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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Did David use a staff sling?
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Message started by tricocloud on May 16th, 2007 at 10:39am

Title: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 16th, 2007 at 10:39am
Newbie here. I've done a cursory search of this site and the forum. I think I may have stumbed across something new that I would like to contribute to the conversation. Apparently no one has suggested the possibility that David used a staff sling.

This insight may explain something that had always rung off key to me in the account before now, Goliath's comment:

   And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" (1 Samuel 17:43)

"Sticks"? A shepherd's staff? But then why would David carry a staff into a death match? One entry in this forum suggests that the staff was "camouflage". But why not that David was actually using a staff sling? The sling could have been wrapped around the staff for transport, as suggested here-- http://www.lloydianaspects.co.uk/weapons/staffsling.html --making the true nature of the weapon unapparent.

This wouldn't explain the plural form in Goliath's taunt--"sticks"--but maybe that was just a generalization. As in, "Whachya gonna do, throw sticks at me?"

Am I actually the first to suggest this?
http://tricocloud.com/cgi-bin/cblog/index.php?/archives/84-David-and-his-sling.html

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dravonk on May 16th, 2007 at 10:48am
Welcome to the forums!

Would a staff sling have the necessary accuracy? I doubt it, as the release is automatic and you have almost no immediate control over it. (But I haven't tested staff slings yet).

I guess the stick was a separate weapon. A staff can be quite dangerous, too, though I do not know how well it does against someone armed with spear and sword. Still I guess that David would have used it as close combat weapon if it had been necessary.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 16th, 2007 at 10:57am
Thanks for the welcome, Dravonk.

I haven't tried a staff sling either (or for that matter a hand sling since I was a kid). But I'm guessing that the accuracy would actually be improved, not decreased, because of the fixed release position. And basic physics tells me that the projectile speed and weight would both be increased too, no?

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 16th, 2007 at 11:03am
And another point. Any other explanation has to account for what the combattant did with a staff when using the sling, which requires both hands.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by slingbadger on May 16th, 2007 at 12:07pm
The short staff, or crook is a traditional shepherd implement. It is rather like a cane. It could be used to give the sheep a good whack when needed. The hook could be used to grab sheep legs, or even hook around a neck when needed.
  Almost every picture of a shepherd has them with some kind of crook. They were almost an extension of the arm, so I can see David walking up with it.
   I spent a couple of years in Scotland, and most of the sheep farmers still carry some version of this with them.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dravonk on May 16th, 2007 at 2:16pm
You can sling using one hand. I'd imagine him holding the staff and some stones in one hand and the sling in the other. Fill the pouch (now you would hold the staff, the stones and the loaded pouch in one hand), drop the pouch, pull it back very quickly and do an overhand throw. I need to find a good staff so I can try a David-vs.-Goliath scenario. ;-)

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by TechStuf on May 16th, 2007 at 2:54pm

I don't discount the possibility that David discovered the benefit of a weighted miniature one handed staff sling which is highly accurate for single overhand use and looks rather like a club.....however, I think it much more likely that his shepherd's staff was at his side, just in case.  Also, perhaps the dynamics of holding a grounded or extended staff in one hand while slinging with the other may have provided some, as yet, unrevealed benefit.


TS

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 16th, 2007 at 4:07pm
Interesting replies here, thanks.

Question: is there any reason why a shepherd's staff and a staff sling could not have been the same piece of wood?

On the rocks in the off hand, I didn't use a sling much when I was a kid, but I did use a slingshot for hours and hours at a time roaming the countryside in Montana. And got quite good with it. I carried the rocks in my pocket. The pouch referred to in the biblical account would be necessary for the size of the projectile that a sling uses. On the basis my limited and only-somewhat-related experience, you wouldn't want to carry more than one rock in your off hand for any length of time.

As to the question of carrying the staff in the off hand, the Goliath account emphasizes David's being at ease with what he was used to, refusing Saul's body armor for the weapons he knew. So I can see him carrying the staff for that reason. I still find it hard to believe that he actually held on to it when slinging, though the stabilization question is interesting.

Goliath's reference to "sticks" might have been in contrast to the size of his own spear emphasized in the story--a "mine's bigger" kinda trash talking.

