In “Did David Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight? Literary and Historical Considerations in Interpreting David’s Victory over Goliath” (Expository Times, 30 April 2013), Benjamin J.M. Johnson considers whether the famous narrative should be interpreted as a story of faith, in which a shepherd boy uses a humble sling to defeat a great warrior, or a story of cunning, in which David’s actions are the equivalent of “taking a gun to a knife fight”.
Bringing a gun to a knife fight? Like the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
What was Benjamin Johnson’s conclusion? The David and Goliath narrative is more like Star Wars than Raiders of the Lost Ark:
It seems we are best off seeing David’s victory over Goliath as something that was possible … but not very likely. To interpret David’s victory over Goliath as due primarily on David’s reliance on Yhwh seems a very good reading of the evidence. If we are to seek a modern analogy we should not look to Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or Spielberg’s The Raiders of the Lost Ark. Perhaps a better modern analogy to David’s victory over Goliath is Luke Skywalker’s victory over the Death Star in George Lucas’s Star Wars. While it may be physically possible for a proton torpedo to penetrate a small thermal exhaust port on the Death Star, it is highly unlikely and the viewer knows the real secret to Luke’s success. Similarly, while it may be physically possible for David to take down the well-armored Goliath with a sling, it is highly unlikely and the reader knows the real secret to David’s success. In short, just as the force was with Luke, Yhwh was with David.
– Benjamin J.M. Johnson, “Did David Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight? Literary and Historical Considerations in Interpreting David’s Victory over Goliath“, Expository Times, 30 April 2013, p. 8.
h/t: Aren Maeir, “And if already on the topic of new studies on Goliath…“, The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog, 22 September 2013