Today, we hear about *the* king of Israel: David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51
David was the son of a certain Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah whose name was Jesse. He had eight sons, and in the days of Saul the man was already old, advanced in years. The three oldest sons of Jesse had left and gone with Saul to the war. The names of his three sons who had gone to the war were Eliab the first-born, the next Abinadab, and the third Shammah; and David was the youngest. The three oldest had followed Saul, and David would go back and forth from attending on Saul to shepherd his fathers’s flock at Bethlehem.
The Philistine stepped forward morning and evening and took his stand for forty days.
Jesse said to his son David, “Take an ephah of this parched corn and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers, and carry them quickly to your brothers in camp. Take these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand. Find out how your brothers are and bring some token from them.” Saul and the brothers and all the men of Israel were in the valley of Elah, in the war against the Philistines.
Early next morning, David left someone in charge of the flock, took [the provisions], and set out, as his father Jesse had instructed him. He reached the barricade as the army was going out to the battle lines shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up their battle lines opposite each other. David left his baggage with the man in charge of the baggage and ran toward the battle line and went to greet his brothers. While he was talking to them, the champion, whose name was Goliath, the Philistine of Gath, stepped forward from the Philistine ranks and spoke the same words as before; and David heard him.
When the men of Israel saw the man, they fled in terror. And the men of Israel were saying [among themselves], “Do you see that man coming out? He comes out to defy Israel! The man who kills him will be rewarded by the king with great riches; he will also give him his daughter in marriage and grant exemption to his fathers’s house in Israel.” David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills that Philistine and removes the disgrace from Israel? Who is that uncircumcised Philistine that he dares defy the ranks of the living God?” The troops told him in the same words what would be done for the man who killed him.
When Eliab, his oldest brother, heard him speaking to the men, Eliab became angry with David and said, “Why did you come down here, and with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your impudence and your impertinence: you came down to watch the fighting!” But David replied, “What have I done now? I was only asking!” And he turned away from him toward someone else; he asked the same question, and the troops gave him the same answer as before.
The things David said were overheard and were reported to Saul, who had him brought over. David said to Saul, “Let no man’s courage fail him. Our servant will go and fight that Philistine!” But Saul said to David, “You cannot go to that Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” David replied to Saul, “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep, and if a lion or a bear came and carried off an animal from the flock, I would go after it and fight it and rescue it from its mouth. And if it attacked me, I would seize it by the beard and strike it down and kill it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and that uncircumcised Philistine shall end up like one of them, for he has defied the ranks of the living God. The Lord,” David went on, “who saved me from lion and bear will also save me from that Philistine.” “Then go,” Saul said to David, “and may the Lord be with you!”
Saul clothed David in his own garment; he placed a bronze helmet on his head and fastened a breastplate on him. David girded his sword over his garment. Then he tried to walk; but he was not used to it. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk in these, for I am not used to them.” So David took them off. He took his stick, picked a few smooth stones from the wadi, put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag and, sling in hand, he went toward the Philistine.
The Philistine, meanwhile, was coming closer to David, preceded by his shield-bearer. When the Philistine caught sight of David, he scorned him, for he was but a boy, ruddy and handsome. And the Philistine called out to David, “Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?” The Philistine cursed David by his gods; and the Philistine said to David, “Come here, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”
David replied to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hands. I will kill you and cut off your head; and I will give the carcasses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. All the earth shall know that there is a God in Israel. And this whole assembly shall know that the Lord can give victory without sword or spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and He will deliver you into our hands.”
When the Philistine began to advance toward him again, David quickly ran up to the battle line to face the Philistine. David put his hand into the bag; he took out a stone and slung it. It struck the Philistine in the forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. Thus David bested the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck him down and killed him. David had no sword; so David ran up and stood over the Philistine, grasped his sword and pulled it from its sheath; and with it he dispatched him and cut off his head.
When the Philistines saw that their warrior was dead, they ran. [~~ Jewish Study Bible]
I’m sure David’s wadi looked different from this itty-bitty quasi-wadi shown here, but I’d imagine that any place with regular or semi-regular flow of water would be a good place to pick up smooth stones. Although, I’m not sure why he’d want a smooth one, unless sharp ones change the ballistic characteristics of the slung stone…