TS, I can't find any refs on this site to the miniature staff sling you referenced.  Can you point me someplace?

In related news, I spent the afternoon modifying a long pole lacrosse stick (head removed) to use as a staff sling. My college-age, former lacrosse captain/defenseman son helped, and then we went to his old high school to try it out.

We didn't really get everything right until just before he had to leave. But he confirms the obvious point that it could throw much harder/faster than the unmodified stick could. (It's nice when you can impress a teenager!)

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dravonk on May 16th, 2007 at 5:12pm
I have no links yet, but I think TechStuf talks about a small staff sling where the release cord runs down the entire length of the staff instead of being fixed using a loop. You would hold the release cord with one finger to the staff and you could release it the moment you want to. There are reports here that this sling is quite accurate and powerful.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by TechStuf on May 16th, 2007 at 6:18pm

Yes, if David used a staff sling, (a big IF) it was certainly shorter, unconventional, as conventional staff slings would be inefficient for lighter stones and the speed necessary to contend with a single individual.

Maybe I'll get a video clip posted, demonstrating the art of the short staff sling.

:-?


TS

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Tint on May 16th, 2007 at 7:25pm

Yahweh Bless you in Yeshua wrote on May 16th, 2007 at 6:18pm:
Maybe I'll get a video clip posted, demonstrating the art of the short staff sling.

:-?


TS


Egarly waiting!

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on May 16th, 2007 at 7:46pm

Quote:
since goliath would be well aware of the deadliness of the sling, i think david carried a staff as camouflage, and hid the sling until goliath was within range.  goliath mentions the staff in the account in a mocking fashion....


NB i posted this in "is it real? david and goliath"

i don't think david used a staff sling for the above reason - it's possible he was trying to give the impression that he was armed with a staff only, to lure goliath into hand-to-hand combat.  then david took out his sling and the rest, as they say, is anecdote......  

SV

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on May 16th, 2007 at 7:55pm
the staff sling seems to be a weapon to defend forts, or launch projectiles at galleys (pots of embers, greek fire, or live snakes, to disrupt the rowers and stop the ship)
the staff sling would have been easier to use from a ship or on battlements (where men would be concentrated in a small area) because of it's overhead throw, plus it can shoot bigger heavier projectiles, which are less easily carried on foot, but more easily stacked behind a battlement, fascine, ship, or other  fixed station.  
it thus seems unlikely that any lightly-armoured man would carry one, or that it would be confused as a "staff" in any case.

SV

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dale on May 16th, 2007 at 8:30pm
I can carry two five-ounce stones in one hand without a problem.  But I do prefer to keep them in a bag or my pocket.  Five ounces is all David would need; elsewhere I and others have run the numbers, and a five-ounce stone from a sling packs as much punch as a round from a Colt .45 pistol.

The way I read it, David carried his staff in one hand (left?), and his sling in the other, and kept the stones in some kind of satchel (maybe similar to the one that Barak Bruard's brother carried).  So I also do not think it was a staff sling.

I think that Goliath's remark about sticks was heavy sarcasm, because he had challenged Israel to send him a champion, and out comes a kid carrying a staff, as if to beat off a bothersome dog.  David's appearance and dress constituted an insult, all by themselves, in Goliath's eyes.  I really do not know if he noticed, or cared about, the sling; the text is silent on that point.

Stringman introduced the miniature staff sling, in the topic "Impact of sling stone" (see replies 35 through 40).  I made myself one, and have played with it some.  I just went out and tossed a few golf balls with it, and I am pleased with how it works.  Still, it is more awkward for me to use than a regular sling.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 16th, 2007 at 9:23pm
TS, I second the "eagerly waiting" comment above! But I don't understand your comment about inefficiency and lighter stones. The images that I've seen on the web of staff slings don't appear especially unwieldy. http://www.eriding.net/media/photos/history/romans/051220_pelliott_mp_his_romans_031.jpg

Stones lighter than, say, lacrosse-ball size? The staff sling I was playing with this afternoon was about right for a lacrosse ball. (It was a modified lacrosse stick that I was using.) A rock of that size would not be much heavier than LAX balls are.  

But I'm liking the way your shepherd's-staff-plus-one-handed-staff-sling suggestion wraps up the plural question in the Goliath account: "sticks". A minor point, and perhaps unimportant, as Dale's comment notes.

