Photo courtesy of Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, U.K.

ON THE COVER: His slingshot still slicing through the air, David fells the mighty Philistine Goliath in this oil sketch made in the 1860s by the French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834–1917). The air reverberates from the impact of the powerful encounter; subtle shock waves emanate from the two warrior’s bodies, and a faint smudge of red on Goliath’s head and chest indicates that the giant has been mortally wounded.

David’s victory thrust him into prominence at the very time that his king, Saul, was beginning a steady descent into disaster, as Jan Fokkelman shows in “Saul & David—Crossed Fates.”