Slings were popular military weapons in ancient times, even in the centuries after Christ. Its most famous use is probably in the Bible account of David and Goliath. This encounter took place in the Elah Valley, where I am currently excavating.
Some of us may know the words to a children’s song about the battle.
Once there was a boy named David, down by the babbling brook. One little boy named David, five little stones he took. One little stone went in the sling and the sling went round and round…
This lyric may help to form a mental picture of slinging stones as something like large pebbles. Real ancient slinging stones were quite different.
A few slinging stones have been excavated where we are at Khirbet Qeiyafa/The Elah Fortress. Here is a photo that reveals something of their true size.
David “took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine… And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.” (1 Samuel 17:40, 49)
Now there’s an image to remember.