SV, your comment about camouflage--which I referred to in the original post--seems to be based on the conventional assumption that David was using a standard sling. But the point of my post is to ask whether it might not have actually been a staff sling. To your idea, however: if the string/pouch were wound around the staff, it would not necessarily have been recognizable as a sling. So maybe we're not that far apart?

Or again, anyone, what about the combo idea--a staff/staff sling?

Yes, the staff sling idea is indeed a big if. But hey, I figure, why not make exegetical history?! (Thanks to all for indulging me!)

(Just to complicate things: Psalm 23, usually attributed to David, mentions TWO shepherding "sticks": "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.")

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on May 17th, 2007 at 4:30am
hi tricocloud

you could be right, but it's a bit late in the day to be sure, the Bible is probably as vague/wrong about the type of sling as it is about various other things.
the thing is, in remote parts of the world shepherds still use slings as they have done for 1000s of years and as far as i know, these are all variations on the usual sling - not staff slings.
since david was a shepherd before he discovered his military and political genius, it's safe to assume that he was an adept with the sling which is still favored by today's shepherds, for it's lightness (less hassle to carry) and ability to work with small stones at low power. staff slings were, according to records, military weapons of some size with a typical large projectile - it's one thing to dissuade a sheep from straying, another to crush it's skull like an eggshell
you might be right, but on balance it's more likely that since D was a shepherd he used a shepherd's sling (like shepherds still use) and not a staff sling (which they don't)

welcome to the forum  :)

SV



 


Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dale on May 17th, 2007 at 4:04pm
I was searching through some old posts, and I came across another reference to a short staff sling: Dork described the general design in one hand staff sling.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on May 17th, 2007 at 7:12pm
interesting... D's weapon could have been a combined staff and staff-sling i suppose

SV  

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 18th, 2007 at 8:37am
SV,

Here's another piece of the puzzle that I woke up thinking about this morning. (You'd think I didn't have a life; but I swear, I do!)

In 1 Samuel 13:16ff it says:

"Now there was no smith to be found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, 'Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears'; but every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle; and the charge was a pim for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash."

Now this was prior to Saul's successful campaign to free Israel from Philistine domination, therefore prior to the account we're speculating about, and I can't make any solid claims on the basis of this observation. But it points to an interesting difference in tactics/weaponry between Israel and Philistine, one that probably still had lingering effects into the time of the Goliath incident.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by aussieslinger on May 18th, 2007 at 8:50am
I have also wondered why only a staff gets mentioned and not the actual sling. Prior to reading SV's proposal that David had concealed it I had assumed that the sling was not regarded as a viable weapon by military men of the time. When David is convincing Saul to let him battle Goliath the sling is not mentioned at all. However I think it unlikely the staff was actually a staff sling. As previously mentioned staff slings were somewhat unwieldy, used in siege situations and David is recorded as running towards Goliath so unlikely to be effectively able to use such a tricky weapon. There is no doubt he would have the power to kill Goliath with an ordinary sling; just look at TechStuf "killing" his plywood Goliath.

As for what he did with his staff, I think the simple anwer is that he merely dropped it. Once Goliath was in range, he simply committed himself to his sling and jettisoned unnecessary equipment. Soldiers routinely do that kind of thing.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by loh_kah_hoe on May 18th, 2007 at 12:29pm
You won't get accuracy with a staff-sling, right?

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by curious_aardvark on May 18th, 2007 at 3:32pm
not unless you hit them on the head with the staff part :-)

It's an interesting diversion - but pretty much a dead certainty that no staff sling was involved.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Steven on May 18th, 2007 at 10:04pm

tricocloud wrote on May 16th, 2007 at 10:39am:
...
   And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" (1 Samuel 17:43)

"Sticks"? A shepherd's staff?
...

Sticks ...  biblical rod and staff .... short stick ,  long stick and slings   ...

this shepherd was loaded for lions and tigers and bears. (Oh MY  8-) .... and the occasional giant)
I'm certain the city boy Goliath did not recognize the relevance of the sling as a weapon

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 19th, 2007 at 9:18am
Yes, the rod and staff solve the "sticks" problem nicely, and the proposal that D simply dropped the staff seems like a good suggestion as to what he did with it/them while slinging. (If a staff sling is unwieldy, then carrying a staff while slinging strikes me as even more so.)

