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While watching the hit TV series Suits I noticed a headline "David vs. Goliath" published in the newspaper when the show's protagonist gets in an altercation with a common cab driver What does it mean?

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The phrase 'David vs Goliath' is generally used to refer to a situation in which a small person or organization defeats a larger one in a surprising way.

The story of David and Goliah can be found in First Samuel 17 of the Bible. It tells the story of the giant Goliath, a nine-foot soldier from Gath, who boasted he could beat any individual soldier in the Israelite army. Nobody in the army dared to take him on -- except David, a shepherd boy who believed strongly in God. "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine," David said.

King Saul wanted to arm David with a sword and armor, but David refused, saying his strength came from God, not from weapons. All he brought to the battlefield was a sling and a stone. Of course, David's expertly flung stone nailed Goliath in the head and killed him.

As far as what kind of literary form this story is, most would say history, but Bible skeptics would argue there is no historical basis for this event, that it is nothing more than fiction or a myth.

The literary meaning of the story is that great odds can be overcome by underdogs if the motivation is strong enough. If God is on your side, you will win, regardless of the odds against you.

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If you've ever read the Biblical tale of Goliath, like Sel said, you'd see the connection immediately.

David vs. Goliath usually refers to a situation where two parties clash, with one party with an overwhelming advantage, typically in veterancy or size. In addition, the lesser party typically wins in a "David vs. Goliath" situation.

For instance: two technology companies are competing in selling a certain product, where one of them was Google and another was just a start-up company. The start-up company somehow manages to outperform Google by a massive margin. That's a "David vs. Goliath".

This is in reference to the real story, in which a small boy named David manages to kill a giant named Goliath.

  • Doesn't necessarily need to outperform, a match-up could also be a David vs. Goliath. – user3306356 Jul 19 '14 at 14:00

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