I have been writing a children's book about David and Goliath for some time now. I first explored the story through The Shepherd and the Giant, but after additional research and study I expanded and re-wrote the book. The text lengthened from around 2,600 words to roughly 5,600 words in the new-and-improved Shepherd King Chronicles: David and Goliath. Obviously the telling has grown.
I've tried to add a lot of additional information that I've gleaned from various research (readings range from the dig at Gath to the Dothan's classic work to the Aegean migration to the Iliad and more) Hopefully the story flows smoothly and the research further fills out the world of King Saul, the Five Lords of Philistia, and the shepherd boy David.
I am going to be releasing a few pages weekly here at the blog and reading some pages on the Advancement Creative podcast. This will be a taste of the story as we prepare to launch a Kickstarter campaign next month to bring the book to life in print. Below I've included the first few pages of text. Please enjoy and please leave comments and thoughts below!
The once battle-hardened warrior, now a wrinkled and wizened poet, sat on his throne. A scribe entered with scrolls for the king’s approval when the sound of children’s laughter and play came echoing into the throne room.
The younger boy, Mattatha, fought with a wooden sword while the older, Rehoboam, parried and struck back with an old staff.
The scribe huffed at the disrespect.
“Where did you get that?” asked the Shepherd King.
The boys stopped.
“This?” Rehoboam held out the staff.
The king nodded.
“I found it,” replied the boy.
“Bring it to me.”
Rehoboam did as he was told. The Shepherd King turned the staff over in his hands and looked it over, from end to crook.
“Whose staff was that, grandfather?” asked Mattatha.
“It was mine,” said the aged king as he closed his eyes and remembered.
The morning light filtered through the dusty, hazy air around the fortress city of Gath. Thick and strong was the iron bound gate of the capitol city of the Philistine Pentapolis. From inside, drums echoed like rhythmic thunder.
On its hinges, the gate groaned as the door of Gath slowly swung inward. Pinpricks of light shimmered through the dusty air and reflected off of spear points and round shields. Out from the haze, bearing iron-tipped weapons, marched the Gittite infantrymen. The ranks of men moved with military precision, almost as if they were one. Feathered helms encircled and protected the Philistine warriors’ heads while leather armor and uniforms guarded their chests. Each foot soldier carried a spear in one hand and a shield in the other.
“Gath!” cried the Gittites as they marched forth from their walled city.
“Philistia!” came the answer from the plain before Gath. There stood the Philistine army, tens of thousands strong, gathered en masse from the other four Philistine cities.
The Gittite infantrymen were well away from the city when the chariots poured forth from Gath. The chariots, each enameled with bronze and armed with quivers of javelins, were manned by a driver, an elite warrior, and a shield bearer. The shield bearer was tasked with protecting the driver and, more specifically, the warrior. Armed with a short sword, spear, a sickle sword, and bronze armor, it was the chariot warrior’s task to deal death and destruction to the enemies of Philistia. The Philstine warriors’ trade was war, and these were their tools.
The Gittite forces joined the ranks of the larger Philistine army and their march began. The Lords of Philistia meant to expand the borders of their alliance into Israel, to capture Azekah, a strategic Judean border town, and to enslave as many Israelites as possible. They would lure out Saul, the king of Israel, and destroy him and his army.
The tribes of Israel would fall, and Philistia would rise.
The Benjamite boy ran as fast as he could up the road to Gibeah. Like wind, he flew through the gate. Darting and weaving down the main road, he passed between merchants’ wares, children at play, and women carrying baskets full of washed garments. Guards stood at the entrance to the king’s courtyard. For them, he stopped.
The messenger boy told the guards the words he was to deliver.
Abner, the commander of Israel’s army, and Jonathan, a prince and commander of one thousand men, stood addressing the king when the boy entered the throne room. The boy could not help but gulp nervously. On the throne sat King Saul.
“What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. He stood and the boy’s eyes went wide. King Saul was head-and-shoulders taller than both Abner and Jonathan.
The boy was breathless.
“The Philistine — army is on the march,” gasped the messenger, “They make — for Ephes-Dammim.”
“The boundary of blood,” echoed Jonathan.
“They mean to take Azekah,” said Abner.
“And Sokoh,” continued Jonathan.
“No.” King Saul stepped forward. The messenger boy quailed to see the king’s regal stature and strength so close before him.
“This is only the beginning. The Lords of the Philistines mean to enslave all of Israel. Abner!”
“Yes, my king?”
“Muster the armies of the tribes of Israel!” commanded the king. Abner bowed and hurried out. Jonathan followed him. The boy watched all this wide-eyed.
King Saul sat back down on his throne. He dismissed the messenger boy with a wave of his hand. The boy had heard tell of the king’s wrath and, like the wind, blew through the palace hall, between the guards, and down the road to his home.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from my upcoming book Shepherd King Chronicles: David & Goliath. I'll be posting more next week and be sure to listen to next week's podcast for a reading of this week's excerpt. Please comment, like and share!
All text copyright A. Christopher Oxsen.