That David's slinging made an impression on Goliath is probably the only dead certainty here. But I'm finding the hypothesis of a staff sling harder to sustain, no question.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 19th, 2007 at 9:29am
But as to the accuracy question, I hold with those above who indicate its potential. And that was what was fun about getting my son to help me with the project of a modified LAX stick as staff sling.

A LAX long pole in the hands of a good player is nearly as accurate as a short stick--certainly within the tolerances necessary for the purpose. (Anybody been watching Duke climb in the Division I championship? My son successfully played against one of their attackmen in high school.) In our experiment last week we spent all our time trying to get the mechanics right. But we were both convinced that the potential was there for power and accuracy.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by winkleried on May 19th, 2007 at 9:44pm
I'm in the Non staff sling camp on this one. My weak arguements are follows. First recording we have of the staff-sling is in Xenophons March of the ten thousand. ( as relayed to me by some of my greco-roman reenactor buddies)

The second dates from when I was file mining JSTOR.  There was an article dating from early 20th century about David and Goliath. the article was about the story Of David being extremely similar to other heroic stories of the smae time period.  I glaced through the article and went on looking for other articles that were more about the slinging than interperting the story based on whatever biblical translation.

As in it wasn't what i was looking for i didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it and honestly way to much time has passed. but basically everything had a symbolic role in the story including the staff.

Now if you are really serious about figuring this out, you need to learn ancient Greek and Aramaic. and find out the exact word of what was recorded in the story. too many translations have passed to trust any  modern renditions. I found this out on my Balearic paper when i found out depending on the translation each version of the same story varied in small details. It is these details that may make or break a story.

In short we are talking about an agricultural pastoral society in a military pickle ( so to speak). the evidence is on the side of a David using a standard hand sling.  The same hand sling used by other pastoral cultures from the same kind of society.

Staff slings are a strictly military weapon, as far as we have been find out. and even assuming that they were around during this time period if david wass going to use a military weapon against Goliath there were plenty other out there that would have been more effective than the sling. Now the story would have remained the same even if he had used a sword , or a spear against Goliath.

Marc Adkins  


Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by TechStuf on May 19th, 2007 at 10:48pm

Your logic is impeccable.  The only kind of staff sling that would have been effective against Goliath is a one handed version.  It is likely that the beneficial dynamics of a weighted one handed staff sling went undiscovered until relatively modern times.  The traditional 'shepherd's sling' stands on it's own as a powerful and accurate implement and surely would have done the job.  


And as you have ably stated, it seems unlikely that a shepherd boy would have had necessity or occasion to use a staff sling, as he already enjoyed great success with his own.


TS

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by tricocloud on May 20th, 2007 at 12:23am
Winkleried, you may indeed be right about the nature of the sling. But since this forum has academic aspirations, here's some more information:

1) The language in question would be Hebrew, and the word in question for "sling" is qela. In fact I have studied it, though it's been a while. The Septuagint (Greek) is a much later translation. Aramaic was what Jesus spoke; Aramaic script was current at the time in question, but not what this text is written in.

2) The biblical accounts associate the sling with both military and pastoral use.

3) So also for the word used for staff, including just a couple of chapters earlier. It's a very generic term.

4) Your point about recorded military use of the staff sling strikes me as the most important point. Point taken, even though, strictly speaking, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And there is no question that whatever David used, the account strongly implies that it was the same weaponry that he was familiar with as a shepherd.

5) In a subsequent account, we read that David's men could sling with both right and left hands. (1 Chronicles 12:2) I know lots of baseball players that can bat either way. All lacrosse players do. Do you know of slingers that can go either way with any effectiveness? That's not a rhetorical question; maybe they do, for all I know.

6) Whatever D used, it's hard to see what other weapon could have been more effective; he knew what he was doing in going with it!

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Stoner on Aug 12th, 2007 at 9:29am
Did SOMEONE IN HISTORY, who DID SOMETHING WHICH I CAN'T REPEAT, and who was considered EXCEPTIONAL for their feat, possibly DO SOMETHING EXCEPTIONAL?? Or, did they USE SOME COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WEAPON THAN WHAT IS DESCRIBED IN HISTORICAL RECORDS, because surely they MUST have, right? I can't do, it so they MUST have!!

