Sounds innocuous enough, right? After all, David was almost the greatest king mentioned in the Bible, exceeded in wisdom and integrity by only his son, Solomon. His story was quite the “hero legend” ; After catching the eye already of a prophet/recruiter who God said would become the king of Israel someday, David tags along with his big brothers to battle, fighting – get this – giants (aka, Philistines). He slays the “head giant”, Goliath, and the whole story is basically just to prove that he was the king-of-Israel-to-be.
1 Samuel 17
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.[a]5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b]; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] His shield bearer went ahead of him.
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah[d] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[e] from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”
26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 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.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[f] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.
55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?”
Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.”
56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.”
57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head.
58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him.
David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”
In order to understand what the juxtaposition this has with modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Syria (as well as other middle-eastern countries such as Iran and Iraq), we have to understand who classic enemies of Israel in ancient times were.
Unfortunately, people always seem to turn to religious leaders for counsel in these situations, instead of doing the research themselves. I recently read the following tidbit from “Ask the rabbi” (Michael Dallen):
Where are the Ancient Enemies of Israel?
Question: I always read about countries like Babylon, Canaan, Amalek, and the Philistines in the Bible. I believe those countries and still exist even today. Who are they and are they still enemies of Israel today?
Answer: Good question. You know, the ancient Assyrians mixed up the nations of the Middle East so much that it’s no longer possible to identify someone as a Hittite or Moabite or Midianite, and the Philistines disappeared as a nation in Judah Macabee’s time.
The Assyrian Empire:
Land That Used To Belong to Palestine
Notice how he dodges the question of the war between the Philistines and Israel?
(The Macabees didn’t exterminate them, by the way, though the ancient “Filistin” had been declining since Samson’s and King David’s time; rather, they chose unwisely in siding with evil against good, with the Syrian-Greeks in their long war against the Jews, and the Syrian Greek emperor, who desperately needed vast infusions of cash to keep paying for the war and just seized them and all their property and sold them off as slaves.)…
And this is an ongoing thing with Israel: Pillar of Defense is another operation initiated last year to supposedly stop rocket attacks from Hamas:
Check Out the Biblical Reference Behind the Name of Israel’s Military Operation Against Hamas
In English, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is calling its effort – launched Wednesday – to strike a blow to Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure “Pillar of Defense,” but in Hebrew the operation’s name has another, deeper biblical meaning. In Hebrew, the IDF named its operation “Amud Anan,” that is Pillar of Cloud, a clear reference to the flight of the Children of Israel from Egypt and how God protected them.
In the Book of Exodus 13:21, as the Israelites flee Egypt and the oppressive Pharaoh, the scene is described this way:
The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud by day, to guide them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, that they might travel day and night.
The pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire remained with them throughout their journey. Meanwhile, a very angry Pharaoh deployed his chariots, horses and warriors to chase after the departing former slaves. As the Egyptian soldiers began to catch up with the Israelites, this is what happened, according to Exodus 14:19-20:
The angel of God, who had been going ahead of the Israelite army, now moved and followed behind them; and the pillar of cloud shifted from in front of them and took up a place behind them and it came between the army of the Egyptians and the army of Israel. Thus there was a cloud with the darkness, and it cast a spell upon the night, so that the one could not come near the other all through the night.
Then the Red Sea split, the Israelites began to cross on dry land while the Egyptian military on horse and chariot chased after them into the now-divided sea. Exodus 14:24 reads:
At the morning watch, the Lord looked down upon the Egyptian army from a pillar of fire and cloud, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.
TheBlaze asked Haifa University bible scholar Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov why he thinks the IDF chose this biblically significant reference as the name of the operation to strike Hamas. He said:
They chose it because it’s something for defense. The pillar of cloud stood to absorb the arrows of the Egyptians. That’s I think what they had in mind. It was in front of them and then behind them and then back in the front of them. The pillar of cloud is there to defend.
And now Israel seeks a modern day “Pillar of Cloud” to defend itself against relentless attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
Although this kind rabbi’s heart is obviously in the right place, there are deep uses of symbolism that Israel is engaging in right now that have invoked a spirit of ruthless, bloody warfare by calling upon these Biblical names and synonymous undercurrents of intent that unleashed horrible genocides and warfare in ancient history.
What makes David’s Sling even creepier is that the IDF also calls it “Magic Wand”. I don’t remember ever reading about magic wands in the Bible, and although witchcraft and magic in the Bible can be found, it’s punishable by death every time it’s mentioned.
