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Goliah of Gat H.
And David Smud Unto Saul, Let No Man's Heart Tail Because Of Him T Thy Siktant Will Go And Fight With This Philistine.
T T is very remarkable, that all those ■*• personages of sacred memory, whose transactions are recorded in the biographical parts of the Bible, have distinguilhed themselves for personal bravery in the most early periods of life. Thus, Moses, yet a child, smote the Egyptian in defence of his brother $ and, in the cafe before us, the youth David, who was, even before this time, so enchanting a musician, as to vanquish an evil spirit by the melody of his harp, commences an illustrious and warlike character all at once, by subduing the
man man, of whom, whole armies were afraid, in single combat. This history, is, likewise, fruitful of very fine things, and favourable to the remark of a commentator. There is'a skill observable in the conduct of the sacred narratives rarely, if ever, seen in other writings: and it shall be the business of this illustration to shew, that the chain if real circumstances relating to the duel betwixt David and Goliah, is, from the-beginning to the end, from the first syllable to the last, a match for any composition whatever—setting aside the matter of scripture—even in point of what the dramatists call fable. And I am thus particularly earnest to display, in this work, the literary excellence of the Holy Bible, because I have reason to apprehend it is too frequently laid by, under a notion of its being a dull, dry, and unentertaining system -, whereas the fact is quite otherwise: it contains all that can be wijhed, by the truest intellectual taste; it enters more sagaciously, and more deeply, into human nature; it developes character, delineates.
manner,charms the imagination, and warms the heart more effectually than any other book extant: and if once a man would take it into his hand, without that strange prejudicing idea of its flatness, and be willing to be pleased, I am morally certain he would find all his favourite authors dwindle in the comparison, and conclude, that he was not only reading the most religious, but the • most entertaining book in the world.
It is my present design, therefore, to display the story now under consideration as a performance, written with the greatest art, and managed with the most masterly judgment. This will best be done, by selecting, from the whole matter, particular passages, and making a few comments thereupon.
The very exordium of the story presents us with an image, that prepares us for something extraordinary.
"Saul and the men of Israel were <*a"thered togtther, and pitched by the val"ley of Eteh, and set the battle in array, "against the Philistines. And the Philis"tines stood on a mountain on the one "side, and Israel stood on a mountain on "the other, and there was a valley between "them." Fancy herself could not have imagined any thing more picturesque; nor could any martial skill have made a more aweful arrangement. The nex-t circumstance is as interesting as unexpected :. "And there went out a champion out of "the camp of the Philistines, named Go"liah of Gath." The description of thisman is every way suited to alarm; and I will be bold to say, far transcends in equipment the heroes of Homer himself. I submit it to all the poetical enthusiasts. "His "height was six cubits and a span: he had "an helmet of brass upon his head, and "was armed with a coat of mail; and the "weight of the coat was five thousand "sheckles of brass." 1 must here interrupt the narrative, to observe, with what
skill we are told of the strength of Goliah. It is not mentioned in the ordinary way, by a recital of his former atchievments, but it is implied by the prodigious burthen he was able to bear upon his back; for, besides that, "the head of his spear weigh"ed six hundred shekles of iron" "the "weight of his coat was five thousand *' shekles ofbrass" But to go on.
"And he had greaves of brass upon his "legs, and a target of brass between his "shoulders : and the staff of his spear was "like a weaver's beam •, and his spear's "head weighed fix hundred fliekles of "iron; and one bearing a shield, went "before him." The terror and consternation with which this gigantic appearance must strike the spectators, is much easier conceived than it can be described. All must have been suspense, and silent agitation—the Israelites must look at the man of Gath, with dismay; and the Philistines must have viewed their warrior as the tremendous tower of their strength. His address