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Slingshot

Slingshot

Israel, Probably 2nd millennium B.C.E.
  • Clay: hand-formed and baked
  • Diameter: 2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Archaeology Acquisition Fund, JM 12-73.269
  • Digital image © 2006 The Jewish Museum, New York Photo by Ardon Bar Hama
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Slingshot

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This object may look harmless, but it could be deadly. Using a leather sling, soldiers would hurl these clay balls at their adversaries. This kind of weapon—the slingshot—is familiar to us from the biblical story of David and Goliath. According to the text, when the young Israelite David faced the Philistine giant Goliath, David was armed only with his sling and five smooth stones. But a carefully aimed shot was enough to fell the mighty Philistine warrior. Israel won the war, and David went on to become king.

Discuss:

  • What could this small clay balls have been used for in ancient times?

  • This is a slingshot. Warriors would hurl them at their enemies using leather slings. How do you think archaeologists figured this out?

  • Do these archaeological finds change the way you understand the biblical story of David and Goliath? How?