Holy Spirit Interactive
May The Spirit Be With You
Inside HSI Youth

Bible Geek
Holy Spirit Interactive Youth: Bible Geek: David and Goliath's Head

David and Goliath's Head

This might sound like a really stupid question, and I'm embarassed to ask it, but why did David cut off Goliath's head in 1 Samual 17? I'm confused. Why would he do that?

Hmmm, how can i put this simply --- to kill him!!! Seriously, though, it's not a stupid question, but is this a trick question? I don't mean to be sarcastic...well, maybe I do a little bit. :) But know this - there are no stupid questions. Not about the Bible.

You see, depending upon who you ask the significance of Goliath's beheading after "the sling shot incident" carries different meaning.

Let's consider the Scripture verse and what transpired after David's stone "made contact" with the mighty Goliath of Gath:

"Then David ran and stood over him; with the Philistine's (Goliath's) own sword which he drew from its sheath he dispatched him and cut off his head. When they saw that their hero was dead, the Philistines took to flight." - 1 Sam. 17:51

Some say that David cut off Goliath's head to leave absolutely no doubt that he was dead. Also, symbolically, cutting off someone's head meant different things (culturally) to different people. Some felt it was for "proof" the person was dead. Others felt the person's "power" was contained in their head. Still others, culturally, believed the head to contain and “house” all of the wisdom and power of a person, where the person’s essence resided.

Others accepted the head of the slain as a gift or "symbol" of power and supremacy. Sometimes, they would even display the dismembered heads on sticks or spears in front of camps or castles for all to see as a "warning". Others would display them proudly inside the castles as decoration. Of course, such practices didn't occur often, since they would decompose and rot pretty quickly if not properly (and disgustingly) cared for.

Yes, pretty gross stuff.

Incidentally, it does tell us in verse 54 that David brought Goliath's head to Jerusalem (the capital), although at this time it was most likely still Jebusite and David would not have had a military tent of his own. This verse might have been added at a later time. What a fun question, though - I have to be honest, it made me think. It also made my mind race with possible stupid (and somewhat sarcastic) answers. And coming from a big family, sarcasm is something I've always had to keep an eye on...it's something I pray about and have to really watch not to let go in my daily life. It's a struggle, but one I'm overcoming with prayer and diligence.

That being said...

When i first read the question, "Why did David cut off Goliath's head?", there were several responses (not too sarcastic) that went through my own head. So, from the BG home office in Phoenix, AZ (ya’ – I stole that from Letterman)…

The Top Ten reasons that David cut off Goliath's head

David cut off Goliath’s head because...

10. Goliath was too tall for the roller coaster
9. He was a near-sighted barber in his free time
8. Goliath couldn’t fit into most mid-sized or compact cars
7. Goliath was self conscious about his height on Prom night
6. He wanted to impress his friends
5. ”Chicks dig it”
4. He was broke...think of the money he's save on gel
3. He knew that 2800 years later someone would accuse them (like Da Vinci Code) of being married
2. He was out of Q-tips
1. Goliath didn't want to see one more reality television show...ever

Are these stupid? Yes.

Was your question stupid? NO. No question about the Bible is ever stupid. No person asking a question about THE BOOK is ever stupid in my book. The only “stupid” person is the one so proud that they never ask a question, destined to live, forever, in a smaller reality than the one for which they are designed.

Thanks for taking the time and for putting up with my idiocy.

I’m proud of you for wanting to learn and to go deeper. Keep it up. And the next time you get confused by a Scripture verse, remember…

Don’t lose your head.


E-mail this page to a friend