:P

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on Aug 12th, 2007 at 9:55am

Quote:
since goliath would be well aware of the deadliness of the sling, i think david carried a staff as camouflage, and hid the sling until goliath was within range. goliath mentions the staff in the account in a mocking fashion....


but he doesn't mention a sling

mystery solved - and to suggest that Goliath didn't/wouldn't recognise a sling doesn't make sense, he was supposedly the best soldier available and therefore a weapons expert, as most keen soldiers are.  he would have instantly recognised a sling, staff or otherwise, and spotted the danger.
david was apparently armed with a staff - a quarterstaff was/is a respectable weapon in any case, so goliath wasn't too suspicious. but the sling which he kept hidden (not possible with a staff-sling) until he was within range was the decisive weapon.  

SV

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dravonk on Aug 12th, 2007 at 10:07am
Stoner, the caps look a bit aggressive to me.

Most people on this forum don't doubt that you can get the necessary accuracy to do this feat with a hand sling. Though many doubt that you could do it with an usual staff sling. I guess the original poster's intention was not to say that it was only possible to do this with a staff sling, I understood him as if he just questioned whether a staff sling might be a possible interpretation, too.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on Aug 18th, 2007 at 5:28am

Quote:
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."


i hope it isn't the same rod as mentioned elsewhere, in the child-care section

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverb 23:14)

what works when applied to the aztecs mightn't be appropriate for one's own child, but it must be true, because the bible is the word of God - it says so itself!




73357-HAVT.jpg (11 KB | )

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by curious_aardvark on Aug 18th, 2007 at 6:44am
hmm, well usually I'm the first person to start an argument. But this probably isn't the topic to rehash the old: 'the bible is  a book of made up stories' - 'oh no it's not it's an historical text' argument AGAIN :-)

Any way you look at it nobody ever mentions the israelites using staff slings. And certainly not against goliath.
Yes a shepherd would have had a staff or crook - most shepherds do. It's a good way of getting sheep out of awkward places. And yes it's also probably a good bet that david would have been able to use it as a weapon. But it's a shepherds staff Not a staff sling.

We all have different beliefs - it doesn't have to be an issue very single time :-)  


Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by aussieslinger on Aug 19th, 2007 at 12:59am

Curious Aardvark wrote on Aug 18th, 2007 at 6:44am:
hmm, well usually I'm the first person to start an argument. But this probably isn't the topic to rehash the old: 'the bible is  a book of made up stories' - 'oh no it's not it's an historical text' argument AGAIN :-)

Any way you look at it nobody ever mentions the israelites using staff slings. And certainly not against goliath.
Yes a shepherd would have had a staff or crook - most shepherds do. It's a good way of getting sheep out of awkward places. And yes it's also probably a good bet that david would have been able to use it as a weapon. But it's a shepherds staff Not a staff sling.

We all have different beliefs - it doesn't have to be an issue very single time :-)  


Amen to that one!!!!

SV,

Have you ever considered that your constant bitter little anti-Bible, anti-Christian jibes are as BORING as they are unconvincing? As I said to English, life is too short to waste it studying a book you don't agree with. Just get over it.

If TS is a bell end you're the complete trumpet.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by curious_aardvark on Aug 20th, 2007 at 7:03am
lmao - I know I shouldn't laugh at people insulting each other - but it's either that or join in lol

Come on folks - lets at least try to get by without slanging matches :-)

I suspect that I'm probably unusual in not having any really solid beliefs and in believing (lol) that everyone has a right to their own beliefs and whether or not you agree with them you should respect other peoples rights to have those beliefs.
What ever else we all think - there is one belief we've all got in common. Slings are excellent.
Let's try and approach things from that angle, hmm ?

Here endeth the lesson (hopefully :-)

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on Sep 4th, 2007 at 6:46pm

Quote:
Have you ever considered that your constant bitter little anti-Bible, anti-Christian jibes are as BORING as they are unconvincing?


no, obviously


Quote:
life is too short to waste it studying a book you don't agree with


the most influential book in the world deserves study - how do we make our minds up otherwise?


