Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 13

Saul waits at Geba

1 Samuel 13:15-18

There was no reason for Saul to remain at Gilgal. He had failed to gather there the vast number of soldiers that he had hoped for. Now he would have to change his plan. He had only 600 men who would support him against Philistiaís vast army (13:5).

Saul had to act boldly. He took his men to the camp in Geba that Jonathan had won (13:3). Geba was near Saulís home in Gibeah, so the territory was very familiar to him. He was only about 2 miles (3 kilometres) from his enemyís new camp at Michmash. However, cliffs separated the two armies (14:4-5). Those cliffs would make it easier for Saul to defend his camp.

Saul probably wanted to give the impression that he was preparing to attack. The soldiers from Philistia (that is, the Philistines) would think that Saul had only brought some of his men to Geba. Other groups of Israelís soldiers could be hiding elsewhere in the region (14:11).

The reality was that Saul had brought all his loyal soldiers to Geba. Many of Israelís other men were hiding, but they were not preparing to attack. They were hiding because they were so afraid of the Philistines (13:6).

So, Saul waited. The Philistines would run out of supplies and then, perhaps, they would return home. However, the Philistines did not go away. Instead they sent three groups of soldiers out from their camp to steal food from Israelís towns and villages.

Each army was waiting for the soldiers on the other side to begin the battle.

Next part: How the Philistines controlled Israel (1 Samuel 13:19-21)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.