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Bible Self-Study Supplement


David and Goliath: The Dweller on the Threshold

   For every neophyte, the first test after the dedication to the higher life is that of overcoming Goliath, the giant of evil, or the accumulated misdeeds of the past. This giant is always confronted by the newly-consecrated David in the battle between the Israelites (the soul newborn) and the Philistines (the lower man).

   So David found that he must reject Saul's armor (the outer or external knowing), and learn to depend upon spiritual powers which he evolved within himself. Thus accurately does this Wisdom Book describe the way of human evolution.

   The Dweller on the Threshold represents the accumulated sins of the past. It is an elemental entity which frequently (though not invariably) takes on a hideous shape and bars the passage into the higher realms until it is removed. For forty days (kabbalistic time of preparation) Goliath (the strong) made his boastful offer to meet in single combat any one of the Israelites and so settle the fate of the armies.

   When studied esoterically, David's victory over Goliath is not an impossible fable, but an account of a perfectly natural and recognized process of spiritual growth. The Dweller on the Threshold must be overcome before the disciple can progress further upon the way.

   The staff spoken of is the wand of power evolved within man through the lifting of the spinal spirit fire, and the five smooth stones symbolize the five spiritualized physical senses. When the physical senses are thus spiritualized, one thinks no evil, sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil. The senses then resume their rightful places as channels through which the awakened spirit within man cognizes the works of the Spirit without.

   A mystic legend states that when David touched the five stones they all became as one stone, which means that by lifting the senses to the realm of spirit the true essential unity is attained.

   Being thus prepared, David was not so unequal for the combat as appearance would indicate. The real strength was with him, not Goliath, and so to David the only possible outcome was victory.

   David smote Goliath with a stone in the forehead; a Ruffian, according to Masonic legend, slew Hiram Abiff by the same method. David took the giant's own sword and cut off his head. Evil when transmuted becomes a greater power for good.

David and Jonathan

   The spiritual compensation for the conquest of evil came to David in his finding Jonathan, one of the most beautiful of the Old Testament characters. We can never know the love of Jonathan until the giant Goliath has been overcome; for Jonathan typifies the intuitive love that becomes an avenue of connection with true spiritual wisdom, and is only known through the difficulty and stress that is born of repentance for wrongdoing, and the effort put forth in restitution and reform. So beautiful is this communion that it is described as a love passing that of woman. The feminine principle is the sacrificial aspect of man's nature. The vesture for the spirit is also feminine in nature, which accounts for the statement that Jonathan stripped himself of his garments and gave them to David. It was always Jonathan who counseled with David, meeting him in the high places; it was he who made David's peace with Saul.

   The harp upon which David played to soothe the madness of Saul represents the powers of the interiorly illumined. Within the human body is the "seven-stringed lyre" awaiting revivification and which, when properly functioning, possesses wonderful powers of healing that are especially efficacious in cases of obsession such as Saul's. Again, legend teaches that the harp upon which David played was made from. the ram sacrificed by Abraham on Mount Moriah, and that it always sounded its most exquisite music at midnight. The ram symbolizes attainment through purity and sacrifice; Mount Moriah, "a vision of God." Midnight is the mystic hour when the call is given for service to all who are found worthy to function consciously as "invisible helpers." The story of Abraham's willingness to make the supreme sacrifice of his best-beloved (to put things of the spirit first), marks the beginning of a larger opportunity for spiritual work in the life of the pupil, as the utter lack of malice and revenge places David far upon the way of spiritual Illumination.

   "And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah." Naioth is the feminine form ot the word Naim which means nine. The inner school of the Christian Mysteries contains nine steps or degrees. David as a disciple was working through these degrees. Saul also endeavored to continue with his esoteric work; but he lay naked, that is, he had lost (been stripped of) his spiritual power. David in his encounters with Saul carried in his hand the sword of Goliath, whereby no evil could come unto him. Goliath's sword symbolizes the power of truth augmented by the power of transmuted evil. When Saul cast a javelin it missed its intended mark and remained suspended above him, even as did the weapon of the evil knight Klingsor when hurled at Parsifal, the pure knight. David said truly, "There is none like it, give it to me."

   In sparing the life of Saul, David passed another subtle test. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay." When man becomes selfless this is simple; until he reaches this state, this is a most difficult task. In the wilderness of Engedi, David was concealed in a great cave which contained numerous dark caverns. Into one of these Saul entered alone; David gently approached and cut a piece from his cloak. When he had gone a little way, David called to him to give his assurance that he held no evil in his heart toward him. Saul then wept saying, "Thou art more righteous than I." Saul represents the intellectual mind before it is illumined by Spirit; David the impulses of the heart. Saul, the material mind, seeks ever to dethrone the heart and gain supreme control of the personality; the heart, however, as constantly endeavors to become reconciled with the mind to the end that the two may work in unison. Jonathan (wisdom), the son of Saul, cleaves closely to David, ever seeking a reconciliation between David and his father. It is only through the marriage of mind and heart that wisdom really becomes manifest.

   "Be not overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil with good." This has always been a Temple maxim. As we learn to become selfless, this is simple; until selflessness is attained, it is most difficult. Sensitiveness, pride, resentment, hurt feelings, all these are but varied forms of selfishness. David, the neophyte, demonstrated the Mystery Temple teaching in returning only good for evil when in the wilderness of Engedi, "the eye of truth."

 — Corinne Heline


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