Quote:
If TS is a bell end you're the complete trumpet.


if it annoys you that i think he's a bell-end, i'll change the assertion in the interests of harmony. after all, it's probably not his fault


Quote:
there is one belief we've all got in common. Slings are excellent.


amen

SV

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dravonk on Sep 5th, 2007 at 2:40am

sv wrote on Sep 4th, 2007 at 6:46pm:
if it annoys you that i think he's a bell-end, i'll change the assertion in the interests of harmony. after all, it's probably not his fault

Is putting weird insults in signatures the new style here? You know I still wonder what I could put in my signature...

But on a more serious note, please stop that. We have intense discussions here in some places, sometimes even impolite, but please let's keep those discussions in their places instead of spreading insults all over the forum.

By the way, I have to lookup your insults in a dictionary as I never heard them before. And in the case of "wab" it looks like your insult has a different meaning depending on whether you are from Northern Ireland or from the United States.

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on Sep 5th, 2007 at 3:53am
ok

SV

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Dravonk on Sep 5th, 2007 at 7:04am
Thank you! :)

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Trebuchet on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 8:50pm

sv wrote on Aug 18th, 2007 at 5:28am:

Quote:
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."


i hope it isn't the same rod as mentioned elsewhere, in the child-care section

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverb 23:14)

what works when applied to the aztecs mightn't be appropriate for one's own child, but it must be true, because the bible is the word of God - it says so itself!


October 3, 2007

Hmm.  This is one of the most interesting threads I’ve run across.   Ho-kay.

Irritating posts slung aside (pun intended), I think the answer may be that we’re dealing with a bit of psy-war in the David v Goliath episode.  Just for fun, let’s pretend it happened.  And I am a practicing Christian.  One day maybe I’ll get it right.

After reading all the posts an idea occurs to me: perhaps David did carry his shepherd’s staff with him and his sling coiled away neatly in his throwing hand.   Our ancestors were not idiots.  They knew about deception.

At the crucial moment, while Goliath was still laughing at the un-armored Hebrew boy, David drops his staff, loads his sling, and WHAMBO! knocks Goliath into the ever after.

OK, Slingers. You tell me: how fast can you get a sling into action assuming it’s coiled in your throwing hand’s fist, both cords in place and ready?  Fifteen seconds?  Fifteen seconds is eternity in combat.  Say even 30 seconds.  By this time Goliath may have stopped laughing and realized that something odd was going on here.

By the way: at this time the Hebrews were still bronze age people.  The Philistines were iron age people.  That’s why King David confiscated all the Philistine iron-smiths and put them to work for the Hebrews.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  :)

Trebuchet

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by Trebuchet on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 9:01pm
Another nibblet:

On another thread I mentioned that there is an undocumented account of slingers from Rhodes using the sling staff with deadly accuracy.  That came from the book “The Ten Thousand,” which was a fictionalized account of Xenophon’s “Anabasis,” or “The March Up Country.”

I’ve got all the makings of a sling staff here, including a hiking stick from which I’ve removed the leather wrist strap.  The hole in the shaft should be a perfect anchor point for one sling thong.

One day, hopefully, I’ll put all the bits together and see what I can accomplish.  My early experiments lead me to believe that, at least in my hands, a sling staff is more of a bombardment weapon than an accuracy weapon.  I may be wrong.

I usually am.

Trebuchet

Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by winkleried on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:26pm
No your observations pretty much match mine.
Great for indirect plunging fire, but not much else.

Marc Adkins


Trebuchet wrote on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 9:01pm:
Another nibblet:

 My early experiments lead me to believe that, at least in my hands, a sling staff is more of a bombardment weapon than an accuracy weapon.  I may be wrong.

I usually am.

Trebuchet


Title: Re: Did David use a staff sling?
Post by sv on Oct 7th, 2007 at 7:08am

Quote:
OK, Slingers. You tell me: how fast can you get a sling into action assuming it’s coiled in your throwing hand’s fist, both cords in place and ready?  Fifteen seconds?


thanks for the challenge Treb. after 5 or 6i  practice shots, 3 and a half seconds. and it's a fair bet that david was faster than we'll ever be

SV  

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