Saul led a vast army in the war against Amalek, as he had done in the war against Ammon (11:8). In the meantime, God had shown that he could save (rescue) Israel by means of just a few people (14:6).
However, Saul was right to gather his whole army. Godís people should behave in a sensible manner. They must never act in a foolish manner on purpose because they want God to protect them.
In fact, not everyone in Israel was willing to join the army on this occasion. Saulís army in 1 Samuel 15:4 was smaller than his army in 1 Samuel 11:8. Probably many men would not fight because they themselves would gain no benefit from this war (15:3). When Ammon had attacked Jabesh, the whole of Israel was in danger (11:2; 12:12). However, Amalek was on the south side of Israel. When its men robbed Israel (14:48), they would usually attack only the south of Israel.
It was the inhabitants of Judah, in the south of Israel, who suffered most from those attacks. Although they would gain more than any other region from Amalekís defeat, they only sent 10,000 men to join Saulís army. That is perhaps evidence of how severe Amalekís attacks had become. Judah was so unsafe that few people were living there.
About 50 years later, King David counted Israelís army. By that time, he had defeated the enemies on every side of Israel. Judah had become a peaceful and safe place to live. So, the number of people who lived there had increased vastly. David counted 500,000 men from Judah who could fight in Israelís army (2 Samuel 24:9).
Next part: Desert nomads (1 Samuel 15:5-6)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.