Five Smooth Stones

He (David) took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. (1 Sam. 17:40)

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

My family recently visited the Cherokee National Forest to view the beautiful waterfall in Tellico Plains called Bald Creek Falls. Noted as one of the most scenic and impressive falls in eastern TN, it is also the most accessible. (You can get a great view and photography opportunity right from your car.) We decided to spend the day relaxing up the road along the Tellico River. Though the temperature outside was hot and humid, the river water was a chilling 60 degrees. (One of the reasons it is ideal for trout fish.) Needless to say, the stark contrast of the water and air temperature made this an ideal place to spend a hot summer afternoon.

As I sat on a large rock dangling my feet in the refreshing cold water, I took a survey of the thousands of smooth stones surrounding the riverbed. I bent down to examine stone after stone. Each had its own color, pattern, size, shape, and other unique characteristics. But nearly every single one had soft smooth edges. (Ideal for skipping, my husband and son would tell you.) Just gazing at the constant flow of the water or listening to its soothing rushing sound is enough to invoke feelings of relaxation and wonder. But dialing the lens in closer, looking at the seeming mundaneness of pebbles and stones, conjured up thoughts of another person that obviously enjoyed the brook, the young King David.

When faced with the threat of an enemy army and their champion giant, it wasn’t the king’s armor or sword that David chose to wield. No, this shepherd went with what he knew best, his trusty old sling shot. His choice of ammunition? Five smooth stones from the brook or river. Before we get into his choice of picking up five stones, let’s look at the Hebrew word used here for brook. It is different than the word for river used in Genesis 2:10, where I examined the The Rivers of Eden.

In Hebrew, the word is nachal spelled nun, chet, lamed.[1] It is indeed a stream, brook, or river. But what struck me is its verbal root, also nachal,[2] which means to inherit, to occupy, to bequeath, or to possess. In other words, David drew his ammo from the only trustworthy source: from the living waters of the promises of YHWH.[3] David knew that Saul’s armor had not been tested, but there was One that had never failed David in the past. David took from the inheritance he had in YHWH Tz’vaot.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. “This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17: 45-47)

What made David so sure that he could defeat the giant, Goliath? After all, he was the youngest of his brothers and was much smaller in stature than King Saul. I believe it was because he knew who he was in the eyes of Elohim (God). Shepherding the flocks of his father Jesse had given him valuable experience in not only tending to the vulnerable, but also in defeating mighty beasts. And that’s exactly what David compared Goliath with, an uncircumcised beast.[4]

David knew that the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) would always prevail over the nephesh/flesh of a beast whether that beast is an actual beast of the field, or if it is a man living in the beast’s image. David had already chosen to live after the image of Elohim (God). Those made in the image of God RULE over all creatures, great and small.[5] Goliath was no exception and David had complete faith in this truth from the Word of YHWH.

Though the giant taunted Israel with threats for forty days[6], invoking great fear in the king and army of Israel, David could “see” beyond his natural sight. I believe this is figured not only in the source of his ammunition (the stones were retrieved from Living waters), but in the number of stones that he chose to wield.

Why Five?

In Hebrew, a stone or eben, is a contraction of the words father and son (av + ben).[7] This is why a stone is not only strong, but a far worthier choice of ammo against the enemy. What is stronger than the Father and the Son? Nothing! If this is true, why did David choose five stones when it only took ONE stone to defeat the great giant?

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

I believe that YHWH loves metaphors and figurative language. Literary devices such as these are what give depth and dimension to any story, report, poem, song, dream, or vision by conveying multiple facets and angles in very little space. Thus, details matter greatly and can often reveal a sharp angle that is cut just so that the story sparkles only when it is held and turned slowly in the LIGHT. A less diligent examination would miss this beautiful twinkle and some of the story’s dimension.[8]

Five is the number of strength and power as the fifth manifestation of the Holy Spirit. (Is. 11:2) This power is what fueled the first global migrations of the birds and fish created on the fifth day of creation. Just in case we missed this connection with creation and the number five, it says in 1 Sam. 17:48 that when Goliath went to meet David in battle, that David “ran quickly” to meet him. The word for ran (rutz) is the same root word used to describe the movement of the creatures created on day five. Quick flowing movement is a trademark of those filled with YHWH’s Spirit of Power.

