David and Goliath
On the east narrow side of the double capital placed in front of the pillar David stands before King Saul, who tries to dissuade him from fighting Goliath. Finally Saul gives him a “helmet of bronze” and a sword that he “girded over his armour”. David, however, puts them off before his battle against Goliath (1 Samuel, 17:1-50). The quarrel is expressed through lively gestures: Saul points to David’ head and his girdle, on which the sword is hanging. David points to his own probably helmeted head (destroyed) and grasps his sword.
On the broader north side an angel spreads his wings behind David, who still has his sword here, in order to lead him and protect him. David then again stands opposite him, but now without sword and armed instead with a sling. He turns to the giant Goliath, whose sword is still on his girdle, and whose huge shield has the same size and position as the angel’s wings. This similarity reinforces the suggested difference between material and spiritual protection.
The story of David and Goliath is both recounted and interpreted in this representation. Some Christian authors, such as the Pseudo-Gregorius, compare the episode from the 1st Book of Samuel with the words from the Letter to the Ephesians (6:14-17): “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth. [...] beside all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
As a prefiguration of Christ, David goes into battle against the evil one without any material weapons and with the word of God as his sole protection.