Monday, May 19, 2008

Davidian Warfare

"And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.", ~1 Samuel 17:40

"And the Philistine said unto David, [Am] I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods." ~1Samuel 17:43

I always thought that when Goliath says “…that thou comest to me with staves,” he was simply referring to the rudimentary weaponry that David carried with him, but recent discoveries on my part have put two and two together and I realized that David may have taken a staff-sling into battle instead of an ordinary hand held sling.

Staff-slings were in use from very ancient times onward to the gunpowder age, though they were mostly used in warfare.
They consisted of a staff to the top of which was tethered a pouch. It would be slung like a lever over the head.

The projectiles could be quite large, so the range was somewhat diminished, but the power and surprising accuracy behind it was likely unmatched. A blow to the head would be absolutely lethal.

For transport, the staff-sling may have been dismantled in such a way which kept the sling attached for quick assembly while avoiding tangling the tethers for use of the staff as a normal walking or herding device.

An amazing little quirk about the staff-sling is that it is difficult to hit a close object your own height, as it tends to send the projectile upwards. That could be helpful when trying to down a giant!

Another observation by a modern day slinger is the possibility that a running shot would give it a greater range and impact, which is what David did in an apparent Kamikaze attack.

I suppose this feature could be used in regular warfare to have a wide angling arch to smash enemies behind a wall or over the heads of your comrades in arms.

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