Was King David a Coward?

Even as a kid, a committed Christian, listening to the story of David and Goliath and reading it myself, something never sat right with me about the whole David defeating Goliath story, but I could never quite pinpoint it. Now that I look critically at the bible… something I never did as a Christian because well… because you just don’t…! I just have to ask this question. Was David that great a hero in this story? Was his victory against Goliath really that impressive?

The answer is clearly no. In fact if anything, David sucker punched Goliath as it were. Goliath was expecting him to come at him with a sword, but instead David came at him with a sling, which let’s face it is a little like walking into a knife fight and pulling out a gun and shooting your opponent point blank in the head before he can even get within a few feet of you.

If this confrontation were to take place in this day and age, would be be hailing David for his impressive victory? Of course not! In fact we would be calling him a coward for taking a cheap shot. There is no honour in shooting a swordsman in the head with a projectile weapon, just as there is no honour in strapping explosives to your body and walking into a crowded place before detonating them. Back in David’s days it was meant to be Champion vs Champion. David was expected to come out and face Goliath as a champion would and take him on toe to toe, but he didn’t. Far from it.

I could beat Mike Tyson in a boxing match any day! I'll just bring a gun to the ring with me!
I could beat Mike Tyson in a boxing match any day! I'll just bring a gun to the ring with me!

David was a COWARD, nothing more. He knew beforehand what he was going to do and he knew there was no danger for him in going out there to face Goliath just as I would have no fear of climbing into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson, with a hand gun in my trunks, intending on shooting him before he could get near enough to punch me.

If it's ok for our bible hero...






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Comments: 8
  • #1

    help3434 (Tuesday, 22 October 2013 16:15)

    Do you really think a sling was as easy to use as a gun? That hitting an armoured man with a sling in the one place where he was not covered was easy?

  • #2

    reckersworld (Wednesday, 23 October 2013 17:18)

    For David, yes. He would no doubt have had plenty of practise using it, especially as a shepherd. Just like a gun... or a bow and arrow... anything like that, all it takes is practise to become a crack shot.

  • #3

    redo (Sunday, 18 January 2015 11:49)

    I can't believe you called David a coward. Wow!

    I'm not sure how big David was, but Goliath was over 9 feet tall. He was a well trained warrior who was wearing armor to protect him. Do you really think it wouldn't take courage for David to face him on the battle field??
    Did you notice that no one else wanted to fight him? There was a reason for that.
    How can you compare a sling shot to a gun? What would have happened if he had stumbled and missed?

    David is a hero in his own right, and it is the silliest argument against the bible that I have seen you make yet.

  • #4

    reckersworld (Sunday, 18 January 2015 14:30)

    For a start, nobody grows over 9 feet tall. So he could never have been that tall. Although the bigger he was the bigger the target, so if he was that big it would have been even easier to get in a fatal shot.

    Secondly David once killed a bear. Any hunter knows that to kill a bear you have to be deadly accurate. You maim it, it will keep coming at you. It has to be a killer shot. With a human, you maim him and he stops coming. Thus taking on Goliath was nothing to David compared to taking on the likes of a bear.

    David had to be a crack shot to kill wild animals like bears. A shot right to the forehead. He knew full well that Goliath would not get within 5 meters of him. And if he had stumbled or missed he could have easily loaded up the shot and tried again. He would have had plenty of time. He could have easily lead a big guy like Goliath on a merry chase until he got in that killer shot.

    No doubt an archer could have killed Goliath, but when you have a champion vs champion battle like that, it's meant to be on an equal footing - sword vs sword. That's why nobody dared take him on because they knew they couldn't beat him on an equal footing. But a kid could get away with it, after all, he's a kid.

    You can most definitely compare a slingshot to a gun. Of course you can. Especially when the guy is an expert marksman, which he would have had to have been to kill lions and bears.

  • #5

    redo (Sunday, 18 January 2015 16:23)

    Calling David a coward makes no sense at all. According to the bible Goliath was over 9 feet tall. Here is a link talking about giants and I have no doubt that they existed. http://www.6000years.org/frame.php?page=giants

    According to the bible David was one of the bravest men I know about. I can't reason out where you get that is okay calling him a coward.

  • #6

    reckersworld (Monday, 19 January 2015 13:41)

    Redo, you are linking to a site that shows at least one image which has definitely been exposed as a fraud and even other Christian websites recognize as a fraud! How can you take that website seriously? But seriously, if he was that tall, it made it easier for David. The bigger the target, the easier it would be to hit with a slingshot.

    I think I have given perfectly good reasoning why I believe David to be a coward. He had absolutely nothing to fear from Goliath. He knew his slingshot would trump Goliath's sword and armour. He knew that he was going to cheap-shot the giant. If he wasn't a coward he would have gone toe-to-toe on equal footing - sword vs sword.

  • #7

    redo (Monday, 19 January 2015 18:10)

    I'll take your word that the site I posted showed at least one fraud photo, but I still believe giants existed.
    I hate it that we can't trust all the sites we go to on the internet.
    Here is one you might like better.
    Whether Goliath was over 9 feet or just a very big man, it absolutely took courage for David to fight him.
    Goliath was a champion and had fought many battles always winning. He knew that David could have a sling shot or bow and arrow, but he has shield and armor to defend against that.
    This wasn't a situation where a cheap shot means anything, this was war and the best soldier won.
    It always takes courage to go into battle when there is a chance that you could be killed, unless you are suicidal.
    It must have been a while since you read that story.

  • #8

    Kevin O. (Friday, 20 February 2015 23:52)

    Hey reckersworld. I found your site searching for this very question. Thanks for your insights. I hope it's a matter of me missing the point of the story or not knowing all the details, because I'm inclined to agree with you--David's winning with the sling does come across a little sucker punch-y. I'm glad to hear it from someone else.

    Maybe David's story is more about redemption and God's ability to use cheats and cowards than the deification of Israel's true king.