By Al Diestelkamp
You have seen the pictures-in the Bible storybooks and class materials used almost everywhere-there David stands, facing the warrior Goliath in a mini-skirt. When I first noticed it I could not help wondering, “Is this the garb of a ‘man after God’s own heart’?” Then, one by one I tried using the many arguments used today to defend similar apparel:
1. Everyone’s doing it. Brothers and sisters today defend their shorts and mini-skirts on this basis. But even if this had been the common dress of David’s time, I am confident that David would have resisted the temptation to “be conformed to this world.” Actually, the common attire of that day was more like a robe which covered from the shoulders to near the ankles.
2. Freedom of movement. Some defend shorts today because long pants inhibit one when very active (less chance of getting pant leg in bicycle chain). Certainly David was active on the occasion, but we must reject this because David was aware that Goliath’s actual opponent was God. With God’s help David would have defeated the enemy even if his feet got tangled in his tunic.
3. Comfort. As long as I can remember, this has been a favorite reason for wearing shorts. Of course it is hard to believe that this is the real reason when these same people are seen wearing them to a Winter football game. The climate where David lived certainly was hot at certain times of the year, but we find that people in that region at that time protected their skin from the direct sunlight by wearing clothing which reflected the sun’s rays.
4. Women not aroused easily. Many people who believe it is wrong for women to dress in shorts and mini-skirts justify men wearing shorts (and no shirts) by the old notion that women are not aroused by the exposure of a man’s body. First of all, that is a generalization which is simply not true! While it is true that the woman usually has more control over her desires, the advent and success of numerous pornographic magazines for women (complete with centerfolds featuring nude men) is evidence enough against this argument. No, I do not think David would have used this argument either.
5. Evil in the eye of the beholder. Some try to transfer all responsibility of sin to the one’s objecting to immodest dress with this clever phrase. But if evil is in the eye of the beholder, then the one being looked upon is placing a stumbling block in the beholder’s path if dressed (or undressed) indiscreetly. Later, when David viewed Bathsheba while bathing, he sinned (evil was in his eyes) but this did not leave Bathsheba guiltless for her indiscretion.
After considering all the flimsy excuses men and women use today to wear what they want to wear, it leads me to believe that the modem Bible illustrators, have erred by putting David in such skimpy attire . . . unless . . . could it be that David was on the basketball team?
Truth Magazine XIX: 13, p. 203
February 6, 1975