For more symbolism found in the number five, please see my article: Hebrew Numbers 1-10. For now, consider that there are FIVE books of Moses or Torah. The Ten Commandments were written on two stone tablets, with FIVE commandments teaching one how to love YHWH and FIVE teaching one how to love their neighbor. FIVE is associated with grace, the gospel, and anointing.

Though it only took one smooth stone to defeat Goliath, David picked up five, a clear indication that the Torah (Word) is what defeats a beast. Our greater King David, the Messiah Yeshua, was likewise taunted (tempted) for forty days. Like David, He overcame the adversary with one smooth stone by quoting one of the FIVE books of Torah: Deuteronomy, the fifth book. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

The hints of the number five are one example of many precious stones scattered throughout the Biblical text. When the Light hits them just right, our (spiritual) eyes see the connections that thread the entire Bible together in one seamless and flawless tapestry. The same story is told again and again in simple and progressively more detailed and varied ways. That story is the Good News or the Gospel.

Why Are the Stones Smooth?

The answer to this question came to me as I sat by the river examining the multitude of smooth stones and pebbles. If the Word is in us, we become the stones that cry out in triumph.[9] We have become One with the Father and the Son.[10] The constant washing of the water of the Word wears down all of one’s rough and crooked edges. Like the river stones, this is a slow process, a journey if you will, down the bumpy and twisted path of life.

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

Each impact, trial, and toss that the Living Water subjects one to, wears, carves, and sculpts us into the image of Elohim. The persistent and consistent rush of tiny water droplets beats (or threshes) the things that offend off until one is as smooth as David’s five stones.

God chose the story of David and Goliath to be one of the first impressions we are given about King David. Why do you think this is so? Could it be that He wanted us to know how “a man after His own heart[11] defeated the beast without AND the beast within (nephesh/flesh)? We see David battling both throughout his lifetime. One quality seems to stand out with David and it’s not perfection. He committed serious sin in his lifetime. But like the water, David was persistent and consistent to turn (repent) and let God continue the good work He began in him. As such, he became a “living stone” and a role model for us.

I think YHWH expects us to sit by a river and meditate on the smooth stones and the rushing water. This natural phenomenon has deep spiritual implications. The Father’s Light (water) is always trying to penetrate our thick skulls (and hearts). But like the hard rocks, we must yield to the soft water (of the Word). The will of God is evident: He desires for us to be Living Stones in His House.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua the Messiah.” (1 Peter 2:5)

 I want to leave you with the following passage from the Book of Revelation. This section speaks about our future inheritance (nachal). Like David, we can draw from this truth right now when we have a giant to face. Life is hard and trying. If you find it easy, you might not be in the River getting worn and washed by the Word. Rejoice in your current battle, circumstance, and trial. Move fluidly and without fear as David did; for each step will only make you smoother in the New Jerusalem!

 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:9-27)


[1] Strong’s number 5158.

[2] Strong’s number 5157.

[3] Fresh water streams, rivers, and brooks (even those that run under ground) are constantly moving or flowing. In Scripture, waters that are specifically called “Living Waters” come only from these sources. David’s five smooth stones would have been retrieved from a source of living waters!

[4] 1 Sam. 17:34-37

[5] Gen. 1:26-28

[6] Forty is a time of completeness as a multiple of four. It especially marks a period of testing and trial. By the time David arrives on the scene, this period has reached its peak and David, filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (4), is ready to move in strength and power (5) against this insolent head of a beast. For more on the symbolic meaning of numbers, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10 or Misparim.

[7] See Frank T. Seekins’ Hebrew Word Pictures under Aleph.

The Hebrew words “stone” (eben) and “son” (ben) were spoken by the Messiah in a play on words in Matthew 3:9, “And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones (eben) God is able to raise up children (ben) to Abraham.”

Luke 19:37-40 records Yeshua making another comparison to His people (ben) and stones (eben).

[8] Don’t let this reality cause you or those you love to despair. The wisdom of YHWH is all encompassing. The plain, simple, one-dimensional surface meaning of His Word is enough for the smallest child and any of us. The joy is that no matter our I.Q. or developmental stage, the Word is Alive! From the shallow pools to deepest depths, the nuances, patterns, analogies, symbolism, chiasms, numbers, and codes are in His Word for the unearthing. No matter who or where you are, the Word has just what you need and more. There is something for everyone, no matter your maturity level. I don’t know about you, but I find this most extraordinary and exhilarating!

