David & Goliath

David & Goliath – the musical
Written & performed inside four days (8-11 Jul 2003)

Israelites: Saul, David, other soldiers including David’s brother
Philistines: Goliath and other soldiers

Ph: Here is the star of the Philistine crowd
Goliath of Gath is his name
He’s big and he’s loud and he’s strong and he’s proud
Everyone knows of his fame

G: Look at these Israelites, servants of Saul
Lining up there for a fight
Really these soldiers are weaklings, and all
Are cowering yonder in fright

Listen you boys, cos I have an idea
One which for me will be fun
You Israelites are much weaker than we are
We’ll settle it now one on one
Give me a man!

Ph: Honestly, we have an over-reliance
On this guy, Goliath, down here
Hear our champion’s shameless defiance
We safely stay back in the rear

G: Give me a man! That’s what I say
Send out a fighter to fight
I defy Israel’s army today
Where is your courage and might

Give me a man! Send out someone brave
If he’s lucky enough to defeat me
Each of us you may then count as your slaves
Then again, no one can beat me

Ph: They’ll be our subjects if our bloke should win
None of us doubt that he will
Come on, King Saul, come and send a man in
Someone Goliath will kill

G: Saul was a hero, the star of his clan
Come on down tackle me now if you can

Ph: Pick a man, choose him, you’ll probably lose him
You’ll never outmuscle our man in a tussle
He is the champ of the Philistine camp

G: Give me a man!


Here his challenge, this mean giant
Challenges us to fight
He keeps tauting us, defiant
Could he really be right

Look at him, he’s such a rough one
Killed many men, you bet yourself
If face to face with such a tough one
I’m fairly sure you’d wet yourself

A great reward is up for whoever
Kills Goliath – riches and
His family will be tax-free forever
And he may take my daughter’s hand

But we sit here in abject shame
We need a soldier who is brave
But none of us at all are game
So we’ll – Oh, hello Dave

Who defies the living LORD
This heathen do not fear
Just see – reward or no reward
I’m in. I volunteer

Back to the sheep now, little brother
You’ve got no chance at all
This should be left to another
You’re a boy, he’s nine feet tall

In the pastures I have fought
Lions and bears and killed them all
God is on my side, I ought
To fight. My I try now, King Saul?

David, you’re the bravest one
You might need my armour then
Try it on! Get ready, son
LORD be with David! (All: Amen!)

Thankyou sir, but this big suit
Of armour is too heavy for me
Without it I will fight the brute
I’ll use my sling – just see

This fellow must be very brave
To come at me with stick and stones
He’s hardly old enough to shave
We’ll see who will break whose bones

You come at me with pointy sticks
Your body dressed in armour
I dont need that weaponry
Cos I’ve got God’s power

Today the LORD is on my side
He’ll help me win the battle
With your sword I’ll cut off your head
And use it as a rattle

And with your dead soldiers
We’ll take them back home
And the birds and animals will come to feast
Picked clean like a fine toothed comb
David slings a stone at Goliath. It hits him and he falls down dead. The triumphant Israelites chase the Philistines off and return.

Goliath had it all
Goliath was so strong
He measured nine feet tall
But now he’s nine feet long

Not by human might
Not by spear or swords
David won the fight
Because it was the LORD’s.

The End
Notes on the creation of this piece at MADD Camp, July 2003

Even the simplest story turns long if you want to make it a musical. We needed something short enough that we could write something and learn it in three days, and which would involve everyone.
We chose the story of David and Goliath. That was the only one which seemed short enough with enough people. Most of the Bible has a very low proportion of women (as we found out doing a play of the story of Joseph at my church the previous month) and this one was perfect for an all-male group.

The story of David and Goliath is in the Bible in 1 Samuel 17. We looked through that to find the longest sections of one person talking. (If you ever want to make a short story into a musical, start by finding the longest stretches of one person thinking or talking). They are Goliath challenging the Israelites (8-10) and David as he comes up to meet Goliath (45-47). We made these numbers 1 and 3. No 2, then, was everything between them: The Israelites terror, Saul’s offer of a reward and David volunteering to fight. No 4 is the Israelites’ triumphant song at the end. We worked out music for Nos 1 & 2, No 3 is spoken and for No 4 we used “We wish you a merry Christmas” in 4:4 time instead of 3:4.

Tris played Saul (and guitar), Sam was David and Ian, Lenard & Reuben made up the Israelite army. Joel & I played Goliath with Craig & Brendan as the other Philistines. Gerald played keyboard. Being the music rather than drama workshop group, we payed little attention to staging and didn’t bother with the movements in No 2 one might interpret from the words there. And since we were holding both scripts and microphones we there wasn’t much we could do.

I was amazed that we got from talking about making a musical on Tuesday to performing it on Friday, considering that we only spent 1-1œh of workshop time each day on it. In the past I’d created computer games in a 3-8 day timeframe when they usually take as many months or more, and I had been hoping to do the same thing producing something for the stage, and this was it!

If I was going to use this in the future, I’d probably omit No.4 (although I love the “nine feet long” line) and rewrite No.3 (the only lyrics I didn’t write here).