The childhood of Shepherd David was such as to fit him most effectively for the great work of his later years. He was born in the tumultuous days of Saul's ill-balanced kingship, when Israel was struggling for her life against the increasing power of the Philistines. The land knew no peace, no security. A Philistine attack was always possible, or a raid from the more distant desert tribes, or even some sudden blow from the hand of Saul himself.
David was the youngest of ten children, and in a family of full grown men, he was the least noted, the least important. His duty was to tend his father's sheep, a work involving much wandering over the bleak hills, in storm as well as sunshine, in silence and in solitude, a life of self reliance and meditation, a life which still finds its echo in many of those wonderful Psalms which the Shepherd David learned to sing.
One incident alone of his solitary shepherd life has come down to us-- his conflict with the lion and the bear in defence of his father's flocks. David told Saul the story of meeting the beasts in combat in order to convince the king that he could defeat Goliath in battle. David told Saul, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine."
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