Saturday, June 20, 2009

5 Stones

I'm preaching on David and Goliath on Sunday. I'm ruminating on why the story describes David choosing 5 stones to meet Goliath when he only uses one to bring him down. I googled the question and could find nothing satisfactory. One Christian mystical interpretation is that the life of David foreshadows the life of Christ, and that the five stones correspond to the five wounds of Christ. Both acts "bring down a giant," in a way.
I didn't find this interpretation anywhere, but wouldn't it make sense that the storyteller would be thinking of the five books of Torah when accounting for the number of stones? The stones packed by David, the warrior for God's people, could symbolize the number of testaments that God has given Israel to "defend herself." The law is the defense of the people of Israel?

Just speculating. Feel free to comment if you have knowledge to share.


  1. Nathan - As a Soldier, I don't need the stones to represent anything other than ammunition for David's weapons system.

    David only used one stone because the first shot hit its mark. Like any good warrior, he was prepared to persist in the battle. Carrying too much ammo, however, slows down the missile flinger. It's a balancing act.

    I'm not sure that David thought, "I'll throw one rock and God will miraculously make it hit the giant in his most vulnerable spot." I think he simply approached this fight as he would any other and trusted God to bring the victory in God's own way.

    The sling and stone were an ancient, stone age weapon system that had been eclipsed by the "high tech" weapons of the bronze age. By the standards of the day, this was a mismatched battle that David should not have won - but he did. He attributes the victory to God, but that doesn't mean David didn't have to fight, or that his knowledge and skill were unimportant. Through his previous experience in fighting wild animals, he figured that five stones was about the right balance between firepower and mobility.

    My own thoughts on 1 Sam 17 are here:

  2. Anonymous12:09 PM

    I have no knowledge to share, but my guess is that there is no significance. But you're right. David only needed one. Maybe he was just being practical and planning ahead in case he missed the first shot!