Why five stones?
|Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. (1Samuel17:40)|
It could be that he was naturally cautious...
- Maybe he was worried that he might miss with his first shot.
- Or that the first shot wouldn't kill Goliath...
- Or that he wanted some extra ammunition in case the Philistines didn't stick to the deal of surrendering if he defeated Goliath.
But there is another interesting theory that comes from 2 Samuel 21.
(Please note that it is a theory and not a doctrine... There is a footnote to the passage that indicates that there was probably a scribal error in the copying of the text and so we cannot be dogmatic about our conclusions)
In 2 Samuel 21 we read the "descendants of Rapha" who were all giants. Goliath was one of five descendants of Rapha.
The other four are:
- Ishbi-Benob (v.16) was "one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David [by this time David was an old man]. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him."
- Saph (v.18) "In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha."
- Lahmi (v.19) "In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed [Lahmi the brother of]]Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod."
- An Unnamed Man(v.20) In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot--twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him.
The passage concludes (v.22) "These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men."
It is not entirely clear whether these were siblings or other family members of Goliath, but they are descended from Rapha and at least one of them is named a brother to Goliath.
So the cool theory about David's five stones is that that David knew about the "giants of Rapha" and that he picked up one stone for Goliath and the rest for his kinsmen. This is a lovely expression of faith and trust in God: "Even if his kinsmen come to take revenge - with God's help I'll be ready."
I love that kind of "Bring it on!" faith.
May we also be courageous and forward looking and forward trusting in our faith.