[9] See notes in footnote 6.

[10] “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)

[11] 1 Sam. 13:14

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21 thoughts on “Five Smooth Stones

  1. I always look forward to your posts. I too have sat by a river, out in the wilds, and have observed the thousands of smooth stones in the rushing water. It is a wonderful feeling to be there among the beauties of Father’s creation. But I do not think I have ever had such deep, spiritual meditations on God’s Word as your recent trip to the river. Thank you sharing your rich thoughts. I always like reading your footnotes too. Number 7 is especially good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah! I have say that this doesn’t happen every time I go outside. (I wish it did!) We were really hot, so the river was extra refreshing. I was super thankful for the reprieve… Looking back, perhaps that was why YHWH graciously gave me the idea for this post. Maybe I have a lesson to learn there. I’m not always on my best behavior when I get over heated, lol. And that alone is a battle that I can overcome with the Ruach and the Word. (Yah help me!)

      As always you encourage me. 😊 I look forward to your posts as well. My readers can click on Deborah’s name or go to coldwaterstoathirstysoul.wordpress.com for even more refreshment in the Word.

      K

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      • Paul

        With respect, I think you’re wrong about why David chose five stone pebbles (Heb. tsar). Remember, Goliath was a Philistine and represented the five city states in Philista namely, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza. When the Philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant they also included five golden mice as a kind of cynical ‘thankyou’ for the plague the Ark managed to spread among the population with devastating results. I hope this helps.

        Liked by 1 person

        • While I agree that the political irony was obvious in David’s choice of the five stones, I also believe the Scriptures are dynamic and multi-layered. Hebraic exegesis does not function within the either/or paradigm of western thought. It’s not which is it, but… yes!

          Tracing the number five back to its seed in Genesis 1, lays a foundation that is often ignored. That was the intent of the article, to offer a different (not competing, but complementary) offering. They both are true.

          I appreciate you taking the time to comment and to reveal the standard understanding to my readers. 😊

          By the way, the fifth abomination (negative side) of five (Pr.6:16-19) is feet that run swiftly to evil. Searching this side out, reveals the epitome of what the Philistines represent. In a sense, David (through Word of Adonai) stopped these feet by lopping off the head (what directs the feet). I love the imagery! So many facets to the His Truth.

          Shalom, K

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  7. JULIE SHEARER

    Abba kept saying to me yesterday and more so today. Look up “the significance of 5 stones”

    I’m glad I did… It has confirmed everything Abba has been trying to get through my thick skull.

    Been seeing 5 everywhere. Someone prophesied over me last year, “Here’s five smooth stones to kill the giants in your life”

    It’s gonna take The Living Water, Yeshua, The Word Become Flesh, from the very throne room of Yahweh, to cleanse me of the beast within and without. I must rest in the River of Life as He softens me, molding and fashioning me into image so that Yeshua in me will be a weapon against the enemy for such a time as this.

    PS:
    I actually started writing a short story about the River of Life. River has been a recurring theme this past week

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this, Julie! Abba is amazing!

      Like

      • Beverley Williamson

        Hi Kisha
        Awesome thank you, most definitely does clarify for me.
        Just wondered if we could also look at the 5 stones as 4+1=5 noticed in EW Bullingers book Numbers in Scripture he would use maths to arrive at numbers. So the 4 unused stones signify the future church and the victory they would through Christ exert over the gates of hell

        Liked by 1 person

  8. darla

    Plus, the 5th commandment is “Honor thy father and thy mother” David was definitely honoring God the Father by his faith.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. kkkkkklk

    thank you

    Like

  11. jeffgreen9999

    This is the first time I’ve been to your site. I was reading 2 Kings 7 for the first time in my life. I was reading the 4 lepers story and asking the Holy Spirit to teach me. I read the chapter again and noticed the scouts followed the trail left by the fleeing Syrians all the way to the Jordan river. I thought to myself, “was this the same river David gathered his stones?” So, I googled a bit and stumbled onto your post. As far as I understand it the stones were not gathered at the Jordan? I was disappointed as I wanted to connect dots BUT I was given an awesome gift instead (your post) as I followed my trail to the jordan.

    As I read your post my eyes welled up with tears!

