A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together (Ecclesiastes 3:5).
There were many times when the Lord commanded that stones be gathered. Gideon was commanded to build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of (a) rock, in the ordered place (Judges 6:26). Joshua was commanded to gather twelve stones from the midst of Jordan as a sign to future generations that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD (Joshua 4). David gathered five smooth stones from a brook to challenge Goliath, the Philistine champion (I Samuel 17). According to Mosaic law, stones were to be gathered for the purpose of execution. Stoning was carried out for various offenses: breaking the Sabbath (which in essence constituted unbelief); immorality; worship of Molech (which required burning ones children); a man or woman who had a familiar spirit; etc.
A time came, however, to cast away stones. Under the law, the scribes and Pharisees had a right to gather stones and execute the woman taken in adultery (John 8). However, Jesus stood between the woman and her accusers and said: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. Why were they which heard it forced to cast away their stones? Because Jesus, her defender, is the only one who has ever lived without sin (II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:22), and because He stood before them as the one who was to bear the punishment for her sin. Stoning is abhorrent to the Twentieth Century mind, but perhaps it is needful at times to remember His punishment, by a method much worse than stoning. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). CJH