David and Goliath: The Invisible Battle Within

by Joshua Tilghman on March 21, 2012

Just about everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. I will never forget the first time I heard it. I was probably eight or nine years old. Afterwards, I peered up at the ceiling at the bottom of the stairwell and tried to imagine myself confronting such a gargantuan. It would have been scary to say the least. But many years later I heard a sermon that got me wondering why Goliath got so much attention. The preacher had personally watched a lion drag a fully grown cow over a high fence like it was child’s play. He then talked about how awesome it was for David to have killed such a beast as a boy protecting his father’s sheep. And then it struck me: David killing the lion is much more impressive than David killing Goliath! So I couldn’t help but wonder, what’s so important about David killing Goliath?

I now know that the story of David and Goliath has nothing to do with a young boy killing a nine-foot giant, at least not literally. Like so many other topics on this site, the real message is about us, and more specifically, something “within” us. Let’s get down to business:

The giant Goliath has some interesting numbers associated with him. These numbers show us what Goliath really represents. Beginning in 1 Samuel chapter seventeen, we learn that Goliath is about six cubits high, has 6 pieces of armor, and his spearhead weighs 600 shekels. Now we have all the ingredients to make 666, the number of man! To put it another way, this number represents the ego, or the beast inside us! So there we have it; Goliath is an archetype of the human ego.

So what about David? Remember how David chose FIVE stones from the brook for his sling? Ever wonder why he chose five? The five stones represent different qualities of the ego. The ego can basically be broken down into the five components below:

1) Form (matter / body)
2) Feelings or emotions
3) Cognition (memory and thoughts)
4) Volition (free will / desire)
5) Consciousness (self awareness or “I”)

The five components above work collectively to make up our ego and give us the unique and individualistic experience we call life. This doesn’t seem so bad, right? Why would we want to slay the ego (like David did) if it enables you, or me, or your neighbor to have a unique existence? Shouldn’t we celebrate diversity?

The problem is not the ego itself. The problem is when the ego takes the driver’s seat of your soul. And it will. Every. Single. Time. Human existence was destined to be ego-driven. However, I also believe human existence is destined to realize that it is ego-driven and then have the greater realization that the ego is all an illusion. Let me explain…

When one is led by the ego, they can only see their unique world-view. They might realize they have faults, but deep down inside they believe they are right in their attitudes and judgments about life and other individuals. The illusion is that their world-view is not THE correct one. All world-views are merely experiences of the individual. At death, the world-views that we may or may not hold will fade, sort of like a dream fades when we wake up to another reality. The only true reality is the eternal nature that is the indwelling spirit (God) inside each and every one of us. THAT spirit is both eternal and unchanging. David confirms this in the scriptures when he says to Goliath the Philistine:

“…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts…” (1 Sam 17:45).

The Lord of Hosts IS the spirit (God) which indwelled David. His name is representative of the authority of that indwelling spirit, and when we walk in the spirit by denying the ego, we can effectively say the ego is slain.

David did not come to Goliath thinking that HE would win the Battle. He knew the Lord of Hosts would win the battle. It is the same with us. We do not slay the ego by our own might or strength. That would mean the ego is driving again and it would never work. We need to simply realize (become conscious) of what the ego is through activities like meditation. Then the spirit within us will naturally take over. And this is where REAL life comes in! With the ego slain, we become conscious of a greater reality, one that is no longer bound by our beliefs about the world, God, and the universe. God cannot be limited by a belief. God is not a belief! The right words or the right belief system has nothing to do with God. Beliefs are only impermanent ideas that will fade with your ego at death (can anyone shout religion with me?). God is the unlimited potential of the entire cosmos and then some! And guess what? THAT resides within you as the LORD of hosts! Never believe that a belief can comprehend, explain, or understand God.

I want to go back to David and Goliath and make a few more points. While almost everyone is familiar with the story of David and Goliath, few know that there were four more Philistine giants which David and his men had to deal with later (2 Sam. 21:16-22). So David killed Goliath with one stone and had four left in his pouch, leaving one stone each for the four remaining giants. Remember the five components that make up the ego? Is this a coincidence? I think not! While it was ultimately David’s mighty men that killed the giants in David’s old age, you get the point; all of the collective components which make up our ego must be dealt with.

So what is the story of David and Goliath about ultimately? It is about the spiritual man (King David) who is spiritual because he didn’t allow Goliath (the ego) to taunt Israel.

It is my sincere hope that this article helped you in some way. Please don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Norm Dahm April 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

That is an interesting rendition of the significance of the story David and Goliath, however it only touches on one aspect- the ego and its spiritual significance.
Much more important is the fact that this introduction is just the beginning of our understanding of David as a type of Christ. You are introduced to him when Samuel comes to choose the king of Israel to replace Saul. Samuel did as we all do and looked at the big strong brothers of David, but you see God had a plan. God looks not only on the outward appearance; He looks on the heart.(notice I said “not only on ” God is interested in our whole being- not just the outside, not just the inside but the entire person. People that think David was a weak little teenager are wrong. He was a ruddy, strong young man.
It is very significant when Samuel says to Jesse, “are these all your sons?” But
we’ll discuss this at a later time. Let me move on to the enormity of this encounter that David has with Goliath- it is so spiritually rich! Don’t miss these points: Saul tries to give David his armour- you see as Josh very neatly points out- it’s not about the armour and its not about David being able to best Goliath- it’s about who David represents when he faces the giant. He comes in the Spirit and Strength of the Most High and Powerful Almighty God! He had the utmost confidence in God and knew that slaying this giant was only one part of God’s mighty plan in his future leading the people of God.
He would go on to be one of the greatest examples of a Christ-like person. God Almighty called David “a man after God’s own heart”.
There was none other in the entire bible like David. David knew God’s Heart when he said in Psalm 51: “it’s not sacrifice that You desire or else I would give it. You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.
If you want a challenge and want to think, keep reading Spirit of the Scriptures- good work, Josh


adrianne August 12, 2012 at 7:06 am

all i can say is wow! i stumbled across your website this morning and i just want to say keep up the good work!


