Preparing to fight the Philistines (1 Sam 13:2-13:7)

“Saul chose three thousand men out of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel. A thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home to their tents. Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that were at Geba. The Philistines heard of it. Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land. ‘Let the Hebrews hear!’ All Israel heard that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines. They heard that Israel had become odious to the Philistines. Then the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.”

There was a fight with the Philistines. Saul only wanted 3,000 men, who went to Michmash, a town about 9 miles east of Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory. This is the first mention of Jonathan, without an explanation of who he is. Jonathan took his 1,000 troops from Gibeah and defeated the Philistines at Geba, a Levitical town in Benjamin.

“The Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, with troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. When the Israelites saw that they were in distress because the people were hard pressed, they hid themselves in caves, holes, rocks, tombs, and cisterns. Some Hebrews crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal. However, all the people followed him trembling.”

The Philistines returned to battle with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and innumerable soldiers, quite an army. When they got to Michmash, the Israelites fled to the caves and rocks. Some went across the Jordan to Gad. However Saul stayed at Gilgal.

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