Archaeology And Weapons Of Warfare: Sling Stones And Engines Of War -- By: Bob Boyd

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 04:1 (Winter 1991)
Article: Archaeology And Weapons Of Warfare: Sling Stones And Engines Of War
Author: Bob Boyd


Archaeology And Weapons
Of Warfare: Sling Stones And Engines Of War

Bob Boyd

After the discovery of gunpowder by the Chinese in the ninth century A.D., weapons of warfare have become so sophisticated there is fear today that someone might push the wrong button and precipitate a nuclear holocaust! What about weapons of warfare in days gone by?

It is apparent that early man used clubs and stones. Flint axes, arrows and spears became common. In the Bronze Age, bronze spears were used. Pictured is a bronze spearhead, ca. 2000 B. C., found in an excavation at the Old Testament site of Dothan (Gn 37:17). Later, “sling stones” became weapons of renown. They were made of stone or flint, so chiseled and shaped that they looked like stone balls. Several were found at Dothan. Each measured about two inches in diameter and weighed about three-quarters of a pound.a According to Judges 20:15–17, 700 men of Benjamin’s tribe were skilled in the

art of the use of sling stones. They could “sling stones at an hair breadth” and not miss. This is what we would call “hitting the bull’s eye!”

In modern warfare soldiers of the Army are called infantrymen, those of the navy are called sailors, and those of the Air Force are called pilots. In Old Testament days men who used bows and arrows were called bowmen (Jer 4:29); those who used spears were called spearmen (Psa 68:30); and those who used sling stones were called slingers (2 Kgs 25:3). Boys today make a “sling shot” with a Y-branch from a small tree, using two pieces of rubber strap, one each fastened to the top parts of the Y, and a leather pouch to hold the stone. In olden days, two pieces of cord were used, about 2 feet long, tied to a leather or woven pouch to hold the sling stones. The slinger would hold the ends of the two cords, twirl it around his head several times, and at the right moment release one cord, sending the stone toward its mark (or an enemy). The victim, while falling to the ground, might say, “Wow, nothing like that ever entered my head before!”

“Engines of war” became potent weapons (Ez 26:9). In the eighth century BC, King Uzziah made engines in Jerusa...

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