Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 13

Godís power and Israelís weakness

1 Samuel 13:22-23

The Bible includes this information to show us that Godís power to rescue his people is very great. When nations fight wars, they need large armies, capable soldiers, and good military equipment. However, when God opposes his peopleís enemies, he needs none of these things. His power alone is enough. He can use a few weak people to defeat the most powerful enemy.

Israelís army did not have the proper military equipment, so they had to use their ordinary tools. For example, they would use knives instead of swords. A sword is like a knife, but its blade (the sharp part) is longer. That means that a soldier with a sword does not have to get so close to his enemy. In a fight, the man with the sword is safer; the man with only a knife is in greater danger.

In the same manner, it is possible to use a tent pole instead of a spear. A spear is like a tent pole, but its metal head is larger. Again, that gives an advantage to the soldier with the spear.

Saul seemed to think that he could deal with his armyís weakness by means of bold actions. Saul had a camp of just 600 men at Geba. His enemy (called the Philistines) had a camp of many thousands of men at Michmash. Then the Philistines moved a small group of their soldiers forward. They established their camp on one of the cliffs above the passage through the mountains near Michmash.

So Saul acted boldly. He moved all his 600 men onto the opposite cliff. He wanted the Philistines to think that, like them, he had a vast army behind this group of men. However, that was not true. Those 600 men were all the men under the command of Saul and his son Jonathan.

Next part: A son who was not like his father (1 Samuel 14:1)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.