Wednesday morning’s successful test of the David’s Sling missile interceptor is good news for Israel’s missile defense program. Barring unexpected delays, the system, which is also known as Magic Wand and which has been in development since 2006, is expected to be operational within two years.
David’s Sling will provide protection against medium-range rockets, complementing Arrow 2 and Iron Dome. The latter two systems, which intercept short-range rockets and long-range missiles, respectively, are already operation.
All three systems would not exist but for the generosity of the United States, a point we would do well to remember at this time of public confrontation between Jerusalem and Washington over the best way to handle both the Iranian nuclear threat and the peace process with the Palestinians.
The United States plays a major role in the funding, development and manufacture of David’s Sling. Arrow 3, which is in the development stages, is also a joint project, while Arrow 2 and Iron Dome were developed by Israel with significant financial assistance from the United States.
Notwithstanding the defense establishment’s periodic warnings during disputes over the size of the budget, the treasury continues to underwrite the program. The army already has six Iron Dome batteries and plans to acquire at least 10 in all.
This does not, of course, promise total protection against rockets and missiles. Ballistics experts once spoke of “Astrodome defense” as a futuristic solution, the concept borrowed from the Houston stadium by that name with a retractable roof.
For Israel, no such solution for steep-trajectory weapons is viable. No matter how many missile-interceptor batteries of whatever range Israel may have (and in any event, cost considerations will keep the number fairly low), the country will never be hermetically protected against them.
According to Israel Defense Forces figures, in the eight days of combat between Israel and Hamas in Operation Pillar of Defense a year ago, four Iron Dome batteries intercepted around 85 percent of the rockets fired into populated areas in Israel. The relatively low number of casualties – six Israelis died as a result of rocket fire – gave the political leadership the breathing space necessary to avoid a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, which would have resulted in high casualties. The Palestinian attempts to foil Iron Dome, mainly by firing barrages of rockets, were largely unsuccessful. From the military perspective the operation was a relative success for Israel, a factor that has contributed to the calm on the Gaza border since.
The defense system, also known as Magic Wand, can intercept missiles with ranges of 63 miles to 125 miles. It’s being developed to counter possible attacks from Syria, Iran and Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
The ongoing civil war in Syria may have weakened Syria’s strength to strike Israel significantly, and Iran, which claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, is negotiating a deal with world powers in Geneva on Wednesday and is unlikely to attack Israel immediately. But, the country faces threats from Hezbollah fighters, who are believed to hold about 70,000 rockets and missiles.
David’s Sling was developed jointly by Israel’s by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd — which also makes Iron Dome — and U.S. firm Raytheon Co (NYSE:RTN).
From Free Beacon:
Rafael also makes Iron Dome, which has been extensively bankrolled by the U.S. Congress. Israel and the United States say Iron Dome batteries downed around 85 percent of Palestinian rockets fired at Israeli towns during the Gaza war a year ago.
Like Iron Dome and Arrow, David’s Sling has drawn interest from prospective foreign clients, especially as it is also billed as being capable of intercepting cruise missiles.
Among potential customers have been at least two former Soviet satellite states in the Balkans which worry about possible future confrontations with Russia, their diplomats told Reuters on condition they would not be identified.
And thank you, Haaretz:
The program is a joint effort of the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
The radar is the same used in the Iron Dome system and was developed by Elta, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. The command and control systems were developed by Elisra, of the Elbit Systems group. Raytheon calls the interceptor missile the “Stunner.”
And the Lebanon Daily Star:
The test came as world powers and Iran open a new round of nuclear negotiations in Geneva later on Wednesday, talks that could result in a landmark deal that would force Iran to make concessions on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of Western sanctions that have crippled its economy.
Iran seeks a rollback in U.S.-led economic sanctions, while the West is pressing it to curb its uranium enrichment – the process to make nuclear fuel, which is a potential pathway to atomic weapons. Israel has voiced grave concern that a deal with Iran now may ease pressure on the Islamic Republic while allowing it to continue to strive toward acquiring a bomb.
Uzi Rubin, a former head of Israel’s missile defense program, said the timing of the test was unrelated and merely a planned step in Israel’s long-term plan to complete a defense umbrella against the myriad of rocket threats the country faces.
He said the test, only the second of its kind, was a “milestone” but refused to provide operational details.