    I read Bible stories to my kids almost every night and my 5 year old son LOVES David vs Goliath. My Daughter asked me the other day, “What was so special about David? It’s always David this, David that.” She’s 8 and learning with me… I told her everything I’ve learned about David and surprised myself 🙂

    The more I read and learn about the Bible the more I’m drawn to David. I turned 40 years old this year and was baptized a few months ago, and my daughter was baptized too last month. Our family is going through a divorce. I’m in the desert of my life but I’ve been given such peace and joy! God keeps leading me to posts like yours each day that keep me fed!

    If you would, please pray for my family. Reading about the 4 lepers reminds me to NOT give up, I’m praying every day for God to turn her heart back to our family and to Him.

    Thank you so much for your post! I learned so much and found exactly what I was needing to read today! I will continue to let God work in my life and upon me, washing me, scrubbing away my faults and maybe this Goliath of divorce will have it’s head cut off too!

    May God bless you with the same joy you’ve given me today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Praise Adonai! I will certainly be praying for you and your family.

      And as for the stones, the most likely place David gathered them was from the Brook of Elah in the Elah Valley. One can still visit this brook today in Israel, and there are many smooth stones to be found there!

      There are so many treasures to be found in the life of David. May you and your children uncover them all and find comfort and strength in the days ahead. Thank you for taking the time to comment. You have encouraged me greatly, and have inspired me to dig deeper.

      May your family be blessed and restored in Yeshua’s Name!

      Like

  12. Beverley Williamson

    Hi absolutely blessed by your post. I had this wonderful insight come to me concerning the stones while collecting them on the beach near my home. Some were still rough, some started showing signs of the sea waters works and others were beautifully smooth and i was picking up those that werent to my liking, throwing them back into the sea and telling them, they werent quite ready yet, they needed more time to be perfected and eureka the story of David and the smooth stones, connected to the living stones in 1Pt dawned on me. Felt like a kid in a candy store. Thanks for clarity on the number of stones chosen. The Hebrew translations also wonderful. What was significance of where the stone lodge in Goliaths head. Had thought of the “third eye” ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen! Love your insight, Beverley! The stone being lodged in Goliath’s forehead is a testimony of the power of the Word of God. The enemy’s followers have a “mark” on their forehead (and right hand, indicating their deeds), which is the mark of the beast. The head is a symbol of authority and thoughts. God’s people are to have a sign upon the foreheads and right hands too. Adonai is their authority and it is His work that they perform in the earth. This is given in the Shema, the watchword of Israel:

      Deu 6:4-9 (TLV)  “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one .  5  Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  6  These words, which I am commanding you today, are to be on your heart.  7  You are to teach them diligently to your children, and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, they are to be as frontlets between your eyes, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

      Dt. 11:18 (NASB) “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

      This is also what Passover is to those who keep Adonai’s covenant. It is a sign upon one’s hand (that you are the Lord’s) and reminder/memorial/remembrance to one’s head (thoughts).

      Ex. 13:6-9 (NASB) “For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 “Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders. 8 “You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 “And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.

      Sabbath is also a sign on God’s people:

      Ex. 31:13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying,’You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

      Ex. 31:17 “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

      The mark of the beast is the counterfeit to God’s sign. It is an antichrist spirit. It is vehemently against the works and word of God. It proclaims the opposite message of Shabbat, Passover, etc. David called Goliath an uncircumcised “beast.”

      Rev. 13:16-17 (NASB) And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,  17  and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

      Rev 14:8-10 (NASB) And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”  9  Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,  10  he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.(See also Rev. 17:5; 20:4)

      So, what did that smooth stone that sank into the forehead of the giant Goliath declare? That the King of Israel, King David, the Messiah, the Word of God, IS what overcomes the beast, the mystical Babylon system. Though the system is great, like a giant, and is everywhere merchandizing the people of the earth, it is nothing compared to Adonai! And it is also nothing for those that bind the Word of God to hand and forehead. We testify that He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth every Shabbat despite the world making it a day to buy and sell. We proclaim the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth every year at Passover. It is His mighty work that enables us to rest in Him, and then go out and labor in His Kingdom. It is His loving instructions, His Torah (law) that Babylon and all “beasts” hate, because it is the perfect law of liberty for those that were once captives. Goliaths desire to enslave by using scare tactics and fear, but Adonai delivers from his hands with a simple smooth stone (aben).

      I hope this helps! May you have a blessed day,
      Kisha

      Like

  13. Jamie

    This is so beautiful!!!! And I appreciate you sharing GODS gift through you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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