Tuesday, June 17, 2008

David vs. Goliath - The View from Tel Azekah

On a half-day field trip with
this morning, my cell phone rings and it's a friend from America on the line.
"Where are you?" he asked.
"I'm somewhere in Chapter 17 of 1st Samuel," I replied, "Where David beat Goliath, you know!" Geographically speaking, it's easier to describe my location in "Chapter and Verse" Bible-Speak than to say, I'm walking to the top of Tel Azekah, to view the Elah Valley, the battleground where Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, challenged the newly-united monarchy under the rule of King Saul to do battle. From the top of Tel Azekah, one can see from the hills of Jerusalem to the cities of the coastal plains, known now in the Silicon Age as they were known then in the Iron Age- Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, Ekron, and farther south, Gaza.
The Philistine army was aggressive and well-armed, the newly united tribes of Israelites (whom only a few "chapters" earlier, at the end of the Book of Judges, had been at war with each other) had only two suits of armour and an insecure monarch - but it had something else - David, the shepherd boy, seventh son of Jesse the Bethlehemite...a ruddy-faced poet, musician and keeper of flocks who couldn't have been more unimpressed with the Philistines "technology" and array of armaments.
"You come out against me with sword and spear and javelin," said David to Goliath, "But I come against you in the Name of the LORD of Hosts, the G_d of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied!"
The rest, of course, isn't just history - it's legend, archetype, an eternal template of what faith and courage look like for the soul of the Jewish people ourselves.
Oh where is our David, son of Jesse? Where is David HaMelech, King David, when we need him today? Where is the one who will face our enemies and perceive not their strength, their numbers, their weapons of mass destruction or their infernal alliances - but will perceive only one thing - that they have defied the Living G_d, the LORD of Hosts, the G_d of Israel - and having done so, must and will be defeated?
Oh that the souls of our people would yearn for the Son of David today!

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