When the Philistine began to advance toward him again, David quickly ran up to the battle line to face the Philistine. David put his hand into the bag; he took out a stone and slung it. It struck the Philistine in the forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. Thus David bested the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck him down and killed him. David had no sword. (1 Samuel 17-48-50)

Rembrandt’s representation of David and Goliath is one of the four prints, which he prepared for Menasseh ben Israel’s treatise Piedra Gloriosa (The Glorious Stone). The stone with which Goliath was killed was the symbol of the Messiah. In the etching David swings his sling and Goliath begins to fall forward. In the background, throngs of Israelites cheer David on.

Dr. Bryna Jocheved Levy

Photo courtesy of Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam.