Five Smooth Stones

Five Smooth Stones

Constant amazement sweeps through my heart and mind when I hear someone say that they cannot read the Bible because it is so boring. I laugh quietly to myself. We have every kind of intrigue, mystery, villain, hero, love story, war, and instructions for life found within its pages. The truth of the matter for me is that every time I read a story, I tend to find something that I had overlooked in the past. It may be one or two words or an entire pattern of truth. It is new and interesting and I find help for whatever it is that I am facing at the moment.

One such story is that of David, the shepherd boy, and Goliath, the huge giant of the Philistines. You can read this story in 1 Samuel 17. David’s name means “beloved,” and he went on to be a great king of Israel. There is much written about him throughout Scripture. Goliath’s name means “exile” or “soothsayer.” 

What pricked my attention to this old Bible story that I have taught many times was that I was flipping through the channels on television the other night and happened to catch a remark made by a person on the Discovery channel. He said something to the effect that they believed that they had indeed found the city from which Goliath came, and had also discovered some graves that held extremely large bones. The speaker went on to say that this group of archaeologists believed that they had discovered proof that giants as described in this story did in fact live there and that carbon-dating proved their age, size, and some physical attributes. I found this interesting because, a few days prior to this television presentation, I had read a commentary indicating that the story of Jonah and the great fish, David and Goliath, Samson and the lion, Noah and the ark, and other Bible stories could not be true and are figments of writers’ imaginations.

I just love it when scientists are forced to admit that the truths taught in the Bible are true and are relevant to today’s living. We can learn so much if we approach the Scripture with an open mind and heart.

Goliath hailed from Sochoh, a town in lowland Judah or the hilly borders of the Valley of Elah. Some writers simply say he came from Judah’s hill country. David was a young shepherd boy left at home to guard the sheep while his older brothers went off to war. We know that later he became a noted statesman, general, and king of Israel. It is said of him that he was a man after God’s own heart. He is also an ancestor of Christ and his son, Solomon, followed in his footsteps.

At the time of this story, he is a lad taking food to his brothers in battle. Goliath and the Philistines positioned themselves on a mountain and Saul and the Israelites were on a mountain across the valley from them. The big giant of a man has been described as being anywhere between 6’ 10” and over 8 feet tall. He would stand on the mountain and taunt the Israelites. “Don’t you have anyone that will come and fight me?” he bellowed over and over to the Israelites. Saul and his men were greatly dismayed and fearful of taking on the giant.

Most of us know the story well. David said to Saul, “I will fight this man.” Saul and the officers offered young David armor to wear and weapons to use, but David said no to all of the equipment. He instead picked up five smooth stones and placed them in a small shepherd’s bag. When the giant and his army saw the young lad was coming against him, they laughed and made fun of him asking, “Is this all you have to send?”

David ran toward the much bigger man and took one stone from his bag. I absolutely love Verses 49 and 50. “And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine and slew him, but there was no sword in the hand of David.” Verse 51 teaches us that David ran to the beast of a man, took out his own sword, and cut his head off causing the Philistines to flee in fear. 

Several writers and teachers have asked the question, “Why did David take five stones to battle Goliath?” Their answer is that David knew the giant had four brothers so he wanted to be prepared. We will follow up with other truths to this story in coming weeks.



Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.