century BCE


A story that shows that even the smallest of characters can make the biggest of impacts.


The Israelites are fighting a nation called the Philistines in the valley of Elah. For forty days, in the morning and evening, the gigantic Philistine champion known as Goliath challenges the Israelites to send someone to fight him in single combat. King Saul is afraid and refuses to go himself. However, David, a shepherd boy, hears Goliath and decides to accept the challenge…

Why we chose it

One of the best known stories from the Old Testament, David and Goliath is a classic tale of someone small and weak beating someone big and strong. A story of perseverance and faith.

Where it came from

This story is part of what Christians call the Old Testament and Jews call the Hebrew Bible. It is part of a group of texts which tell the story of the people of Israel and the way God guided them. There is a lot of debate over when and how these texts were written as they are so old, but the story is set around 1000 BCE and it will have likely been passed down orally in its early stages.

Where it went next

This story is very important for Jews, Christians and Muslims who see it as a story about God’s faithfulness to those who trust in Him. It has also impacted language outside of religious contexts. The English word ‘goliath’ (big) comes from this Biblical story. Also, the phrase ‘David and Goliath’ describes a situation where an ‘underdog’ (the weaker person) wins against the odds.

Associated stories

David is an incredibly important figure for Jews, Christians and Muslims. David is thought to have written famous Biblical poetry like Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd. The story is also compared to the battle between the giant Ereuthalion and young Nestor in the Iliad.

Added on 03rd September 2020

Religious story Likely first recorded in 7th Century BCE