This is the question that the King James translators in their interpretation of the Hebrew text placed in the mouth of David in 1 Samuel 17:29. David is basically a kid, “a youth” (1 Sam. 17:33).
But when David saw Goliath, the Philistine giant who had sent full-grown Israelite men scurrying, the lad simply asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v. 26).
When big brother, Eliab, heard David’s sayings, he was furious, riddling David with two gunshot questions. And in verse 29, David came back with two questions of his own. What have I done now, Eliab, to justify your anger? Was it not but a word (dabar)?
And yet it is a word, fitly spoken, that can slay spiritual giants and liberate whole armies of God’s men.
On that particular day, young David could have decided to just stand there and fight his older brother, the one accusing David of heart pride yet actually the one clearly in the wrong.
But David knew his older brother was not his enemy. Not at all. The real enemy stood out there in the battlefield, bellowing blasphemy and causing God’s army to cower.
The KJV translators were right in their overall interpretation. Young David did have a cause. A mighty, holy cause. It wasn’t to be spent in wasting time, wrestling his older brother. No. He, turned from Eliab and just started sharing the same “word” to others about the real enemy to be fought and the God to be glorified.