Preparing for war (1 Sam 13:16-13:23)

“Saul, his son Jonathan, and the people who were present with them, stayed in Geba of Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped in Michmash. Raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual. Another company turned toward Beth-horon. Another company turned toward the mountain that looks down upon the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.”

Here, Jonathan is introduced as the son of Saul. They were both at Geba, which Jonathan had captured some Philistines. The Philistines were at Michmash, where Saul had been before the Israelites scattered. The Philistines decide to attack on 3 fronts. One group went to Oprah country. Another group went to Beth-horon, while the final group went to Zeboim, near the wilderness.

“Now there was no smith to be found throughout all the land of Israel. The Philistines said. ‘The Hebrews must not make swords or spears for themselves.’ All the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, mattocks, axes, or sickles. The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and one-third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. So on the day of the battle neither sword nor spear was to be found in the possession of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan. Saul and his son Jonathan had them. Now a garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass of Michmash.”

The Philistines would not allow blacksmiths because they were afraid that they would make sword and spears. However, the Israelites decided to sharpen their farm instruments. So they went to battle with these farm implements, while only Saul and Jonathan had swords and spears.


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