Saul lived for one year and then became king, and when he had reigned for two years over Israel, Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent. Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.
And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven.
Comment: As we have noted before time elapsed between Samuel anointing Saul with oil, a real coronation and Saul taking up the reigns of rulership. When he is settled in he selects a small full time army. Jonathon, his son, in charge of a unit of a thousand soldiers takes on and defeats a Philistine garrison. We haven’t heard of any good relations between Israel and the Philistines in the past and they were at this time subject to the Philistines. This small victory, while it causes glee among the Israelites, is a stench in the Philistines’ noses – not surprisingly. The gauntlet was thrown down by Jonathan and picked up vigorously by the Philistines. A literal exaggeration no doubt, but a very descriptive one, of the size of the army the Israelis were to meet! A battle is to be fought with an interesting twist as we will see soon!
Prayer: We find it hard to understand warring, Lord. We long for the day when there will be no more.