Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Dancing Women

The Israelites lived in fear of the Philistines. Everyone feared them, especially the Philistine champion Goliath who was six cubits and a span. That translates into nine feet nine inches tall. Though this is hard for us to comprehend, several historians of the times mentioned giants that were seven cubits.

Nonetheless, Goliath towered over the Israelites, and no one wanted to fight him until David came along. Though David was a young shepherd boy and not a mighty soldier, he did what everyone else was afraid to do. He killed Goliath.

Saul appointed David as commander over the king’s army, and one day as David returned from a victorious day on the battlefield, women throughout the land gathered to meet King Saul. They danced and sang, playing tambourines and other musical instruments. As they danced, they sang “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

I’m sure these women meant well, but their words didn’t go over so well with Saul. He grew angry that they viewed David as mightier than him. From that day forward, Saul resented David. 

The throngs of women celebrated David’s success. 1 Samuel 18:6 tells us that they came to meet Saul with joy. I’m sure it never occurred to them that their words of praise would spark a negative chord in Saul’s heart. 

We never know what others are going through. What seems innocent to us can be hurtful to someone else. May we be ever mindful that our words bring joy to those around us rather than harm. May we also keep our eyes focused on the Lord instead of men. Had these women praised the Lord for the victories rather than men, how much different the outcome might have been. 

Read about the dancing women in Scripture: 1 Samuel 18.

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