Teaching Tales: King David and the Spider

In this traditional Jewish tale, the former shepherd boy learns that each of God's creatures has a purpose

BY: Retold by Aaron Zerah

 
Reprinted with permission from "How the Children Became Stars" by Aaron Zerah , published by Sorin Books.

When King David was still a boy watching over his father's sheep, he often came upon spiders' webs strung across tree branches and shining in the sun. David thought the spiders were wonderful to weave such webs, but he could see no use for them.

 

David decided to ask God about it. "Why, O Creator of the world, did you make spiders? You can't even wear their webs as clothing!"

God answered David, "A day will come when you will need the work of this creature. Then you will thank me."

David grew up and became a courageous warrior. He defeated the giant Goliath and many enemies of the people of Israel. He married King Saul's daughter and the people adored him as the greatest man in the land.

King Saul was jealous and afraid of David and sent his soldiers to kill him. David ran away to the wilderness. He hoped King Saul's fit of anger would pass and David would be safe to return. But King Saul's men kept chasing him.

At last, the soldiers were very close. David ran into a cave to hide. He heard the footsteps of the men and knew that they would soon find him. David was so afraid, his bones shook and hurt.

But then David saw a big spider at the front of the cave. Very quickly, it was spinning a web all the way across the opening. Just before the soldiers came up to the cave, the spider finished the web. As the men started to enter the cave, they ran into the web. "Look," they said, "This web is unbroken. If David were here, he'd have torn the web to pieces. He must be hiding somewhere else. Let's go!"

So because of the spider, David's life was saved. David understood that God was wise and thanked God for creating all the creatures, including the spiders.

Bringing It Home

To Do This Week

 Imagine you are a spider. Describe the webs you make and what good they are to you and others.

  • Together, go look at a spider's web. Then draw or paint a picture of both a spider and a web.
  • Tell a story about when you really needed help and someone you didn't expect--like the spider--ended up helping you.
  • Name three different animals. Why do you think God created them?
  • Pretend that David asked you, "Why has God created you?" What is your answer?
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