We have all heard of the story about David and Goliath in the Valley of Elah (1 Sam 17), but there is more to this story than what has been usually taught. First of all, it is going to relate to the name of God Yehovah. When most tell the story, they read about how Goliath insulted the name of God but don’t know what they name is. David gets angry, but he can’t use the armor and conventional weapons of the army. Remember, Israel only had two swords in the whole army, one for Saul and one for Jonathan (1 Sam 13.22). Because the Philistines had iron weapons, they liked to fight close, so David was going to avoid that and use what God taught him to use, his sling, a long range weapon.
In the past he used it against a lion and a bear. He realizes that God had prepared him to face Goliath and protect the flock of God. He picks up five smooth stones. Why did he pick up five stones? He had five stones in case he missed. Just because God prepares you doesn’t mean everything goes perfect. He was humble enough about this situation to not get too presumptuous. However, here are some other views on the five stones. The word “rock” is mentioned five times in 2 Sam 22 (v 2, 3, 32, 47 twice). Also, four other giants were killed in 2 Sam 21.22. Moses wrote the five books of the Torah and Psalms is divided into five books, many of which were written by David. The statue of Nebuchadnezzar was destroyed by a rock in Dan 2.45. David was prepared to miss five times and die, but he was going to do the right thing anyway.
In 1 Sam 17.45-47 David says to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of Yehovah of the armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day Yehovah 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 Yehovah does not deliver by sword or spear; for the battle is Yehovah’s and he will give you into my hands.” How many 17 year old boys could give a speech like that today, let alone cut off the head of someone. David was no “snowflake” looking for stress free zones.
He was not going to let this man insult the God of Israel, and he was prepared to die for that, but he was going to do something. Where did the rocks in the brook in the Valley of Elah come from? The brook is trailed back to a place called Migdal Oz, meaning “strong tower.” Prov 18.10 says, “The name Yehovah is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and is safe.” Remember the people that ran into St Paul’s Chapel and were safe on September 11, 2001? God’s name YHVH was written two times on that church? Now David comes against Goliath in the name of Yehovah and uses a rock (symbolic of Messiah) from a place called the strong tower (Migdal Oz) to kill Goliath. Using the theme of five smooth stones, here are “five smooth stones” concerning the Aleppo Codex.
First, there is the Aleppo Codex and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are about 1000 years older that the Aleppo Codex. The earliest scrolls are from about 300 BC. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls are not identical when you compare them. Some are copied carefully and some not so carefully. There is a category of scrolls that have been proofread, and you know because when you read them you will come across a word and see a little letter above the line. This tells you that there is a missing letter. The letter is only missing when you compare it to the Aleppo Codex. Now, just for informational purposes, a codex is a manuscript in book form and a scroll is a scroll.
The Aleppo Codex is about 1000 years younger than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Something had to exist back then that was the source of the Aleppo Codex (more on that in Part 8). Scholars call them the Proto-Masoretic Scrolls. The Masoretic Text is the Jewish version of the Bible, and that existed in some form or another in the Second Temple Period. Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls do not have that characteristic, they are copied haphazardly. They are not what Jews considered authoritative texts of Scripture of that period. The Aleppo Codex was considered by Jews at that time be be an authoritative text of Scripture.
The second stone is that it “looks like an angel wrote it.” That is the reasoning of scholars and scientists of Scripture. When you look at the Masoretic notes on the side, they tell you how to copy Scripture. When they look at other Masoretic texts of that period, 95 % of them match the Masoretic notes. The Aleppo Codex matches these notes 100 %. Most scholars only need the Aleppo Codex. The sad apart is that one-third of the Aleppo Codex is missing. In those missing sections they have to look at 50 or 60 other manuscripts to fill in, comparing what they say. With the Aleppo Codex they only need one manuscript. That is how accurate it is.
The third stone involves the Karaites and the Rabbinical Jews. In that period there was a split between the two groups. Why is that important? Because these groups didn’t trust one another when it came to matters of the Faith. But, what they all agreed upon was the Aleppo Codex as an authoritative source for the Scriptures. Now, if the Rabbinical Jews (called Rabbanites) took a text and just made up letters and vowels, the Karaites would have never gone for it, and vice versa. Both groups knew in the 9th century that it was accurate and an authoritative text of Scripture, and according to them, went back to the time of the Prophets.
The fourth stone is about Maimonides, also called Rambam for short. Rambam used the Aleppo Codex and gave his stamp of approval on it. The fifth and final stone is that the Aleppo Codex is a Karaite manuscript, and the Leningrad Codex is a Rabbinical Jewish manuscript. We had mentioned before that it was Written by a scribe named Aaron Ben Asher in 894 in Tiberius. These two manuscripts are two witnesses for the name of Yehovah. This means that Yehovah is not some sectarian opinion or version, but both opposing views agreed it was Yehovah and transmitted this name from sage to talmid (student) once every seven years, and the true pronunciation “slipped out” with both of these groups. Maybe that was a complete accident, but we believe it was by the Lord’s design. He wanted his name and how to pronounce it to come out.
In Part 8 we will pick up here and begin to discuss how the Aleppo Codex may be tied to three Second Temple Scrolls called the “The Temple Courtyard Manuscripts.” Two of these scrolls survived the destruction of the Temple.