David and Goliath: an interactive activity

Whole schoolRE, Classroom Reflection
This story needs to emphasise how David's life, as he grew older, became full of horrible battles he couldn't escape from - fighting usually makes things worse!

Introduction

This story needs to emphasise how David's life, as he grew older, became full of horrible battles he couldn't escape from - fighting usually makes things worse!

Preparation

Divide the children into two halves facing each other: one side are the Israelites, the other side are the Philistines. From the Israelites, choose a child to be David; from the Philistines, choose a child to be Goliath. (Play the other parts yourself and where the dialogue is scripted just get the acting child to repeat their words after you.)

Development

David was an ordinary shepherd boy, from an ordinary family - he had seven big brothers. While he was looking after his dad's sheep, David probably used to get a bit fed up, so sometimes he wrote songs and played them on his harp, and other times he practised with his sling. He would put a stone in the centre of a small strip of leather, spin it round and round gaining speed and then let go of one end - the stone would fly through the air so fast that you couldn't see it go. David became a really good shot and sometimes he had to use his sling to scare away bears (all growl), wolves (all howl) or even lions (all roar).

Some of David's brothers were away fighting in King Saul's army: they were the Israelites. The battle was against their enemy, the Philistines. The Philistines were camped one side of the valley (Philistines cheer) and the Israelites on the opposite side (Israelites cheer).

Now, the Philistines had a secret weapon in their army - a man so big and so tall that everyone called him 'the giant' - he wasn't a 'fairy-tale giant' of course, just a really big man! His name was Goliath and he would come out in front of the Philistine camp and yell across the valley to the Israelites in his fiercest roar of a voice: Come on you Israelites - send down your champion - you're not scared are you? You must have someone that will take me on!

The Philistines loved this and would stand behind Goliath and tease the Israelites: We're going to beat you! (to the tune 'Na, na, na - na, na' and pointing with raised arms)

None of the Israelites wanted to take on this big man - they were all terrified but tried to respond bravely: No you won't! (to the same tune, looking worried, pretending to bite fingernails, as secretly they thought the Philistines would win!

David was at home, looking after the sheep as usual and he didn't know any of this was going on. Then one day David's dad called him:

Dad: David, I want you to do a job for me.

David: Ok dad.

Dad: I want you to go and visit your brothers in the army.

David: Yes! (punch the air)

Dad: See how they're getting on and take them some food in case they're getting hungry.

David: OK dad.

Dad: Take them some sandwiches, and bread and cheese, and cake, and there's some fruit and veg, and here's some fresh water. Oh... and a pasty and some pickle. Now hurry along, off you go! (Dad gives various items to David who soon gets overloaded)

David set off carrying all the goodies for his brothers and arrived at the Israelite camp just in time to see Goliath come out across the valley with his usual taunt:

Goliath: Come on you Israelites - send down your champion - you're not scared are you? You must have someone that will take me on!

Philistines:We're going to beat you

Israelites: No you're not!

David met his brothers (still carrying all the goodies) and, like most little brothers, came out with loads of questions:

David: What's going on? Who's that big man? Why's there so much shouting? Who's going to take him on then? Why hasn't anyone sorted him out yet? Where's the toilet? Oh, and dad's sent these.

His brother replied as many older brothers reply to younger brothers:

Brother: What are you doing here and why are you asking silly questions? Go back home to dad and practise playing 'Baa, baa black sheep' on your harp or something useful!

But David wasn't put off:

David: No! Who's going to take him on? You shouldn't be scared of him. He may be big but we've got God on our side and he will protect us. Oh... I'll go and sort him out!

Despite David's brothers trying to send him back home David headed off to see the king. He arrived at the palace and was taken to see King Saul.

David: King Saul, I have come to talk to you about the big man they call 'the giant'. No one seems to want to take him on but, Your Majesty, I will take him on.

King Saul looked him up and down and chuckled:

Saul: Well young man, it's a very noble offer but you can't take him on, he's so huge and you're so small.

David: That doesn't matter, I'll take him on, I'm not afraid of him. I've got God on my side and I'll go in the power of the Lord.

David went on to tell him about how he'd seen off wolves (all howl) and even killed lions (all roar) and bears (all growl) and, despite Saul's reluctance, there was no one else - he couldn't find anyone else to go, so eventually Saul agreed.

Saul: OK you can go, but if you're going, you must take my armour.

David tried to put it on but nearly fell over, it was so heavy!

Saul: And my sword and shield.

David couldn't lift them!

Saul: And my helmet.

As David tried to put this on, his head nearly fell off!

David: These things are no good for me (handing them back). Thanks, but I don't need your weapons or your armour, God will give me all I need, I'm going in the power of the Lord.

As David headed out, King Saul looked worried and sad.

David arrived in the valley just as Goliath came out with his usual teasing:

Goliath: Come on you Israelites - send down your champion - you're not scared are you? You must have someone that will take me on!

Philistines:We're going to beat you

Israelites: No you're not!

David spoke up:

David: I will take you on!

Goliath peered across the valley and laughed... the Philistines laughed... but the Israelites were shaking with fear.

Goliath: You cannot take me on, you're so small I can hardly see you. Is this a joke? (all Philistines laughing)

David: I'm no joke and I'm going to take you on. I'm not afraid of you! I've got God on my side and I'm coming in the power of the Lord.

David quietly bent down and picked up five stones: he put four in his pocket and one in his sling. He began to spin the sling around gaining speed. At just the right moment, he let go of one end of the sling, the stone flew through the air so fast, like a bullet from a gun, no one saw it coming. It hit Goliath right in the middle of his forehead and he fell down to the ground with a thud! He was dead!

Just so that everyone knew that Goliath was dead, David ran over to him and picked up his sword and with one huge swing he cut off his head! The Israelites cheered:

Israelites: We have beaten you!

Philistines:Aaaaaaargh!

David had won... the Philistines were defeated... but it wasn't the end of the story (all form one circle with David standing in the middle).

God had made David the king of the Israelites because David's heart was right and good (thumbs up against heart). But the people made David the king because he won lots of battles (David in victorious pose, all cheer). They began to think that the only way to solve a problem was to go to war (all make sword-fighting pose). But they didn't just go to war against their enemies, they went to war against each other (turn to neighbour in sword-fighting pose). David's family even had horrible battles against each other (make sword-fighting pose directly to David). And one of David's sons tried to kill him (pick one child to enter circle and make pose right up to David), but that son ended up being killed (son dies but NOT by David's hand) instead and David was heartbroken (all look really, really sad).

David loved God (mime love action and point up) and God loved David (point up and mime love action) but David must have realised that a lifetime of battles and war had cost him so much.

Many years later, David's children's, children's, children's (and lots more children's) had a baby boy (rock baby in arms) named Jesus and he said we should love our enemies.

Acknowledgements

Photo by Awais Jamil on Unsplash