In the classic biblical tale of faith, daring, and skill overcoming brute strength and superior odds (1 Samuel), the shepherd boy David slew the armored Philistine giant Goliath with just a stave, a slingshot, and a pouch containing a few pebbles from a local brook. After stunning Goliath with a stone from his slingshot, David quickly took up the giant's sword and severed his head.
Assured that his audience knew the story, Salomon de Bray could evoke a meaningful narrative by depicting only a boy with an oversize sword. De Bray's David embodies youth and naiveté; he is an ordinary, rather blank-faced, Dutch youth, not an idealized heroic type.
David with His Sword shares the same size, medium, and composition with the artist's Bust of Samson; they were probably paired as pendants or as part of a series of Old Testament heroes.