Joshua Tilghman August 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm


Thanks for your comment. It is appreciated!


Deborah October 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

This is awesome. I have been attempting my own interpretation of scripture along these lines for a few years. Ever since I read Cynthia Bourgeault for the first time.. and was introduced to the idea of a universal interpretation of holy texts as guidebooks for the inner territory of the psyche/soul. I like your interpretation of David and Goliath. I have a similar one for David and Saul, with David being “heart” and Saul being “mind”… Keep writing!! 🙂 This is good stuff.


Joshua Tilghman October 6, 2012 at 11:03 am


The scripture truly is more exciting and powerful when we dig a little deeper. Your idea of David being “heart” and Saul being “mind” is an interesting. Shoot me an e-mail if you’d like to discuss more! And thanks for commenting.


anny July 14, 2013 at 9:00 am

Hi Joshua,

In my interpretation with the help of Hebrew numerology (the small part of it that I got access to) I came to exactly the same conclusion as you did. I always love that, when you reach the same goal by following different roads.

Because there are no vowels in the Hebrew alphabeth contains the name Goliath the combination gl, 33, which you also find in Galilee (Galil) and Golgotha (Gulgoleth).

Gl contains the aspect of the outward form (the body), as such Jesus lived in Galilee. It contains the aspect of superficial; the purely material form is superficial without spiritual depth. It contains the aspect of naked and also in public; the naked ego manifests very much in public. It is also part of the word igoel, which means circle. When the ego rules you keep going round in circles and do not get anywhere.

The last character, the tav, is the 400. It stands for both the cross and the slavery in Egypt where Goliath, as pharaoh, rules. Of course the literal country Egypt with its literal pharaohs is not meant here! In the circumstances of Golgotha Jesus conquers the last vestiges of his ego and as such wins his resurrection on the cross. Note that according to tradition he was 33 years old at the time. Of course 33 is also a master number but I do not really know much about that.

In the giant Goliath the ego has reached enormous proportions. I think we have here the story of the exodus from Egypt all over again in another form. In this case it is David who undertakes action and David is 4-6-4. David is the principle that brings all controversies of the material world (4) to a good ending by bringing everything together again; the six is the character wav that means hook and links things together. As we it is also the Hebrew word for ‘and’. David also balances everything. He is set in motion by the five, which you can also see as the Hebrew character he. This character often is the female ending of a word and as such has come to mean the longing of the feminine for reconnection with the masculine, for unity. When this principle starts to become active in the person in whom the ego has grown to gigantic proportions, the end of the rule of the ego is near and that person will soon escape from his slavery in Egypt.

As far as the fact that the world view of ego driven persons is sort of a dream, it is actually called a dream or a deep sleep in Genesis when God creates Eve by separating male and female in Adam. That is not an anesthesia before an operation and there is no waking up, until now.

And then there is the number 666, which scares some people so much. Yes I like the idea that it is the number of man, and so also of the ego of man. 666 however can also be reduced to 18 and as such it is chai, 8-10, the symbol of life in Judaism. In combination it becomes clear that this is life in the illusion of this material world. But when you reduce it still further you get 9 and that is the number of birth (of a new world and a new life)!


Dmarcus Ross October 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

Hello my name is Dmarcus Ross..i just so happened to stumble on to this site…so my question is how does one walk in the Spirit…it appears David did this to take down all His Giants in His path…which I believe the same can happen for us…how exactly do we walk in the Spirit???…thank u for your time and I look forward to hearing your answer


Joshua Tilghman October 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm


Glad you had a chance to stumble on the site! Walking in the Spirit is not an easy path. Whenever the lower ego is in charge, it is the opposite of walking in the spirit. The lower ego is in charge in most of us whether we realize or not. A good place to start is to realize what exactly the lower ego is. The lower ego is comprised of the carnal desires which often drive us to do the things we do. It is comprised of lower thoughts and emotions grounded in fear and separation. We are physical, emotional, and mental beings.

Meditation is a great way to advance the emotional and mental bodies so that we eventually manifest higher emotions and thoughts. You can learn more about meditation and exactly how it can help in many other articles on this site. Many blessings!


Tony November 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Who created the Ego? Is it necessary to exist in the first place?


Joshua Tilghman December 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm


The ego is developed as we grow and learn from our surrounding environment, parents, schooling, etc from infancy to adulthood.


Joshua Tilghman December 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm


The ego is necessary. In mystic teachings, the serpent in the Garden represents the unfolding of the ego, which ultimately provides the opportunity for further awareness through experience in the physical realm.


Stacey Hinkle March 11, 2016 at 8:54 pm

I’m Free!


Joanne leadley March 9, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I resonate with what you are teaching. It is opposite to the teaching of Christianity. It is all about dying to self, ego within and the Christ consciousness coming forth. A new mind, heart and body made in the image and likeness of God. Our God self


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