The army of Philistia (called the Philistines) had established a vast camp, with many thousands of soldiers, at Michmash (13:5). Israelís camp, at Migron, had just 600 soldiers (14:2). The two camps were only about 1 mile (2 kilometres) away from each other. Between them were the cliffs that 1 Samuel 14:4-5 mentions.
The Philistines had sent a small group of soldiers out from their main camp to defend the cliff. It was this group that Jonathan attacked.
Jonathan worked closely with the young man who was supporting him. Probably, Israelís soldiers often fought in pairs like this. One soldier could defend the other soldier if an enemy tried to attack from behind.
Jonathan had both a sword and a spear (13:22). He could not use both of these together. From the description, it seems that Jonathan fought with the spear. A spear was a pole with a sharp iron head. With it, Jonathan could quickly cause an injury to any enemy soldier who approached him. As each soldier fell, Jonathan turned from him to fight against the next soldier. In the meantime, the young man with Jonathan used the sword to attack the soldier on the ground. It was necessary to do that. The soldiers on the ground were still very dangerous; any one of them could have risen up to kill Jonathan.
Clearly, Jonathan knew how to fight, but he could not win this battle. There were too many Philistines; in the end, they would have overcome Jonathan. However, then God acted (14:15). Only God can save his people.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.