Several explanations help us understand David’s minimal but adequate preparations for history’s most famous confrontation: (1) a successful first shot may have drawn out the Philistine warriors, and David wanted ammunition until his own reserves arrived; (2) Goliath’s armor bearer might require military follow-through; or (3) David was preparing for prolonged fighting, dodging the heavily armed giant while peppering him with shot.
We don’t know David’s thoughts as he marched out of Israel’s trenches, but his preparedness was more in the faith he carried in his heart than the stones in his pouch. Facing powerful adversaries requires a big heart more than a big weapon. Nonetheless, David was not presuming a magical first shot would end the contest. Who knows? Perhaps David was as surprised as anyone that one shot was all he needed.
1 SAMUEL 17:40- 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 draw near to the Philistine.
ILLUSTRATED BIBLE COMMENTARY
1 SAMUEL 17:40- Rather than wearing royal armor, David took the weapons with which he was most familiar. The five sooth stones he chose would have been roughly the size of tennis balls and would fly straighter than jagged stones. As a shepherd, he had likely become proficient with his sling, which would also enable him to attack Goliath from a distance instead of in close combat, where the giant would have a big advantage.