Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

God uses an earthquake to win a battle

1 Samuel 14:15

Only two men (Jonathan and the young man who supported him) were attacking the camp of the Philistines (the army from Philistia). They fought successfully against a few men. Other men would then run through the camp to report that an attack had begun.

It seems that the news caused a sudden shock to the men in the camp. They did not expect Israelís army to begin a battle. They did not know how few men were attacking them. They did not even know whom they should fight against (14:20).

Then something happened that made Philistiaís men even more afraid. The ground shook; in other words, there was an earthquake.

The Philistines would have considered the earthquake to be evidence that Israelís God was angry with them. They already knew that Israelís God was powerful (4:8). They even realised that he was more powerful than their own god, Dagon (5:1-7). Now, they had offended against Israelís God. They had established their vast camp on land that belonged to him (13:5). They had stolen goods that belonged in his land (13:17-18). So, they were afraid of what Israelís God would do to them.

The result was that the Philistines did not know what to do. They tried to run away; they went in every direction. Some of them even started to fight each other.

Israelís army was small and weak; it could never have defeated the vast army of the Philistines. The Philistinesí defeat in this battle was entirely the work of God.

Next part: Saulís order to bring the ark (1 Samuel 14:16-19)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.