Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men
According to Ben Gersom, these were the seven hundred men of Gibeah; but this does not appear from the text, but, on the contrary, that these were among all the people; or there were so many to be selected out of them all, who were lefthanded men; nor is it likely that all the inhabitants of one place should be such. Benjamin signifies a son of the right hand, yet this tribe had a great number of lefthanded men in it, see ( Judges 3:15 ) . Josephus F8 wrongly reduces the number to five hundred:
everyone could sling stones at an hair's breadth, and not miss:
the mark they slung the stone at, so very expert were they at it; and perhaps their having such a number of skilful men in this art made them more confident of success, and emboldened them in this daring undertaking, to point to which this circumstance seems to be mentioned. There were a people that inhabited the islands, now called Majorca and Minorca, anciently Baleares, from their skilfulness in slinging stones, to which they brought up from their childhood, as it is related various writers, Strabo F9, Diodorus Siculus F11, Floras F12 and others F13; that their mothers used to set their breakfast on a beam or post, or some such thing, at a distance, which they were not to have, unless they could strike it off; and the first of these writers says, that they exercised this art from the time that the Phoenicians held these islands; and, according to Pliny F14, the Phoenicians, the old inhabitants of Canaan, were the first inventors of slings, and from these the Benjaminites might learn it. The Indians are said F15 to be very expert in slinging stones to an hair's breadth.
F8 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 10.
F9 Geograph l. 3. p. 116.
F11 Bibliothec. l. 5. p. 298.
F12 Roman Cost. l. 3. c. 8.
F13 Vid. Barthii Ammadv. ad Claudian. in 3 Consul. Honor. ver. 50.
F14 Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56.
F15 Philoetrat. Vit. Apollon. l. 2. c. 12.