Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

More men join the fight

1 Samuel 14:20-23

God had acted to rescue his people from the Philistines (Philistiaís army). He did it even before Israelís army entered the battle. So it was clear that God - and not Israelís army - had rescued Israel.

Israelís king, Saul, was anxious that the result of the battle should be a complete defeat for Philistia (14:36). He wanted to make Philistiaís army so weak that it could not attack Israel again. The Philistines were running away, but Saul did not want them to escape. That was why he sent Israelís army into the battle.

Saul entered that battle with 600 men (14:2), but soon, many more men were fighting for him. Some of those men had previously supported the Philistines, although they belonged to Israel. They may have included some slaves, who were now fighting for their freedom.

Another group of men who supported Saul had previously been too afraid to stay in his army. They hid themselves because Saulís army seemed too weak (13:6). However, now the situation had changed, and these men were pleased to join in the fight. Because many Philistines were now trying to hide, these men were in the right places to attack them.

In fact, even the Philistines were helping Saul, because they were fighting against each other. That was a result of the confusion that God had caused in their camp (14:15). Of course, they were not trying to help Israel, although that was the effect of their actions. Perhaps their leaders were trying to control the other soldiers. If so, they were not successful; they were just killing each other. Every man who could, ran away.

Next part: Saulís command and Jonathanís reaction (1 Samuel 14:24-30)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.