Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 21, 2019

David Does Apologetics with a Sling

(4 Minute Read)

David holds Goliath’s head

David’s short battle with Goliath is one of the best-known accounts in the Bible (1 Samuel 17). But what is not very well known is David’s objective in that battle of 3,000 years ago.

The Philistine champion Goliath was a giant of a man, standing over 9 feet tall. He was not thin and reedy; rather he was undoubtedly very sturdy and muscular, a terrifying warrior. He probably weighed 350 to 400 pounds.

Goliath’s remarkable physique is evident from the weight of his bronze coat of armor — 5,000 shekels or about 125 lbs (1 shekel = 0.4 oz). The iron head of his spear weighed 600 shekels or about 15 lbs. The wooden shaft of the spear is likened to a “weaver’s beam,” so it probably weighed at least 10 pounds. (1 Samuel 17:4-7)

Imagine trying to throw a 25-lb spear! The men’s shot put in track and field events weighs 16 pounds, and no one ever tries to throw it like a baseball. You would wrench your arm with one throw. But Goliath’s arm strength was so enormous that he could throw a 25-lb spear.

Goliath expected a battle using the typical weapons of the day that he carried — armor, helmet, shield, sword, javelin, and spear. David would not do well against Goliath in such a battle. He had no intention of fighting Goliath in hand-to-hand combat. He switched things up by using a totally different technology — sling and stone, the weapon he had used for years in defending his flocks against lions and bears.

David’s sling was a devastating weapon. Two leather thongs, each three or more feet long, were attached to a leather pouch that held the stone. Twirling the pouch at 10 revolutions per second would give the stone an exit velocity of over 125 mph. This is significantly faster than major league fastballs which only rarely reach even 100 mph.

The stone from David’s sling felled Goliath, sinking into his forehead. David then ran up and cut off Goliath’s head with the giant’s own sword. Interestingly, he carried Goliath’s severed head, probably holding it by the hair, to his post-battle interview with King Saul.

What an amazing conversation with King Saul that would have been to witness. Goliath’s severed head, probably still dripping blood, was convincing evidence of David’s trust in the living God whom he served. It was tangible proof of David’s claim that Yahweh would give him the victory over Goliath.

David’s Aim

Goliath had been taunting the armies of Israel morning and evening for forty days. (1 Samuel 17:16)

David understood Goliath’s taunts as a direct affront to “the armies of the living God” and hence as a challenge to God Himself. David resolved to decisively answer the challenge by fighting Goliath.

David said to Goliath,
“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

David’s aim in battling Goliath was an apologetic aim. He was defending the reality and honor of the Lord God. Through the contest he expected to demonstrate to all the earth that there is a God in Israel.

He was showing the Philistine armies who is the Lord by his totally unexpected defeat of Goliath. By killing Goliath in battle, David was showing the strength, power, and truth of the God of Israel over the gods of Goliath by whom he had cursed David.

Apologetics in the Psalms

David not only did apologetics with a sling. He was also a prolific poet, repeatedly proclaiming the truth and glory of Yahweh, the Great Creator, throughout his psalms of praise. Here are a few examples.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

(Psalm 33:6,9 — ascribed to David by the Greek Septuagint)

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
(Psalm 8:1,3-8)

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
(Psalm 19:1)

Do You Get the Point?

David’s battle to the death with Goliath teaches Christians to trust the Great Creator over foes of all kinds. Sometimes fighting is necessary to proclaim or preserve the truth.

Questions to Ponder

1. David used one smooth stone in his sling. Why did he take five with him?
2. What situation in your life merits confrontation to defend the truth?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the eighth post in the series on Apologists in the Bible. An apologist is one who gives a logical argument in defense of faith in God.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics
5. Jesus Does Apologetics
6. Job Gets a Dose of Apologetics
7. Matthew Does Apologetics with a Sword

Read the sequel:
9. Luke Does Apologetics with a Pen

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday August 21, 2019 A.D.

And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. (1 Samuel 17:49)

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  1. This is so wonderful to see a site like this one….. The person or persons responsible for it’s creation are also doing the work of the Lord of Hosts : )

    (Daniel 12;4) the angel told Daniel ” Oh Daniel shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

    Things to ponder;

    Q= Why did David take 5 stones, and only used one to kill Goliath ?

    A= Goliath had 4 brothers


  2. Thank you for this good word. I pray it would sink in and we can trust God more to work in our lives.


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